By LARRY VAUGHT
Perhaps the best explanation for what problems Kentucky coach John Calipari is facing this season came from veteran ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg, a former college coach.
During an ESPN teleconference Wednesday, Greenberg said the Southeastern Conference race now goes through Texas A&M, not UK.
“Kentucky is going to be in the conversation,” Greenberg said. “There’s no doubt about it.” However, then he clarified what has been wrong with UK, one of the nation’s top ranked teams in preseason polls.
“I don’t like their chemistry, right now, and that makes it tough. Their shooters don’t defend. Their defenders don’t really make shots,” Greenberg said.
Think about it. Shooters don’t defend — except for point guard Tyler Ulis. Defenders don’t make shots.
He said that makes it hard for Calipari to know who to play in what situations, and figuring that out is a key to changing UK’s chemistry. He said no one works harder “touching players and figuring out players” more than Calipari.
“He is fanatical at trying to find out who they are, what makes them tick and getting them to play together,” Greenberg said. “They almost need (Derek) Willis on the court, but you give up something defensively and rebounding. It’s hard because you don’t know what you’re getting from Marcus (Lee) and Alex (Poythress). . . . They haven’t shown consistency.”
Greenberg said Calipari has to see what players he can trust and how certain players play together.
“You never count out Cal,” Greenberg said. “It’s only January. Do not forget that South Carolina debacle (when UK lost at South Carolina late in the 2013-14 season and then made the Final Four).”
However, Greenberg even qualified that memory.
“But I don’t think they have the same pieces (players as they did that season),” Greenberg said.