Kentucky coach John Calipari posted a new article on his blog site — CoachCal.com — about the use of his platoon system this past year and how he would try to avoid doing it again. Coach Cal explained that he has never done anything like platooning before and has always tried to keep his rotation tight as a matter of fact.
“In all my coaching career, I’ve always played six, seven or eight guys. As a matter of fact, at UMass in 1996 I played five – the sixth man played single-digit minutes. My guards played 39 minutes a game. I’ve done this all kinds of ways, playing as many as eight or nine guys, which I thought was a bit much, but never have I ever tried to play 10 until this year.”
Calipari wasn’t expecting to have 10 guys he would have to work in though because so many guys came back like Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and the Harrison twins. He explained that those guys coming back was ultimately the right decision for them and that to get them all playing time platooning was the way to go.
“The only way I could figure out for all of them to eat was to platoon. I didn’t feel comfortable trying to sub 10 guys in and out. I thought it would hurt every player if I did that. I needed a way for every player to help themselves, their team and their teammates.”
But if you asked him if he would do it again, he would give a hard “NO” on that one. And he would have no problem if he never saw it again either.
“If you ask me if I’m ever going to platoon again, my answer is NO. Last season was an absolute outlier. It’s just not the way I like to coach. I would rather play seven or eight guys because I believe that gives us the best chance to win. I think we wrote the book on platooning this year, but I hope we stick it on the shelf and never have to use it again.”
Calipari goes on to say that coming to Kentucky will always make you a better player and that former players will always be welcome back and are considered part of the family. And when you play for Big Blue Nation you expect to win. There’s only one school that will have had 26 guys taken in the NBA Draft in the last six years, including 13 lottery picks if you add the four that UK may have this year. There’s also only one school that’s been to four Final Fours in the last five years because of the coach and the talent he’s been able to bring in to the program.