BOISE, Idaho — John Calipari knows who he is and how he acts. The Kentucky coach, often seen screaming and stomping on the sidelines like he’s trying open a hole in the floor, just can’t change.
“I wish I was less animated,” Calipari said Friday. “I wish I was less emotional. But I was born this way.”
His players know that all too well — but they take the (sometimes very) bad with the good, and there is plenty of that, too. Good Cal, Bad Cal, if you will.
SEC Country asked Kentucky’s nine scholarship players two questions Friday: “What moment this season has Calipari been the proudest of you?” and “When did you make him the maddest?” Below are each of their (sometimes hilarious) answers:
PG Quade Green
“I don’t know. That’s a good question. I’ve just been playing hard all year … I think when I hit the game winner, cause everybody knew what to do. I looked at him, he looked at me. He was like, ‘Go ahead, do your thing.’ We chest-bumped in the locker room after that.”
“Ah man, dribblin’ 10 times I think, stopping the flow of the game. Just when I work at the point guard spot I’m holding the ball too long he gets really mad about that. Red, head about to pop off. He looks insane.”
SG Hamidou Diallo
“Just breaking through adversity. That was the biggest point. Breaking through adversity, having a bunch of bad games, being able to still pick myself up, being able to still go in the gym and work hard — acting like I’m not going through adversity. And then seeing me shine and break out of that shell and come out and play the games that he knows I can play, and that I’ve shown I can play at this level.”
“There’s been a couple moments, I mean definitely. Just a couple defensive lapses or mistakes I make on the offensive end. Not mad, I would just say more disappointed because we’ve talked about it and he really holds me to a high standard.”
PF Sacha Killeya-Jones
“I think probably just rebounding. I would say probably in the SEC Tournament and [Thursday] too, but just in general — rebounding, and fighting this hard.”
“Probably I didn’t do anything. He probably thought I messed up. I mean obviously I’ve messed up plenty of times, but he done tripped on me a couple times. … It looks like him over there on the sideline when his hair starts to get messed up, shaking and yelling at everything. It doesn’t affect me personally. I’ve heard it two years. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s all positive reinforcement. He just wants me to do well. He wants the best for the team.
“You get the nice guy when you get recruited and everything. Then once you get here for the summer, he starts yelling. You’re like, ‘All right, I guess this is what I’m here for.’ It took a couple weeks, maybe a month, but yeah I’m used to it now.”
SF Kevin Knox
“Over the season I’ve grown so much as a player. He’s kinda realizing it now. He’s been pushing me throughout the season. He knows I’ve got more in the tank, so he’s gonna keep pushing me. That’s why I came here, for somebody to push me and work me hard. He’s done a good job of that throughout the year. … He’s been proud of me pretty much the whole season, but now he really wants me to step up. In March, it’s win or go home. He kinda wants more from everybody.”
“Probably at the beginning. Probably because I wasn’t really used to the playing style. That’s probably how he was with everybody, but at the beginning because I wasn’t used to how we played, used to Cal, but now I’m used to it. We’re fine and we’re clicking.”
PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
“I think the proudest Cal’s been is probably when I took a charge. I never used to take charges. I think I’ve taken two this season.”
“It was against South Carolina, and I had 2 fouls, so I sat out the half and then he put me back in. He said, ‘Don’t do nothing. Don’t foul.’ And then I went in and got an offensive foul. … It’s crazy. His face almost looks red. His hair spikes up. He’s just screaming. You can’t even listen to what he’s saying. You just hear him screaming.”
PF Jarred Vanderbilt
“I think when I played my first game. He was just proud that I was back on the court. Or when I got freshman of the week a couple weeks ago. Yeah, he was pretty proud of that. … He knew what I’ve been through, the work I’ve put in. He was extremely proud that I got that accomplishment.”
“Maddest he’s been at me? Uh, honestly I would say he hasn’t been as mad at me. He kind of gave me the benefit of the doubt. I came late, so he knew I was still learning and stuff.”
PF PJ Washington
“I think in the Monmouth game when I started playing well. I think that was one of my best games of the season. It was like one of my first best games of the season. That’s when he was probably proudest of me.”
“I don’t know, he’s pretty mad all the time, so you’ve gotta come out and basically just be ready for it and try to let it go in one ear, let it digest a little bit, and then out the other. You just gotta come out, play harder and basically do what he says.”
C Nick Richards
“The first time I went through a little struggle at the beginning of the year. And then I came out, had good games — the West Virginia game — that’s probably the most he’s ever been proud of me.”
“Probably in practice, he’s maddest at me. Whenever I’m not getting stuff right, he usually screams at me and stuff like that. … It depends on his mood actually and how he’s approaching practice. If he’s mostly working on the bigs today, he’ll probably just yell at me more.”
PF Wenyen Gabriel
“I can’t really put a finger on it, but I think when I hit those seven 3s, he was pretty proud of me that day.”
“He gets mad a lot. Nothing in particular with that.”
Related Kentucky NCAA Tournament coverage:
- John Calipari didn’t love Buffalo coach calling him a whiner
- Calipari happy for new Georgia coach Tom Crean, jokes about scheduling
- Everything Cal said in his pre-Buffalo press conference
- Jarred Vanderbilt updates status for NCAA Tournament game against Buffalo
- Five things to know about the Buffalo Bulls
- Buffalo star Wes Clark eager to redeem himself against Kentucky
The post Good Cal, Bad Cal: Kentucky players share when they made John Calipari proudest, maddest appeared first on SEC Country.
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