John Calipari on his 2020-21 Kentucky team: “They didn’t quit once this year”

There’s something to be said for the fight that this Kentucky team displayed through a whole year of misfortunes.

The end result was the furthest from what anyone would have predicted in the fall, but it would be hard to argue that the Wildcats didn’t put all they had into this season of unpredictability. In the end, it all came down to overall talent, and Kentucky just didn’t measure up to the competition.

From COVID-19 restrictions to schedule changes and cancellations to key injuries and any other crutch you’d like to throw in, Kentucky went through the wringer from start to finish. A 9-16 record to close out the year is symbolic of everything that happened this season. Outside of the potential triple winner of Dontaie Allen who didn’t find the back of the net Thursday afternoon, everything the fanbase excepted happened this season, didn’t happen.

But despite crushing losses to Georgia Tech and Alabama, along with crushing losses to Notre Dame, Louisville and most of the intraconference schedule, head coach John Calipari never saw his team give up. In what has been the most difficult year of recent times off the court, Kentucky never stopped playing on it.

My teams historically played like they lost, they went to the electric chairCalipari said after the loss to the state of Mississippi. “This team did not. [At] Times we did. But maybe physically we weren’t capable of that. But you know what, this is what I would say. Having them play like they started that game, then playing the second half the way they played, says something about them. They never give up anything. They didn’t give up once this year. “

It would also have been easy to quit, considering the circumstances. It’s been said endlessly, but this edition of the Kentucky Wildcats was robbed of the true experience of what it means to play for the Blue and Whites. They did not receive the applause of more than 20,000 people who supported them from the stands or the typical college lifestyle. While that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have played better on the court, it was a minor symptom of the bigger problem: They didn’t have enough experience to beat the teams down the stretch.

“This experience for them, they have been deceived,” added Calipari. “But you know what, I’ll say this, they could have taken better advantage of the opportunity that was presented here when it comes to gaming. I wish I could have helped them more. I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have thought of different things. “

Calipari will have plenty of time to think about those things. The season has come to an unfortunate but relieved end without an offer for the next NCAA Tournament. Heading into the 2021-22 season, the staff I have do more if they want to prevent something like this from happening again.


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