June 17, 2013
The Kentucky basketball team is living by a Wildcat Code over the summer to ensure they earn everything that comes with being a Kentucky basketball player.
The C-J's Adam Himmelsbach talked to Hawkins for a story over the weekend on the off-season workouts and preparation. In it, Hawkins detailed the Code:
If players do not accumulate 80 points by a certain date, Hawkins said, they will not be allowed to use the team locker room. If they reach the 80-point mark, they could get their own room in the team dormitory. When they reach 100, they receive a jersey.
Hawkins said the offseason program is thorough and detailed, down to a point-based reward system called the “Wildcat Code.” He said players accumulate one to four points per day for things such as sitting at the front of the class, showing teachers their notes afterward and displaying extra hustle in basketball workouts.
John Calipari caught wind of Hawkins "spilling the beans" and outlined the Wildcat Code.
"The first rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code," Calipari tweeted. "The second rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code. LOL."
Calipari stated he wasn't legitimately upset Hawkins talked about the Wildcat Code, and the coach went on to explain the reasoning behind it.
"All I can tell you about the Code right now is that it's geared to make these guys earn everything," Calipari tweeted. "Nothing is given; everything is earned. The guys get a grade every day, one for academics and another for physical development. The two grades are then added together.
Essentially: More competition and more of making players earn everything, two themes that have already been brought up in an early summer press conference and will almost certainly extend throughout the year and on to the court.
I don't know for sure that Calipari hasn't done this in the past, but it seems like one of his changes for this season. Does it seem somewhat dramatic to make them reach an arbitrary number of "points" to get their dorms and their jerseys? Perhaps.
But I also think it's an admission of sorts by Calipari that something didn't work last year, and it's a sign that Calipari is taking steps to try avoiding those same issues popping up with this new group.
He knows how special this year can be. He wants to do everything possible to ensure it doesn't get sabotaged from within.