Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari tried to downplay the hype of his heralded freshman class debuting before America at the Champions Classic by calling it “impossible” that his young squad could beat a Tom Izzo coached veteran squad so early in the year. It proved to be right to start the game as the Wildcats fell immediately behind ten to nothing.
Then Julius Randle took the floor in the second half and you could see that he meant business.
“He was ornery” Izzo said.
It was not quite enough for the Wildcats to get a win, but you could tell the 25 or so pro scouts were tantalized by what they saw on Tuesday.
Initially did get some video of Calipari’s press conference, but it was too blurry to be worth showing though. He was a strong presence in the room though, and you can tell that he likes the group of players he gets to go to war with every night.
“You got guys crying in there, which is a good thing,” Calipari said. “I want it to hurt like that. I knew this would get their attention. The biggest thing is if you don’t do this together, you won’t win. You’ll never be a special team.”
That is what Calipari is looking for, and what you saw on opening night was far from a finished product and definitely not a special product. Spacing was way off, and the turnover issues in the first half were what ultimately cost them the game. Their main commodity at the moment? Time.
“I’ve got four months” Calipari said.