UK notes

Kentucky-Indiana notes: Calipari says 10 years his limit

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 10, 2011 

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari yelled at his team as #1 Kentucky played #5 North Carolina in the first half on Saturday December 3, 2011 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

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  • Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday
    Where: LP Field in Nashville
    TV: ESPNews
    Radio: WBUL-FM 98.1; WLAP-AM 630; WWRW-FM 105.5

When he first arrived in Lexington, John Calipari said he did not envision being Kentucky coach beyond age 60. Nothing in his first three seasons apparently has changed his mind.

Calipari said Friday that he probably would not be UK coach more than 10 seasons.

"What I didn't want to be is just a bitter, old coach," he said. "I just don't want to do that. I'd be surprised if I'm here longer than 10 years."

Calipari said he asked former UK coach Joe B. Hall how long someone could endure on the job. Hall answered, 10 years.

"Not many jobs you wear the coat 24 hours, seven days a week," Calipari said. "Then it becomes how long can you go at the pace I go. At this pace, I'm not sure I'd be very good at 72, and still try to do this."

Calipari, who turns 53 on Feb. 10, noted that he's not looking for the exit.

"It took me 20 years to get here," he said. "So I'm not so quick to leave. ... When it's time, I think we'll all know."

How much fun he's having will be the key to a decision to retire, Calipari said. "This is one of those ones where as long as I'm having a ball, that means the kids will have fun. If I'm not having a ball doing it, I just won't do it."

Then with his voice taking on a growing hint of sarcasm, Calipari added, "I'll pass it on to the next guy and say, 'You'll do great. You'll do great things. I'm telling you, you'll love it.'"

UK-IU series

Calipari declined to commit publicly to continuing UK's series with Indiana.

As he noted several times in the last two weeks, Calipari spoke of the difficulty of continuing to play Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina while the Southeastern Conference possibly expands from 16 to 18 games.

Calipari said he wanted the flexibility to schedule whatever non-conference opponents best fit UK's personnel each season. Kentucky being Kentucky, Calipari said he could wait until August to determine his roster and schedule accordingly.

When a reporter noted that Hall continued series with Indiana, Louisville and Kansas in the 1980s when Kentucky played an 18-game SEC schedule, Calipari replied, "And he was going nuts about it. He didn't want to. And he's no longer coaching here, either."

Crean on Davis

Through last weekend, UK freshman Anthony Davis ranked second nationally with an average of 4.5 blocks per game. C.J. Aiken of St. Joseph's leads the nation with an average of 5.0 blocks.

Davis' shot-blocking caught the eye of Indiana Coach Tom Crean. "There's just no way to duplicate this, and this is one thing that makes Davis such a special player," Crean said. "If there's a mistake made defensively, he can make up for it like maybe nobody else I've seen. ...

"I can't think of anybody that can make up for mistakes that his teammates might make, whether they go for a steal or they gamble. To cover the ground that he covers. It's amazing."

Offense vs. defense

Indiana goes into the game with one of the nation's best statistical offenses. The Hoosiers rank No. 8 in points (85.0 per game), No. 6 in overall shooting (52.3 percent) and No. 10 in three-point shooting (44 percent).

Kentucky leads the nation in field-goal defense (32.6 percent) and blocks (10.9 per game).

Brotherly advice

IU freshman Cody Zeller downplayed the notion that older brother Tyler, the center for North Carolina, would pass along advice on how to play Kentucky.

"Not too much," Cody said. "We don't talk about specifics too much. ... I didn't really want to talk to him after (UK beat UNC). He was a little down."

Etc.

Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale will call the game for ESPN.

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