When Kentucky coach John Calipari was looking for guidance on how to coach his team, especially help with managing the minutes of such a talented lot, he called John Wooden.
“We talked on the phone for 15 minutes,’’ Calipari told ESPN.com Thursday in Charlotte. “I told him ‘I’m really struggling to get this chemistry right.’ He told me that I’m playing too many people and I need to only play six or seven guys. He said, ‘I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to keep all these kids happy. But how can you get a rhythm going?’ It was unbelievable advice. I did shorten the numbers. I’m just so happy that we had that conversation.’’
Calipari called Wooden, “one of the greatest coaches in any sport. He did it without being a bully and the players at the time probably struggled with the structure but when they left, there was a burning love for him. He is what this game is all about. When you talk about how he taught, how he was with his late wife. You talk about his character as a person. That’s what he was about."