A brief Friday recap. Tomorrow’s game is not a rematch. A loaded notebook contains, among many things, the impact of Cam Thoroughman’s screens. (Set aside 20 minutes here. There are no space constraints on the Web.)
“Sometimes I get a pretty good shot in on them and they don’t see me coming, they hit the ground pretty hard,” he said. “Other times they see it coming and it doesn’t really affect them that much. Either way, whenever they’re pressuring Joe and Truck, after I get them once or twice pretty good, they’re turning their heads and I don’t get to apply as much pressure.
“So a lot of it is trying to get our offense better. But I’d love to go up there and tee off on those guys like that.”
Naturally, the heart attack/ambulance story was drawn out of Bob Huggins and John Calipari Friday. Naturally, it did not disappoint.
Q. We, here in Tampa, were not at the Elite Eight last year. Can you clear up the story? There seem to be two different stories.
COACH HUGGINS: That was your loss.
Q. Absolutely, without a doubt. Could you clear up the heart attack ambulance story? There seem to be two versions: yours and Cal’s.
COACH HUGGINS: Cal wasn’t there. (Laughter).
I wasn’t going to tell it. Cal likes to tell it better than I do. Of course Cal wasn’t dying and I was. (Laughter). No, they come in and they kind of scooped me up off the sidewalk there in the Pittsburgh airport and put me in an ambulance and hooked me up, started pumping some morphine in me to slow everything down, and I’m kind of in and out of consciousness. I mean, I know I’m not doing very well, you know.
So I say to the EMT, I said, “How much longer?” And I was out, and I kind of woke up, and I said, “How much longer?” And he said, “Don’t worry, I’ve never lost a patient. You know, and I said to him, “I ain’t no old lady now. I know when I’m hurting. I’m not going to make it a lot longer.” So he says, “What’s the ETA?” And they said, “I don’t know, 22 minutes or something like that.” And I heard him say, “Abort, abort, abort.” And then I passed back out.
When I woke up he was a lot more serious about it. He was — he kind of put his hand on my shoulder, he said, “Coach, I’m Cal’s cousin.” Now, Cal says it his nephew, but the guy said, “I’m Cal’s cousin. We’re not going to let you die until he beats you at least once.” And that’s the story.
Q. He has beat you, though.
COACH HUGGINS: I know. I don’t think he had then. I don’t think he had then. But what are you trying to say, I can die now? (Laughter).
Calipari took the baton and ran away with it.
Q. Can you clear up a little bit of the legend here? Coach Huggins insists he knows the story better because, A, he was there, and two, he was the one dying, but can you clear up the ambulance-nephew story?
COACH CALIPARI: He was out cold, and he tells you he remembers everything? He was out. He knew something was wrong. He sat down on the curb at the Pittsburgh airport, and the ambulance comes up, and it’s my cousin. And he goes and figures out who it is, and we’re going to have to get my cousin because you know Bob does embellish. And he said, you know, “I’m Coach Calipari’s cousin and I’m here, you’re going to be fine.” And that’s when Bob said, “Oh, my gosh, I’m not making it.”
But that was the scary thing. Let me just tell you. I can’t remember where I was, but I flew back to Pittsburgh because I heard about it because it was scary. You know, because he’s such a big, tough guy, which he’s a teddy bear, I mean, he’s not, but he comes across like he wants to fight — no, he does want to fight everybody, but he comes across — but reality is here’s a guy, June was there, family was there, and he had the paddles, you know. And he’s one of those guys that now he takes care of himself, he’s doing what he’s supposed to, and it was just scary for us and him and anybody that’s a friend or a friend of his family.
But his story is my cousin hasn’t beaten you yet so you’ve got to live. Is that what it is?