John Calipari Tells His Team to ‘Change or Keep Losing’ [VIDEO]
I was unable to see Kentucky's game at North Carolina Saturday afternoon which ended in an 82-77 setback for the Wildcats. Despite that result, I thought a 5-point road loss to a team that's already beaten Louisville (neutral site) and Michigan State (in their gym) was more than respectable, maybe even a step in the right direction.
I even looked at the game tracker and saw that UK was never really out of this game, trailing by single digits most of the way.
But, again, I didn't see the game.
CBS college basketball analyst Gary Parrish DID see the game. In fact, he was there. I found his observations to be fascinating...and telling. Parrish saw some things the cameras didn't catch--the frustration, if not irritation, etched across Calipari's face; players checking in and out of the game without slapping hands; teammates rolling eyes at other teammates; Cal having to yell at his players to huddle when a timeout was called.
Holy Basketball 101, Batman!
What's going on here?
I know what John Calipari thinks will go on here. LOSSES. And that's what he told his team. He told 'em to change what they're doing or they're going to keep losing. Don't ever underestimate Calipari's intelligence with regards to this game. He is keenly aware of the differences between the 2012 title team and this, dare I say, motley group of über-talented freshman and sophomores. The championship squad played as a TEAM.
These guys are more concerned about individual successes, individual failures. They don't seem to be overly worried about how their performances will affect the Wildcats as a whole. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster. And it's disaster that can be averted if they want it to be. If they are as upset, as embarrassed, as I have heard they have been after these losses, they will do some hard thinking and right this ship.
This team has a far better capability of doing it than last year's team did, and last year's team would've been in the NCAA Tournament (granted, as perhaps a 7, 8, 9, or 10 seed) has it not been for Nerlens Noel's injury.
So, yeah, a 5-point loss on the road to a team that has two of the best wins of any team in the country LOOKS okay, relatively speaking. But when you realize that all these guys had to do was focus on the collective and not the individual, this would have been a season-altering victory.
The time to bask in the glory of being the "greatest recruiting class in the history of mankind" has long since passed, if it ever existed in the first place.
Belmont and Louisville will be in Rupp Arena on each of the next two Saturdays. Then conference play begins. Yep, the season's nearly half over.
And there's still a lot of learnin' left to do.