By KEITH PEEL
After being forced to endure watching another UK basketball game where the other team was inept at best and UK agreed to play to that level, I had to ask myself if this was the worst coached team I had seen during the John Calipari era.
I know the Archie Goodwin/Nerlens Noel team had the worst overall performance for a season but that team was also handicapped by a key injury to Noel during the season and a roster of role players to go with Goodwin.
This team is packed with NBA All Stars starting with Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. Throw in Bam Adebeyo, Isaiah Briscoe, Wenyen Gabriel as players that will one day be earning a paycheck playing professional basketball along with serviceable seniors in Hawkins, Willis and Mulder and you have a roster that should be able to compete with any team in the country based on talent.
Unfortunately that talent looks no better (and may be worse) than when it walked in the door of the Joe Craft Center last fall. They continue to play poor individual and team defense, rebounding effort is inconsistent at best, they turn the ball over at an alarming rate and their offense is non-existent outside of a fast break opportunity or an occasional pick and roll basket in a half court set.
With all that being said it is a testament to their talent that the team record is 23-5. Unfortunately this year the coaching does not appear to be keeping up with the talent.
This quote from the legendary Tom Landry describes in a nutshell what coaching is all about. “Leadership (coaching) is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.”
That’s seems to be the element missing from this year’s basketball team. Seeing players continue to make the same errors over and over again, give inferior effort against inferior competition and look lost and confused on the court when the other teams steps up the level of competition are all marks of a team that is poorly coached.
With that being said, based on his career results, John Calipari is a Hall of Fame coach and I realize that finishing with an outstanding win-loss record and a potential opportunity to win the SEC title and perform well and potentially win the NCAA tournament are all still very real opportunities for this team.
But if the coaching and playing continue as they have for the rest of the games left this season it seems inevitable that we will look back on this year as one that was as disappointing as the 2012-2013 team.