Notes from the John Calipari Media Day presser


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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