WATCH: Calipari says no interest in Lakers; expects some frosh back
The Kentucky coach is promoting a book, but that's not what made headlines amid his press tour on Monday morning.
I hope you're ready to hear and read and see a lot more about Kentucky basketball in the coming days, because the media onslaught is officially on. Any day now we'll be getting more news about which players are staying or going from the program, and John Calipari is currently in the throes of a press tour to promote his new book, "Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out."
Calipari was plenty chatty on Monday's Dan Patrick Show. The 55-year-old Kentucky coach, who was donning cartoonishly big headphones, offered up his typical (and legitimate) talking points on Kentucky's program. But he also expounded on some topics after Patrick pushed him to answer with clarity.
First off, the Lakers job. Rex Chapman threw a wrench into everything when he tweeted an hour before the national title game that Calipari to LA was a "done deal."
"Who is he?" Calpiari jokingly said of Chapman, adding, "obviously it's not true."
Calipari said "there has been nothing" in regard to contact between his camp and the Lakers. Patrick, ever the adroit interviewer, then followed up by asking Calipari if he'd want to be offered the Lakers job. Cal quickly responded, "No. I'm good."
And then Patrick asked Calipari if he expected to be at Kentucky approximately five years from now if the NBA's age-limit rule (read: one-and-done; or, as Cal likes to now call it, "Succeed and Proceed") was still in place.
"It'd be hard," Calipari said.
That exchange comes around the 12-minute mark in the video above.
Calipari said the two sides (NCAA and the NBA) have "to get together to encourage this to go to two years. ... It's like you're on this treadmill that doesn't slow down."
There's still more; it's a really long interview. Patrick asked Calipari how many Wildcat freshmen would opt for the NBA this season.
"I really don't know right now," Calipari said, adding he hopes it's less than five.
As for Kentucky's unexpected run to the title game as a No. 8 seed, the coach offered up the fact his team was so young it didn't feel any pressure ("they didn't know better").
"I don't know how we did as well as we did," Calipari said of UK's run without Willie Cauley-Stein after the injury in the Louisville game in the Sweet 16.
And there was some grilling by Patrick over Calipari's controversial decision not to foul UConn in the final minute in an attempt to extend the game. Calipari said UConn's free-throw shooting wouldn't have wavered, especially because it was a four-point game and not a two-point game. Effectively, he said the pressure was off UConn at that point.
"I don't want it on the kids. Put it on me," Calipari said of the outcome. "Don't blame them. Make this about me. And some have fun doing that."
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