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John Calipari says No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats not ready to go

John Calipari says No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats not ready to go
John Calipari says No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats not ready to go

On paper, Kentucky seems to have it all as it prepares for its season opener against Howard on Monday.

But John Calipari isn’t convinced this team is ready to go – at least not yet.

On Tuesday, Calipari tweeted a video that aimed to temper expectations around a Kentucky men’s basketball team that includes Oscar Tshiebwe, the reigning Wooden Award winner, and several personalities who helped the Wildcats win the rankings. No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll.

Kentucky’s non-conference schedule features four top-25 teams: Michigan, Gonzaga, Kansas and UCLA.

“We have player of the year and another all-conference first team [player]. We have good young guys, but let me explain and you know I’m honest about things,” Calipari said. “We’re not where we need to be right now and I’m looking at November and December and saying, ‘We might be a little fragile.’”

It’s an odd message for a head coach who has struggled to avoid controversy among his fervent fan base in recent months. A loss to 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season extended the program’s Final Four drought to seven years.

Calipari later called Kentucky “a basketball school” and asked the university to fund a new practice facility for his team during an exhibition trip to the Bahamas. The comments were interpreted as a shot at Mark Stoops and his emerging Kentucky football program. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart told reporters that a new training facility isn’t a priority right now.

At Big Blue Madness, Kentucky basketball’s midnight madness event, Rupp Arena lacked the vibe the men’s basketball program had enjoyed during its prime years under Calipari.

Tshiebwe, who wore a walking boot that night, said he would return to play in the team’s opener next week after knee surgery. Also on board are Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace, a pair of five-star rookies. Sahvir Wheeler is expected to be a major contributor again after suffering a minor knee injury in recent weeks. And Jacob Toppin, the brother of former lottery pick Obi Toppin, could have a breakout campaign.

In his video, however, Calipari asked fans to be patient and “enjoy the ride” as the team aims to build momentum heading into the SEC season.

“What we build and what we do every day, these guys give it their all,” Calipari said. “I love coins. I love teammates. But what we need to do to win at the highest level is going to take us some time. I say this for me as well as for you.”

. John Calipari says the Wildcats Kentucky are not ready go

. John Calipari Kentucky Wildcats ready

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