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John Calipari says team followed his lead against Evansville — a team he didn’t expect “to have much of a struggle with”

John Calipari admitted Sunday he didn’t think Evansville could beat UK and might have set a bad lead for his team to follow. (Vicky Graff Photo)


It’s kind of nice to have a coach be refreshingly honest — and that’s what John Calipari was Sunday.

Of course, he did say after last week’s loss to Evansville that he got “outcoached” by Walter McCarty and the preparation he did with his Aces. Remember Kentucky was coming off a win over Michigan State and was ranked No. 1 when the Aces beat the Cats.

Kentucky returns to action tonight when it hosts Utah Valley State hoping to put the Evansville loss out of everyone’s minds.

“I’ve done this so long that we go from Michigan State thinking we can beat the world to obviously not in the right frame of mind, not the right kind of preparation,” Calipari said Sunday when asked about the loss.

However, what Calipari said next put the loss into perspective a little more as he attempted to explain why his players might not have been mentally focused — as the play looked the whole game from the Cats.

“What these teams do every year I coach, they’re going to follow my lead. Well, they probably followed my lead. I thought we were going to win the game, too. I didn’t think we would have that much of a struggle with those guys,” Calipari said. “And so they followed my lead, and it woke me up more than it woke them up.

“But I think they know now that every game, we have a chance to beat anybody –- and lose to anybody if we don’t compete. If we play great defense, we’ll have a chance in every game. We’re still trying to figure out the offense. It’s just going to take time.”

However, one thing is bothering Calipari even more — rebounding. He said Sunday that UK was last among Power Five teams in offensive rebounding. That’s a category Calipari’s teams normally rank among the nation’s leaders annually.

“I’ve never heard of that (being last). Basically it means you’re not even trying because it’s not important that I rebound because I’m trying to score,” Calipari said. “Well, we talked about it, we showed them, we worked on it, so hopefully that will begin to change.

“Where we are in learning offense, you have to get offensive rebounds on some possessions –- free baskets –- or it’s going to be hard to win.”

Center Nick Richards said the Cats have been working on basic rebounding drills the last week.

“If the ball goes up, he (Calipari) wants four guys going to the rim. If four guys don’t touch the paint, he basically is going to make us run. Just basic drills like that,” Richards said


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  1. We are young.

    We don’t have enough players to practice.

    We did not take an opponent seriously.

    Really coach?

    Any it is only after a loss that you recognize a rebounding problem with this team? That problem did not emerge as a result of the loss to Evansville, it has been an issue with this group in 4 of the 5 games, yes even the exhibitions.

    Here are the facts:
    Exh 1: Georgetown: Off Rebounding Rate: UK 17.1%
    Exh 2: Kentucky State: UK 24.3%
    Michigan State: UK 17.9%
    EKU UK 36.4%
    Evansville: UK 22.2%

    The NCAA D1 average offensive rebounding rate is about 31%. UK’s offensive rebounding rate last year was in the upper 30s, about 37% as I recall. Calipari teams at UK have consistently been among the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation, in the upper 30s and once or twice topping 40%.

    It took a loss to Evansville to bring this situation to your team? Come on Coach, we know better than that, and so do you. Get this kids tough like you have been pleading for them to do since early October. The games have begun.

    There is yet another issue with this team that Calipari is not talking about in this article at least, and that is 3 point shooting percentage. It is low. It is much lower than it has ever been, and few of Calipari’s teams have excelled in this category. Yes, the line has moved back, so % should be expected to decline. That is fine, but if the effectiveness of those 3 point shots is dropping then why take as many of those shots this year as in prior seasons. Wouldn’t coaching call for a reassessment of the number of 3 point shoots taken in a game? If not, why not.

    The adage, “We can beat any one, and any one can beat us” is non-sense. No UK team should lose to Evansville at Rupp any more than no VMI team should ever beat a UK team at Rupp. But wait, that did happen too, when we had another coach named Billy Gillispie. You all remember him, right?

  2. Well here are some facts we all might want to consider just three games into the 2019-20 season before we bash our coach over an early season stumble. In John Calipari’s 28 years at three different schools, concluding with the 2018-19 season at UK, he had coached at three major schools with a W-L at 78% .

    In that time, according to my check, he has won 17 regular season championships at three different schools. and 13 Conference tourney championships. Also throw in 19 NCAA tourney appearances in the mix. He is a top 10 coach in winning percentage too, not bad. He has also booked in at 31 NCAA tournament wins, including four final 4’s, seven elite 8’s, and 8 sweet 16 appearances, and has one national title too.

    Some of you on here need to be careful what you advocate, nit pick, and wish for. This team will be ready in March 2020 I believe. Cal always has his team ready at tourney time. Some seem to forget that.

    1. Pretty sad to read that Utah Valley has done a better recruiting job with shot blockers than UK. They are averaging 8.5 blocks per game. I can’t get the Evansville fiasco out of my mind yet but if Cal leaves after 2022 like Catmandoo sez, I will miss his recruiting but not his coaching. Rah Rah!

      1. My cocker spaniel knows more about Calipari
        than Catmandoo ever will. 😂🤣😂🤣

  3. Hornet, you have style. You’re an absolute idiot when it comes to basketball, but you have the guts to take a stand, unlike your sissy pal Pup. You have no f’ing idea about where my inside info comes from.

    1. I read your comment to my cocker and
      he laughed so hard he peed on the floor 😆😆😆😆😆😆

      1. Hornet, Catmandoo is important. Did you read that? Why he has inside info, Wow! You impressed? This guy is such a gift to us all. Ain’t we all lucky to have such a beacon of information on this here site. But, let me add, a plain everyday little man is he, like us all, but one who is so hungry for self importance, and has found a venue too achieve some measure of credibility. He insults our Coach and players with regularity, win or lose, and wants us to buy into his never ending rhetoric on Calipari’s coaching skill, or as he says the lack thereof. He is laughable.

        I have nick named him “Mr. Spartan” due to his being frozen at the mouth after UK’s stunning victory over the Spartans of Michigan State Univ. earlier this season on national TV. He has the gall to call UK a program that is no longer relevant, imagine that. A game in which he had earlier predicted would be a “blood bath” for our beloved Wildcats. It didn’t happen, and for days we had peace on this blog and never heard a word out of The Catmandoo1000 immediately after that victory. Now he is thrilled that UK is in a bit of a slump, almost “giddy” it would seem. We are all concerned now, and rightfully so, but he takes it to a new level. To that I take offense. We all know Calipari faces new challenges every year at this time due a new roster of talented youth. Been that way now for 10 plus seasons. But the journey has been wonderful IMO. Come March, Cal can almost always be counted on to get his team tournament ready. I believe he will do so again this year.

        If you have read this far, let me conclude by saying this. If this guy that calls himself Catmandoo1000 is a UK fan, I’m the “Pope.” Go Cats!!!

        1. I’m amazed that he is privy to so much “inside info”.
          Perhaps Larry V. would do well to consult Catmandoo before publishing articles.

  4. Calipari will be gone after the 2022 draft. The only reason he will last that long is because of idiots like Pup, Hornet, and Cats. Kentucky deserves better than the embarrassment that Calipari continues to heap on us. We have become non relevant in college basketball over the past 4 years. Nobody fears us, many hope to get a shot at us now. Our record will speak for itself despite all of the Rah Rahing from these Know Nothings. The Professor knows. Mike knows. There are many in BBN who also know that Calipari is the root of all that’s wrong with KY basketball 2022 can’t get here soon enough.

    1. Kentucky opens the season against the #1 team in the nation, in Madison Square Garden, on national television in prime time, wins the game, and Catmandoo says UK has become “non relevant in college basketball”.
      WOW !!!

      1. With this lull in UK’s performance to date, which is admittedly concerning, I actually think this Mr. Spartan (Catmandoo1000) is pulling for this UK basketball team to fail now. I sure get that feeling. Know this, John Calipari has forgotten more basketball than this guy could ever comprehend. After the big time win against MSU, the Catmandoo1000 was AWOL. Not nary a word, now he has diarrhea of the mouth. GO CATS!!!!

  5. Catmandoo, if there’s a idiot that be you with your lack of taste. That’s all I’m gonna say got no time for wasting my breath on some one who’s think his two cent words is better than everybody else. I hope Larry blocks you that he has stated that he would if the foul mouth talking continue on this site.

  6. We eke by MSU who had a leading scorer missing and then we lose to unranked Evansville and barely beat UVU. The rest of the teams on our schedule are licking their chops to get a shot at us. When we reach double digit losses and end up in the NIT….AGAIN… you Rah Rahs will have some excuse for that too. There is no room at UK for people who hide behind excuses…players or coaches. Right now, I would gladly swap Calipari for Billy Clyde and watch all of you Rah Rahs cut your throats in horror.

    1. The Catmandoo1000, “Mr. Spartan” brings up the fact that MSU was missing a key player when UK beat them, but fails too give UK the same consideration when they had at least one, and then two prominent players out in games, and won with just seven players available against UVS. He will always take the side of the opposing team and coaches over UK. His right of course, but no one who is a real UK fan would do that after every game, win or lose. By the way Catmandoo, your hero at the NBA ain’t doing so well with a new team so far. But a team that has a Calipari coached and NBA draft pick leading all scorers.

    2. 🤢

  7. I may have figured out what you’re doing, Catmandoo.
    It appears that you may be goading Larry V. to block you.
    Could it be that you don’t want to eat the crow
    that you’ll be served at the end of the season?

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