Calipari Previews NBA Finals

Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari met with reporters on Tuesday to preview the NBA Finals, which feature six Wildcats in both playing and staff roles. A transcript is below.

For just the fifth time in NBA history (according to STATS), four players from the same college will play in the same NBA Finals as Anthony Davis (UK, 2012) and Rajon Rondo (UK, 2005-06) of the Los Angels Lakers will go head-to-head with the Miami Heat’s burgeoning superstars in Bam Adebayo (UK, 2017) and Tyler Herro (UK 2019). La Salle (1956), UCLA (1980), North Carolina (1991) and Arizona (2017) previously set the watermark.

Kentucky will feature six total representatives in the NBA Finals when factoring in Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel and Miami team president Pat Riley. Vogel was a manger for UK during the 1995-96 national championship season and a video coordinator for the 1996-97 squad. Riley, of course, is a UK Athletics Hall of Famer and former All-American who starred at Kentucky for three seasons (1965-67). He has won NBA championships as a player, as a coach and as an executive.

Game one is Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

The UK foursome that will be on the court has had their fingerprints all over the NBA Playoffs in the bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Davis continues to play like one of the world’s best and provided one of the top moments of the postseason with a game-winning 3-pointer. Adebayo has blossomed into one of the game’s youngest and brightest superstars, and his game-winning rejection of Jayson Tatum to begin the Eastern Conference Finals was hailed as one of the greatest blocks in postseason history. Herro, just a rookie, is already drawing comparisons to some of the league’s best scorers after hitting clutch shot after clutch shot and pouring in 37 points last week in stunning fashion. And Rondo, a wily veteran, continues to be one of the most dependable point guards and distributors on the NBA’s grandest stage.

Factor in the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray, who led his team to back-to-back series wins after trailing 3-1, and the Wildcats featured four former players who scored 30 or more points in the NBA Conference Finals. According to STATS, UK is the first college program with four different (Murray, Davis, Adebayo and Herro) 30-point scorers in NBA Conference Finals history.

As a matter of fact, Kentucky alumni have already scored more points in this postseason – before the NBA Finals have even begun – than any other school in a single postseason in NBA history, according to Elias Sports.

Opening statement …
“Well, let me start by saying that I’m proud of all of them. I’m proud of Enes (Kanter) and how he did. But you had Devin (Booker), Jamal (Murray), De’Aaron (Fox). When I look at all of these guys and how they played, I’m not surprised that guys would be able to stand up to this. The environment here, everything about it is preparing them for the NBA. It’s an NBA environment. How we practice, the competitiveness in practice, the games, the shots, every shot matters here. There’s no like, that’s an easy game. Every game is sold out and all of that. So, these kids, it’s kind of like their rookie year is here. They go in with that kind of an advantage. But they still have to do it. They still have to go out and perform with some athletic, smart, basketball-savvy guy guarding them or they have to guard. There’s a fight and a spirit to these guys. Tyler (Herro) saying that in Miami there are a bunch of dogs there. Well, there are dogs on the Lakers now too. It’s that kind of an environment that we try and create here, every day that they’re on the court. Today I said to my current team about adversity. Everything was about adversity and how you deal with it because it’s going to happen. It’s going to come. It’s not the next step up. So, I think, again, just trying to prepare them for physically and mentally for what’s ahead is what we try to do.”

On if Tyler Herro is exceeding expectations …
“Well, the one thing, there’s a skill. Your work ethic is a skill too. How much time are you willing to spend? That usually, if it is ridiculous, your ceiling goes up and your ceiling goes up because you’re building your own self-esteem and your own self-confidence. This kid is fearless because of his confidence. I’m not the one who built his confidence. I mean, as a matter of fact, I got after him to defend better, to pass better, that if he wasn’t a fearless, confident player that would have taken away his confidence. It didn’t do anything to this kid. He listened fine. ‘You don’t understand how good I am.’ That’s what I see on the court. The biggest thing is, I want him to keep chasing because at some point it’s going to flip and he’s going to be the chased in the NBA. It isn’t right now. So, don’t think you’re in that mode. Keep chasing. Keep fighting because eventually now all of the sudden, you keep going now everybody is chasing you and now you have to have a different mentality on how you’re approaching this.”

On if Kentucky should have won more with the success the players are having at the next level …
“Well, when people say, ‘He doesn’t care about winning, all he cares about is his players,’ it’s not true. I care about winning and winning championships. But to say that, ‘He only loves his players. He doesn’t– ‘ OK, but we won more games in 11 years, more league titles, more tournament time, more Sweet 16s, NCAA games, Elite Eights, Final Fours and won a national title. I know that we could have done more. I know that. If you want to say that, that’s fine. You know, it’s funny. We’re doing this kind of like (North) Carolina did. When Coach (Dean) Smith was there, they had unbelievable players that during the season, it was about the team. Here’s the second thing, when it’s over, it’s about each individual player. But you could do one of two things. You can teach really good players how to play, how to play and what it’s going to be like. Or you can teach them to be in a system, to run plays. We’ve always, from the time that I was here to before, Memphis and Massachusetts, we’re teaching kids how to play. I can’t tell you exactly how we’re going to do it. But the other part of it is getting really good players to have to come together, which means you have to sacrifice for each other. My goal, and the guys that are on here know that I’ve said this over and over, I want six of my guys, minimum five, to have at least one game if not more of 25 to 30 points in a season. So, when you get to the NCAA Tournament, you don’t know who’s going to win for you, but they’ve all done it at least once. Which if you’re doing that, it’s hard to have guys score 25, 28 a game. Other places, it becomes two guys shoot all of the balls. The rest of you set screens and get rebounds. Now, if you’re one of those two you’re happy. The problem for us is, I’ve got seven, eight, guys, nine that all have the same aspirations, on different paths. Some of them may take two years or three. But all of the stuff that’s happening is learning to fight, learning to compete. I’m not trying to filibuster, even though I am right now. Here’s what I would say: You know what I’m most proud of? I’m most proud of Enes Kanter’s attitude throughout the tournament, throughout the playoffs. Because he and I were in touch and I watched him, he didn’t get many minutes. But when he did, he had a great attitude. He was a great teammate. How about Bam (Adebayo) taking responsibility for their loss? They brought their team together. How about Tyler Herro saying I’m playing for Jimmy Butler? ‘I want him go get his first final.’ How about Anthony (Davis) when they asked him on TV, ‘You’re not begin aggressive enough. Tell him.’ And he comes back and instead of arguing he says, ‘Sometimes I think too much.’ How about, I know Anthony Davis, he will step back if he needs to help another player so they can win. The No. 1 thing on his mind right now is winning a world championship. If he has to step up and do all of the scoring and rebounding, he’ll do it. But if, even hurt, if he needs to step back so that LeBron (James) or anyone else can step up and they can win, he’ll do that. So, I’m proud of these kids. They learned to be great teammates. They learned to fight and compete every day and you’re seeing it out there. And if anybody else takes another approach to it, that’s fine for me.”

On his players having the chance to play for competitive teams and on the cusp of one of those players winning his first championship and if that changes his message to his current players and recruits …
“Well, it doesn’t. Let’s talk about when you’re drafted one, two, three or a lottery, which we’ve had 20-some, 25. You’re normally on a bad team. Bam and Tyler went to a culture that they were not going to change but could help shoot them to another level. They left a culture here that’s about work. You’re not going to be guaranteed, we’re not going to embellish. ‘You’re going to be our point guard.’ This is, how do you get better? How good can you be? Our big guys, they want–I’m saying, Bam, he created a position, point center. He’s a point center. Did you see them open the court and he go one-on-one at (Daniel) Theis like he was the point guard? His assists, his ability to make plays for his teammates, he is a point center. We teach our bigs, to start like a guard and finish like a big. All of them. That’s how we teach here. And so, when you see all of this stuff, you’re looking like, wow. He was taken 14th. He was taken in the middle. If you’re one, two, three, five, you’re on a bad team. If you’re 19 years old on a bad team, and you’re in a man’s league – NBA, no boys allowed – and you’re trying to take it on your shoulders for that many games, hard deal. Hard deal. But, Anthony, it took a trade for him to have that happen. So, yeah, that’s an issue. But to be honest, if you said you could be drafted one on a bad team or maybe you go 25 and you’d be on a good team, I think they’ll take one. We’ve had four of those too.”

On if all these guys who are now NBA stars had a common trait when he recruited them in high school …
“I would say, the guys that were like that have all gone. We haven’t gotten everybody that we wanted by the way. You have to be built different to really want this. You come out built different, but you come in built different too. The point of, ‘Well, they were what they were before they got there,’ Tyler Herro wasn’t. Eric Bledsoe wasn’t. Come on now. We can go and argue the point, but here’s what I would say: You look at all of these kids, you look at they learned to fight and compete for what they wanted. If I had to promise them everything, they’re probably not built for this. If you think it’s going to come easy–how about this one? ‘I’ll come if you don’t recruit anybody else at my position for this year or next.’ Oh, that happens. You’re not coming here. ‘I want to be the point guard and I want to play 35 minutes.’ But you’re the center. How do you? Somebody’s going to tell him OK to get him. So, this one here, you’ve got to want to compete. You’ve got to want to learn to be a great teammate. Everything’s been about you; now everything’s going to be about us. You have to take what you want. You have to create your own space. If you think you’re going to the NBA as a volume (shooter), like you go somewhere and you’re a volume shooter, there is a chance that you can be from that to a volume shooter in the NBA in your first, second year. Very rare. But it could happen. Here, we have volume shooters in the NBA right now, probably eight or 10. They were volume shooters here in games (but) not for a season. Like, they shot 28, 30 times for a season because they were playing with seven other guys. Everybody was trying to eat. Everybody’s trying to carve their way. By the way, we’re trying to win a national title. And at the end of every year, these kids, because they came in built different, by the end of the year we’re playing as well as we’ve played all year, including last year, with a chance to win the national title. But it’s one-and-done (in the NCAA Tournament). How about if it were best-of-three? How many would we have? Or best-of-seven? How many national titles? How about this one? How about if I was a little selfish and got these guys to stay two and three years? But that’s not what this is. We’re here, 20 kids have graduated. We’re always in the top 10 with academics here (Academic Progress Rate). We have been and the NCAA sends us awards for what we’re doing. Kids leaving in good academic standing. It’s about physically and mentally being ready. Wow about this? Holding them accountable. I love–there was something in the bubble, I think it was Stan Van Gundy, and he said, ‘Look, he coaches you. He coaches you. If you’re not doing what you’re supposed to, he will take you out of games. Now, he’ll put you right back in.’ But then it becomes, ‘He takes you out every time you make a mistake or miss a shot.’ Ask Tyler. He took some bad shots. How about Jamal Murray and some of the bad shots he took? Jeez. I would have been taking him out every minute. Now, some of them went in and even more now are going in. But this is about growth. This is about putting them in a culture and an environment that’s an NBA culture and environment. And people that have played here, players will tell you that’s what this is here.”

On what he said to the Heat about Tyler Herro
“Guys like that, you say, ‘Look, whatever you’re seeing, add 20-30% to it because this kid will never leave the gym. He’s fearless and he has built his own confidence.’ What I didn’t know with him or Bam is that again, there are some signs of some passes that Tyler will throw that you’ll go, oh my gosh. But you’re seeing him now in pick-and-rolls. Well, when he was here, we needed him to score. He had the ball in his hands. He could make plays, but he wasn’t in pick-and-rolls. Now you’re seeing that. Bam, when we got him, if anybody said they knew Bam would be what he is today, you’re smoking crack. But what we did know is that he could fight. He was competitive and he could guard five positions. He was way better with the ball than everybody knew, and we saw it. But, right now, when you’ve got eight months to get your team together, you’re not going to say, we’re going to make you a point center in the next 3-4 weeks. You can’t do that. But do you all remember the play where he rebounded, came out and he did a Euro step and shot it back the length of the court? We were all like, who the heck is that? Well, we had seen it in practice. In Miami it took a couple of years for them to have that kind of confidence in him, but right now they’ve just assumed to start the offense with them.”

On how helpful the success of the NBA players can be in recruiting …
I don’t think it can hurt. I’m back and forth with the guys, and whether it was Enes in the bubble or guys in the playoffs, what you want to see in that culture is their fight, their competitive spirit and their fearlessness that they’ve taken. They’ve been in an environment where every shot matters. Not that it doesn’t matter. ‘What time the next game is?’ Well, it’s a different mindset to go in and make the big 3 that’s going to advance your team in the playoffs in the NBA. Anthony Davis’ 3 was ridiculous. He made that coming off with people chasing him and all over him and over a guy’s finger by that much [shows a gap with his fingers] and that ball goes in. That’s the kind of stuff I want to see. I love to see when it’s not going right. How do they respond? Here’s another thing that all of our players have been asked and if you talk to them, they’ll tell you: What do you do to help us win when you’re not scoring? What do you do to help us win? All right, let’s talk about Bam. We don’t need to go any further. How about Tyler? How about Tyler rebounding the ball? How about Tyler defending? People didn’t think he could defend. As a matter of fact, Utah started the series just throwing it to his man. Maybe it wasn’t Utah but it was whoever they started with. They were saying, we’re going to go at Tyler Herro. But it didn’t work. You look at Anthony Davis and you look at Jamal Murray, what am I going to do if they double team me and take me away? You look at Devin Booker in pick-and-rolls. You look at De’Aaron Fox and the things that he’s doing. How do you help us win when you’re not scoring? That’s one of those things that I’m watching for as a coach or someone who has been with these guys for a period of time.”

On if he cheers or walks away when they take one of the Kentucky guys out similar to how he watches his son, Brad, play …
Well, there are times that if the game is over, I’ll turn it off. I wanted Enes in more. When he went in, he played well. (Erik) Spo(elstra) and I were texting. Brad Stevens and I texted or I texted Mike Malone or Frank (Vogel) and I wished him well in this thing. You just go back and forth, but they don’t know I’m watching my TV and I’m saying, ‘Put him in more. Get him in. Where’s Tyler? He needs to be in the game.’ I also want my guys to take those big shots, to show that they’re not afraid to take those which means they’re fearless because they’re not afraid to lose.”

On if fans are appreciating the run of Kentucky players in the NBA or do they still wish they had stayed at Kentucky longer …
“Oh, yeah. The reason is those players stay connected with us, the BBN and our team. They leave because it’s what’s right for their families and themselves, but they stay connected. They’re always part of this. Enes Kanter, who the NCAA did not allow to play said, ‘I am a part of Kentucky. I am a part of that program,’ So, our kids are watching everything. They’re calling me and texting me about things. So, let me say this: We have almost 20 players that are playing in Europe, playing their way back to try to get in the NBA. We’re not just talking about these guys. I know right now we’re talking about this series and these four and (Rajon) Rondo. Rondo has been great now. He’s been great to me and I tried to get him to play on the Dominican National Team. I said, ‘Hey we’re allowed one American. Why don’t you be the guy? We’ve got all of these guys and you will go to the Olympics.’ He thought about it, but he called and said, ‘Coach I can’t do it. I can’t spend that much time away in the summer.’ So, he didn’t do it. But, he’s a dog too now. He’ll fight and battle and he’s not afraid. You can say, ‘Well, he doesn’t shoot it well.’ But he makes the shots he needs to make.”

On the pressure Anthony Davis is feeling in the playoffs this season …
“Well, it’s over a period of time. That’s why I’m saying to Bam and Tyler who are chasing, they’re still trying to prove who they are. There’s going to be a time in their career where that flips like it did with Anthony. Now you’re being chased instead of chasing. Now your attitude and how you approach things is different. What’s your mentality? Totally different. What do you do every game to get yourself ready? Well, when you’re chasing, you know it’s about survival, but now you’re being chased, what is it that’s going to keep you going? In Anthony’s case, he wants to win a world championship and he will have an impact on the game because he is in the game. He will have an impact. I’ll just give you a couple reasons: One, if he runs to the rim and you don’t go with him, it is a dunk 100% of the time. So that creates, any cut to the basket creates help. Second thing, he may not block every shot, but he is going to change shots, which means instead of you making all those, you’re going to miss some. If you are not the tallest player and you’re not used to it, it changes your game. His ability. And again, maybe doesn’t get rebounds because other guys are on the court to get rebounds or are rebounding so you look at his numbers and I always say, OK, rebound attempts that he had a chance or how many of those did he get? The ball bounces away or sometimes it just goes the other way. If balls are bouncing near you how many of those are you going to get? He is a fighter and a competitor. He will get his share of those. And then lastly, he can pass. So, if you try to double team, you’re seeing him throw skips across the court. They might not always make it, but they’re there and he’s throwing that ball. And he is now, he’s being chased. You’re exactly right. It’s a totally different mentality and I think he’s growing daily into it and he takes pride in it.”

On if playing at Kentucky truly prepares them for the national spotlight …
“Well, when they come here, and Eric (Lindsey) will tell you, we do social media training. Then we do media training and we go through all of that. And then their first game is done and they walk out and there is 50, 60 of you standing there. There’s a whole group of televisions up there and then they go and break down into little groups to do media after going up there. I mean, that’s every game we play here. You’re not going out there and there’s one media member. There’s 50 after every single game, sometimes it’s 100. So, I think they get the picture here and they understand that they’re not only speaking for us and Kentucky, they’re speaking for them and their own name and brand. They get that and our kids have been good here. They really have. And our staff has done a great job at preparing them.”

On how the current players are motivated by former players succeeding in the NBA …
“We’re texting back and forth. I’ll be sitting in my chair and one of them will text me, ‘Did you see that?’ Some of the stuff we’re teaching, the dribble-drive right now where I am able to go slow or because we are having more time, they are seeing the spacing to the corner. They are seeing the loop behind. They are seeing pitches being thrown and they are texting me like, ‘That’s the stuff you were talking to us about today.’ So, they are getting a picture that we are teaching not plays, we are teaching them how to play basketball, how to play dribble-drive because if you’re watching the NBA, its either trying to get a layup or space out for 3s. How do you create cuts to the lane, spacing on double teams, all the stuff we are trying to teach now they’re seeing? So, we will go back and forth, and I talked to them about what Bam did, took responsibility. That’s one of the meetings we had. We talk about the question they threw at Anthony, where Charles (Barkley) said, ‘You’re not aggressive enough. Tell us why?’ I mean, there’s stuff that’s happening. We are talking pick-and-rolls. We have always taught pick and run to that rim because we throw it up for dunks. Now you’re seeing people get started in dribble-drive, by a pick and a short roll, which is they’re helping and a bounce pass and they’re playing through that point center. That’s what we are teaching, and they see it back and forth. So, they’re watching the game, watching these players. We’re telling them how hard they’ve worked, how much time they’ve spent in the gym, told them how committed they were and everything they were supposed to be doing, academics, to all the things we are doing in the community. It’s not one thing. It’s about, quote, being professional. How you act, how you respond to people, when you’re held accountable, what do I do and how do I change? What if someone is playing better than me? So, it is all intertwined with what we are trying to do.”

On Bam Adebayo averaging less than an assist at Kentucky but now being a “point center” in the NBA …
“Wait a minute, we had three point guards on that team so it was a little—I could have done this. Wait a minute. We start playing and I go, ‘All right, we got four weeks left to win a national title. Bam, you’re going to be our point center. Now we’re going to play through you. It’s harder. You get it started and then you try to do it, but we’re teaching them how to play so they’re not running plays.”

On if he saw signs of Adebayo being able to play point center …
“Oh yeah. Well, maybe not to that level. Miami saw it. But what I saw in AAU games and in our practices, he could play basketball. His skills were not mastered yet. You have to master your craft. I was on with Jamal Murray, and I said–you remember the falling-down lefty he threw up that went in?
Well, he did that in practice and I said, ‘Hey, man, stop. You ain’t taking (that here). What is that? You just threw the ball left-handed.’ You know, he looked at me and said, ‘I can make that.’ I said, ‘Are you crazy?’ So I hit him after that game and I said, ‘I like the spinner off the basket but the left-hander falling down has to go.’ He hit me back, ‘I told you I can make that!’ So you see things from these kids that you know, wow. If they can master that—Bam’s ability to pass out of a double team was as good as anybody. We didn’t make them all, but he did it. And so, yeah, you see stuff that you say, if they’ll continue to work–don’t drink that poison, keep chasing, keep that chip on your shoulder, keep fighting, keep being competitive, take what you want, find your niche in a bunch of good players.

On having two players in Davis and Adebayo who take pride in their defense and how they match up in the NBA Finals …
“Well, I would say this: I’ve had the ability to coach all these teams now because I’m sitting there watching TV and I’m coaching and, you know. I would say with Miami, playing against – forget about just those two – you better get back. If you give them transition baskets, you’re going to have to make 55 to 60% of your shots to win. So, I’m not even sure you should offensive rebound. Just go back and get them in front, form a wall, make them play five-on-five. If I’m LA, it’s all, in my opinion, it’s about how do we match up with them? What are our matchups? How do we take some people out? Who’s guarding Jimmy? I mean, how are we going to do this? Miami can really shoot the ball. I mean, it’s their strength. I mean, one of the things they do is, if you can’t guard somebody and you have to help, they’re throwing it to somebody who can make it.”

On what he recalls about Adebayo’s development at Kentucky when he sees something like the blocked shot he had at the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals …
“There’s the drive of each of these kids that we’re talking about. The spirit that they had, the fearlessness, almost all of it was built on a work ethic that they would spend as much time as needed. They weren’t running from the gym. They were the first one in, the last one to leave. Bam had an added thing and it was how he grew up, how it was him and his mother, what his mother sacrificed, and what he was going to do for his mother through this sport. On his phone he had the screenshot of where he and his mom lived, and there’d be times he’s walking out of the gym and he’s the last one to leave and I go, ‘You still here, kid?’ And he has his phone and he shows me that screenshot. Like, to let me know I know why I’m doing this. I hear that picture is in his condo. So, he’s framed it to keep it in mind where he came from. His mom used to walk to work; two miles to a supermarket. I mean, these kids all have their own stories and their own “why.” Why is Jamal the way he is? Why is Tyler? Tyler’s thing is no one thought I was good enough. Why would he ever go to Kentucky? ‘They’re going to over recruit you because you’ll never play a Kentucky. You’re a four-star. You didn’t play in the McDonalds game.’ ‘He’s a pro before he got here.’ Come on now. He had a chip on his shoulders that I’m going to show you. And that’s why I’m saying now, keep chasing, man. Keep that chip on your shoulder. Don’t drink that poison. Don’t listen to that stuff. You’re not being chased yet. In a couple years, you’re going to be chased. It ain’t right now. You go for it. And so all these kids–when you talk about Anthony Davis, when I went into Chicago, he tells a story that I drove in in a limo. I don’t believe I drove in on a limo. I probably had a driver come take me from the airport, take me there. I went in the house, he had all family there. Grandmothers, grandfathers, cousins. We were all in there together, and his comment to me was, ‘Coach, I trust you. Don’t care where you play me. I want to win.’ Here’s a kid, he’s 190 pounds at 6-9, 6-10, and now all of a sudden he comes in, gets bigger and stronger and starts. He was a guard. Went from 6-3 to 6-10. Never played near the basket. He needed to learn that first. You’re 6-10. What are you going to be a point guard? Come on. Learn to play first – (like) Karl(-Anthony) Towns – instead of shoot all 3s. You can shoot all 3s now. Learn to play. So those kids were telling me, I trust you. How about Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander). How about Shai didn’t start first nine games. And one of the reasons weere we were winning. And I said, ‘Look, I know you should be starting, but I like this.’ He said, ‘I trust you, Coach. I trust you.’ How about PJ (Washington)? It took PJ two years. ‘I trust you. I’m coming back.’ When you talk about it with Bam, there was a “why” there that you knew. Like right now with these guys, you don’t know how good they’re going to be. They’re going to control that because of their work.”

On the NBA and WNBA giving college basketball for a model and how that’s played out in his mind as UK has made its own schedule …
“So what we don’t know is what it’s going to be like when we start in November. We don’t know if they’ll be a vaccine. We don’t know if they’re going to let people in the building. But our first two things, our MTE (multi-team event), the first tournament, and going to Orlando, will be in bubbles. And it will give us a chance to figure out what’s next. What our league does, I don’t have any control over that. Will we go home-and-home? Will we have travel partners? In other words, we’re not only going to go one game, we may fly somewhere and go to two or three games in a bus, get back on the plane and go home. Less touch points. I don’t know any of that, but I do know how we’re starting. We started on our schedule to make sure probably more than a month ago. Before the dates came out, we had an idea of what we were going to do. And in the contracts that we had to honor that whether we were playing at home or on the road that we were going to have to honor, which makes our schedule ridiculously tough. When you have nine new players, this is way too tough of a schedule, but there’s not going to be competitive equity. There’s not this year. You may have teams at the end of the year play 18 games, someone else may play 25. Someone else may play 15. Someone else may have something happen and they’re out three weeks with their team and three of those were home games, only one was on the road. You don’t know. There’s not going to be competitive equity. Let’s have a season. Let’s get to the NCAA Tournament. Let’s all survive. Let’s not cut sports. Let’s make this so it works and we all survive this year. That’s all I’m trying to do.

On Hartford possibly having issues with playing in the MTE and possibly Morehead State playing in it …
“Well, we’ll probably announce it all at once when everything plays out. And so, it’s all looking good. I mean, I feel comfortable. I’m just happy we were – if it’s the 20th, the 21st to November, if it’s a 10th of November – we played war games. We kind of knew. You know what, here’s where they’re fitting in. We have CBS games. We have the (SEC/Big 12) Challenge. We have this. We have the Big 12 (game). I mean, Notre Dame’s coming to us. I know there was a question on the Louisville game, but we have the date and the time and unless that changes, if they choose not to play, then we’ll plug in another team. We already had that team set. So, where we are, you guys know I like to be ahead of this. You’re not going to throw the fire hose at me and it’s hitting me in the nose and mouth and I’m trying to figure out a schedule. I’m not going to do that. So, we kind of knew, look, we’re going to have some home games with no fans, which is crap, but we got no choice. We’re also going on the road a couple times without fans, which isn’t fair to them, but there’s not competitive equity. It is what it is.

On if he thinks Louisville doesn’t want to play the game and if he thinks the game will happen …
“Well, it’s, you know, I’m not gonna tell you what they’re thinking or what they’re doing. I just know that the terms of the contract, we go there and they come here next year. How about, does anybody really know what this virus is going to do? I mean, what if we’re in next year and we’re in the same boat? Then we got them at home with no fans. We don’t know. This virus is running us. We are not running this virus. And so, you know, you’d have to talk to them. My hope is we’re playing the game this year, but we’re prepared if not. I’m not going to wait and they tell me, boom. They say no, bang. Here’s what–we got another home-and-home. Here it is. The people want to play us. They want to beat Kentucky. They want to against (us). I mean, so it’s, it’s, you know. But it’s, I think that game is good for our state. It should be played, but I’m not–I’m running Kentucky’s program. That’s what I do. I’m not telling any other program what they should or shouldn’t do.”

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