Calipari still believes UK’s woes are “curable”

De’Aaron Fox (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

As Kentucky let the game with Kansas slip away Saturday night in Rupp Arena, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said it was obvious UK’s “youth was showing on both ends” of the court.

Kansas beat Kentucky 79-73 and was the far superior team the final 28 minutes after falling behind by 12 points. While it seemed UK lost its poise and made several mental mistakes, Kentucky coach John Calipari didn’t see that as the problem in the second half.

“I think, again, the whole thing for us turnover-wise is when we make easy plays, we don’t turn it over. When we’re trying to make a harder play, like if a guy’s open in the corner, just throw it to him. Why would you ball fake him and then run a guy over. Why would you, versus an extra pass to the wing, you’re going to try to force one inside, which gets tipped away,” Calipari said.

“You’re driving and they’re in, there is no drive, it’s a swing and then a drive. I mean it’s all freshman kind of stuff. So I think it was a 10-3 run to end the half. And again, when you have turnovers and they’re going for baskets, that may have been six of those points.”

With a great atmosphere due in large part to ESPN GameDay being at Rupp Arena, Calipari liked the way UK started the game.

“We had a good lead and we were playing fast and we were playing and scrambling a little bit. They had missed some open 3’s that they normally make, which is why the lead was what it was. They went zone, a little bit of triangle and two. We turned it over three, four times,” Calipari said.

“And now we may have gotten tight in the second half, maybe a couple guys because the game was close. But, I liked the fact that we fought and we got it there and it came down to on a rebound or two, a turnover here, and we got to learn. We did the same thing at Tennessee. All right, we’re right where we want this, and it was turnover, turnover layup, layup.

“Now all of a sudden it’s four, it’s a different ball game. So, we got to look at it, cure it. The toughness in the defense, we’ll get after that and we got a couple days before Georgia. Georgia won today (over Texas) and played well, so we got another tough game.

”

Still, UK has lost two in a row and not been overly impressive since its SEC-opening win at Mississippi.

“We got out-toughed and we didn’t guard the way we need to guard, which is all curable,” Calipari said.

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  1. I haven’t given up on this team, let’s get to work and move on. Cal has to change his coaching style if we ever gonna get number 9 . He needs to get out of this one and done system in order to be more successful or have better chances of winning more titles

    1. Cats79, IMO some of these one year players now, and in the past. The stars that get the most min played every year if you will, seem to me like they are more interested in playing in the NBA than they are for UK. That is what is going on now after these losses, just my two cents worth. You can’t blame them because Cal himself pushes that in his recruiting. I also believe that under the current UK basketball coach that system will never change. We are getting the talent, but not the national championships UK fans and alumni want to see. Cal has won at least one, and that team had they stayed around would have dominated college basketball for several years after had they not all bolted for the pros. Same for the team Demarcus Cousins played on at UK. I would like to see what kind of coach Calipari would be with good to great talent, but talent that wants to stay around the Univ. for at least three years, maybe even graduate. It will never happen under Coach Cal. When Calipari starts losing on a regular basis with his one and done’s, BBN will grow weary of his system of constantly building a brand new team every year. There has to be untold pressure on Calipari to have to keep feeding the beast he has created year in year out with all new players.

  2. To his detriment, I don’t think too many people really expect Cal to change at this point of the season. He preaches we need better defense, toughness etc. but leaves out better coaching as well. The players are not drinking his cool aid and this seems to have peaked the last couple of games. The players are supposed to be feeding the post, driving to the post, and making better passing decisions and none of that is taking place. His knee jerk chain pulling, ranting and raving and substitution patterns are counter productive and seems to be setting up a rebellious attitude inside the team. Briscoe shows no signs of breaking out of his funk, Humphries never joined the team and Wenyen seems to be totally out of control once he hits the floor and still thinks he is a 3 pt. shooter. Bam shows very little “Bam” and perhaps we should go back to Edrice. Some have labeled him a “monster”, but he as much of a monster as Poythress…has the ability, looks the part, and then end of story. Wonder what strategy Georgia will use against us. A third loss doesn’t look so unrealistic after all. This is normally the time of year when the opponents fear playing us….not this year….now they can’t wait.

  3. It’s hard to win when you give up 52 points in the second half.

  4. Not making any excuses, but these kids are 18 and 19 years old. Sometimes some will buy what Cal is preaching and some won’t. It just matter of time for them to get there egos out. There’s plenty time to correct them self.

  5. Fox and Monk remind me of Harrow and Griffin. Monk can be a great shooter, when he’s on, but when he’s not, he needs to be willing to drive to the basket and either get fouled or kick it out. Fox is quick, but when they take away the drive, he is not going to hurt the other team, just his own team. Briscoe has disappeared and none of the 3 main guards are playing defense at even a good high school level. Willis only shows up every 3rd or 4th game, but I don’t blame him with the way Cal has treated him over the years. He is a senior but he is not allowed to make mistakes like some of the other players, has never been afforded that luxury at UK. Bam has to hit free throws and rebound much better or he should be taken out in close games. Humphries isn’t a McDonalds All American, but he is willing to battle and does decent at the line.

    Cal needs to shake these freshman up. Next game he should go with Hawkins, Mulder, Wills, Wynyard, Humphries and go with that line up until someone gets tired or in foul trouble. At half time, I would ask the freshman if they are ready to listen. If not, leave them on the bench.

    Right now, Cal is not in control of this team.

  6. Old Fan…..very well said and many thoughts I am sure a lot of us have especially your last statement. Only thing I would not agree with is Humphries starting. He has not earned the privilege. He is a likeable guy and seems to have some talent but has not improved this year at all…..but who has? We are supposed to have a great coaching staff but what do they do during the week in practice? We have no leaders or guys with “nasty” attitudes and will continue to get beat up.

  7. Mike, I agree with you, but just thought benching Bam might get him to demand the ball more and learn to kick it out when the double-team comes.

    I don’t pretend to know what goes on in practice, but I kind of wonder if all this mess has anything to do with Robic changing duties. He is not supposed to be as “involved” now. Maybe he needs to come back to practice.

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