Calipari emphasizes the importance of what Adebayo and Briscoe did against UCLA

UCLA focused on Bam Adebayo Friday. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Kentucky coach John Calipari had a message for Kentucky fans Saturday.

It came at the start of his Saturday press conference, but there’s no doubt it was both a message to UK fans and perhaps a pat on the back for Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe.

Adebayo had two points — a late-game dunk — along with five assists, four rebounds, one block and two turnovers. Briscoe was just 2-for-7 from the field and had five points, seven rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in 35 minutes.

“The impact that Bam had on that game yesterday, some of you who write about basketball don’t really watch it, may not have understood. UCLA came in with one thought: We’re going to make this really hard on Bam. So he sacrificed,” Calipari said.

“He had five assists. He created shots for both Dom and opened up the lane for De’Aaron Fox. He still tried to fight and rebound. Never says a word. So the impact on the game that he had, unless you really understood what was going on, they made that decision, and he rode with it.

“Now, he did walk a couple times. He should have scored a couple more baskets. But the reality of it is he played well.”

What about Briscoe?

“When we talk on that court, when we’re talking, we are really good. When we don’t talk, we are really bad. And he leads us. He gets the other guys to talk,” Calipari said. “He’s playing five positions on both offense and defense.

“He’ll do whatever you need him to do. And at the end of the game when they started pressing, if you watched, he was running the press attack and put us where we needed to go.

“But that stuff doesn’t show up in stats. But when you’re coaching, you understand the importance of it. So I felt I needed to say that.”

1 comment

  1. Cal seems to be playing a little softball with Bam. You know UNC is going to pack it in just like the Bruins did, and he is going to have to fight for more offensive production. He does seem to play timid when he gets a dude or 2 able to hang with him inside. Hopefully he can give us 10-15 points and 8-10 boards. We also need to get Willis to keep improving his D, keep getting his boards and hit a higher % of shots than he has been. We know Hawkins will be steady off the bench and hopefully Mulder as well, but it stops there. I blame both the staff and the players for Humphries and Gabriel not improving during the year. Humphries needs to find some “want to” and Gabriel needs to find some confidence and self control. The bench could play a major part in this game and UNC statistically has the edge here.

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