By LARRY VAUGHT
During his coaching career, John Calipari has been blessed to have had some exceptional guards play for him. Yet he normally resists comparing players because they are “all different.” However, he does like his current trio of point guards — Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey.
“I do know that Ashton is coming back as the conference defensive player or co-defensive Player of the Year and he’s coming back. He’s even more confident defensively than he was a year ago, but I’m going to be honest with you, Tyrese is right there,” Calipari said.
“Like, you got two guys that can really guard the ball and really be long and really still block shots and physically sustain. So, and then Immanuel is a different, more of a set up, spot shooting three point guard. So they’re all different.”
Calipari said his job is to make all the players “uncomfortable” with the way he coaches them.
“That means when I’m not coaching them how they are now. I’m coaching them where I see they need to go and where they’re capable of being, which means they have not been there, which means they’re going to be uncomfortable all the time,” Calipari said.
What does he hope the players do?
“Their job is to learn to be comfortable, meaning uncomfortable. We have to set up situations where they struggle, so they have to deal with it. We have to set up situations where they’re feeling pain, whether it be conditioning or anything else we do, taking them to limits, because it’s the only way they learn about themselves,” Calipari said.
“So with those point guards we’re just going to continue to raise the bar. And it doesn’t mean kick, punch, swear, all that, it’s just you raise the bar, this is where we’re coaching you, that is not acceptable down here.
“I know you’re comfortable playing that way because you’ve played that way your whole life. Now we need you to go up into this area and you’re going to be uncomfortable, but that’s what my job is and the job of our staff.”