Calipari: I surrendered to this team. The program almost got hijacked.
Posted by: Pete Roussel on Wednesday March 20, 2013
Posted by: Pete Roussel on March 20, 2013
If you stay in the coaching profession long enough, you're bound to have a season when your position group or the entire program simply doesn't come close to meeting expectations.
Not only did Kentucky basketball not qualify for the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night. To put things in perspective, Robert Morris lost earlier this season to the likes of Quinnipiac, Bryant, St. Francis Brooklyn, and Savannah State.
In the post-game media session, John Calipari took the blame by indicating the as the head coach, he allowed his players to get away with too much this season in hopes of saving certain players from going in the tank and/or quitting the team.
Calipari said, "All the sudden this hits you. It's a humbling experience, but it's also a learning experience. Things that I've never done before. One, I did things to try to help this team I've never done, but things that I did to try to save guys, when you have more people you just cut right then. Now you're on the team, but you're just not gonna play that much because you won't change. Most of it is just accepting change. You can't play this way and play.
"All I know is, there were things that we did this year we will not do. We will correct, and we'll be fine. This program's fine. We will be a tough ball team next year. We will be a tough, hard-nosed, fighting team next year. I promise you, we will be, because I can't sit through that. I can't take it."
Calipari said, "The best thing that's going to happen to us next year is we're going to have unbelievable competition at every spot. So there's no one here that's promised, 'OK, I played 30 minutes a game.' You may play five, but you will change. The stuff I had to accept this year, the program almost got hijacked. Never in my career have I surrendered in any way to any team, and I did at times this year. To try to save guys, to try to hep guys, and it never works."
"So what we're gonna have is unbelievable competition. We may have three teams, so 15 guys that can play. Let's go. It's what we need, kind of like my first year when we had all those players. We're gonna be a little young, but with guys coming back we'll still have some veteran guys."
One that all coaches, any sport, can note today.
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