This summer, John Calipari wanted some information. The Kentucky basketball coach tasked his staff with looking back over his previous 13 seasons in the job and figuring out the key to the program’s biggest successes during that time. Calipari noted that he threw out the 2020-21 season — “the COVID year,” as he often refers to the 9-16 slog that included very little practice time for a young UK team that never found its footing. With that exception, he wanted to dig into the stats and see what made his Wildcats click.
“One thing stood out,” he told reporters in the Bahamas last week. “Blocked shots.”
Indeed, the numbers are glaring.
In Calipari’s first six seasons at Kentucky — when the Cats went to four Final Fours, just missed a fifth and won a national championship — UK averaged at least 5.9 blocks per game each year.