Well, BBN, as it turns out there IS a method to John Calipari’s coaching madness/genius and it’s not magic or voodoo; it’s intentional planning. That’s right, the brash, no nonsense, psychological thriller of a coach, Calipari is going back to the basics this year en route for his second National Title in five (5) seasons at UK. You see, this historic recruiting class including the Harrison twins, Julius Randle, James Young, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson, and Derek Willis is made up entirely of kids, roughly 18 who are studs on the court, athletically and mentally superior to almost every other athlete on the court, in the country. This class is arguably the top recruiting class in history and that not hyperbole. This class is stacked and after the disaster of last season, where Calipari admits he let some people dictate how some things went down that had a negative impact on the team, he vowed to never let that happen again. And according to Sports Editor for the Winchester Sun, Keith Taylor, John Calipari started the follow through on that vow yesterday.
Kentucky coach John Calipari and his staff begin a ‘two-day’ retreat scheduled to start today. The point of emphasis is to plan ahead for next season.
“What we’re primarily going to be doing is (figuring out), ‘What do each of these kids need from us?’ Because every one of these kids we’re bringing in need to be coached and they need something from us. I’ll give you an example: We had Michael (Kidd-)Gilchrist. Michael needed something from us that was different than what Anthony Davis needed from us. Marquis Teague needed us in a different way. Terrence Jones needed something different than Doron Lamb needed or Darius Miller – ‘Be more aggressive!’ I mean, every one of those kids needed us in different ways because it is about them. It is about players first. Well, this team we’re coaching now with eight new players, four or five returning players, each of these guys are going to need us in different ways.”
Calipari added that it will take time for the staff and players, both returning and new, to come together.
“So the process, this galvanizing process, the patience we’re going to need, we’re starting on Monday. We need to say, ‘OK, where are we going to go with this? What do each of these kids need?’ because let me just say this folks: They’re a talented crew, we’ll have a talented team, (but) they need (to be) coached. Each individual player needs (to be) coached. They need direction. They need to be taught the level of commitment, the intensity. The will to win has to come out. The alpha males that we didn’t have a year ago I think we have, but those guys got to do that. They can lead, but they got to lead us in the way we need to be led. Michael Gilchrist, how did he lead us? Breakfast club. What did he do in practice? Was unbelievable in his work ethic. What did that mean? Two years ago, we did not have one bad practice. Not one. Last year we had about five good practices that I would say in my mind over the years would be the kind of practices I felt comfortable with.
“So those are some things to throw out.”
Now it seems a simple task to figure out how to coach each player individually but it if were that simple then Michael Jordan would have won an NBA Title with the Washington Wizards, right? Exactly. There is nothing simple or easy about getting to know a player so well that you can anticipate their mood swings, behavior or thought process and plan accordingly or even deal with them on the fly as they change. These are still kids. Even the returning players are still kids. Anyone who has ever been around a kid knows how complicated they are.
Did Calipari have a two day retreat with his staff last year? I have no idea but based on how things went last year I’d say not and if they did then something went horribly awry. I don’t see that happening twice.
This team has, perhaps, the best combination of talent and experience that Cal has had since he set foot on campus in 2009, including the 2012 National Title team, yet there is still much work to be done with these young men.
This commitment to his players, the program and winning is exactly what the BBN loves about our brash, occasionally controversial psychologist/coach John Calipari.
If you didn’t expect to hang #9 already, let it sink in that on May 20th, John Calipari and his staff are already deep into prepping themselves to understand and help this ridiculous recruiting class and team reach their potential and goals on May 20th, 2013.
If it’s any indication, this season will be historic, with our Kentucky Wildcats wrestling that NCAA Championship Trophy away from those damn Dirty Birds up Northwest.