Calipari says UK still “light years” from being an efficient team

Coach John Calipari wants players communicating better on defense. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Coach John Calipari wants players communicating better on defense. (Vicky Graff Photo)


More talking.

That’s what Kentucky coach John Calipari wants from his team — among other things — and he made that clear after Sunday’s 93-69 win over Canisius.

He said only sophomore Isaiah Briscoe is talking on the court the way he should. The UK coach noted that he took freshman Wenyen Gabriel out for not communicating and that another freshman,  Malik Monk, waits too late to communicate.

“Like, as they come together, switch. It’s too late. I can’t register it that quick.

When you see it happening, switch, switch. We say, say it three times. If you can’t say it three times, you’re saying it too late. Switch, switch, switch. Okay. If you can’t get three times, whoa, whoa, whoa whatever we’re doing, you’re not saying it early enough,” Calipari said.

“So it’s something, again, you think about it, we’re playing with a bunch of freshmen who never talked to anybody on the court, who never defended for an entire possession, had their way, would miss 12 straight shots, but knew they had 12 more coming. Didn’t matter. Never came off the floor. Played at their pace, played casual when they felt.

“And then they come here and every game we play is the Super Bowl.

 Canisius, those first 10, 12, 15 minutes, they balled. They were jacked up. They were making shots. They were out-hustling us. They were running their offense better than we were running ours.”

Calipari told his players after the game that it would be a “struggle” for some of them to get consistent minutes if they don’t communicate better.

“I think we’re an unselfish team, I don’t think we’re selfish in any way. We’re just used to being in their own shell,” Calipari said. “I’m worried about me and my man. I’m not worried about the rest of this. If we win and I play well, great. If we play poorly and lose and I play well, I’m happy. I’ll have an excuse, I’ve got a bad team.

“Well, that doesn’t work anymore. Now it’s truly team defense. It’s running schemes together. It’s playing off of one another. And we’re, believe me, light years from that right now. It’s going to be a process.”

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