Most Recent Posts
- Former UK great Jeff Sheppard excited about recruiting class, but says fans should remember players are young
- Kentucky fans even took time to throw up the “3 goggles” in the Alps
- Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”
- Even UK football coach Mark Stoops did not expect this much fan support at Kentucky
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands that hiring Vince Marrow was a home run for Kentucky
By LARRY VAUGHT
Heâ€™s not ready to annoint his team as national champion, or even Southeastern Conference champion, as LSU coach Trent Johnson was ready to do after Kentucky demolished the Tigers Saturday.
However, UKâ€ˆcoach John Calipari had to admit â€œwe were goodâ€ after watching his No. 1 Wildcats stymie Tennessee 69-44 Tuesday night.
â€œWe played in a rough game. We played good,â€ said Calipari.
Good enough that UK made its first 11 shots from the field and opened a 20-5 lead before the Volunteers knew what happened. Good enough that when things got a little chippy following a Terrence Jonesâ€™ power move to the basket, the Cats didnâ€™t back down and even the normally mild-mannered Anthony Davis got a technical foul. Good enough that even though the Cats were just 1-for-10 from 3-point range, they won easily by 21 of their other 31 shots and 24 of 27 free throws. Good enough that Tennessee shot just 28.1 percent (16-for-57) from the field and became the third straight team to score 50 or fewer points against UK â€” something that has not happened since the 1950-51 season.
There was no star, either. Instead, it was a game where Calipari could point to everyone and find something to like.
Start with Anthony Davis, who continues to make his case for national player of the year honors. Once again he flirted with only UKâ€™s second triple-double before finishing with 18 points (6-for-7 from the field and foul line), eight rebounds and seven blocks to increase his nationâ€™s best total to 108. He also threw in three assists and had Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin calling him a â€œonce in a lifetime playerâ€ because of all he does.
â€œIâ€™ve said it before. Heâ€™s the difference, probably one of the best, if not the best in country at changing the game with his presence on the defensive side of the ball,â€â€ˆMartin said.
Go to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He had a ho-hum 16 points (5-for-9 from the field), eight rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist and never quit smiling or battling. If thereâ€™s a loose ball or rebound he doesnâ€™t think he can get, Iâ€™ve not seen it yet this year.
â€œHeâ€™s playing,â€ Calipari said.
â€œI just love basketball,â€ Kidd-Gilchrist said.
But hereâ€™s the best part for Calipari and Kentucky.
â€œYou can go right down the line. Darius (Miller) and Doron (Lamb) didnâ€™t play great, but they played good defense. And itâ€™s not like they played bad,â€ Calipari said. â€œWeâ€™re not going to be pitching shutouts, soâ€ˆIâ€™m happy with the team. Weâ€™ve got to get better. Weâ€™ve got to keep improving. We love to play fast. But if we have to grind it out, we can and we did at the end. We can play both ways if we have to.â€
Thatâ€™s because point guard Marquis Teague is settling into his role as team leader just as John Wall and Brandon Knight did the previous two years. He went about 30 minutes without a turnover Tuesday and finished the game with nine points, four assists, two rebouns and one steal. He was solid on defense and had just two late turnovers.
â€œI am just trying to run the offense and get good shots for my teammates,â€ Teague said. â€œOur defense made it difficult for them to get shots off. We played a lot better than we did at Tennessee (in a three-point win).â€
Calipari was not ready to call his team scary good or elite despite the easy back-to-back wins. The coach has been calling for his team to elevate its play and negate other teamsâ€™ physical play. He said the LSU game was â€œrougherâ€ and noted that UK also hit seven 3-point shots in that win.
But one constant in both easy wins was solid play from Terrence Jones. He had 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals against Tennessee, nothing close to the 27 points, nine rebounds and three blocks he had at LSU. However, he was a physical presence again and no Tennessee player accused him of being soft after the game as the Vols did after the earlier meeting.
Jones, a sophomore, wasnâ€™t ready to use the word â€œscaryâ€ for UKâ€™s play, either. He chose his words more carefully.
â€œI think our team is improving and getting better each game,â€â€ˆJones said. â€œItâ€™s just how we are playing good and it is showing up on offense and defense and has led to the outcomes weâ€™ve had the last two games. We are concentrating more and trusting one another and playing more team ball and thatâ€™s what is leading to easy wins.â€
Whatever it is, Kentucky is now 22-1 and 8-0 in Southeastern Conference play. However, road games remain at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Florida, all top 25 teams. Yet this team seems to relish the thought of that challenge.
â€œWe just play,â€â€ˆKidd-Gilchrist said. â€œWe donâ€™t care who or when. If we play ball, we can win. Thatâ€™s what we believe. We have fun and we win. Thatâ€™s what we do.â€
Tennessee at Kentucky
Menâ€™s Basketball Post-Game Notes
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky., Jan. 31, 2012
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 69, Tennessee 44
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 22-1 overall, 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference
- The Wildcats have won 14 in a row.
- UK is off to its best start in SEC play since the 2005 team won its first 10 league games.
- Tennessee is 10-12 overall, 2-5 in league play.
- Kentucky leads the series 148-66 and has won five in a row against the Volunteers.
- Kentucky goes on the road Saturday at South Carolina. Game time is 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.
- Kentucky started with the lineup of Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis for the fourth-straight game. UK is 13-1 when starting this lineup.
- Kentucky scored on its first three possessions and led 6-0 before Tennessee got on the board at the 17:09 mark.
- Kentucky entered the bonus (Tennessee seventh foul) at 13:21 on the clock.
- Kentucky made its first eight field goals and first four foul shots in building a 20-5 lead before Teagueâ€™s missed free throw at 12:58.
- Kentucky extended its field goal streak to 11 in a row and did not miss a field goal attempt until 8:53 remained.
- Kentucky went into halftime with a 38-25 lead.
- Kentucky scored the first five points of the second half and led by at least 15 points the rest of the way.
- UK has held the last three opponents to 50 or fewer points (Georgia 44, LSU 50, Tennessee 44), the first time that has happened in three-consecutive games since the 1950-51 season.
- UK limited Tennessee to 28.1 percent from the field (16 of 57), Tennesseeâ€™s lowest percentage of the season.
- Third time this season UK has held an opponent under 30 percent.
- UK limited Tennessee to 44 points, the Volunteersâ€™ fewest of the season.
- UK is 67-1 under Coach John Calipari when holding the opponent to 67 points or fewer.
- UK is 20-0 under Calipari when holding the opponent to 55 points or fewer.
- UK has an all-time record of 159-25 while being ranked No. 1 (AP) in the country, including 5-1 this season.
- UK is 65-2 at home while being ranked No. 1.
- John Calipari is 47-7 while coaching the top-ranked team in the country, including 5-2 at Kentucky.
- The Wildcats extended their home winning streak to 48 games, the longest active streak in the nation. The run includes the 2009 NIT game at Memorial Coliseum and the last 47 games at Rupp Arena.
- UK is a perfect 47-0 under Calipari at Rupp Arena, the longest win streak in venue history.
- UK owns a 473-60 all-time record in Rupp Arena.
- Since the 2000 season, Calipari-coached teams have posted a 202-19 record at home.
- In its 109th season of basketball, Kentucky is the NCAAâ€™s all-time wins leader with 2,074 wins.
- Anthony Davis led all players with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots
- Davis has blocked at least two shots in every game this season. He entered the game leading the nation with 4.6 blocks per game.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tallied 16 points and tied Davis for rebounding honors with eight.
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Freshman Anthony Davis had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots as top-ranked Kentucky beat Tennessee 69-44 on Tuesday night to extend the Wildcats’ home winning streak to 48 games.
Kentucky (22-1, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) got off to a sizzling start by hitting its first 11 shots over the opening 11 minutes as the Wildcats won their 14th straight overall in another dominating performance.
The 6-foot-10 Davis has been the biggest star among the Wildcats’ starting group of three freshmen and two sophomores who expect to play for a national title in a little over two months.
The Volunteers (10-12, 2-5) were led by Renaldo Woolridge, who hit a career-best five 3-pointers and tied his career-high with 17 points.
Kentucky holds the nation’s longest home winning streak and wore platinum gray uniforms instead of their standard white as part of a Nike promotion with eight other programs in men’s and women’s basketball.
The uniforms made it tough at times to pick up who was scoring for the Wildcats. No matter, everyone has pitched in equally this season for a club that features six players averaging 9.9 points or more.
Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 16 points and eight rebounds, Terrence Jones scored 11 points and Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague had nine apiece for the Wildcats.
The Vols’ main inside presence, Jeronne Maymon, scored 13 points, but picked up his fourth foul with just over 12 minutes to play. With Maymon gone, Davis feasted down low, blocking his seventh shot of the game when he rotated and swatted Kenny Hall’s attempt.
Davis has an NCAA-best 108 blocked shots this season to help Kentucky lead the nation. He made six straight free throws before hitting a 17-footer that gave Kentucky a 57-36 lead with 6:52 left.
He scored the first two baskets of the game, then stepped out and hit another long jumper as Kentucky built a 10-2 lead at the first media timeout.
With just under 14 minutes left, Jones went hard to the basket, scored and drew a foul. With both teams congregated in the paint, pushing and shoving started before officials separated the sides.
Trae Golden and Davis were assessed technical fouls, and Davis drew an offensive foul on Hall on the ensuing possession that fired the Wildcats up even more.
Kidd-Gilchrist was fouled on the next possession and made both free throws, Teague added another and Kidd-Gilchrist’s layup gave Kentucky a 22-5 lead with 11:39 left in the first half.
Vols freshman Jarnell Stokes picked up his second foul 25 seconds later to go to the bench and Tennessee’s best three players – Stokes, Maymon and Golden – watched the rest of the half because of foul trouble.
Darius Miller’s jumper gave Kentucky a 26-8 lead, but he missed a 3-pointer to snap the Wildcats’ perfect start with 8:57 left in the first half.
Woolridge hit consecutive 3-pointers that cut Kentucky’s lead to 32-22 and was 5 for 5 from 3-point range at that point, while his teammates were 3 for 19 from the field.
The Vols never cut the lead to single digits as Kentucky answered with six straight points and led 38-25 at halftime.
Tennessee is 4-12 all-time against the nation’s top-ranked team including a win against No. 1 Kentucky in 1966. The Vols had won its last two games when facing No. 1, but this group under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin never had a chance after shooting 28.1 percent at aging Rupp Arena.
Earlier Tuesday, a planning committee recommended renovations to the arena and surrounding area beginning in 2015 at a cost of between $250 million to $300 million.
The two-year project would keep Rupp’s official capacity around 23,000, but would add luxury boxes, party suites, chair backs, a modern eight-sided scoreboard and LED ribbon boards around the facility.
No. 1 KENTUCKY 69, TENNESSEE 44
TENNESSEE (10-12): Tatum 0-7 0-0 0, Richardson 0-5 0-0 0, Golden 2-6 0-1 5, Stokes 2-9 0-0 4, Maymon 4-8 5-6 13, Woolridge 6-9 0-0 17, McBee 1-6 0-0 3, Hall 0-3 0-0 0, Makanjuola 1-1 0-0 2, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Washpun 0-0 0-0 0, McRae 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-57 5-7 44.
KENTUCKY (22-1): Davis 6-7 6-7 18, Jones 3-6 5-5 11, Lamb 3-5 2-2 9, Kidd-Gilchrist 5-9 6-6 16, Teague 2-4 5-6 9, Miller 2-7 0-1 4, Beckham 0-0 0-0 0, Vargas 0-0 0-0 0, Wiltjer 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-41 24-27 69.
Halftime_Kentucky 38-25. 3-Point Goals_Tennessee 7-18 (Woolridge 5-6, Golden 1-3, McBee 1-4, Tatum 0-1, McRae 0-1, Richardson 0-3), Kentucky 1-10 (Lamb 1-3, Jones 0-1, Wiltjer 0-2, Miller 0-4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Tennessee 29 (Stokes 6), Kentucky 34 (Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist 8). Assists_Tennessee 7 (Tatum 3), Kentucky 11 (Teague 4). Total Fouls_Tennessee 23, Kentucky 15. A_24,359.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
By RICHARD CHEEKS
During the previous off season, I reflected on the 2010-11 team and projected and speculated about the 2011-12 team. In the process, I made a player by player, position by position comparison. I will use the format of that analysis, and update and compare the forecast to how these teams compare 22 games into the 2011-12 season going into tonight’s game against Tennessee.
PG: Knight v Teague
Preseason forecast: While Teague is not Wall or Knight, his presence on the floor will be a NET positive for the team. Advantage 2012. Knightâ€™s individual efficiency ended the season at 0.061 points per possession, 7th of 8 contributors. Knight ended 26.9% of the teamâ€™s possession. Teagueâ€™s individual efficiency through 22 games is 0.132 ppp, 7th of 8 contributors. Teague has ended 17.4% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Advantage 2012.
C: Harrellson v Davis
Preseason forecast: While Harrellson turned in a performance in 2010-11 for the ages, and was instrumental in Kentuckyâ€™s post season run, Davis may be the #1 incoming freshman in 2011-12 with all the natural talent that Harrellson lacked. Advantage 2012. Harrellsonâ€™s individual efficiency ended the season at an unbelievable 1.564 points per possession, 1st of 8 contributors. Harrellson ended only 4.2% of the teamâ€™s possession because while Josh was efficient when he could operate down low, he was limited in the number of situations he could be effective, and the team looked elsewhere on the offensive end. Davisâ€™s individual efficiency through 22 games is 0.790 ppp, also 1st of 8 contributors. Davis has ended 10.6% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. The increased utilization rate coupled with a team high efficiency more than offsets the decline in raw efficiency. Advantage 2012.
SG: Lamb v Lamb
Lamb as a sophomore will contribute more to the team than Lamb did as a freshman. Advantage 2012. Lambâ€™s individual efficiency as a Freshman ended the season at 0.156 points per possession, 4th of 8 contributors. Lamb ended 15.7% of the teamâ€™s possession. Lambâ€™s individual efficiency as a Sophomore through 22 games is 0.217 ppp, 5th of 8 contributors. Lamb has ended 16.3% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Advantage 2012.
SF: Miller v Miller
Miller as a senior will contribute more to the team than Miller did as a junior. Advantage 2012. Millerâ€™s individual efficiency as a Junior ended the season at 0.255 points per possession, 3rd of 8 contributors. Miller ended 13.5% of the teamâ€™s possession. Millerâ€™s individual efficiency as a Senior through 22 games is 0.330 ppp, 2nd of 8 contributors. Miller has ended 12.5% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Advantage 2012.
PF: Jones v Jones
Jones as a sophomore will contribute more to the team than Jones did as a freshman. Advantage 2012. Jonesâ€™ individual efficiency as a Freshman ended the season at 0.092 points per possession, 6th of 8 contributors. Jones ended 21.8% of the teamâ€™s possession. Jonesâ€™ individual efficiency as a Sophomore through 22 games is 0.210 ppp, 6th of 8 contributors. Jones has ended 15.1% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Advantage 2012.
Gilchrist, Fr v Liggins, Jr: Advantage 2012
Ligginsâ€™ individual efficiency as a Junior ended the season at 0.130 points per possession, 5th of 8 contributors. Liggins ended 13.5% of the teamâ€™s possession. Kidd-Gilchristâ€™s individual efficiency as a Freshman through 22 games is 0.329 ppp, 3rd of 8 contributors. Kidd-Gilchrist has ended 15.0% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Advantage 2012.
Vargas, Sr v Vargas, Jr: Advantage 2012
Vargasâ€™ individual efficiency as a Junior ended the season at 0.662 points per possession, 2nd of 8 contributors. Vargas ended 1.2% of the teamâ€™s possessions. Vargasâ€™ individual efficiency as a Senior through 22 games is 0.290 ppp, 4th of 8 contributors. Vargas has ended 1.4% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. While the amount of possessions ended has remained at a very low level, his efficiency has declined from last season. Advantage 2011.
Wiltjer, Fr v No One: Advantage 2012
Wiltjer was not a member of the 2010-11 team, and his presence on the 2011-12 team has been a NET positive addition. Wiltjerâ€™s individual efficiency as a Freshman through 22 games is 0.081 ppp, 8th of 8 contributors. Wiltjer has ended 7.5% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Hood was the 8th contributor on the 2010-11 team, and his injury has forced him to sit out this season while he heals. However, since Wiltjer now occupies that 8th position in the pecking order, for the record, Hood has an individual efficiency last season of -0.215 ppp, the only regular contributor on either team with a negative impact. Hood ended only 1.5% of that teamâ€™s possessions. Advantage 2012.
Hood, Jr v Hood, So: Advantage 2012
Hood could not play this season due to injury. See the Wiltjer narrative above.
Poole, So v Poole, Fr: Advantage 2012
Poole left the team due to lack of playing time and other factors, so a year to year comparison is not appropriate, and Poole was not among the 8 regular contributors during his Freshman year in 2010-11.
Beckham, Jr v No One: Advantage 2012
Beckham became eligible as a transfer from Mississippi State at the semester break. Since then, he has been limited to 28 minutes in 9 appearances, using 0% of the teamâ€™s possessions. No Comparison is Appropriate.
Polson, So. v Polson, Fr: Advantage 2012
Polsonâ€™s individual efficiency as a Freshman ended the season at -0.424 points per possession, not as one of the 8 contributors. Polson ended 1.0% of the teamâ€™s possession. Polsonâ€™s individual efficiency as a Sophomore through 22 games is -0.769 ppp, again not one of the 8 contributors. Polson has ended 1.6% of the teamâ€™s total possessions. Advantage 2011.
The 2010-11 team ended the season with a raw team Net Game Efficiency of 0.172 ppp, and advanced to the NCAA Final Four before falling by 1 point to eventual Champion Connecticut. Through 22 games, the 2011-12 team has a raw team Net Game Efficiency of 0.270 ppp. This team has a 21-1 record, 7-0 in the SEC with 4 precious SEC road wins in four trips to its credit. I stand by my pre-season analysis on January 30, 2012, 22 games into what I still believe could be a 40 game experience.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Mason Countyâ€™s Josh Harris is not one of the players prominently mentioned in Kentuckyâ€™s 2012 football recruiting class, but former Mason quarterback Nealâ€ˆPawsat thinks Harris is vastly underrated.
Harris played only three games his senior season because of a season-ending foot injury that coach David Buchanan says has healed well. â€œHe is working hard and ahead of schedule. He will easily be ready to go by June,â€ said Buchanan. Harris was cleared to Monday to resume running every day depending on the pain level he can withstand.
Pawsat, who now plays at Georgetown College, thinks that injury played a part in Harris not being more highly rated.
â€œI also think his early commitment to UK kind of took him off the recruiting map and that caused him to maybe take a back seat to guys who are still deciding on what school to go to,â€ said Pawsat. â€œBut I think committing early like he did really shows UK fans his passion for football and his love for the UK programs.
â€œSome players just have â€˜it. You can tell he has â€˜itâ€™ when you watch him make plays on defense from sideline to sideline. Some nights, I didn’t know what side of the field (defensive) coach (Larry) Harris put him on because he was making plays when the ball went to the left and right. He just has an incredible knack for getting to the football.â€
In his career, Harris rushed for 2,848 yards and 42 touchdowns on 350 carries (8.1 yards per attempt). He also threw for 105 yards and two scores, and had 582 yards and eight touchdowns receiving. He made 287 tackles and recovered six fumbles. â€œHis speciality was hitting people and creating fumbles,â€ Buchanan said.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips never wavered on Harrisâ€™ commitment even after he was injured.
â€œIt says they are loyal and they do what they say they are going to do. I couldn’t be happier with how they have handled it,â€ Buchanan said of the Kentucky staff.
Buchanan, like Pawsat, thinks Kentucky is getting a special player. The Mason coach says Harris reminds him most of two players â€” Joseph Jefferson and Mike Mitchell â€” he helped coach in the Kentucky-Tennessee all-star game. Both went on to NFL careers.
â€œHe is fast, quick. physical, and a great football IQ.Â Based on that comparison, I think he will do extremely well,â€ Buchanan said.
Pawsat says several things always impressed him about Harris when they played together.
â€œHe plays the game 110 MPH (miles per hour) and plays so physical. He made some pretty incredible hits in high school. The thing is, when I played with him, he probably was about 6-0, 185 pounds.Â I’m sure that weight part will change when he gets to college, but he doesn’t have a huge frame,â€ Pawsat said. â€œBut you can throw out those numbers with how physical he is when coming downhill to make plays.
â€œAnother thing that impressed me was his head for the game. He is such a cerebral guy. He is great at anticipating and reacting. Those are two abilities that a lot of times you can’t teach and will really benefit him in the SEC.â€
Thereâ€™s one other trait that Pawsat thinks will make Harris a success at Kentucky.
â€œHis passion for the game certainly makes me know his work ethic will let him succeed at UK. That kid flat out loves the game of football,â€ Pawsat said. â€œYou could tell not only in games, but in practice, too.Â He goes full speed 100 percent of the time and loves competition. One thing I love about him is he hates getting outworked. Absolutely hates it. That rubs off on his teammates and will benefit him at the next level.â€
Pawsat says playing at Kentucky is important to Harris.
â€œIt means everything to him. That’s the only place he wanted to play. He was the 1st player in his class to commit to UK. He got the offer and committed to coach Phillips on the spot,â€ Pawsat said. â€œI think that says enough when asking how much it means to him to play at UK. Honestly, when he told me he had committed on the spot, it kind of surprised me. I knew he was going to get multiple offers from other D1 programs. But he told me he didn’t want to play anywhere else and that has remained true throughout the entire process.
â€œI am very proud to see him go to UK. He always wanted to go there and he put forth the work necessary to achieve his dream. It’s always great to see someone you’ve known for a long time work so hard for something and get it. I was just privileged to play with him for three years.Â He certainly made my job a whole lot easier and really made me look good a lot of times.â€
Buchanan thinks Harris could play multiple positions at Kentucky, but Pawsat knows where he thinks Harris would be best.
â€œI think he could be a great strong safety in the SEC. I think strong safety would put him in the best position to make plays. He’s a downhill guy, so strong safety would give him some flexibility as far as playing near the line of scrimmage in the box and playing deep in coverage, which he also does well,â€ Pawsat said.
Pawsat says Harris has a different personality on the football field than he does away from the game.
“Josh is a completely different person between the lines. When he gets on the field, there is a fiery passion that comes out of him,â€ the Georgetown College quarterback said. â€œAway from football he’s a very respectful person that does what he’s asked to do and keeps to himself.
â€œHe’s a guy that you can count on.Â I always knew that if I got the random urge to throw on a Sunday night or something, I could always call him and count on him to be at the field in 10 minutes.â€
By LARRY VAUGHT
The Rupp Arena Arts & Entertainment District Task Force final report issued Tuesday morning envisions that major funding sources for a $250 to $300 million renovation of Lexington Center, including Rupp Arena, will come from “premium seating, advertising, sponsorship, concert/event promotions, concessions and parking associated with proposed plans.”
There is no “specific plan” to pay for the project that will upgrade Rupp Arena, the current 24,000-seat arena where Kentucky plays and will continue to play even during the renovation project based on plans that have been presented.
The report acknowledges that funding will also requite a “mix of local, state and private funding for construction” and that “private fundraising and federal grants and tax credits should be fully explored.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore Terrence Jones had 27 points, nine rebounds and three blocks at LSU, but Kentucky coach John Calipari said Kidd-Gilchrist probably was still the best player on the floor even though he had just one point. Kidd-Gilchrist did play lockdown defense on LSU point guard Anthony Hickey and grab eight rebounds, get four assists and make two steals.
Kidd-Gilchrist also creates havoc for opponents and opportunities for Kentucky while displaying little emotion and without agitating opponents.
â€œI think itâ€™s all he knows. Heâ€™s just doing what he does naturally,â€ Calipari said. â€œHeâ€™s just playing. I was a little worried when he ran down to protect Anthony (Davis after he was knocked down on a flagrant foul at LSU) because I didnâ€™t want to see anything,â€ Calipari said. â€œAgain, Iâ€™m preaching that weâ€™re not fouling. Weâ€™re playing not to foul. We want six fouls at half. We donâ€™t want it to be a roughhouse, win in the weight room kind of game.Â Thatâ€™s not how we play.
â€œIf Iâ€™m preaching that, then you have to stay in control. When that other stuff happens and they make the call, thereâ€™s no reason for anything else to happen. They made the call. Back up and go. The reality is thatâ€™s just what he knows. He doesnâ€™t know anything different.â€
Jones says itâ€™s hard to estimate just how valuable Kidd-Gilchrist is as shown by his ability to impact the LSU game despite scoring only one point.
â€œThat is what you need on your team to win is guys that can still have an impact even when they donâ€™t have scoring games. His game could be like that all the time with guys being hot. But as long as weâ€™re making progress for us to win, itâ€™s still good with him,â€ Jones said. â€œHeâ€™s real long. He is active at his position. Iâ€ˆdonâ€™t think guys at his position are usually as active as him. It is just something he always has an advantage over.â€
Calipari brought Kidd-Gilchrist off the bench to start the season, a move that did not bother the freshmen.â€ˆHowever, Calipari soon preferred having him on the court to start games rather than coming off the bench to provide a spark.
â€œWe canâ€™t just start the game and let them do what they want. I can put him on anybody I want to put him on. I can put him on a one, a two, a three or a four if that guy is hurting us, and thatâ€™s why he is so vital,â€ Calipari said of Kidd-Gilchrist. â€œYou canâ€™t say, â€˜I am going to have my best player come off the bench.â€™ The guy that is doing the things that he is doing, he has to be on that court.
â€œNow, what makes me mad about him is that he fouls, like 30 feet from the basket, and he gets a body foul. Then he gets two fouls, and I am trying to tell him he doesnâ€™t need to block any shots, just body guys up and let them block it. He is doing fine, and the other guys are doing fine.â€
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari seemed more upset Monday with the way officials ignored rough, physical play in Saturday’s win at LSU than he did the flagrant foul against Anthony Davis late in the game.
C”My whole point is that if you donâ€™t call rough play, thatâ€™s where it goes to. Have to call rough play. On a post-up, if you move a guy three feet, thatâ€™s a foul offensively. If you move him two steps, thatâ€™s a foul. If thatâ€™s all let go, it leads to grabbing,â€ Calipari said. â€œThatâ€™s all I say is call the game the way it should be officiated. Then there are no issues. You donâ€™t get to that. Just call the fouls.â€
Davis never seemed to respond to any of several hard knocks/hits he took at LSU Saturday. He has not in other games either going into tonightâ€™s game with Tennessee.
â€œWell, when you get knocked to the floor like that and he got hit in the face really hard one time about four plays later. He kind of went back and down and was like, â€˜Are you kidding me? I thought we were playing basketball?â€™ And then he runs back, or he smiles. Heâ€™s on his back, he gets up and he smiles and shakes his head,â€ Calipari said of his freshman center.
â€œAgain, in the rule book, if I leave my feet and you slide under me it is a block 100 percent of the time. If I have my position and you move me two feet out of my position that is a foul, offensively or defensively. I have a right to that spot, if you move me out of that spot it is a foul. When Naismith invented the game it was a foul and itâ€™s a foul today. With him, as he gets pushed around that is just what you are saying, they canâ€™t do that. He has a right to the spot. I know they want to be physical, they just canâ€™t move him. They can lean on him, but the minute they start moving him two feet those are fouls.
â€œHe has been great. He hasnâ€™t said one word and let me just tell you, the best thing for our team is all this happening. Itâ€™s going to be just as physical Tuesday (against Tennessee) and itâ€™s good for us. Two years ago, everybody said you have to hope they miss shots and we did. We went 0-for-20 (from 3-point range in a NCAA tournament against West Virginia and lost). This team they are saying you better get into their bodies and be physical, one coach said, â€˜Hit them and be real physical. That was according to one of their players, anyway. If you can negate that like Iâ€™ve been saying for three weeks. then you have a chance of doing something.â€
Kentucky sophomore Terrence Jones, who had a season-high 27 points and nine rebounds at LSU, said it was hard not to react when Davis was pulled to the floor.
â€œIt was real hard just because that is my brother. For something like that to happen that didnâ€™t feel like it was a basketball play at all was real hard to watch. But we had to keep playing and try to keep executing. We donâ€™t expect for anything like that to happen to us or against the other team. We just try to play basketball,â€ Jones said.
He says if he took the same physical punishment that Davis has been, especially in a one-sided game like Saturday, he would also try to stay calm.
â€œUp that much, there is not much you need to react for because we are trying to play basketball and win games,â€ Jones said. â€œWe donâ€™t need anything to happen for a player to miss anything (games) over something silly in a blowout game. It was the right thing to do to just not retaliate.â€