Cats to Maui? Not why John Calipari is coaching

John Calipari won’t be taking his team to Maui in November to play. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Many of the nation’s best college basketball teams play in Thanksgiving week tournaments every year or at least every few years.

But not Kentucky even though the Cats used to play in the Maui Invitational, something they only did once under coach John Calipari.

Odds are Kentucky will never go to Hawaii to play as long as Calipari is the coach, either.

“It’s just a long way. I mean, we don’t need to play in it. Again, this is why we need fans in this building cheering these kids on. We played Michigan State. We got other games coming up. We always have a young team. You can’t play five top 10 games in your first seven games.

Okay, now we get totally rattled,” Calipari said.

Calipari joked too strong an early season schedule, especially with a lot of travel, could take an extreme toll on his young team.

“

I got young guys. We schedule the way the kids benefit. I know fans want me to schedule for fans. I schedule for the kids,” Calipari said. “At the end of the day we still have one of the best schedules in the country every year. Just can’t do it up front. You can’t.

“These kids are trying to figure themselves out. You’re looking and saying, ‘What about Keion, Khalil? Tyrese played, but not yet.’ They’re fragile, not sure yet.

We’re struggling against the teams we’re playing.

“You put us in that kind of event (in Maui), traveling 12 hours, just not good for us.

here building up our kids because it’s still going to take some time.”

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