John Calipari Says He May Never Use Platoon System Again

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 04:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers during the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari posted a season review for the Wildcats on his official site Tuesday. In his review, Calipari discussed coming up two victories short of an undefeated season, the draft outlook for those leaving the program and a number of other topics associated with the 2014-15 campaign.

The Hall of Fame coach also stated the amount of talent on his roster this past season forced him to use the frequently maligned platoon system. He stood behind his choice to use the system but said he doesn't plan on ever using it again.

"The only way I could figure out for all of them to eat was to platoon," Calipari wrote. "I didn't feel comfortable trying to sub 10 guys in and out. I thought it would hurt every player if I did that. I needed a way for every player to help themselves, their team and their teammates."

As a result, 10 Kentucky players averaged at least 10 minutes per contest, and no player checked in at more than 26 minutes per game. In many of his substitutions, the longtime coach made complete five-man swaps between players on the court and those on the bench.

Fans and experts voiced their concerns about the system throughout the season. Some questioned whether players would be able to maintain a rhythm with the constant switching. Yet, as Calipari noted, Kentucky started 38-0 before their national semifinal loss to Wisconsin, so it couldn't have been too terrible.

But that doesn't mean Calipari plans to bring the platoon back in the future. He explained his hope of returning to his usual style of coaching for next season and beyond, writing:

If you ask me if I'm ever going to platoon again, my answer is NO. Last season was an absolute outlier. It's just not the way I like to coach. I would rather play seven or eight guys because I believe that gives us the best chance to win. I think we wrote the book on platooning this year, but I hope we stick it on the shelf and never have to use it again.

There was some speculation that Calipari's sudden opposition to using the platoon system had something to do with potential negative implications in recruiting, as ESPN's Jeff Goodman pointed out:

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN

Gotta wonder if the platoon hurt Calipari and Kentucky with any of these kids. Elite guys want to play 35 minutes, not 20'ish.

The Wildcats came within two games of going down in college basketball history as undefeated national champions. Instead, they are just a footnote. Failing to win the championship doesn't erase their accomplishments, but it definitely hurt their potential for a lasting legacy.

So it's back to the drawing board for Calipari as he works to rebuild a title contender once again. Just don't expect the final product to look anything like what everybody saw from Kentucky last season.


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