SEC Basketball Media Day: Kentucky

Fresh off his first national championship, Kentucky coach John Calipari and the Wildcats have reloaded with a talented group of freshman for another run at an SEC title. Kentucky was picked by the media to finish first in the conference, though Calipari has tried to temper expectations saying the young Wildcats “have a tough road” ahead of them in the deep league.

Kentucky coach John Calipari:

On his team being ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls:

“We’re not very good right now. I think we’ll be a good team eventually, hopefully, but right now we’re just very average. Good players. Good kids. They’re trying; just young. They don’t play hard enough, don’t play full possession, out of control. They don’t know each other, which isn’t surprising. We have no rolls right now. We’re all trying to figure out who’s who. We have 10 practice days, so we should be all right before the start of the season.”

On being used to having heavy turnover every other year or so:

“Not like this. I’ve always had two or three or four veteran. Everything that we’re doing is practically new to everybody. This is a different deal. We have good kids who are good players, but we’re not a

good team right now. That’s the challenge of it. What would you expect? We lost every player from last year. It just takes time. You don’t go in all of a sudden and get to know one another.”

On what he sees in Archie Goodwin:

“He played good last night. He made one play where he did not pass it to a player ahead of him, and I really rammed him because there’s a lot of things you can look by, but that we can’t, especially with the way we play. After the game, I said, ‘You took 22 shots. You took the most shots on the team, so you never pass up a play because you’re going to get your shots.’ … He has a little bit of Michael Kidd in him, like he just has a fire, a motor that runs hot. We’re trying to get Alex (Poythress) to be the same way. Alex doesn’t have that personality, but you have to play at a level because every game you play is someone’s Super Bowl. Everybody you play against is trying to take your throat out and is trying to make a name at your expense as an individual player, and you have to compete at a really high level. That’s the main thing that’s my issue right now is we’re not doing that. Archie is. He gets out of control. He plays too fast. His pace of game is always 110 mph. You have to go 90 to 110 back to 80. He is coming head down, ‘Here I come,’ but that’s all part of the growth of a player. That’s what we’re working on.”

On if it’s frustrating having to rebuild chemistry each year after so many players leave for the NBA:

“No because I’m happy for those families. I’m happy for what’s happened for them and what they’ve done for the university. That’s their opportunity, and I’m good with it. I just have to then try to figure out what’s next with us.”

Courtesy of SEC Digital Network