Kentucky head coach John Calipari has the daunting task of putting together a competitive basketball team, despite losing six players from last year’s national championship team to the NBA.
Fortunately for Coach Cal, his team this season is made up of four top-50 recruits (three of whom are actually top-15), and 2011 McDonald’s All-American Kyle Wiltjer, but Calipari still doesn’t feel as confident as he’s felt at this point heading into previous seasons.
ESPN’s Andy Katz caught up with the reigning SEC coach of the year at the conference’s media day on Thursday, when Calipari admitted something most wouldn’t expect to hear out of his mouth: “we’re not very good right now…we’re just average.”
Calipari was responding to his team being ranked third in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches preseason polls, saying that his team is working out the kinks of getting used to each other and sorting out roles heading into the season. Well, this is the time of the year to figure that out, isn’t it?
While having a star-studded recruiting class has become the norm in Lexington, this is the first team that Calipari has brought into the season with less than minimal veteran experience. Kentucky still had Patrick Patterson and Josh Harrellson to help bring along the John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins class, and last year’s team had Darius Miller and Terence Jones to team with Anthony Davis and the rest of his young, inexperienced teammates.
Whether or not it’ll matter playing in a conference with other inexperienced, less talented teams is yet to be seen, but I’d bet Kentucky will hit stride when it matters most. However, kudos to Calipari for testing out this thing we call “humility.”
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