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Coach Cal talks exclusively with WKYT

By: Sam Dick - Email
By: Sam Dick - Email

An eighth national championship thrilled UK fans.

Now, coach John Calipari is looking forward to a new season, and a lot of new players.

Coach Cal agreed to do an exclusive, hour long interview with WKYT.

We met Coach Cal on the practice floor of the Joe Craft Center.

In the coming months, he will begin molding a new team.

He defied the skeptics who claimed you could not win a national championship depending on true freshmen. We asked if he thought one day he would have another "team of the ages," as he has described this past season's group of 38 game winners.

"I've said I don't know, I may never coach another team like that...that team combined talent, and a sharing attitude," Calipari said.

The championship Cats playfully rubbed the coach's head during the trophy celebration.

Coach Cal says he saved his emotion for a more private place, away from the glare of the media.

"The post game celebration in the locker room, I danced and we had a ball," Calipari said. "Then I had to go into the media room, and four or five of them wouldn't even look up, and some of them even looked a little constipated. I don't know if they were real happy."

He doesn't have a crystal ball when it comes to the newest Cats.

"The team we have coming in, really talented team, even younger than this past team," Calipari said. "Will they be the same team that this year's team was? Will they have that attitude of sharing, or will you accept being a sixth man like Darius? Will you do what Michael Kidd Gilchrist do and give up your starting spot so someone else can play better?"

Traditional powers Indiana and North Carolina are not on the upcoming schedule, which is still being finalized. He believes getting his team ready to play in football venues, preparing them for Final Four and Elite Eight games, trumps what his opponents want.

"What kind of building are we playing in Sam? Football stadium," Calipari said. "Okay, what if I have a young team that's never played in a football stadium, but is good enough to win the national title, and I decide it's more important to play these three teams, then prepare them for the NCAA Tournament. Are you okay with that? When we lose that Sweet 16 game, are you gonna sit there and keep your mouth shut, and not say one word that we got beat...because we did not give them a chance to play in a football stadium prior to the NCAA tournament."

It may surprise you to know where Coach looks to see what kind of team he'll have in the new season, and it's not the writer's or coaches' polls.

"When we're rated, I don't look at anything except what are they saying in Vegas. Where are we? Are we gonna be good this year or bad? They have us this year as one of the best teams returning. I'm like-how is that? But they know- so I'm good, let's go with this."

The pressure and expectations of leading the nation's number one program show up every time he looks in the mirror.

"I look at myself now, and it's truly dog years. Every year you're here, it's seven years. You say, why do you say you can only last a decade? That's 70 years here. So you better go to Mass in the morning."

Wednesday night on WKYT at 6, Coach Cal will explain why it's important he start most of his days off in church.

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