Notes from the John Calipari Media Day presser

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In addition to the tweets, here are my notes from the John Calipari portion of UK Basketball Media Day which took place Thursday morning:

  • First question is about Skal Labissiere’s status. Calipari says, “I’m fine” says he doesn’t understand where the firestorm about this issue started. I’m guessing it started here.
  • On Charles Matthews: “I told you he’d be a surprise.”
  • Says Matthews is one of the guys the NBA scouts will be following throughout the year.
  • Calipari: “I’m going to be the same guy Monday the way I coached them in front of 80 NBA scouts.”
  • Calipari on what he tells players: “I’m not going to be afraid to coach you. I’ve coached players better than you and I am going to coach you.”
  • Alex Poythress is 75 percent. “Need him to be a beast.”
  • Calipari: “Our guards are going to be good.”
  • Calipari: “We’re not as tough as I’d thought we’d be.”
  • Calipari doesn’t see playing 10 players. Back to 7 or 8 guys playing.
  • Says Las Vegas has 30-1 odds on Kentucky going 40-0.
  • Says team doesn’t like doing drills, would rather compete.
  • “We have no habits right now that will win you championships.” – on young guys.
  • Marcus Lee is still defining himself
  • Isaac Humphries is not afraid and he “knows what he can do and is pretty good at it.”
  • Humphries is too young to put his name in the draft even after this year
  • Likes having Isaiah Briscoe away from Tyler Ulis — Briscoe defers too much to Ulis.
  • Briscoe has a “will to win and a toughness that this team is going to need.”
  • Cal wants to see players going North-and-South. “It’s the East-West stuff that I can’t stand. We take ground and we don’t give it back.”
  • Ulis played last year with shin splints – now he’s fully healthy.
  • Ulis “may be the best floor general I’ve ever coached.”
  • Jamal Murray is “not ready for that but I need for him to be that too.”
  • “A team’s best prospects aren’t always the best players.”
  • Nearly threw up when he saw Derek Willis injure his finger.
  • Cal was surprised it was just dislocated.
  • On injuries to Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis: “Neither one of them really had an opportunity to play here until now. . . . Now they have a chance and they’re hurt.”
  • Cal says they have have “monthly meetings to talk about (compliance) changes and we’re on top of it. . . . We make up rules here. . . . We go overboard with it, but that’s fine.”
  • Cal: “Our guard play is good enough to mask some of the issues we have.”
  • Cal: “We’re not going to look like the same team in March.”
  • On Duke winning with one-and-dones: – “Now it’s been vetted and we won’t hear it anymore.”
  • Cal: “We’ve got two guys who are too trying to hard to please me.” Won’t give up the names.
  • Cal: “We don’t run plays,” says run action more than plays.
  • Cal: “I want to play small ball — with 6-10 guys.” (rim shot)
  • “What’s not changing with Tyler?” and “You’re either going to like Tyler or you’re not,” and “Some guys won’t play 5-9 guys.”
  • More on Ulis: “If he needs another year we’re here for him, but I don’t see how much he can change from what he’s doing now.”
  • Even more on Ulis: “He’s our best player and it’s not even close.”
  • On Louisville scandal: “I hope it’s not true. . . . If any of it is it’s not good for college basketball. . . If it is true I can’t believe (Pitino) knew about it, knowing Rick like I do.”
  • Won’t answer Skal Labissiere question late in the press conference, cuts it off with, “Next question.”

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