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John Calipari pre-Mississippi State quotes

On if there is anything special about these games where they play an opponent for the second time in a season:

Well, they had a four-point lead on us and it didn’t get away from them until the middle of the second half. It’s a hug game, sell-out and all the other stuff going on. Be a hard game for us. You know, it was like a couple-point game with Florida in the first half. They’re not going to walk away from us. This is a great challenge. And they left our building saying, ‘We can beat these guys.’


On the new NBA commissioner wanting to change the draft eligibility to age 20:

Well, if you’ve been following me for the last four to five, seven years, I’ve said it’s going to separate. The NCAA will separate. You’re going to get five leagues, four leagues. Seventy teams, 80 teams are going to go. Then I said the two-year rule is the best way of doing this. Now, that being said, then we’ve got to do a better job taking care of these kids: how we feed them, how we prepare them for that next step, how we insure them. That the NCAA now says, OK, if you’re going to have them — because it’s a NBA thing, it won’t be about the NCAA — if they’re going to be in college two years then we’re going to do more to make sure that kids are covered, that we’re preparing them. After two years you’re going to have most of the players be a year and a little bit more from a college degree. So, academically in every way, but you’ve got kids that could be in the NBA that have got to stay in college a year.


On if a rule change like that would change they way they have to recruit at all:

They’re going to be a lot of made coaches out there if this thing changes.


On why there would be mad coaches:

Cause I get these guys for two years. That’s why.


On Mississippi State’s recent offensive struggles and if this game is a mismatch:

I don’t know. Georgia was struggling, and they just had 90 at home. So, you just…We’re playing. We’re just trying to get better. Our team, zoning in a little bit better. They understand, so…


On Julius Randle’s rebounding numbers being down in SEC play:

He’s the only player in college basketball being played by three different people, and the other team will tell you they’re doing it. Maymon, who’s one of the strongest kids you’ll play, at halftime went to his team and said, ‘I’m not even going to try to score. I’m just going to make sure he can’t get to the basket.’ So, that’s what they’re all doing. But, at the end of the day, he’s getting better, trying to figure out different ways of playing. He’s passing it out of traps quicker. Got a couple things he’s got to shore up, but there’s…That’s who I want on my team. He’s a winning player, he’s tough, he can do things, make key baskets like he did against Missouri down the stretch even though he’s getting fouled on just about ever possession. There’s whacking and body contact. He looks at me and says, ‘Coach, leave it alone.’ Like if I got on an official, ‘Leave it alone. I’ll deal with it.’ Which is a good thing.


On Randle getting to the line a lot more vs. Ole Miss:

Well, we should. When you’re talking about one team shooting a lot of jumpers and a team like ours posting it and driving, we should shoot (more).


On if Randle did anything differently to personally get to the line more:

They called the fouls.


On the state of the SEC so far:

You know, I was surprised that LSU lost, but that’s in this league. I mean, Georgia went to Missouri and won. You know, this league is that way. You know, Tennessee, I was surprised they lost to Vandy, but then you look around, Vandy won five straight games so our win at Vandy is a pretty good win. You know, Florida is just head and shoulders above everybody right now. I think not only their veteran play, their talent. So the combination of those. Those are a little bit above the rest of us. You know, we’ve got some time before we play them, but it’s, you know, the rest of us are kind of lumped in there.


On if parity is good for the SEC:

Yeah. It should be, it should be. It should be. You know, you’ve got, again—you talk about leagues. This league is right there with any of them. You go on the road and lose, it shouldn’t be season-ending unless you’re going to do that with every league. You lose on the road, you’re out. It shouldn’t be just an SEC thing.


On if he likes his players to have an us vs. them mentality:

Yeah. We know it’s going to be a T-shirt night. Is it a T-shirt night?


It’s a white-out.

It’s a white-out night, that’s surprising to me. That’s what happens when we go on the road.


On his comments on over-analysis, and if falling from No. 11 to No. 18 in the AP poll was the specific instance that put him over the top to make that comment:

There are a lot of things I just feel like saying. But what happens is, whatever I say—one, people know what my mind is. They know what I think. I don’t know how they know everything that I think. It was funny. I leave mass this morning. I’m praying for my team, praying for enemies and all that, so I’m leaving. A guy taps me: ‘I’m with you, Coach.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ So I get in my car and I call DeWayne (Peevy). I’m like, ‘DeWayne, what’s out there?’ He goes, ‘What are you, paranoid?’ And I just bust out laughing. ‘What are you talking about? What’s going on?’ So all I can tell you is, you throw a comment out—I don’t know, was it on TV or was it on, what happened with it? Was there a lot of yelping? Guys tell me there was a lot of re-yelping.


On what he means by ‘re-yelping’:

Like, re-tweeting. Like, the re-yelp. The re-tweet yelp. So, whatever. If it stirs everybody up, I’m fine. It’ll create some votes and all the other stuff, but it is what it is.


On if he really thinks he’s the most over-analyzed team in the history of sports:

Um, what I see going on is amazing, that I make a comment and it is all over the world. Worldwide. But that’s part of what playing here or coaching here’s about. Let me say this: This, coaching here—I’m not saying it’s a problem. This has been the greatest five years of my life, coaching here. I’m not saying it’s an issue. But you all know I speak the truth, and I’ll say things. I speak the truth. But it’s funny how guys know what my mind is. Like, ‘I know what he thinks.’ Really?


Well, that’s why I’m asking you.

I like to talk in parables, and those who understand listen, and the others don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. But it’s the fun thing about being here. I think it’s prepared our players, and it’s taken me to the beginning of February to convince these players that every team is against us, everybody’s against us, Jerry (Tipton) is against us. It’s taken me that long, but you know what? You guys have helped me. They now believe it, and it’s made us play better. I’ve got to go to practice. Thanks, guys.

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