Readers at http://vaughtsviews.com were more than a little upset with Kentucky coach John Calipari after he was shown on ESPN cursing at freshman Terrence Jones late in UK’s 68-66 loss at Alabama Tuesday night.
Here are some of the comments that were posted Wednesday about Calipari’s behavior:
From Chris: “Win or lose, I hate to see the coach treat the players like he has been. He likes to say it's not life or death but he's been acting as if it is. These young guys are going to lose some games. I'm not saying they need to be coddled but nobody deserves to be verbally abused like Calipari has been doing to this team. It's like he's channeling Bob Knight or something.
“Cal's reputation as a players’ coach will be greatly diminished if he keeps acting like a maniac and embarrassing his players on national TV. I hate to see UK lose as much as anyone but he needs to handle himself better with the players. They are just 18-20 year old kids. I would think he could teach them basketball without being so insulting and abusive. If they were his children, he'd be getting a visit from social services.”
From Katie: “I attended the game in Tuscaloosa last night, and I have to say, I can't blame him for losing his temper. The game was ugly, the Alabama fans were ugly, and I had half a mind to use some expletives myself. It's a shame that it was caught on television, but Calipari has already done his part and apologized. I certainly don't think it's a trend that will continue.”
From ggirlky: “I have always liked Coach Cal, but it have become increasingly concerned about his demeanor and the way he handles himself and the players this year. He never seems happy, and anything they do never seems good enough. It seems as if he takes opportunities to belittle players on TV or in public. Even though he might not name names, everyone knows who his comments are directed towards. Just tonight on the news there were clips from his postgame where he said he obviously went to the wrong player(s) at the end of the Alabama game … he was commenting about Brandon Knight’s charge. Brandon Knight was probably the best player to go to, but the play didn’t go as planned – that will continue to happen. These guys are 19 and 20 years old, doing the best they can with tons of pressure to perform on the court and in the classroom.
“You do not build people up by tearing them down. I cringe when I see him blasting a player (and last night’s rant at Jones is far from the first). He is a father figure to lots of these young players (not to mention the thousands of young fans across the state). We would frown on this kind of behavior and treatment and influence from anyone else.”
From Don V: “What I saw was a coach with a passion to win. Don’t know if I ever saw a coach work harder than coach Cal did last night. Jones will be the best player in college basketball when he accepts the coaching he is receiving from coach Cal. To come from 20 points down in a hostile environment and have a chance to win in the last minute, it doesn’t get any better. What other coach could lose five first-round players and two other valuable subs and still be in the top 25? Cal’s players love him and that’s the bottom line.”
From Judi Cole: I was embarrassed for Coach Cal and for Jones to have that be on national TV. I don’t think the harsh words are going to do anything to make Jones a better player, just make him afraid of Coach Cal. Don’t get me wrong, I admire and respect our great coach, but he got too caught up in the moment. He seems to be constantly experimenting with different approaches. I’d think by now, that he would have a method that works with all types of players and their personalities. Just be yourself Cal and let the players develop. They are so young and not quite the talents we had last year. We will be OK this year and I want it to continue being fun for all of us.
From Jack Karlen: "What I would like to know is who to contact at UK to express my disappointment at Coach Cal’s conduct directed at Jones during last night’s game. I have been a Big Blue fan for 60 years and I have never been so embarrassed as I was by his behavior.”
From UKFMLY: “My dad was a drill sergeant for a large part of my early years. But he figured out that that approach didn't always work at home with all eight of us. He had to adjust his technique for each of us. My only issue with the tirade is the look Jones had on his face as he walked back up court. It seemed a combination of disbelief and misunderstanding.
“I too would like to not see that type of display on the sidelines. He can do other things to let them know his displeasure or what is expected. Coach knows the guys better than I do so I will expect that he knows which player can handle that type of tongue lashing.”
From Big Bear: “I am a UK grad concerned about Cal's sideline behavior. His facial features, demeanor, and language are a concern. I believe he is a great coach and I would not presume to tell him how to coach. However, I have noticed a trend this year where he is a lot more animated on the bench. Maybe he has to coach this bunch this way. Most of our games are on TV and many carried nationally. He has to be aware of the cameras and the perception.
“Last night Eloy Vargas deserved to be pulled from the game. However, Cal met him on the court yelling, ‘Your out!, Get out! Now!’ He cursed Terrence Jones on TV.
“The stakes are always high at UK. Cal was never Cool-Hand-Luke on the sideline last year. However, this year he appears that he is under an immense amount of pressure and is not enjoying the job like last year. Maybe it's the (Enes) Kanter situation, Deandre Daniels recruitment, or maybe he is having a tough time getting through to his players. Even so, I would like to see him have more fun on the sideline and if that is not possible maybe more restraint. At least nothing he has to apologize for the next day.”
From Jackie: “Everybody who is jumping down Cal’s throat is nuts. Don’t run him off like we do everyone else. It won’t always be a honeymoon; losses make the wins that much sweeter. Let’s see, three total losses last year and we have four this year. Seven losses in a year and a half … Must you be reminded of the Billy Gillispie regime that netted double digit losses in consecutive seasons? Or the NIT appearance?
“I know we are at least a NCAA team this season! And for goodness sake, we are ranked. Remember when we had to pray to creep into the top 25 a mere 2 1/2 years ago? Let’s encourage the team, not tear them down like everyone ragged on Cal for supposedly doing.”