After the 14th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats beat the Georgia Bulldogs 79-54, coach John Calipari praised his young players for beginning to play as a team, instead of individuals that were accustomed to being the No. 1 option on their high school teams.
“Let’s just think about it,” said Calipari. “Every one of these kids was the centerpiece of their high school team. Whenever they got the ball, they tried to shoot it. If they couldn’t shoot it, they tried a little bit more to shoot it, and then one more thing to try to shoot it, and if they couldn’t shoot it they passed it.
“Now all of a sudden you get them here playing against 22, 23 year olds … who have been through wars, and you’re trying to teach them to be a team, and you can’t start until they learn how to play hard, until they learn how to compete, until they learn how to battle, they learn how to play a full possession,” he continued. “You can’t worry about your team. Your team will stink if individual players don’t learn those things.
“Now that they learn it, you move on. The process is the next step. That’s why teams are way ahead of us. They’re three years with the same unit. They’re going to be way ahead. But I’m pleased with our team. I like this team.”
Calipari also said we will all have to wait and see if his team can come together enough and show the discipline necessary to make this a special season. Kentucky will play at LSU on Tuesday. Perhaps we will have more of an answer after that game.