John Calipari emphasizes mental health importance of athletes being able to play games in regular season, postseason
John Calipari saw 3 of his players taken in Wednesday’s NBA Draft, with the number of Wildcats making a mark in the professional level set to grow.
But the mental wellbeing of student-athletes in this time often gets lost in the shuffle, something the longtime Wildcats head coach has noticed.
During an interview with “The Paul Finebaum Show” on Thursday, Calipari discussed the feelings that players taken in the draft may have been experiencing in the lead-up to the event, especially after not having been on the basketball court since March.
“Could you imagine the anxiety? Could you imagine the thoughts going through a young person’s mind?” Calipari said. “Well, it brings me back to my own team. All of us better have sports psychologists, and we better not overlook what our kids are going through mentally.”
He touched on the conversations he has had with both his players and their parents while mentioning his respect for going through what “no one in the history of college basketball” has ever experienced.
“The pressure of playing, the anxiety of playing, they’re not mentally—they’re still young people,” he said. “And then to go through this pandemic? Hats off to them and all my respect. And that’s why we have to play. For them…These kids need to get on that field and get on that court safely.”
“That’s why we have to play, . … These kids need to get on that field and get on that court safely.” @UKCoachCalipari on the importance of mental health for student-athletes. pic.twitter.com/8d5zAXz79t
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 19, 2020