Kentucky coach John Calipari congratulates Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) after the Volunteers' 88-58 loss on Saturday. / Randy Sartin, USA TODAY Sports
Whether it was a moment of clarity or a flat-out epiphany, Kentucky coach John Calipari changed his mind about his team Sunday morning.
"I went to Mass this morning and had a chance to reflect on where we have come from this season, what we have been through and where we are right now," Calipari wrote on his web site.
He added of his team, "I refuse to believe they don't have the fight in them to do this. I refuse to believe they aren't coachable. I refuse to believe either one of those because we've got good kids."
One day earlier, after his team's 30-point loss to Tennessee, he had expressed different feelings. The fourth-year Wildcats coach harshly criticized his players for their lack of drive in Kentucky's first game playing without star freshman Nerlens Noel, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
After the game, Calipari said his players were "not real coachable" and had their "worst practice in four years" on Friday. He said the Wildcats "should have lost by 50" and that he planned to "burn the tape."
But on Sunday, after Mass, he wrote, "I believe in this team if our players will compete and battle, which they have the ability to do. I'll say this again: Confidence is from within. It's developed through hard work and demonstrated performance during games. They have showed it in spurts this year, but no one is going to give us anything. We are going to have to earn it and fight for it, which I believe we can do."
Calipari went on to say that he believes his team can "write its own story" and said he shared a well-known Martin Luther King Jr. quote with his players to inspire them. The quote read:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy."
Calipari finished by saying, "No life raft is going to be thrown at us. We've got to swim back because this is going to be hard. But if we want it, it's still there for us. Now let's go get it."
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Read the original story: John Calipari backs off comments, stands by Kentucky team