Calipari discusses challenging 'foreign tour' for Kentucky in ESPN interview

June 2, 2014 

Coach John Calipari spoke as he and several players took part in a new conference in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tx., Sunday, April 06, 2014. UK will play UCONN Monday night for the National title. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff


University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari resurfaced Monday after taking a few weeks off to rehabilitate from hip replacement surgery last month.

Calipari took part in an ESPNU college basketball podcast with Kansas Coach Bill Self. Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg of ESPN interviewed both coaches.

Calipari spoke about a number of topics, most notably a "foreign tour" his team will make later this summer, which will allow the team to play preseason games and take part in practices.

Calipari said details of the trip to the Bahamas were still being finalized but he predicted a good test for his team.

"We're going to go against national teams that we should not beat," Calipari said. "We should go 0-6."

Calipari said the opponents will "have NBA players on them."

When asked what type of "national teams" these would be, Calipari said, "We're getting it all squared away right now. I'm trying to keep that under the hat."

Calipari also offered two health updates — on himself and forward Willie Cauley-Stein.

"I'm good. I'm four weeks in" to rehabilitating from hip replacement surgery on May 2, Calipari said. "I'll tell you what it did. It made me slow down. I had to take three weeks in Florida. I rested for the first time in like seven years, where I had to sleep some. It's going to take me a little while longer. I'm still hobbled."

The hip replacement surgery was Calipari's second. His left hip was replaced in 2004, when he was the head coach at Memphis.

Calipari said that Cauley-Stein, who injured his ankle during the NCAA Tournament, would probably not play during the foreign tour.

"He may be able to practice with us late July but he wouldn't be cleared till the 10th of August, and why would I risk it for him or for us?" Calipari said.

Calipari also discussed the prospects for UK freshmen Julius Randle and James Young in the NBA Draft on June 26.

The coach said in his "biased" opinion, both are top-10 picks.

Calipari said both players did not post the numbers they might have been capable of at Kentucky because of the need to defer to teammates.

Calipari said Randle "physically is ready for the league now. And the things that he does will carry over into the league — the rebounding, his ability to guard multiple positions.

"He's the pick that you're not worried about winning the press day. You're just worried about building your organization and building toward a championship."

The UK coach spoke of James Young's "ridiculous upside."

"If you look at all the two-guards, they said athletically he measured out in all the jumping, the running. He may be the fastest kid in the draft. He's a terrific shooter. A great teammate."

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