John Calipari

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Calipari defends Diallo, gives insight into own philosophy

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John Calipari was asked a question about struggling freshman Hamidou Diallo. He ended up giving an answer about his general coaching philosophy.

“Making them be responsible for who they are. In his case, I’m with Hami. He’s trying. He’s working,” Calipari said. “If he’s willing to do that and put in extra work, I’m for him. If you’re playing awful, I may not play you as much, but I’m going to play you and if you’re doing what we’re asking you to do, I’m going to encourage you.

“It would probably be easier when a guy plays poorly to say you’re out and i’m going with these seven I’m just not going to do that.”

Calipari likened the approach to what a well-intentioned parent might say to him about their son who is struggling.

“I would say (a parent) would say, ‘Coach, he’s responsible for himself, but please keep coaching him and let him know you love him and keep being there for him but hold him accountable,’” Calipari said. “‘If he’s not going to listen to you you should not play him. That’s what I think a parent that’s not trying to enable their son (should say).”

On the other hand, Calipari discussed what the opposite of that situation would look like.

“If they’re listening to an enabler, whoever that enabler is, I can’t help you,” he said. “I told you when I walked in the door, this is going to be about the players first and I’m trying to stay that course but they are responsible for themselves.

“If they can’t perform, I’m going to play you but when they’re not performing, you can’t be in there.”

Calipari can oftentimes be full of bluster – it’s an essential part of his Always Be Selling philosophy that’s won the hearts of countless five-star recruits and a national championship. But this looks to be an honest look into the way he views his job and role with his players. Give ultra-talented guys opportunity, but keep them accountable. It’s a simple thought, but one that few execute as well and as consistently as he does.

John Wall to be inducted into Kentucky Hall of Fame


A one-and-done is on a one-way trip to the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame.

Kentucky announced on Monday that John Wall, the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, will be inducted in the same class as current Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb.

“He set the tone of where college basketball was going — not just Kentucky,” head coach John Calipari said on Twitter on Monday morning.

Wall averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in his 37-game career with the Wildcats, which ended in the Elite Eight. He would be named as a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.

The 6-foot-4 floor general was part of Calipari’s first recruiting class at Kentucky. Wall and fellow freshmen, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe went on to become first round selections in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Wall’s seven-year career has been spent with the Washington Wizards, making four All-Star appearances.

Kentucky planning charity game between alumni and NBA stars

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During his time at Kentucky, head coach John Calipari has coached 32 players who went on to be NBA draft picks.

So, what would a Calipari-era Kentucky alumni team look like?

That’s something Kentucky Deputy Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy is trying to figure out. Peevy, in an interview with Kentucky Sports Radio on Monday afternoon, discussed his plans to have a UK alumni team square off against NBA superstars in a charity game.

“What I’d like to do … everybody talks about this all-Kentucky basketball team,” Peevy said. “That’s all we’ve been hearing about. I mean, I’m getting Google alerts all day about what the all-Kentucky basketball team looks like. I’d like to do that and invite one of these so-called, ‘NBA super teams’ to play against us, whether it’s the Warriors, the Rockets, you know, all these people putting these teams together, come play us.”

“I got a few feelers out, I’m talking to James Harden and Kevin Durant,” Peevy added. “Bring a team. I don’t even care if they combine themselves. They’re not taking down the Big Blue Nation.”

Peevy said that this game is set for Friday, August 25. It’s fitting, a day before the Floyd Mayweather-Connor McGregor megafight in Las Vegas, Peevy is speaking like a boxing promoter.

This won’t be the first time Kentucky has hosted a big-time charity event. In 2015, days after Calipari was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a Kentucky alumni team defeated a North Carolina alumni team, 122-115, as fundraising from the game reached $1.5 million.

R.J. Barrett stars as Canada shocks Team USA in FIBA U19 semis

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

The United States won’t be three-peating at the FIBA U19 World Cup.

Canada knocked off the Americans in rather shocking fashion, 99-87, on Saturday in the semifinals to hand the USA its first loss in the event since they finished fifth in 2011.

The top recruit in the class of 2019, R.J. Barrett, had a monster day for the Canadians, posting 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the final minutes. He was clearly the best player on the floor for the entire day. Barrett’s huge day helped Canada hand the U.S. a defeat despite being without its captain, Lindell Wigginton. The Iowa State-bound guard missed his second-straight game due to a concussion.

The John Calipari-led Americans looked haggard throughout the day, struggling to find a rhythm offensively or put up much resistance defensively. They shot 58.1 percent from the free-throw line and 26.1 percent from distance.

Kentucky-bound big man P.J. Washington led the way in the scoring column for the USA, tallying 17 points. Auburn’s Austin WIley had 13 points and 17 boards.

Canada will play Italy on Sunday for the U19 championship while Team USA will face Spain in the third-place game.

John Calipari reaches out about Knicks’ vacant president job

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With another marquee NBA job vacant, John Calipari’s name has reportedly been linked to it.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the Kentucky head coach has reached out to the New York Knicks “through intermediaries” and has expressed interest in the vacant presidency job after the franchise mutually cut ties with Phil Jackson earlier this week.

Days before free agency is set to begin, Begley reports that the Knicks do not have any interest in Calipari at the moment.

Presumably, Calipari would not only want control over the team but would be the head coach as well.

Calipari is under contract with Kentucky through the 2024 season. He signed a two-year extension in March, making $7.75 million this season and $8 million the next year.

The Hall of Fame coach had been linked to previous vacancies in the past, most notably in 2014 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He reportedly had deep talks with the franchise but eventually signed a seven-year extension to remain at Kentucky. It was later reported by various outlets that Cleveland had offered him a 10-year deal ranging from $60-80 million.

Calipari had a brief tenure in the NBA prior, spending two-plus seasons with the New Jersey Nets before being fired during the 1998-99 season.

You’d expect if Calipari would make the jump, it’d be to a franchise that has the pieces to win right away, instead of stepping into a shaky situation, like the one in New York, thus avoiding another failed stint in the association.

Either way, we’ve continued the streak of summers that Calipari has been linked to NBA vacancies.

UPDATE: Calipari has responded, reiterating that he is the head coach of the University of Kentucky. He’s currently in Egypt with USA Basketball U19 team, where two of his future Wildcats, Hamido Diallo and P.J. Washington, started in this afternoon’s exhibition win over France.

John Calipari reaches out to cop in Scalise shooting

AP Photo/Mark Duncan

It was an incredibly tragic morning in Virginia and across the United State on Wednesday as a gunman opened fire on a baseball practice of Republican congressmen preparing for Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game, an event that raises money for charity.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three other people were wounded while the gunman was shot by police and later died.

Later Wednesday, Kentucky coach John Calipari reached out to one of the two Capitol Police officers whom President Trump credited for saving “many lives” with their actions Wednesday morning.

Calipari relayed the info through a series of tweets, one of which states he invited David Bailey to a game and commended him, as well as the other officer, Crystal Griner, for their actions.