Q & A with Kentucky's John Calipari 6/28/19



John Calipari's opening statement - "We've got a good group. We spent time with them yesterday. They were at the house. Just a great group of young people. Young as my teams are normally, but what I'm trying to do and what I've been hitting on with this group is just to remind them my best teams the teams that won 38 games, that won 35 games those players benefitted the most from those teams, which is why I keep saying it's about team during the season; it's about individuals after. This is about big team makes a better me. The better our team is, the better opportunities everybody within the team is going to have. So that's what I'm really trying to get this team to think about because we've got a long way to go. As much as they've got to be responsible for themselves and they are. They're in the gym. Breakfast Club. They've got all types of stuff going on. At the end of the day, we've got to have a hell of a team that everybody looks at and says the same thing: How in the world do they get a new team every year to play this way and how do they get really good players to share and be about each other? That's the challenge every year."

 On what it will take for the UK-Indiana series to be revived

"Our schedule is so locked in. I'm not sure here in the next four or five years if even talking about it does anything. We are hoping to do something in London next year. We've got the challenge that we put together the Champions (Classic) and then the CBS (Sports Classic). We have a game we have to play with Louisville. We have our big challenge with the Big 12. I mean, our stuff is pretty well loaded, so I don't see it happening anytime in the near future."

 On mentioning neutral sites in the past as a way to play the series

"What I did was here's what you've got to understand: When we first decided, I presented to Indiana that we would play two games in the big building in Indiana in Indianapolis. We'll play two games and we'll play them both there. We're not going to do this home-and-home but I'll play both games there. They turned that down, which then at that point, now it was like, OK, now we're moving on because I can't present anything that's any better."

 On if there is a reason for no home-and-homes

"We have enough home-and-homes right now."

 On the rule changes to move the 3-point line back and reset the shot clock to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound

"I think they are good. I like the reset to 20. The game will be faster. I like the 3-point line spreading out because the teams that are I'm not a big proponent of shooting 40 3s, and if you are, that percentage is going to go down now. I think it will make the game more about movement and spacing and open up the lane a little bit more. So I think it's all good, but it will play out. Like I said too, for young kids to say that line's moving back and we'll shoot the same percentage, I just don't see it happening. I think percentages will come down, and now as a coach you've got to make a choice: Are we going to shoot that many 3s or are we going to be more of a driving, lane touch kind of team?"

 On Arkansas hiring Eric Musselman

"Eric and I, we've known each other for a long time. I consider him a friend. I've known him since his days in the NBA. I remember walking in to his locker room in Philadelphia and saying, 'You did a hell of a job coaching that game.' We coached against each other when we were at FIBA. I was at the Dominican (Republic) and he was at Venezuela. We coached against each other there. I've watched him at Nevada. I think they've got a great coach, a driven human being who is smart. He's really going to do good work at Arkansas. No doubt in my mind."

On the Breakfast Club

"I was told that. I'm not in the middle of it but I was told one of the guys is grabbing a couple other guys and they're going in the mornings. This is the kind of thing that we've only had a couple practices and we're going to have another one today. I think that, in my mind, our season here at Kentucky is too long. We go to April. We're not going to do defense in the summer. The one thing I'm trying to get these guys to do too much individual work we need more pick-up basketball. We need more movement. We need more spacing. We need more chemistry. They need to play. There's no arms on the cone. There's also just you and a guy. Well, guess what? The game has changed. You need to know what you're going to do with that ball you ready before you catch it. And that means you've got to play. So we're trying to play more pick-up basketball. We're trying to let them be responsible for each other and push each other and we're trying to bring them together. And explain to them, my best teams, the players on those teams benefitted the most, so we've got to make this one of those. Big team. Make it about this team. And I tell them all the time: We've got you; you worry about each other. We've got you. Like, you've got to worry about each other. And this Breakfast Club where they're kind of dragging each other and they're not dragging; they're saying, 'I'm coming; come with me.' And they're talking to each other. It's good stuff."

On who started the Breakfast Club

"I don't know this for a fact but I heard it was Tyrese (Maxey). One of my staff said it was Tyrese. But then again, Tyrese didn't tell me and I haven't asked. That's just what one of my staff said."

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