John Calipari is talking at a mid season level

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Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I think part of what motivates John Calipari is the need to erase the taste of the 2012-13 season from the memory bank of Kentucky fans. That season was a disaster and Calipari openly admitted after the season that certain players hijacked the program. Calipari was adamant that this would not happen again and with all of the talent on the current team, it seems that this should not be a problem at all.

Calipari seems to have it all planned out what will happen if certain players even take a play off. He shares this with Mike DeCourcy.

"“The question is: Who is nine and 10?” Calipari said. “When they all leave early, I have to figure it out. So now some guys decided to stay … How do I deal with that? That’s just as much of a challenge. Now the question is: How are you going to play with 10?” When Rick Pitino dealt with this sort of overcrowding with Kentucky’s 1995-96 “Untouchables” team, players as gifted as Ron Mercer (the No. 3 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft) and Derek Anderson (the No. 13 pick in ’97 even with a damaged knee) did not average even 20 minutes per game. Only three guys on that team did, and no one played 30. Wing Allen Edwards was at the back end of the rotation, getting 9 minutes per game. The stacked roster led UK to redshirt forward Jared Prickett after five games. Calipari told these Wildcats there will be similar sacrifices and significant demands. He intends to install a list of several “non-negotiables” — actions that will lead to a player being automatically removed from a game. If a player does not dive for a loose ball, or sprint while changing ends, or slide down into proper help position if defending the weak side … “Thank you. You’re out. He’s in,” he explained."

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With all the returning talent, you can assume that freshman players like Devin Booker may not see a ton of playing time, but perhaps the best lineup may include Booker. Calipari’s big challenge will to keep all his players involved and ready to step in and produce.

"Eventually, though, Kentucky will confront the reality that the rotation will need to be tighter — Pitino only used eight guys in the last three 1996 tournament games — and that its best lineup might feature freshman Devin Booker at small forward. Pairing him with shooting guard Aaron Harrison should give the team high-level attacking skill and 3-point shooting on each wing. “I’m not afraid of it. It doesn’t scare me at all,” Calipari said. “I just don’t want to be anybody to be left behind. I don’t want anybody lost in the shuffle of this. You’ve got to play it both ways. When they all leave early and the program survives it, you’ve got to make it so when guys decide they’re just not ready, they want to come back, you’ve still got to make it right. You can’t leave anybody out."