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John Calipari and Kentucky staff play dodgeball with players. / CoachCal.com

CoachCal.com

If you're John Calipari and your young Kentucky team, playing without its injured star, just lost by 30 points to Tennessee and is threatening to slide off the NCAA tournament bubble, there are two ways to handle the situation.

Calipari could have gone tough, running the team through an intense practice or making them run wind sprints or forcing them to stay at the gym until everyone made 10 free throws in a row.

But Kentucky went a different path instead. On the night before the Wildcats would face off against Vanderbilt, Coach Cal organized a massive dodgeball game between the coaches and players.

The playground game was an attempt to ease the anxiety of the team before the season's homestretch. "This isn't life or death or we'd have died twice already," he said in a clip that appeared on CoachCal.com.

"After they were done, I said, 'why don't you go on the basketball court and have that much fun playing basketball.'"

It seemed to work. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 74-70, although, to be fair, the Commodores are in 11th place in the SEC, so it wasn't as if UK's win was a monumental one.

The players seemed to enjoy the pregame diversion.

"It wipes everything out," freshman Willie Cauley-Stein said. "That's kind of what it did. It was like, 'Oh, dodgeball!' Right when he said dodgeball, anything you was thinking was gone."

As if to advocate for future games of capture the flag or red rover, Cauley-Stein proved his relaxation on the court, dropping 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the win over Vandy.

Calipari wore a helmet for the dodgeball game, citing his old age and a knowledge that he might be a popular target.

"I ain't dumb, I know some of you want to throw at me, but don't believe I don't want to throw at some of you dudes too," Calipari told the players.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: John Calipari and Kentucky played dodgeball before Vandy game

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