Calipari to bigs: “You gotta assert yourself;” Willis starting to run

By LARRY VAUGHT

On the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference today I asked Kentucky coach John Calipari if he had any different feelings about his team’s loss at Vanderbilt after reviewing the game tape from Saturday. Here’s his answer:

“We’ve got some guys that we have to help them build confidence. Some of it’s just teaching them how to assert themselves. I talked to the team, if a guard is thinking about Kentucky and he goes to John Wall and says, ‘John, I’m thinking about Kentucky.’ John Wall will say, ‘Can you get your own shot? Because he’s not running a whole lot of plays for anybody. He runs actions and you gotta be able to insert yourself and make plays,'” Calipari said.

“So, I told the big guys that and I just said, ‘You gotta figure out ways as we’re playing, whether you can post or whether you can get it in transition, you gotta assert yourself. You gotta insert yourself in how we’re playing.’ So, we’re talking about it and trying to help them through that.

“Just put people in positions that they can be more confident, because I think, again, as I look at it, if Tyler (Ulis) has a normal game offensively – he goes 5 for 20, 0 for 7 from the 3 – it could have been different.

“I hate to – you can’t be mad at him, the kid has had a great year, he’s had a player of the year, nationally, kind of season. He just didn’t have a good shooting night. I hate to make more of all the other stuff when that happens.”

Next Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal asked for an update on Derek Willis.

“He went on the practice floor and ran up and down yesterday, and I didn’t see any black and blue or swelling, so I would say he’s getting closer. I doubt if he plays tomorrow (at Florida), but he’s going up and down,” Calipari said.

Those were the the only two questions the UK coach was asked.

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