Former college coach isn’t sure Cal can fix Cats

Published 10:35 am Friday, January 13, 2023

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Kentucky coach John Calipari has been known as a stellar recruiter and a coach of Hall of Fame caliber. However, a first-round loss to Saint Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament and three losses in the first four Southeastern Conference games haven’t given Big Blue Nation much optimism.

A former college basketball head coach, who spoke anonymously, says Calipari’s players rely on their skills more than set schemes. That’s created issues for the Wildcats, who began the season ranked No. 4 but are currently 10-6 with no credible victories and a visit to No. 5 Tennessee coming up Saturday at noon.

“I think the players play at professional speed (but) they are sometimes too methodical relying on just individual talent,” the former coach said. “The cuts are not hard (and) the defense lacks energy and excitement.”

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The coach added he would like to see the Wildcats play more “94 feet” but said the bottom line is “they don’t play very hard and they don’t play as a unit.”

Can Calipari overcome the current crisis within the program?

“I don’t know,” the coach said. “I just don’t see the energy unless he can get those freshmen athletes and let them loose.”

Calipari’s name has been linked to an opening at the University of Texas, which fired Chris Beard, and starting anew could give Calipari a boost if that scenario unfolds in the future.

“He’s smart and where Cal’s talent is, building a program like Texas would be an option, but I’m not sure if his stock hasn’t gone down.”