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Calipari showed Young he had flaws he has had to overcome

By LARRY VAUGHT

Once he got to Kentucky, James Young found out that even though he was a McDonald’s All-American and one of the nation’s top-ranked recruits, his game had more flaws than he ever imagined.

“I didn’t pay attention to them at all really. I think that’s what’s going to make each player better really,” said

Young after scoring 13 points in Saturday’s win over Georgia. “A lot of guys have started to do individual work during practice. It’s getting everybody better really. It’s just coming together as a team really and communicating more.”

Young said the breakdown process each player goes through under coach John Calipari can be demanding.

“It’s not (fun), it’s not. It’s not good at all,” Young said. “You just got to get it over with, learn from it and get it over with. You can always learn more. He just points out your flaws and what you need to get better at. I think that’s what makes us good players.”

While UK earned praise from Calipari Saturday for its teamwork and overall play, Young knows there is plenty more to do starting with Tuesday night’s game at LSU.

“I wouldn’t say a breakthrough (against Georgia), but we’re just getting better day by day, practice by practice. I just feel we’re slowing getting better. To be where we want to be is going to take time,” Young said.

“It was a great win for us. We were practicing really hard these last few days and we just want to get better game by game, and I think that’s what we’re doing.  I feel like during practice we just communicate a lot more, and it’s translating over to games.”

“Like I said, it’s a process. It’s just going to take us game by game, day by day just to get better as a team. Every day we’re just communicating on how we should be a better team, and I think we’re getting there.”

It helped against Georgia that sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein (eight points, six steals, six blocks, three rebounds) snapped out of a three-game funk.

“It helped us a lot. He got a lot of blocked shots, lot of steals, and that’s what led us to open buckets,” Young said. “We get a lot more pressure because he always gets defensive stops. I feel like that’s when we all step up, too.”

Young said UK’s “communication” was better against Georgia, especially with point guard Andrew Harrison.

“When I see ‘Drew drive, I really just point up and I just see the defender not looking at me at all, so I just tell him to throw it up and he throws it up,” Young said. “Really passing the ball around and communicating a lot.

That’s what I think is really helping us become a better team. It’s just coming with playing together. We’re communicating a lot more. Somebody will say one more and we’ll hear it and hit the open guy.”

The communication has helped on defense, too

“We’re getting better than where we were when we first started. We usually give up a lot of baseline drives or just let the guy drive right past us, but we’re getting better,” Young said. “Two months ago we weren’t as good as a team. Now we’re just starting to play better as a team and communicating more.”

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9 comments

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  1. AndyP

    Improvement on defense is the key for this team to be really good.

  2. Mike

    The other areas where we need to improve are feeding the post better and having tighter faster passes on the perimeter.

  3. Carter

    I really like this young man… great attitude, consistent effort, and always seems to be living in the solution.

    Cal’s job must be tough. The task of instilling basic basketball IQ material into all this individual talent while keeping everything upbeat and positive isn’t for the faint of heart.

    My hat is off to Coach Cal and this group of gifted players.

    1. UKFAN197TONE

      Agree 100%. I was watching his coaches show and the clip was after the game in the locker room. Hiss shirt was soaked with sweat. I know it wasn’t from a Gatorade shower. He was working hard on that sideline.

      1. UKFAN197TONE

        Uhhggg!
        *His shirt!!

  4. jimharris

    When our guys get to the point that they can stop a driving opponent w/o fouling, we’ll be a really good team. Any player that decides to drive right down the lane can do it against our defenses. Sometimes we have a shot blocker down there to compensate, but most often we don’t.

    2nd biggest need is to quit letting smaller guys take too many rebounds that we should be getting—almost totally a matter of positioning which should be teachable.

  5. Phillip Barker

    LSU will be a tough game…Hickey and O’bryant always seem to turn it up a notch when we play them and the two freshmen, Martin & Micky have good size. They don’t appear to have much depth so I think we’ll eventually wear them down. Being away with a late night start almost guarantees another slow start-hope I’m wrong though! Keep it going Cats!

  6. Phillip Barker

    Oh! Jimharris-your two observations are dead on right IMO!

  7. Little Baron

    I agree with all of the recommendations, and added a couple more. (See below).

    Young’s comments support the Professor’s 3-phase Calipari seasons. His latest article for the LSU game and the referenced article within the text are an excellent view of how every Calipari season unfolds, and really gives us a sound means to project the direction the team is headed post-season. I recall when the Prof statistically supported the notion that turnovers were a much bigger contributor to losses than FT % or any other measurable activity. The improved A/TO ratio recently has been consistent with game results.

    Areas where we need to improve on:
    • Improvement on defense – Andy P
    • feeding the post better & having tighter faster passes on the perimeter – Mike
    • quit letting smaller guys take too many rebounds – Jim Harris
    • get to the point that they can stop a driving opponent w/o fouling – Jim Harris
    • [Avoid] another slow start – Phillip Barker
    • Cal’s job must be tough – Carter

    I have a couple to add to the list.
    • Maintain the offensive & total rebounding dominance
    • Continue to improve Assist/TO ratio
    [This is linked to Mike’s comment. Better passing = more assists & fewer turnovers]
    • Consistently improve FT%
    • Consistently improve 3-pt shooting
    • Continue to improve & master communications on the court
    • Continue to give decent minutes to our deep bench so we have experienced players when we have foul trouble.

    [NOTE: we are getting more fouls called on UK than opponents since refs are calling it close when UK defends and allows opponents to hammer our guys repeatedly, calling “some” of the fouls. We were getting MANY more FTs earlier in the season due to our size advantage at every position. Slowly, the old way of calling fouls according to bias is ruling once again.

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