By LARRY VAUGHT
One problem during Kentucky’s season that has so far produced only a 17-8 record has been the lack of players taking responsibility for their play or the team’s play.
Too often players have said losses don’t matter that much or they have to listen better or they know they just need to play a little harder to win.
I’m not sure Kentucky fans have been thrilled to hear that. However, Tuesday two players — Hamidou Diallo and Quade Green — finally sounded like a sense of urgency and responsibility might be setting in going into Wednesday night’s game at No. 10 Auburn, the SEC leader by four games over UK.
“It’s been a roller coaster for me. It’s been up and down and I’ve still been trying to identify myself within this team,” Diallo said. “I haven’t been playing well, have been playing terrible on defense and I just need to pick it up. I need to pick it up to a different level of play for myself and for this team.”
Trying to identify myself with this team? Really, after 25 games. Been playing terrible defense? He’s right about that and that’s one area most thought he would exceed this year.
“We go through offensive droughts, but our defense should remain the same throughout the whole game no matter what’s going on on the offensive end, is how I view. Me myself, I have to do a much better job on defense and a much better job on offense,” Diallo said.
Translation: He’s just not been getting it done and he realizes that because he has not been a factor on offense or defense in recent games.
Green was counted on to the team’s leader and offensive general. Players came to UK to play with him because of his passing ability. He’s been erratic at best.
“I think I’ve done a poor job. Poor job trying to get the team together. Ever since we lost to Texas A&M, as a team we talked together so we’ve been on the same page ever since,” Green said. “Ever since that loss talking on the bus ride, we’ve been on the same page now.”
On the same page? We’ll see because the team was on about 15 different pages before then.
“We’ve just gotta get back to our winning selves, really. I don’t think anybody on this team really lost three in a row in their previous years of playing basketball. It’s just a hard thing for all of us, even Coach Cal. We’ve gotta come out with some fight,” Green said.
Actually, they better come out with more than “some” fight at Auburn because one thing the Tigers have done all year is play hard. That has shown on defense and on the boards. If Kentucky is less than all-out, the Tigers will pounce.
“It’s gotta be a group thing. That’s the only way you’re going to win a national championship, with the group. Not just one player,” Green said.
Say amen UK fans.