Thursday, April 09, 2015

Video: 7 Kentucky players announce their 2015 NBA Draft decisions

Kentucky freshmen Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker, sophomores Dakari Johnson and Andrew and Aaron Harrison and junior Willie Cauley-Stein announced their decisions to eter the NBA Draft in a press conference with coach John Calipari. Video courtesy of Kentucky.com

Monday, April 06, 2015

Video: UK John Calipari - Hall of Fame Press Conference Q&A

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Video: UK Coach John Calipari and Louie Dampier Hall of Fame Announcement

Coach Calipari and former Wildcat great, Louie Dampier, will join an elite group of basketball players and coaches in the Naismith Hall of Fame, considered to be one of the ultimate honors in the sport. Calipari and the Class of 2015, which will also include Dick Bevetta, Lindsay Gaze, Tom Heinsohn, John Isaacs, Spencer Haywood, Lisa Leslie, Dikembe Mutombo, George Raveling and JoJo White, will be enshrined.
Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Congratulations UK Coach Calipari, UK Louie Dampier on being elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame



UK Coach John Calipari is one of six active coaches in the game to receive the honor, along with Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim and Larry Brown. UK great Louie Dampier who is a member of Rupp's Runts was also elected into the Hall of Fame. Calipari and Dampier will be inducted on Friday, September 11, 2015.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

"Chance of a Lifetime" - Final Four Pump-Up Video

"Chance of a Lifetime" - Final Four Pump-Up Video Inspired by the poem "Chance of a Lifetime" by former Wildcat, Junior Braddy. Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Transcript: UK Coach Calipari, Wisconsin Coach Ryan 2015 NCAA Final Four Presser

THE MODERATOR: We’re going to open with questions for Coach Ryan or Coach Calipari.

Q. John, talk a little bit about Trey (Lyles) coming back here. Sometimes you’re worried about players when they come home.

COACH CALIPARI: I worry about that. As a matter of fact, I even forgot it until I got on the bus last night. I went, Oh, my gosh, we’re coming back to Indiana, back to Indianapolis. I said, Oh, my gosh. He laughs about it. But it’s a hard deal. The whole environment is hard for everybody. So he’ll be fine.

Q. So much college basketball history, it’s built on four-year guys. In the current state of basketball, is it possible for guys to do that in one year? What does it require to do that?

COACH RYAN: John knows more about this than I do. I wouldn’t know how to answer it. About one-year guys and how they can leave a legacy?

Q. Yes.

COACH RYAN: By doing what they’re doing: winning, garnering national attention, playing in Final Fours, at least to the semis.

COACH CALIPARI: (Laughter).

COACH RYAN: John and I were having a blast back here talking about Pennsylvania high school basketball. Maybe he would know more about what he’s seen over his tenure, so…

COACH CALIPARI: It’s changed. It’s changed for all of us. It’s changed from Internet to draft lists to the gazillions in the NBA. It’s all that stuff that’s made this different, our jobs different. I will tell you, we have universities here around this country, some of the top, that encourage genius, kids to move on and do their things if they stayed one or two years. As a matter of fact, they’ll invest in them financially and tell them, If it doesn’t go, you can come back and your position will always be there. I don’t understand why it’s a problem if it’s the same with basketball players. These kids have a genius. Our jobs are to help them grow on and off the court, to help them become better men, to be prepared for society, yet they’re chasing a dream and they have a genius. Their genius isn’t just athleticism or size. There’s no way you can be special at this sport unless you have the right kind of mind. Our kids, some have stayed one year, some have stayed two, three, some have stayed four. We’ve graduated kids in three years. We’ve had 10 kids graduate. We’ll have four on this year’s team. That’s in six years. We’ve had two of those kids graduate in three years. We’ve had a 3.0 grade point average for five straight years. Last semester was a 3.1. 13 out of 16 kids had a 3.0 or better. That may aggravate you to hear that, but that’s the truth. We both have jobs, help our kids reach their dreams. Some of them can leave after a year, others can’t, so they stay.

COACH RYAN: Going back. What I agree totally with is the entertainers, the people who are talented in other areas that end up going and doing something, going out of school thinking later to come back, that maybe they’ll get their degree, maybe they won’t. You never hear about those people. It only comes up, and John has to face those type of questions a heck of a lot more than I do. In college, if people are stepping away, I don’t call it dropping out, they’re stepping away to pursue their passion. So if it happens, I’m sure there’s still a connection there later. Guys can take care of business. I have I can’t tell you how many players on a different scale, that played four years, were pretty good, but not good enough for the NBA. A lot of them have like eight credits, 15 credits, 20 some credits left to go. At Wisconsin, you cannot take classes, paper classes, and these other type of classes. You have to be in the classroom for the majority of your major. So it’s two semester sports, so when they play professionally overseas, I have a ton of guys who cannot get their degrees until they are finished with their professional contracts. They’re hanging out there with maybe a semester to go. People would say, Oh, they didn’t finish college. Some of them have played for 10 years, eight years, five years professionally. As soon as they’re done with a professional contract, ’cause you have to show that for your APR, then they start to count again. But the federal graduation rate is six years from the time you start. The really neat part for someone like me is to see these guys chasing their dream, getting a paycheck, getting paid pretty well overseas, and then come back and then finish their degrees. So I didn’t know if you were referring to why people come in and leave or whatever. My guys are leaving in a different sense more so than John’s guys.

Q. Coach Ryan, with the amount of fun that your team seems to be having this year, how did that personality and chemistry of those guys develop? Are they looser than last year, as well?

COACH RYAN: Believe it or not, I know how I’m perceived by some people. I’m actually a pretty funny guy.

COACH CALIPARI: No, you’re not, you’re mean (smiling).

COACH RYAN: You know, I’m a serious guy. I know what the other side is like. As far as understanding that this is a lifetime experience, a small timeframe of four years, three, whatever the years are, you may as well enjoy it with the personalities that are there. You can either try to stifle certain things or you can feed the certain things, you can enjoy certain things. But the fun that our guys have is all about their relationships and the things that they’re interested in, the things they’re competitive about. They have more fun with the bragging rights of video games, which is why I did the thing I did the other day. I made a statement that I was the pinball wizard of the state of Pennsylvania in the ’60s, to elicit one thing. Do you know how many guys have said, Wait a minute, you weren’t that good. I was better than you. When do you want to play again? So it did exactly what I wanted it to do. Just what these guys are doing when they get into their needling about who is the best video games guy. So they have their fun. Believe me, when they get on the practice court, they’re looking at film, they’re playing in the games, they understand what competition is about.

Q. John, do you find with this whole one-and-done thing that is criticism is abating a little bit as time goes by or other programs adopt the same philosophy?

COACH CALIPARI: It’s just a different era. We’re deal ing with things in a different way. You just have to, we all are. Whether me or Bo, if Bo has a guy after a year, Bo is going to tell him to go for it if he’s a lottery pick. We’re all in the same thing. You don’t know when you recruit a kid if he’s going to leave after a year. You don’t know. You just coach them, then they make a decision what they want to do. We just try to make sure we make this about the kids. The reason things are different, 20 years ago NBA contracts were 125,000. Now if you’re a top-10 pick, it’s $25 million. Your next contract may be $8o million. That’s $100 million. You have to respect that. You have to respect these kids’ genius. You have to develop young people. People are looking at it and saying, one, we have great kids. Whether they chase their dream or not doesn’t make them good or bad, we have great kids. The second thing is our kids are connected. Anyone that knows any of our players that are in the NBA, not in the NBA, they are connected whether they stayed one year, two years, three. We are family, and they know that. They stay in touch. They text. We talk to them. I’ll go to games. They’ll come in for watching games. It’s just different. I think everybody’s now looking at this saying, It’s not my rule. As a matter of fact it’s not the NCAA’s rule. This is a rule between the NBA and the Players’ Association. It’s something that we can deal with in a way, let’s just worry about me as a coach and my program, I’m not worried about them. Get them to stay, force them to stay, don’t play them as much at the end of their year so they got to stay. Or you let them run and make a decision on what they want to do. They don’t always make the right decision now. Like sometimes they should stay, and they choose to live. Well, you got to live with that, too, because it’s their life, not my life.

COACH RYAN: Can I add? Nigel Hayes, after he said he was coming to Wisconsin, you can ask him this, said, Coach, now if I’m the Player of the Year my freshman year and I decide to go pro, is that okay with you?

COACH CALIPARI: No, you’re staying (laughter).

COACH RYAN: I had a young man, Are you serious, Nigel? I just said, Hey, sure, I have no problem with that. Did I know how good he was going to become? No. But he wasn’t MVP his first year. But, you know, by the time he’s finished, he might be pretty good. But that’s his sense of humor. When I was asked about our guys, the camaraderie, the fun they have, Nigel is one of the leaders in there.

Q. Cal, what has it been like to watch Willie (Cauley-Stein) grow up personally as a player and for you what does it mean to see him sit up on that stage in a few minutes after not being able to experience the Final Four fully last year?

COACH CALIPARI: I have the veterans come to my office before we left, tell them how proud we are of them. I looked at Willie, I said, Can you imagine, Willie? Tell these guys where I saw you play. In an AAU game. He said, I don’t want to remember. How many points did you get in that AAU game? He got two. The guy he who was guarding him was like 6’4″. He has come so far as a player, but more importantly as a person. He came in saying, you know what, I don’t like academics, I’m going to do what you’re making me do. He and I became book club members together. I would make him read books. He and I would discuss books. One of the things he said last year is, I’m enjoying school. That’s what we’re supposed to be about. This is supposed to be about the love of reading, the love of learning, understand an educated man doesn’t get robbed or fooled. If you think you’re coming here, getting all kinds of money, you’ll be broke. You educate yourself. You understand how to read contracts. Those are things that for these kids I’m most proud of. Now he’s going into his junior year, here is a kid that averages under double figures and is one of the top players in the country ’cause he’s that selfless about his team. It’s a good part about what we do, to see that kind of growth.

Q. How good is the overall talent on the four teams here? How much is there sort of a pick your poison element in trying to design your defenses to stop all the players?

COACH RYAN: Well, we played Michigan State and we played Duke. We played Kentucky our last game last year. What I can say about the talent is there’s shooters, there’s ball handlers, there’s bigs. I mean, you can go from every aspect of the game of basketball and look at these four teams, there are guys that are just blue-collar guys that are there to rebound and play defense, there are guys that are there to score, there are guys that are there to kill you in the post, there’s guys defensively that can lock you down. I would say in this Final Four, having played all the teams within the past year, there’s a little bit of everything. It’s at a very high level.

COACH CALIPARI: I think, you know, that because the talent level is what it is, I think we’re all just worried about our own teams playing well. I just want my team — we’re not going to control what Wisconsin does. They’re going to play the way they play. I just hope my team plays well. I think if you talk to all four coaches, when you say, We’re stopping Wisconsin. We’re not stopping Wisconsin. I just hope my team plays well and then we’ll see how it plays out.

Q. In the Final Four game last year, (Frank) Kaminsky struggled a little bit. Cal, what did you do against him so well? Can you use what you did last year at all Saturday?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we didn’t have Willie. Marcus Lee played him some. We really played him with a bunch of different guys. I don’t think there’s one thing that we did. He missed some shots that he normally makes. Just looking at it, because I glanced at it again to make sure, What did we do? You know, played like we always play. Dakari Johnson played him a lot in that game and Marcus Lee was the other. I even think we put — I don’t know if we put any smaller guys on him, I can’t remember. We know how good he is. I just saw him out in the hallway. I said, Look, I’m so tired of looking at your tape right now. I said to Bo, we were laughing, how much better he’s gotten in a two-year period is almost scary. He and Dekker both. They both have a swagger about them, they both have a high belief in their teams. They know how they’re going to play. This is who we are. They do it.

Q. This year’s tournament is worth somewhere around $700 million for the NCAA. By making the Final Four, you guys have earned $8 million or $9 million for your conferences to cover costs, salaries. Should any of that money do you think go directly to your players?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think it’s taken the NCAA 30 to 40 years, but they’re beginning to change now. I mean, right now we brought parents to the Final Four for the first time. My opinion, which I don’t give very often, I keep my opinions to myself, but in this case I’ll tell you. My opinion is the parents should come to every round. Why should the parents only come to the final round? What about the other 64 teams that played in this, why wouldn’t their parents enjoy being with them? We changed the food policy. We now can feed our kids. We’re not going to try to make them fat. You won’t believe this, we’re not going to try to feed them too much, but we’re going to feed them and we’ll make it as healthy as we can because that’s what we’re doing. I think what we’re doing with the stipends, I think we have to move to paying for their insurance. These kids have to pay their own disability insurance. It encourages them to leave early. Would you want a $100,000 debt to pay back. We should pay that. If a kid stays more than one year, maybe the NBA or someone else should pay for the loss of value. If you decide to stay longer, we’ll insure you if you choose to stay in school if that’s what they want to do so they’re not forced. I think the NCAA is moving in the right direction they need to move. It’s a slow-moving boat. But for 40 years, This is the way it is, we’re not changing. Now they’ve been forced to move in the direction of these young people. I think they’ve done a pretty good job here over the last year.

COACH RYAN: Well, I know there has been changes. I’ve been on the board of the NABC, I’ve lost track of the number, but I’m now on the Executive Committee, which means I’m getting close to being President of the Coaches Association. Cal is on the board now. We’ve been discussing this for a long time, about even in the Big Ten tournament, parking in Chicago for the parents, driving to games. For the NCAA tournament, you gave the figures. I don’t know the figures. You gave the figures. We’ve been asking for help for the parents to get to the games in the NCAA tournament at least for the finals is where we started for the Final Four. But then the more we talked about it, it’s like, for the whole NCAA tournament that parents should have some stipend. Isn’t it amazing that the basketball, men’s basketball tournament, men’s basketball, period, pays 90-some percent of the NCAA’s budget, expenses. Football had a championship game, correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t the parents get taken care of to go see their kids play in the football championship game? Somebody told me that, but I never had it verified. John, if you’re shaking your head, and Hoops is agreeing with you, I’m not sure if I’m right. What I’m getting at is, all of a sudden football goes to a championship game. Oh, and then, for the men’s Final Four we’re going to take care of the parents for that, too. Well, thank you, that was awfully nice. But we think it should be for more. We’ve even in our own conference been trying to lobby for expenses for parents coming to the Big Ten tournament. It’s not going to be just in the Midwest, it’s going to be on the East Coast now. From our own conference which makes money from the Big Ten tournament, parents should get some help, some type of stipend.

Q. Bo, John just talked about how much growth Frank has had in the last couple years. From your perspective, have you coached many guys that have grown as much as Frank has from start to finish?

COACH RYAN: No, not someone who — and it’s not the finish because Frank is still getting better. As soon as he gets some good coaching when he’s out of college, he’ll be really good (smiling). He’s worked at every drill. He’s worked at everything we’ve given him. He’s looked at the films. He’s very astute when it comes to picking up nuances of moves, using his body, positioning. So, you know, his family background, there’s athletes. His parents are very athletic, very smart. So we were getting a player who we knew was hungry and wanted to prove that he could get to be pretty good. We tend to enjoy having those kind of guys around. But for somebody to go to the level he has, from start to finish, no, I’ve never had a player like that.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coaches.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Video: 2015 NCAA Student-Athlete Final Four News Conference

Video courtesy of NCAA March Madness