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Calipari: “We gotta build a couple more guys out of this”

Alex Poythress (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

Alex Poythress (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

No one has to tell John Calipari that Kentucky will face a loud, sold out arena at Florida tonight. But the UK coach said Monday he’s not worried about that.

“I’m, again, just trying to focus on my team. I know how good they are. I know how good they are in that building. It’s just I’m focused on my team. Let’s just try to get better. Let’s get this thing – we gotta build a couple more guys out of this,” Calipari said.

“You gotta go into tournament play. And if you think of us historically, we never went into tournament play with one or two guys playing well. We go into tournament play with five and six guys playing well. And then you’re hoping seven gets in and does something too.

“We’ve gotta get to that and we have time. Again, working on that earlier than normal, but let’s see if we can begin that process, that climb to get our team like that.”

He says playing freshman Tai Wynyad is not at option at this point to bolster UK’s inside play that took a beating at Vanderbilt. Instead, he wants to build the confidence of the players he has been playing all season.

“How do we get this more consistent? How do you build your mentality? You all know that comes from within. If you’re relying on someone else to do that for you, what if he’s not feeling good that day? The guy you’re counting on to pick you up? I mean, you gotta do that yourself. You gotta get yourself in a frame of mind – and then if it doesn’t go well,” he said.

“Look, Alex did not walk (in the game at Vanderbilt Saturday). You saw it. He did not walk, and he didn’t trip the guy. It was like two ridiculous calls. But, that kind of caved him in. You can’t be that way. Relax. We’ve had it all year. All year we’ve had that. So? Just play. So, we’re trying to talk to him about that. He can’t let a call or a play cave you in. Just play through it.”

Instead, Poythress fouled out in 14 minutes without taking a shot. With Derek Willis out with an ankle injury, Kentucky was doomed.

“We know if we don’t have everybody playing confident we’re not going to be very good. So the question becomes how good can this team be? Now, we’ve got this week and next week and the tournament to get this thing to where we are steering up,” Calipari said.

“You know, playing on the road’s not a good place to try and do it. The road in our league is the toughest place to win, of any conference in the country on the road in this league. But, it’s our next game, so let’s go.”

3 comments

  1. Mike

    Well Call you are almost 4 yrs into trying to build something with Poythress and still not much to show for the effort. How about keeping him on the bench until he comes to you and says he is ready to make a contribution to the team and play his best. It is amazing that there is never much heard from Alex on his level of play.

  2. KingGhidora

    Who is going to play instead of Alex? We know who has been doing it and he should be back soon from the looks of things. But for this game he just can’t start 4 guards and a forward. Alex has teased everyone with his sometimes dominating play and sometimes invisible play. Cal certainly tried to recruit another big man but the thought of being a platoon player scared off some good talent I think. With the system in play now there will be years where things just don’t go as expected. Skal hasn’t lived up to expectations. Alex remains Alex. And Lee really hasn’t improved. If not for the emergence of Willis this team would be an NIT team IMO. Even with the spectacular play of Ulis and Murray you just can’t win without big men rebounding, playing d, and scoring some way.

    I always knew Willis had it in him. I’ve been saying it long enough. His hustle and desire made a huge impact on this team. If he comes back soon they still have a shot at #9 IMO. Willis is a potential All American IMO. I’ve thought that a long time too.

    This is my school and it always will be. And I won’t get down on the team for one year where they aren’t the most dominant team in America. Heck I’ve gone through decades where they weren’t the most dominant team in America. But the BBN has been consistent throughout my life. They will win again. They always do. I’ve been watching since the Texas Western game. I listened to the radio when tv games were rare. And always, they come back. UK is the best program in America and maybe in all of sports. Sure the Yankees have won more consistently but that’s easy to do when you can buy the talent you want from other teams. UK is the real deal and I won’t get down on them ever. I was there listening when Kansas won 150-95. If I stuck with the team through that you can bet this is nothing to complain about and in fact they have done well considering. With Willis, Ulis and Murray all playing well they could win it all.

    1. Larry Vaught

      King, looks like Willis will definitely be back Saturday

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