By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference today that he doesn’t anticipate any long-term problems with P.J. Washington after he missed most of the second half at Tennessee Saturday night with leg cramps.
Kentucky got “manhandled” by the Vols after Washington went out with about 12 1/2 minutes to play and did not return.
“It was the cramps. We will watch today but my point being that’s as hard as he has played since he has been here and his body may just have revolted. What are you doing?” Calipari said. “I am trying to get them to understand why at practice you have to push yourself to the limit. You beat workouts, they don’t beat you.
“All the stuff we continue to talk about is a process.”
He said Kentucky just not have veteran players to spread that message about the learning process in the dorm or team hotel.
“My job is to stay in the moment and not worry about tomorrow,” Calipari said. “If we are not ready for a physical battle, then move on to the next game. At some point to survive you fight or you keep dying. I can’t fight for you.”
Calipari said when Washington went down and then Wenyen Gabriel fouled out at Tennessee that it was “going to be tough” for UK to win.
“But the thing that disappointed me with Tennessee is it was a tie game and we had guys acting like the game was over. Fight to win the game. Fight to keep it close. That is something we are still learning,” the UK coach said today.
He said players have to watch tape and accept what happened and what it takes to get better.
“You get guys to accept, ‘I’ve got to change.’ In most cases in this sport, for guys to advance in this sport you’ve got to fight. I’ve seen guys who have less advanced skills and less this, less that, yet they fought and they were, they lasted, they had 15-year careers. If you don’t fight, you’re not making it. Because it’s too competitive,” Calipari said.
That will be the case again Tuesday night when UK hosts Texas A&M, once a top five team this season but now 0-3 in SEC play.
“Texas A&M has had injuries and illness and, you know, so, everyone in our league knows how good they are,” Calipari said. “They had the guards (who) were out for a while. Big man was out this last game with the flu. Robert’s (Williams) one of the best players in our league. Voted I believe Player of the Year in the preseason. My guess is they’ll all be back so it’s going to be a different kind of game and (coach) Billy’s (Kenndy) done a great job.”