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Are some UK fans ready to impeach John Calipari?

John Calipari is being questioned by some UK fans after the loss to Utah. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

CatsIllustrated.com publisher Justin Rowland stirred up a bit of a Twitter brouhaha Friday with a fairly simple tweet about Kentucky coach John Calipari after Wednesday’s 69-66 loss to Utah in Las Vegas.

“Feels like a bit of a turning point in the Calipari era right now. I doubt his overall approval rating has ticked down much, but even his most ardent supporters are now saying he needs to consider making a major pivot in how he does certain things,” Rowland tweeted.

That brought a quick question from Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy wondering what “things” Rowland was referring to and Rowland responded on Twitter with this: “More and better shooters. A less antiquated offense or at least one that isn’t predicated on having elite bigs to run through. A willingness to adapt better to his team’s personnel, e.g. more ball pressure, this year, when that is the one thing they’re great at.”

That started a lot of chatter from UK fans, especially since earlier in the day Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com revealed his current NCAA Tournament bracket and not only did not have Kentucky as one of the top 16 seeds but did not even have the Cats in the tournament field.

“Kentucky has a bunch of tomato can wins, two bad losses and a win over Michigan State. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect UK to be in the final bracket in March, but it is a good thing for them that March is three months off,” Palm wrote.

The CBSSports.com NCAA analyst noted that the NCAA Tournament selection committee would not be “enamored by the name on front of the jerseys” like Associated Press voters that have Kentucky still in the top 10 are.

“The next eight days could be huge for the Wildcats. They get Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday in Las Vegas, then host Louisville on Dec. 28,” Palm wrote.

Some Kentucky fans are not “enamored” with Calipari right now even though his NCAA track record at UK has been superb other than having “only” one national championship and I learned a few years ago not to doubt Calipari’s magic until NCAA play ends.

However, here are some of the comments that appeared on my Twitter timeline Friday:

— Players are less talented. Pretty simple. Don’t over thing it. Game hasn’t changed that drastically. UK’s talent has changed the last three years.

— Getting by on individual talent doesn’t mean the offensive system is great.

— Cal is stubborn as hell,

— It’s almost like UK pads their offensive efficiency rating against inferior competition and then when they play upper echelon/tournament teams it’s not good enough sometimes. Year long efficiency ratings are pointless when there’s anecdotal evidence.

— He is a much more instinctually conservative coach than people who don’t go beyond the slogans realize. Tourney time he shortens bench a lot, grinds it out even more.

— More ball pressure and a different offensive scheme is needed. They look lost out there.

DeCourcy countered that he wasn’t sure he had seen a coach better at “adapting to different personnel” than Calipari has been in his career. He pointed out that Calipari’s team had lost in the first weekend of NCAA Tournament play just once during his time at Kentucky and that UK’s scoring average is on par with what other successful teams have had.

Perhaps my favorite tweet during the Twitter discussion came from Carter Hall.

“It may just be me but it seems some of the liberal Dems are impeaching Cal a little bit. Impeachment of Cal is stupid,” Hall tweeted.

This may surprise some but Kentucky has a lot of fans here in Vegas. I talked to a lot of them the last two days at various spots and times. No surprise they all still were proudly wearing their Kentucky gear and none planned to bail out on today’s game, including many who were at the Utah loss. Many other fans got here Friday and didn’t waver in their plans to be here for a game Ohio State is now favored to win.

Does Kentucky have issues this year? Yes it does. Does Calipari have a lot of work to do? Yes he does. Can Calipari be stubborn and set in his beliefs? Yes he can.

But I still remember that 2014 tail-whipping Kentucky got in February at South Carolina — and then that team almost won the national title.

So that day I learned just to wait and see what Calipari might do developing talent as the year progresses no matter how unlikely it might seem that Calipari will be able to right the ship.

16 comments

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  1. Well, this mirrors much of the debate that occurs here about Calipari.

    This is Calipari’s 5th team since the 2015 meltdown in the last 5 minutes against Wisconsin that could have put the stamp on an historic 40-0 season. Since that time, the quality of UK basketball has been declining.

    The “players first” philosophy has never rung true to these Big Blue Ears, but so long as Calipari produces final four trips and championships, he can subscribe to any philosophy of his choice to get there. However, the results have ended! The philosophy that does not have UK Basketball and the Big Blue Nation at or near the top of priorities is unraveling.

    First, I know that the situation is never as bleak as it seems in the darkest hour (after a loss), but it is also as promising as it seems in the brightest moment (after a huge win). My concern about the condition of the program is based on decades of observation, and this program is not heading the right direction.

    Unfortunately, Calipari has painted himself into this corner, and he cannot simply change his philosophy on a dime, and given the recruiting already in place for 2020-21, Calipari cannot reverse course until 2022 even if hemakes the fundamental philosophical changes today.

    As for the mood of the Big Blue Nation? I believe most remain solidly in the Calipari camp, but I also believe the discontent is spreading through the Big Blue Nation and those who disagree with the direction of this program are becoming more vocal.

    Finally, I don’t think for one minute that when Calipari says he does not read or listen to the complaints he actually means it. He is obsessed with approval from the fan base, and he has been completely aware of the criticisms he has received over the years.

  2. In the all of the years that I have followed the cats there’s been two coaches that took our basketball to its back seat and that is Eddie Sutton and Billy Gilpinse. Those two provide the most boring watch teams in UK history. That being sad I wouldn’t trade Cal for any other coach he always has the team ready when it counts. Let him figure this team out before jumping conclusion of whathe can’t do .. There is one thing I do agree with the criticism he needs to some things differently and that let the players do what they can do if his strategy is not working. Sometimes it could bring the best out of the players. Today game is a must win in my opinion.

  3. The Professor gets it. John Calipari is a good man. He was a great coach at UMass, a very good coach at Memphis, and started out as a master recruiter and decent X and O coach here. His problems here started with the Harrison twins. They were not as good as advertised and were not team players, yet Coach let them run the team. As good as Julius Randle was, he was never the focal point of the offense like he should have been. Andrew Harrison was so worried about his NBA prospects that the team underperformed and lost what, 10 games? Coach corrected that in the SEC tournament until the championship game and let Andrew have it his way. He corrected it again in the Big Dance where Aaron had 3 game winners that took us to the finals only to lose to an inferior Connecticutt team because coach let Andrew do it his way. This had seemingly been noted and corrected in the next season where we were undefeated until the Wisconsin game where Andrew did it his way again and we paid the price. Ever since, Calipari has turned to an offense that is run through guards and wings while ignoring superior play at the center spot. This has continued to this day. That is why the elite bigs are going elsewhere to play. They are not going to come here and look like mediocre players due to poor coaching. Bam was the last good big man that we have had and he was horribly under utilized and had a very lack luster season. Thank God the Pat Riley saw this for what it was and drafted Bam anyway. All of the other dominant big men who could have come to UK since have said No Thank You. They are not willing to gamble their development at a school that does not feature big men in their offense. That is why we have not been to any more Final 4s, we don’t have a dominant big to take us there. The Professor is right, this is not going to get fixed this year or next. The sad truth is it is never going to get fixed with Calipari. We will most likely finish this season with another loss in the NIT. CBS projections do not have us in the Big Dance. Let Coach finish the season and then insist that he pursue other endeavors in the NBA or politics. Start the process of a search in unofficial terms now and be ready to make a new hire by the end of April. The Professor is also right about Coach being aware of his approval rating. Coach thanks for No. 8, but its time for all to move on.

    1. BS Catmanndoo, and you too Professor. Catman, if you were a man of your word you wouldn’t even be posting on this site until next year. It shows on you dude. I guess your word means absolutely nothing. Calipari has done more for this program than any coach in UK history, both with talent inbound, and plenty of SEC championships, sweet sixteens, elite 8’s, final 4’s, with one national championship, and the possibility of another in time. Calipari is here until HE decides to leave. I suggest you cry babies give this coach and his current team a chance, but you two won’t. You two think you are the only people on this site who know what is best for this storied program, but your not. It is just opinions like everybody else’s. Professor, you got one thing right, most of BBN support our Coach and team. The only problem they have right now is hitting threes. Hit two more of those against Utah, and UK wins. If this team can solve their shooting slump, look out. As for not being in the 68 team field right now, so what, many teams are not. Hell. UNC is 6-5 right now. So stick it where the sun shine.

      1. Let me clarify my position Catman and Professor, “stick it where the sun don’t shine!!” Are there any real UK fans left on this site?

        1. There are a few that aren’t delusional like you are Pup. I still like Cal and agree that most of the BBN is still with him but the love is eroding each year as he continues to slip each year. He cannot attract the beef, has problems with player buy-in, has suspect situational adjustment ability, attracts athletes over shooters, and his teams have no offensive flow.. I am not pushing change but would not be disappointed if, or when, it happens.

          1. This season will speak for itself. The problems that are observed are going away. Calipairi can’t fix them, he has already been labeled as persona non grata by big men coming out of high school and for good reason. In the 2022 draft, the best high school players can go straight to the NBA or take the course that Wiseman is taking. Take a year to work with a trainer who will enhance their skills and then go Pro. Either way, it leaves 4 star talent and less for the college game. These kids will need to be coached up and Calipari knows that is not his strength. Coach should leave while he still has some collateral with the NBA. Two more seasons like this one and he will be radioactive to everyone. It is in his best interest and the University’s best interest to go separate ways after this abysmal season is over. If we wait until the 2022 season to do this, both the University and Coach will be the worse for it. Coach is where Tubby was when he left. Tubby went on to 4 different schools only to prove that the game had passed him by. Hopefully Calipari will take a front office job with the NBA or go into politics, or become an ESPN commentator. His days of being a winning coach are behind him. Let him be remembered for what he did accomplish through year 6 including winning No. 8. That is the best way this plays out.

          2. Sorry, I am getting Pupitis, lol. The problems are NOT going away.

          3. You all hope Calipari fails, I will add that for you. You three clowns, Catmandoo, Mike, and also the Professor now, are pulling against Calipari and the Cats. That is obvious. You three better hope he fails, with all you are on record as saying on this site. As for you Catman, you lied. I will never let you forget that every time you post. As for Calipari, he is UK’s coach for as long as he wants the job under a life time contract. Now, if Cal walks away, UK will find another coach, and you three will start the same BS with the next guy. Maybe MB sees things a little differently than you three experts.

    2. What will you be buying Cal for “going away gift?..don’t forget…we will have to buy one for Pup if we lose today.

      1. Hey take my CHALLENGE then Mike. If UK loses today I will gladly leave this site for one year, but if UK beats Ohio State today, you go. This site is turning into a bash Calipari and UK site anyway. I was looking for a good UK site when I found this one. So put your money where your mouth is. Seth Greenburg basically says that UK has no chance today. Should be an easy decision for a big mouth like you. That goes to you only though. Catmandoo has already proved he’s a liar. He will not honor Hornet’s ultimate challenge either when UK wins it all in 2020. A NC may not be in the cards this season, I can understand that, but UK and John Calipari will win another NC before he leaves Kentucky I do believe. How about just being a loyal fan and support our players and Coach until Cal and UK part ways some day. It’s the right thing to do based on Cal’s accomplishments for the University of Kentucky for now 10 plus seasons of basketball.

    3. My wife and I just returned from our 28th Anniversary Cruise to Belize and Honduras and what do I see when I boot up my computer? Something that came as no surprise…YOU, Cantmanfullofdoodoo.

      My 6 year old grandaughter knows more about integrity than you will ever know. Of course, I fully expected you to slither your slimy hide back on this forum. My opinion of you has not changed. I knew you were a stinking stack of dung long before you revealed it everyone else. I suppose you are not going to honor the bet you have with me, but that’s okay. You’re much too immature to be placing bets anyway.

      1. Hornet congratulations on your Anniversary and no nothing has change on this site. Go Cats$!

        1. Thank you very much.
          OOH RAH !!!

      2. Congrats Hornet!!…..wife and I just logged 46 today. Can you imagine what she has to put up with?

  4. If they hire a new coach today and lose its first game under his belt. This same old rah rah rah will still be crying the river to its fullest. You people thinks it has never happen what has unfold so far this season. Come on people there’s plenty time to grow and up right the ship. Remember the football was at it lowest after the first five games. I don’t see way Cal can’t do the same to strengthen the ship like he has the previous years.

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