DEMAREE: Delk comes full circle with Calipari

Tony Delk, a Covington, Tennessee native and former star shooting guard for the University of Kentucky has now come full circle back to the Wildcats as Assistant Director of Basketball. He is restricted from being on the floor but he is able to talk to the players and help them out in many ways, sort of like being a liaison.

Drafted as the 16th pick by the Charlotte Hornets, Delk had a 10-year NBA career that he said was a great experience. "I got traded a lot more than I would've liked but living in several cities you find out which one suits you the best," Delk said. "I found out I liked living and playing in Phoenix (Arizona) of all my teams. I liked the warm weather being a guy who doesn't care much for the cold. And I also played with a great point guard Jason Kidd. Me being a guy that liked to shoot he made sure I got the ball."

Delk is a guy that has always been a good shooter but he got marked better under Rick Pitino. He said that in practice he got up more shots and made me shoot the most when he was tired because when you are tired you can lose your form. He wanted you to maintain your form no matter what.

Delk said he got interested in coaching about three or four years ago when he was at the end of his playing career. "The more I played with young guys I felt like there was something I could give them to help give them success and to become a better player," he said.

Delk met John Calipari in an unusual way. "You know, it's a funny thing, it's a funny story, when I was with coach Mike Woodson, I played with him for two years in Atlanta, coach Cal was doing a coaches retreat in Tunica, Mississippi. Woody took me down with him and that was my first time meeting coach Cal and a lot of other NBA coached as well as college coaches were there - kind of networking. Just meeting them there kind of opened up my eyes to what they were doing and to see if I would like it." He said if he wanted to start his coaching career, Kentucky was the place and by the grace of God it happened."

Delk sees similarities between Coaches Calipari and Pitino. "Yeah, there are (similarities)," Delk said. "Both guys are really intense and really love winning. Like to help guys to the next level because those are the dreams of most of the guys that play at this level. Not only that but prepare you for life after basketball.

"Right now he (Cal) is doing a lot of teaching and after he's been here a couple of years he can put players in his system and do a lot more coaching. That's the key getting your player to buy into the system. Right now he has a lot of young players."

What is the dribble drive all about? It may not be as complicated as it sounds, according to Delk. "(A little chuckle) It's about angles and being able to beat your man off the dribble. And being comfortable with handling the ball so it puts you in position where you can become a better one-on-one player. That's where John (Wall) and Eric (Bledsoe) will do well."

Delk loves the talent he sees on this year's Kentucky team. "Great talent. The best I've seen from one to ten. You have a lot of guys that can do a lot of good things but you still have buy into coach Cal's system. You have to set your ego's aside. He's been successful doing this a number of years and it a working together for one common goal and that's winning a championship. It's defense more than anything. You can have all the offensive talent in the world but it more about stopping the other team and that's what he's emphasizing right now more than anything.

"I hope this can lead me to college coaching," Delk said. "For me, like being in Puerto Rico last year really helped me out and that was my first coaching job and leading a team to a championship. That was my first coaching job." It was a professional league made up of twelve teams and he said they played fifty-games. The team was El Giangtes.

Delk, along with Scott Padgett will be seen may times this year along side coach Cal working for one common goal and that's to win a NCAA championship.

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