Vaught goes 1-on-1 with John Calipari, Part 2

Calipari: "The only other thing I did that I normally don't talk about in this letter is that I talked about the upcoming season. I was again trying to tie in the summer and what we need to do. ‘Please remember it is a privilege to be in our program, the most storied in NCAA history."

"The only other thing I did that I normally don't talk about in this letter is that I talked about the upcoming season. I was again trying to tie in the summer and what we need to do. ‘Please remember it is a privilege to be in our program, the most storied in NCAA history. A careless decision can take that privilege away. You are a role model and a very visible student who is held to a higher standard. I trust you but also worry about you.' Stuff like that.

"Then the basketball stuff.  ‘You must understand that no basketball game is more important than another one. You chase greatness. Morehead State is just as important as UNC (North Carolina).' Well, it's very early to talk about that kind of stuff in the summer. ‘Personal glory must be sacrificed for team success.' Stuff that I will be hitting on now was in that letter I sent them."

Calipari also touched on a variety of other subjects during a preseason interview:

 

Question: Why do you think this will be a good defensive team?

Calipari: "To be a good defensive team, you have to have players capable of playing defense and you better have a good rebounding team. Bottom line. It's not me saying our system of play is the best defensive system. You win because you have terrific players. If you want to win national championships, then you have national championship level players. But we have great quickness and size. We have length at the wings. We have a physical toughness that you need. I think we should be a great rebounding team and shot blocking team. That lends to great defense.

"Our guard play, we are very quick and fast, and should smother people defensively. That leads me to believe if we can guard the dribble and keep people away from the rim first, the rest of the stuff we have. I just have to get them doing it together as a team. We may not be great defensively early. I am talking middle to end of year. You will say, ‘Wow, they really make it hard for people to score.' I may be wrong. I might get out there and maybe they are not as quick as I think they are. While you are working on teaching the dribble-drive, defensively you are working on one thing — stop the dribble. To be able to contain that half the time, you are a heck of a defender. A third of the time, you are still pretty good."

 

Question: Does that physical toughness come from returning players or newcomers or both?

Calipari: "Both. We have depth. I told them I don't believe anybody will play more than 28 minutes per game. Maybe I am wrong. If there is somebody plays more minutes, they were playing so well I just let them go or their sub said to me, ‘Let them alone. They are out of their minds. Leave them alone.' I would tell you even our best players will play 28, 29 minutes. I would hope eight and nine are playing 18 to 19 minutes a game. I hope 10 is playing eight to 10 minutes a game. That probably adds up to a game and a half."


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