By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari didn’t have to spend time Friday explaining what Kentucky needed to improve on going into Saturday night’s game at Florida.
Instead, he let assistant coach Joel Justus handle his media opportunity — and he was at no loss for words when it came to what UK needed to do better.
“I think at this point in the season you have to do everything better. You’ve always got to guard the basketball. I think you’ve got to limit the other team’s paint touches. You’ve got to limit transition. Some of the things that have hurt us in the last couple games have been points when you don’t even have defense back,” Justus said.
“Live-ball turnovers where they’re going two on zero, one on zero, three on one, whatever it might be. You want to give yourself a chance to get a stop, so I think defensively in the half court it’s attention to detail, it’s communicating, it’s all the things we’ve been saying since October, and that every coach is telling their team.
“You can’t let that slip. I don’t think we’re in any much of a different place than anybody else in the country is defensively. You have to get better just like you do offensively.”
Kentucky played some zone defense in Tuesday’s win over Georgia — something Calipari does not like to do.
“You have to communicate on defense period. I think in the zone for them to say that, that’s good. As a coach, as I’ve said earlier, Cal is wanting these guys to feel empowered, and be empowered and take on that responsibility,” Justus said.
“If they’re talking more in the zone than they are in man maybe that was a sense of desperation on their part. We’d like to think they’d have that same sense of desperation in man-to-man as well, but that’s all growing. That’s all something that we’re trying to do every day and turn that into a habit is growth.”