John Calipari Gives Conditioning Advice for Quarantine


The new normal for sports media consists of Zoom, Cisco WebEx and teleconferences. Gone are press conferences and locker room access. For athletes doing strength training, the new normal consists of bench press pressing tires, pulling/pushing motor vehicles and jumping on to garbage cans.

They’ve had to say goodbye to the weight room and any kind of training in groups. Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari, while on Zoom teleconference with the media, pointed out the challenges basketball players have right now to stay in shape and keep their skills fresh.

john calipari nba draft

“My worry is for guys—OK, let’s just talk they’re working out right now. If they spend two months and don’t do anything and they try to go work out for an NBA team, it ain’t going to work for them,” Calipari said.

“So, there are no gyms, there are no health clubs unless they have a gym in their house. None of them do. Unless they have a health area, a workout area within their home. None of them do.”

“How is this—how are we doing this? So, my worry is more about that. We’re getting information to the kids. I have not done a group call mainly because I have more questions than I have answers for them right now. But my guess is four to five guys would probably test the waters.”

“They changed a rule that I wasn’t on top of that you can now declare for the draft every year you’re in college and if you choose to go back it doesn’t hurt your eligibility.

It used to be after the second time you had to stay in the draft. Now you can do it every time.”


Obviously, it’s bad for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic. Life is not even remotely close to anywhere near normal for anybody right now, but we’re all in this together. And just about every basketball player/NBA Draft prospect has the same limitations and disadvantages right now.

So what kind of advice does Calipari have for the guys when it comes to staying in shape? Well, his answer covered a lot more than just that topic. Coach Cal got into the best practices and good habits of social distancing maintaining proper hygiene in order to fight the virus.

“I’ve been telling them, ‘You better be conditioning in some way because your body is your castle and your career is going to be dictated on how you take care of your body.’ Messing around with a basketball to make sure you’re keeping your feel, it’ll be like riding a bike, the rest of it,” Calipari continued.

“But I would be saying, even if you’re in the house, sit-ups, pushups, running in place, doing anything. Getting out in the street and doing conditioning stuff staying six feet from everybody.”


“You ready? The minute you walk in the door, wash your hands.’ And I have my son.”

‘You wash your hands for 20 seconds. Twenty seconds!’ His are [counting quickly], ‘One, two, three, 20.’ ‘Like, 20 seconds son. If you walk in from outside of the house, take those clothes off and throw them in the washer. Put new clothes on after you shower.’ I mean, trying to stay healthy. You don’t want to get sick. But these kids have a genius.”

“Their genius is basketball and the only way they’re going to be able to master their craft is if they can figure out a way of staying in shape.”

“You ready for this? Just like all of the other Americans, first thing that you’re responsible for is yourself. You’re responsible for you.”

“Yes, other people should be able to help, and what Ellen and I are doing in this community is a hand up.”

“It is not a handout. Why do we not want to do things for one time? Because then we’re doing it for ourselves.”

“We’re not doing it for anybody else. We’re not doing it for them.”

“We’re doing it for us. It makes us feel good. But when you’re doing it over and over and over again, you’re doing it for the right reasons. For these players, and I’d say it to the NBA players, you now are responsible for you first and then who else can I help?

“What other impact can I have? But you take care of yourself first.”

Solid advice, not just for basketball, but for this life. This sage advice doesn’t just apply to these crisis times, but for when life returns to normalcy as well. #StayHome #StayHomeSaveLives #FlattenTheCurve

For our latest NBA mock draft update go here.

For more from this Zoom conference go here.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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