Monday, November 8, 2010

John Calipari on what to Expect

Since this is tip off to regular season week, I would like to dedicate one post a day to UK basketball and UK basketball only. Today's post's subject deals with John Calipari's expectations of this year's 2010 Cats.

As we all know coach Cal is prone to downplaying positives in order to temper high expectations and bloated egos. That doesn't mean that he is a negative person or dwells on negativity, anyone that has listened to him talk or has been around him knows how great of a positive motivator he is.

For example, when last year's team (I know, I know, I'm not comparing) ripped off 8 straight wins to open the season, Cal was telling everyone the team was really 4-4 and the record didn't mean anything. All of Big Blue Nation and analysts like Dick Vitale all winked and nodded, as if to say, "Ok coach. Whatever you say," but he had to say things like that so his super start freshmen would stay grounded and want to get better. It's a motivation technique that obviously proved to work pretty well.

What does the leader of BBN have to say regarding this year's team? Here are some quotes:

-Cal on comparing last year's team to this years: "Anybody that's compared to that group of kids, you're going to be on the short end."

-Cal on toughness: "We've got to be a rougher team, we've got to be a tougher team without fouling."

-Cal on how he expects to start: "We're going to start off slow. Do you remember me saying it? We're going to start slow. We're going to lose some games early. There are things you are going to look at, turnovers. We're not going to be what you think. No high expectations. This year I really mean it"

-Cal on how his team will mesh: "Will this team come together and share the ball and do the things to be their brother's keeper? Will you be your brother's keeper? Will we have servant leadership which we had a year ago, where our leaders cared more about the team?"

As you can see Calipari is keeping this team on lock down at the moment as far as expectations are concerned. He is praising individual efforts but he is making sure that this team understands that this is a long road. He is breaking them down only to build them back up again in the end.

At least he doesn't shoot himself in the foot each season like Rick Pitino by saying ridiculous things like, "We will never be out of the top 25 again", or, "This is the most athletic team I have ever coached", or, "He is the best pure shooter I have ever seen coming out of high school", or, "This group has the best attitude I have ever seen." Ricky P has made himself look a fool with some of his most recent comments. He needs to take a page out of Cal's book and keep expectations low.

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