Cal touts ‘fear’ as a motivator for UK, many young players elsewhere

In explaining the Camp Cal morning workouts begun this week, Kentucky Coach John Calipari touted “fear” as a foundational piece for any good team. In other words, the Camp Cal workouts can help instill “fear” or a realization that players must work harder.

“None of them work hard enough,” Calipari said of all freshmen Friday. “In most cases, I’m going to be honest, what moves the young kid (is) fear. Not fear of me.”

Rather it’s a fear that ” ‘I’m not good enough,'” Calipari said in voicing the mindset he sees in players.

Calipari held out his first mega star at Memphis, Derrick Rose, as a prime example. Rose was “scared to death” of not making it in the NBA, Calipari. So, the UK coach recalled, Rose spent five hours a day in the gym.

Calipari also noted Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as another example. The UK coach said he’d gotten text messages from MKG from the Charlotte Bobcats’ camp this fall that revealed anxiety.

” ‘I may have made a mistake,'” MKG texted, according to Calipari. “‘I don’t think I’m good enough.'”

To which, Calipari said he replied, “‘What?! Are you kidding me, kid? You may not shoot it as well (as other pros). You may not bounce it as well. But the thing you do no one else does. So you keep playing hard and competing. That’s what you do.’

“He was scared to death.”

The implication was that not all of Kentucky’s current players have that kind of fear.

“Guys who think they’re it, they’ve made it, I’ll be honest,” Calipari said, “normally don’t make it.”

Kentucky plays again Saturday against Portland, a team Calipari likened to Notre Dame in terms of execution.

The UK coach said this game will show the fruits of this week’s attention to will to win and competitiveness.

“If you’re only doing it because I’m making them do it, at some point of the game, they’ll let go of the rope,” he said. “If they’re doing it because they know they have to change, they’ll play a full game.”

Calipari said he wanted UK fans to leave Rupp Arena Saturday saying the Cats “fought for 40 minutes. I can live with that. We’re going to be fine.'”

Added Calipari, “I think that’s the response you’ll get.”