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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2010

CBKB: Frustrated Wall says he 'loves' Calipari

Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. Kentucky star John Wall insists he "loves" coach John Calipari and the freshman guard says his complaint following a win over Vanderbilt last weekend that he wasn't having any fun was simply a sign of frustration.

Wall received pointed criticism from Calipari following a 68-62 loss at South Carolina last week, even though Wall said he didn't think he played that badly.

His frustration spilled over after scoring 13 points to go with nine assists and seven turnovers against the Commodores.

"I just try not to listen to him and go out and play basketball and try and help my team win," Wall said Saturday.

Two days later Wall quickly backpedaled, saying he met with Calipari and "everything is OK."

"When you are frustrated you say things you don't mean," Wall said. "We sat down and talked about it and I realized after I watched the film that I did play bad. I had a lot of turnovers and didn't lead the team like I was supposed to."

Calipari told Wall that every point guard including former college stars Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, both of whom played for Calipari at Memphis struggled at some point during their careers.

"The main thing is to listen to Coach. He knows what he is doing," Wall said. "Derrick and Tyreke are doing great in the NBA. He said for me to call those guys if I need some advice, since they have been through the same thing."

Calipari called Wall's small outburst "a teaching point" and said he's not worried about their relationship becoming strained.

"A lot has been thrown at him, (the) league has gotten harder and there aren't as many easy plays," Calipari said. "Now there is a frustration level of, 'Now it's time to step up, you're the marked man, and they're coming at you.'"

Wall has tailed off a bit after a spectacular start. He leads the fourth-ranked Wildcats (20-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) in scoring and assists but is also averaging 4.1 turnovers per game.

Calipari isn't worried about the turnovers as long as Wall continues to try and make the right plays while learning to relax and enjoy the ride.

"If we can teach him now how you have to respond in these kinds of situations, it's going to be good for him," Calipari said.

The Wildcats host No. 25 Mississippi (16-5, 4-3) on Tuesday.