Mark Wiedmer: Calipari has more problems than solutions at Kentucky

Kentucky head coach John Calipari reacts after a Tennessee forward Kenny Hall (20) dunk during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Kentucky head coach John Calipari reacts after a Tennessee forward Kenny Hall (20) dunk during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has a problem.

Actually, he has several problems, beginning with the gargantuan fact that his freshman shot-swatter Nerlens Noel is done for the year following a knee injury.

Add in Sunday's news that Saturday's 88-58 loss to Tennessee moved the Cats outside ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi's NCAA Tournament field, dropping them from the nervous "last four in" to the dreaded "first four out" and crisis hotlines throughout the Bluegrass have reached end-of-the-world mode.

But Calipari's biggest problem is this: What do you do when your one-and-done players look far more likely to be three-and-free or four-and-the-door scholarship eaters?

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Comments » 39

OrangePride writes:

Well Boo Hoo for Coach Cal. Alll weekend all we heard was how they were short-handed without their big man. Fact is, that team has more 4* and 5* players on the roster than anyone in the SEC....so one guy goes down and the house falls apart? Nope. Climer has it right....it's a house built on prima donnas and "all about me" players....and when that's the case, when adversity hits, the finger pointing starts. This Kentucky team is unlikely to reach the NCAA, and Calipari's house of cards is going to come crashing in. And no one is going to feel sorry for any of them outside Lexington.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

not our problem

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Well Boo Hoo for Coach Cal. Alll weekend all we heard was how they were short-handed without their big man. Fact is, that team has more 4* and 5* players on the roster than anyone in the SEC....so one guy goes down and the house falls apart? Nope. Climer has it right....it's a house built on prima donnas and "all about me" players....and when that's the case, when adversity hits, the finger pointing starts. This Kentucky team is unlikely to reach the NCAA, and Calipari's house of cards is going to come crashing in. And no one is going to feel sorry for any of them outside Lexington.

Agreed 100 percent. What is even worse is how he openly disgraces 2 of his players. Boy aint that a good way to woo recruits watching what is going on at Can'ttucky. Serves the big baby right. Let them have their line up of 5 stars. Will take an occassional 5, some 4 and 3 stars and build a strong program from there. Loved watching Cal get shut up on the sidelines at TBA. Priceless. Now, for the big ORANGE to keep their heads on straight and finish strong. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

volnbig11land writes:

hahahaha, couldn't happen to a more deserving fan base, coach and team!

hahahahaha

volnbig11land writes:

in response to volnbig11land:

hahahaha, couldn't happen to a more deserving fan base, coach and team!

hahahahaha

p.s. it sure did shut my in-laws up that talked trash after they finally beat us in football for the first time in almost 30 years!

bUTch_please writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Well Boo Hoo for Coach Cal. Alll weekend all we heard was how they were short-handed without their big man. Fact is, that team has more 4* and 5* players on the roster than anyone in the SEC....so one guy goes down and the house falls apart? Nope. Climer has it right....it's a house built on prima donnas and "all about me" players....and when that's the case, when adversity hits, the finger pointing starts. This Kentucky team is unlikely to reach the NCAA, and Calipari's house of cards is going to come crashing in. And no one is going to feel sorry for any of them outside Lexington.

Well said. One comment though, ain't no one inside Lexington gonna feel sorry for 'em either. Cal's getting paid to coach KY and no excuses. He'll be "Cal who?" faster than you can say substitute SAT taker. A real KY basketball fan has no tolerance for anything but championships and is impatient with just winning.

6972 writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Well Boo Hoo for Coach Cal. Alll weekend all we heard was how they were short-handed without their big man. Fact is, that team has more 4* and 5* players on the roster than anyone in the SEC....so one guy goes down and the house falls apart? Nope. Climer has it right....it's a house built on prima donnas and "all about me" players....and when that's the case, when adversity hits, the finger pointing starts. This Kentucky team is unlikely to reach the NCAA, and Calipari's house of cards is going to come crashing in. And no one is going to feel sorry for any of them outside Lexington.

Great post. When and if the house of cards comes falling down, the Halleujahs will ring throughout the land. When some folks get their butty kicked, there are lots of other folks who get their kicks.

golfman1975 writes:

They don't make it to the tournament and the fire Cal crowd will crow loud..

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say it was all boo hooville in blueville, there was panic without a doubt.
Witch Doctor say there was fear almost as great,
as when all the hair gel almost ran out.
Witch Doctor say the little blue people with their little blue pouts, had figured out, the Squids a great recruiter but as a coach without...
well, their out.(lol)
Bones never lie.

MONGOloveSHERIFFbart writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Well Boo Hoo for Coach Cal. Alll weekend all we heard was how they were short-handed without their big man. Fact is, that team has more 4* and 5* players on the roster than anyone in the SEC....so one guy goes down and the house falls apart? Nope. Climer has it right....it's a house built on prima donnas and "all about me" players....and when that's the case, when adversity hits, the finger pointing starts. This Kentucky team is unlikely to reach the NCAA, and Calipari's house of cards is going to come crashing in. And no one is going to feel sorry for any of them outside Lexington.

Yep you're right. And there resides his problem. When these kids come back with their weak NBA evaluations he'll have one difficult decision to make. Keep the ones you got or cut em' loose for the ones coming. Either way he'll have to break some promises to some one and when that happens......well you know the rest.

Pompey writes:

....the media made such a big deal about Noel being out and all but suggested that was the reason they lost....UT's best player has been out all year....!

johnlg00 writes:

This is definitely the downside of the high-risk strategy Calapari has been employing. I always sort of thought that long-time UK fans would ultimately be disenchanted with such a rapidly-revolving roster. I didn't think they would ultimately buy the idea that their proud program would just be a brief stop on the way to riches for kids who couldn't care less about the program EXCEPT as a stepping stone. They can only hope that this year's experience has convinced most of the team that there really IS a reason why MOST kids need more than a nodding acquaintance with college ball to get where they want to be.

volforeverandever writes:

Seven Teeth and Scoon can raise a banner that says ( Overated ) Why haven't you guys been around? Embarassed ? That's what happens when you run your mouth and can't back it up.

SevenT writes:

in response to volforeverandever:

Seven Teeth and Scoon can raise a banner that says ( Overated ) Why haven't you guys been around? Embarassed ? That's what happens when you run your mouth and can't back it up.

Not to worry Volman the Big Blue Nation is never embarassed. Calipari's results at Kentucky speak volumes:

2013 - Finish Strong...
2012 - NCAA National Champs
2011 - Final Four
2010 - Elite Eight

tovolny writes:

LOOKS like the WEEDEATER is sputtering. The WEEDEATER wants to trim the BLUEGRASS for the Wildcats to look good prowling along and still feeding off the last NC slaughter. I guess Calipari is similar to the high ethanol gasoline that is ruining our small engines. Wiedmer dumping on Coach Cal. CAN YOU SAY: what have you done for we LATELY? ….......Love it!!!

volforeverandever writes:

in response to SevenT:

Not to worry Volman the Big Blue Nation is never embarassed. Calipari's results at Kentucky speak volumes:

2013 - Finish Strong...
2012 - NCAA National Champs
2011 - Final Four
2010 - Elite Eight

You will have to finish really strong because ESPN has taken you out of their big dance picture as of now. Southern Cal. Was the most overrated in football and now Ky. in basketball.

underthehill writes:

No one enjoyed the beat down on Ky more than me..but don't make too much of it too quick..UT played the best they are capable of playing ..and Ky played their worst game of the year by far..and as Cal said it wasn't just because Noel was out..UT shot the lights out and played their best defense of the year..I am not counting Ky out of the NCAA yet..Wiltjer is too good..and Cal is going to challenge this team to play up to their talent level..don't like Ky one bit.. but I still think they have a good shot at getting in the big show..one thing I saw in McBee was ..him going straight up and getting good balance on his 3 pointer..he has been shooting a lot off balance and moving side to side in the air..if he continues with improved balance..he may not make em all..but he will continue to shoot better..and the confidence the Vols got from this win should be huge..and the way Stokes is playing ..the Vols could win the SEC tourney..ain't counting them out of the big show either...

iowavol writes:

in response to MONGOloveSHERIFFbart:

Yep you're right. And there resides his problem. When these kids come back with their weak NBA evaluations he'll have one difficult decision to make. Keep the ones you got or cut em' loose for the ones coming. Either way he'll have to break some promises to some one and when that happens......well you know the rest.

The problem might be even bigger than that. These one-and-doners probably aren't going to class or making the grades. What do they care, they are supposed to be in the NBA next year. Now, they have to come back and oops, they don't have the GPA to stay on the team. But, they aren't kicked out of school so they consume a scholly. Our buddy coach cal of memphis and uconn probation fame gets his due. He won't have enough players to practice.

carbonzip writes:

I didn't see anybody on the Kentucky team that looked ready for the NBA. Golden was the best player on the court.

laraccoon writes:

in response to MONGOloveSHERIFFbart:

Yep you're right. And there resides his problem. When these kids come back with their weak NBA evaluations he'll have one difficult decision to make. Keep the ones you got or cut em' loose for the ones coming. Either way he'll have to break some promises to some one and when that happens......well you know the rest.

a scholarship is a contract , he cant cut them loose unless they break it , at least i think thats how it works . this was a good article , compare this to some of the chit Adams writes .

underthehill writes:

in response to carbonzip:

I didn't see anybody on the Kentucky team that looked ready for the NBA. Golden was the best player on the court.

Stokes is the player most ready for the NBA..because of his rebounding..Wiltjer will play in the NBA for his 3 point shooting..Golden is not an NBA prospect..but he did have a great game against Ky..Cauley, Goodwin, Poly..are not ready for the NBA and may be challenged to start for Ky next year if they stay..

Colliervol writes:

in response to laraccoon:

a scholarship is a contract , he cant cut them loose unless they break it , at least i think thats how it works . this was a good article , compare this to some of the chit Adams writes .

Sorry but scholarships are renewable each year and he can cut them loose. It's not a good policy to get that reputation so most coaches figure out how to run off the ones they don't want without coming right out and canceling a scholarship.

Colliervol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Not to worry Volman the Big Blue Nation is never embarassed. Calipari's results at Kentucky speak volumes:

2013 - Finish Strong...
2012 - NCAA National Champs
2011 - Final Four
2010 - Elite Eight

Nobody disputes that he wins. He's done that everywhere he's been. What normal people (not win-at-all-cost fanatics) object to is the sleazy way he has always operated. Only coach in history to have TWO Final Fours vacated and that's all I need to know. The thing about Cal is that he always seems to be one step ahead of the posse. Good for KY-----for the moment. Ever wonder why KY got so little respect for winning it all last year? That's easy. Nobody respects your coach and how he operates. The truth hurts and that's just the way it is. Of course KY fan is only interested in winning and not the process.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Cal has beat the odds up to this point, with a roster made up of mostly talented freshmen. But his best two teams, last year's and the John Wall-DeMarcus Cousins' team, had complementary players with experience. And for Calipari, his teams' previous success may actually come back to haunt him. I swear, it wouldn't surprise me if one or more of his recruits tell him to his face, "I don't need you. I'm going to the NBA anyway". And let's face it, some of them don't need him. Apparently, some are acting like they don't need him right now.

Olddogsrule writes:

Having Noel on the court rejecting and scoring gave the rest Kentucky's prima donnas a little room to play their own way. Too many 4 and 5* athletes do what coach says in practice, but go for the highlight reels in a game, and tell (supposedly) fellow students that press them about it before classes (when they even show up for classes), "It's all about gettin' recruiters to see my stuff"! I bet that's why Goodwin drives the lane so much. It's all about him. Looks like Cal has a squad with far too many of those types this year. The uncoachable type who shouldn't be on a team in the first place.

It took the Vols this long to figure out how to be without Maymon. If it takes Kentucky just a quarter of that time to get tight without Noel, it'll still be too late to for them this year :)

utvolfan1955 writes:

SevenTeeth hasn't been on here much lately and Scoon not at all. I wonder why that is. Oh yeah 88-58 explains it

stevefrommemphis writes:

Not surprisingly, Weidmer's story in Sunday's Chattanooga paper included six backhanded compliments of Tennessee wrapped around mention of his beloved UK's 2012 national championship and mention of UK's position as winningest team in college history. His statement that UT's current win streak is "one of the sweetest three game runs in school history" was most hilarious.

It was the only Weidmer story I've read beginning to end in three years. His obsessive love of the Kentucky Wildcats is shared at most by 20 or 30 people in Chattanooga.

Oh, by the way Mark, all Kentucky championships are

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say it was all boo hooville in blueville, there was panic without a doubt.
Witch Doctor say there was fear almost as great,
as when all the hair gel almost ran out.
Witch Doctor say the little blue people with their little blue pouts, had figured out, the Squids a great recruiter but as a coach without...
well, their out.(lol)
Bones never lie.

Keats would be proud......or at least tolerant.

murrayvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Not to worry Volman the Big Blue Nation is never embarassed. Calipari's results at Kentucky speak volumes:

2013 - Finish Strong...
2012 - NCAA National Champs
2011 - Final Four
2010 - Elite Eight

The Big Blue Nation defines embarassment....as far into the past as one would care to travel.

2013 - "Let's just get this over with." What the UK player's body language was screaming on Saturday.

"Uncoachable" - J. Calipari 2/16/13 That's about right.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Sorry but scholarships are renewable each year and he can cut them loose. It's not a good policy to get that reputation so most coaches figure out how to run off the ones they don't want without coming right out and canceling a scholarship.

Most coaches (unfortunately) do this but only occasionally. Cal is a frequent offender.

Of course the reason for leaving will be to get "more playing time" not to make room for the next mother lode of recruits.

carbonzip writes:

Fast breaks work better if there is less dribbling and more passing. Try to make a layup and not a highlight film (especially in these conference games).

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Keats would be proud......or at least tolerant.

Witch Doctor forgot to add should be read with Dr. Seuss voice. lol
Bones never lie.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

No one enjoyed the beat down on Ky more than me..but don't make too much of it too quick..UT played the best they are capable of playing ..and Ky played their worst game of the year by far..and as Cal said it wasn't just because Noel was out..UT shot the lights out and played their best defense of the year..I am not counting Ky out of the NCAA yet..Wiltjer is too good..and Cal is going to challenge this team to play up to their talent level..don't like Ky one bit.. but I still think they have a good shot at getting in the big show..one thing I saw in McBee was ..him going straight up and getting good balance on his 3 pointer..he has been shooting a lot off balance and moving side to side in the air..if he continues with improved balance..he may not make em all..but he will continue to shoot better..and the confidence the Vols got from this win should be huge..and the way Stokes is playing ..the Vols could win the SEC tourney..ain't counting them out of the big show either...

I agree. At this point in the season, it just makes no sense to worry about where teams rate with the "bracketologists". That stuff is just "for amusement purposes only". The NCAA selection committee is made up of different people every year, and Lunardi isn't on it, so it isn't surprising that the criteria might vary somewhat from year to year. If the Cats right the ship, finish the season strong, and put on their usual strong performance in the SEC tournament, it won't matter what people like Lunardi say about them now. Same thing for the Vols. If they win out, they WILL be in the NCAA conversation. "Many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip", but the Vols have a WAY better chance than most of us were giving them after the UGA game. Now they just have to hold up their end and see where it gets them.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Most coaches (unfortunately) do this but only occasionally. Cal is a frequent offender.

Of course the reason for leaving will be to get "more playing time" not to make room for the next mother lode of recruits.

It wouldn't be surprising if some of those guys figure that out for themselves. Any player who thinks he is good enough to sign with UK in the first place probably thinks he is good enough to play almost anywhere else, and he may be right. It won't be necessary for Cal to come across as the "bad guy", though I wouldn't be surprised if he or some assistant doesn't give some guys a discreetly helpful hint to "improve their futures".

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

It wouldn't be surprising if some of those guys figure that out for themselves. Any player who thinks he is good enough to sign with UK in the first place probably thinks he is good enough to play almost anywhere else, and he may be right. It won't be necessary for Cal to come across as the "bad guy", though I wouldn't be surprised if he or some assistant doesn't give some guys a discreetly helpful hint to "improve their futures".

PS: He might very well HELP some of these guys find new homes if he needs to clear room on the roster. In public, at least, many of his former players seem to think he really does care about them as individuals. He has as much as said that his is a "player's program", after all. He has told everybody that he cares more about getting guys into the NBA than he does about winning championships.

Jshoop writes:

in response to laraccoon:

a scholarship is a contract , he cant cut them loose unless they break it , at least i think thats how it works . this was a good article , compare this to some of the chit Adams writes .

Renewable each year. When Cal came to KY, he dumped several players. He will do it again if it affects his "new" class of one and done's.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to iowavol:

The problem might be even bigger than that. These one-and-doners probably aren't going to class or making the grades. What do they care, they are supposed to be in the NBA next year. Now, they have to come back and oops, they don't have the GPA to stay on the team. But, they aren't kicked out of school so they consume a scholly. Our buddy coach cal of memphis and uconn probation fame gets his due. He won't have enough players to practice.

Doesn't really matter, does it? Look at Manziel. Taking 4 classes, all on-line and they are all sports management classes. How is that for tough football college classes? They don't have to go to classes.

FanNotSheep writes:

Probably more smoke here than fire. So what if a couple guys get their feelings hurt? If next year's class can play they will get their minutes and the leftovers will get the leftovers. Cal sure won't worry about any promises he might have made. Liars have short memories, and Cal is a world-class liar.

I do hope chemistry bites them, as w/ the Lakers and Yankees. But they'll still get lots of top players, they will still have the referees in their pockets, and there will still be enough UK alums and former players in the media, the league office and elsewhere to make sure things don't get out of hand.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor forgot to add should be read with Dr. Seuss voice. lol
Bones never lie.

I should've noticed. Theodore woulda been especially moved.

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