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John Calipari on UK offense: “Dude twice jacked up 3’s like it’s high school”

John Calipari didn’t think Nate Sestina was tough enough against Evansville. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the Wildcats “weren’t passing the ball to each other” against in Tuesday night’s loss to Evansville and added his team’s lack of toughness, especially in the post, continues to be an issue.

“We were just coming down and we were saying post it and the dude twice jacked up 3’s like it’s high school,” he said. “Just shoot it. And you’re looking like, really? Like, do you understand we’re in a dog fight here? …  the game got physical and he wasn’t as tough as their guy. And that’s bottom line. So he’s got to know that I can’t play that way. I’ve got to be strong and hold my position. Nate (Sestina), same thing. We couldn’t post Nate. We couldn’t get him the ball.”

Calipari praised former Kentucky standout Walter McCarty and his ability to get his team ready to play in a hostile environment.

“They smelled they could win the game and they finished,” Calipari said. “They finished strong. And we didn’t. This was a great lesson for all of us, including me. I mean, we could say they got outplayed and I could tell you I got out-coached.”

Kentucky’s players, including Tyrese Maxey, agreed.

“Losing period is disappointing, whether you were ranked number one or not ranked, we all hate to lose, I know that for a fact, but like I said we are just going to come (back) ready to work and bounce back,” he said.

Calipari, who said the loss “all comes back to me,” hopes the setback will result in a successful bounce-back starting Monday against Utah Valley State.

“I’ve done this 35 years and stuff like this happens,” he said. “You want to grow from it, you want to learn from it. We may look back in a couple of weeks and say, this is the greatest thing that ever happened to this team. We also may look back in a couple of weeks and say what in the heck?”

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Gametracker: Utah Valley State at Kentucky, Monday, 7 p.m. TV/Radio: ESPN2, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

21 comments

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  1. Last year was the humiliation by Duke, LSU, and Auburn. This year starts with Evansville, probably Ohio State, I pray not Lousyville, but sometimes God doesn’t answer prayers, and I am pretty sure Auburn will whack us again…at least once. There will be a couple of other meltdowns as well. Are you seeing a trend yet?

  2. Time will tell Catmandoo, the only thing is when they get on a roll we know you won’t be making any comments on this site. When you start shooting your mouth it does come back hunts you.

  3. The same team that beat Michigan State lost to Evansville. Is Evansville better than Michigan St? No. That means the problem that Calipari described, jacking up 3s and no low post presence, is a problem with the players thinking process. That comes from not knowing the game and not being disciplined in your approach to the game plan. When that happens they revert back to what they did in high school; it’s what they know. Both are correctable if the players want to correct them. I think on this particular UK team they do. We will lose more games this year, probably including the U of L game, but at the end of the season I believe this team will be in the Final Four.

    1. I think team will bounce back as well

  4. Me too Larry V, you can’t define a season on one game. There’s no question this team has work to do and Cal has always has them ready when it really counts come March. They got tell Monday get there mind set back on track that’s the good part. Go Cats!

  5. Cal always has a team that has a lot of work and learning to do. That’s what happens when you have young players. The best combination is experience with youth, but that has not happened very often under Cal, but he is making this work as well as any other coach in the country.
    This team will get much better. Besides, no team in the country knows at this point how good or bad they will be by seasons end. It is WAY TOO EARLY for predictions of that type. No one will know what they have until about halfway through the conference. Even then, teams can get on a roll; good and bad.
    I’m going to sit back and watch and see how good this team can get. Don’t think they will win it all, but I do think Final Four is very possible.

  6. Get on a roll? We just did beat MSU with one of their starters missing and thumped EKU which probably did us more harm than good. We will beat the next 4 Popcorn States if you want to call that a roll. The 5 games after that will tell what kind of team and coach we have. The results will say volumes about what kind of season this is going to be.

    1. Didn’t hear much out of you Catmandoo after the MSU victory, i.e. complete silence as a mater of fact. The FBI couldn’t even find you. We thought you had moved on after some weird posts, and since Hornet’s bet had you “spooked” to the core. I figured you had already conceded. Now, after a loss to Evansville, you are all mouth again. See you at the end of the season hoss. Our HOF Coach will have this UK basketball team a “well oiled” machine by then. You better sound off now while you can. We are going to have fun with you, make sport of you. LOL

      1. Pup, you need to shut the F up. You didn’t have the stones to take the bet and yet you mouth off about it like you did. That just shows that’s all you are is a bunch of hot air and a mouth. There is absolutely no danger in me losing this bet. Our HOF coach will be run out of town before long. I thought it would happen in 2022, but BBN is not going to settle for another NIT appearance.

        1. LOL Catmandoo, I since blood in the water. You are running scared little man.

          1. Here is what you don’t get Pup. Every fiber in me hopes I am wrong about this team. I want them to win. I want them to win it all. Leaving idiots like you on this site won’t cause me to lose a second of sleep. The problem is everything I know about basketball tells me that I am right about this team and we are in for one painful season….again. It will give me little pleasure to see Cats79 and Hornet1 leave this site. You are the one I was hoping to get rid of, but you have no honor. Cats and Hornet believe what they crow about and had the guts to take the best that they are surely going to lose. You are such a cowardly Sissy that you ran away from the bet, but run your mouth like you didn’t. This is a winner take all bet among men, so that leaves you out. You are the very definition of pathetic and because of that, you will be a loser either way because you didn’t have the courage to take a stand on an issue that comes with a reward or cost. Cats and Hornet have earned the right to speak on this matter as have I. You have nothing at stake here and that will be the one thing that everyone will remember regards of how the bet ends…Larry Pup was too gutless to take a stand on either side.

  7. 8-10 losses will define a typical Cal team, and this team has a good chance if they play like last game.

  8. U know, this loss to Evansville should be a “good” loss, especially since it’s real early into the season. Hopefully, and from what I’ve seen and what I’ve read about this team, they should learn from it and go on a tear. Me personally, I have a really good feeling about this year’s ‘Cats, and believe they will get it together and play very well. Any other year such as the year we lost in the first round of the NIT, I’d be really worried like i was that whole year. This team seems more intelligent, and less likely to let this loss linger. Also, if I hadn’t known better, the next day reading what all the haters wrote, and how they worded it, you’d have thought UK was a 1 seed and lost to a 16 seed the way Virginia did two years ago at the big dance. That loss was the biggest upset ever in college basketball, and will be for quite sometime in the future.

    1. @Money50:
      I agree 100%.

  9. OK hero. LOL. I am here to stay.

    1. Oh, I forgot to attribute this post to the hero, a legend in his own mind, Spartan fan, little Catmandoo1000. Like I said hero, I am here to stay. Take it easy man, it will be ok.

  10. Pup,
    Nobody here pays any attention to what you say, because your actions say it all. You crow like you know it all, but you don’t have one ounce of guts to show that you believe what you crow about. That tells everyone that you know I am on the right side of that bet. From now on, we will call you Captain Gutless.

  11. Well, let’s see, it seems at least one on here pays attention to what I say, that would be you Mr. Spartan MSU, alias Catmandoo1000. How did that prediction of yours work out by the way? Oh it was a big UK victory. Your days are numbered little man. Hey, take it easy, you will still be able to read all that is posted on this good site after your exit, so don’t fret. Go ahead and keep trashing our coach and team 3 games into the season. With every fiber of your being right?

    1. 👍

  12. The 2022 NBA draft can not get here soon enough. That will be the time Calipari leaves UK and college basketball altogether. By then, Walter McCarty could be a viable candidate to replace him.

    1. Hey, I thought it was Billy D Oh mighty Spartan. GO CATS!!!!!

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