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Calipari says if Kyle Wiltjer cannot figure out how to get shots off that he will not play as much

Kyle Wiltjer takes a shot in the loss to Duke. (Victoria Graff photo)

Kyle Wiltjer takes a shot in the loss to Duke. (Victoria Graff photo)


One thing Kentucky coach John Calipari  learned in UK’s loss to Duke is that sophomore Kyle Wiltjer, the team’s leading scorer against Maryland with 19 points, cannot get shots on his own. He managed just five points on 2-for-5 shooting.

“We’re going to have to help him. He did not play as hard as he needs to play. He saw it on the tape,” Calipari said. “If he’s not getting shots off, then he won’t be on the court as much. I’m not mad. I love him, but he better figure out how to get shots off. If he can’t then he won’t be on the court as much.

“Kyle’s got to step up. The Maryland staff (was) like, ‘What happened to him?’ Well, he didn’t play as hard. He didn’t compete like he did against Maryland. Part of it is, we can’t expect our team to find him shots. We’re freshmen. We’re not going to do that. So now it becomes, he’s got to get his, or I’ve got to call some stuff to create shots for him. But it’s going to be a combination.”

Wiltjer said a “long film session” pointed out the need for the team to offensive rebound better and also improve its defense.

“Duke did a good job of getting to me on the 3-point line and not giving me any easy looks. I just have to in the future make stronger and quicker moves in the post. When they are playing me out there (3-point line), I have to be getting more involved rather than just shooting 3’s.”

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  1. Tom R

    It seems to me that Kyle misses shots when he rushes. I wish Cal would set some screens early to help get him in the flow, though screens are certainly not Cal’s favorite ploy.

  2. UK 24 7

    “We’re going to have to help him??? Shouldn’t Calipari have done that prior to the game or at least at half time? I think it was very very low for him to call him out at the press conference. I guess Calipari had to put the blame on someone for HIS lack of offense against Duke. Some teams need a coach, not a motivational speaker.

  3. Jim

    I agree with Cal on this point. I would love to see Wiltjer emerge into a Larry Bird type player. Right now he is way too passive on the offensive side, as far as creating his shot. He gets beat on D and is still too soft on the boards. No, I don’t hate Kyle. I think he is a future NBA player. He is not playing like one at the present, but I think he has the potential. UK does not have veterans like a Jones or a Lamb to provide offense. What they have is Witjer, who tends to lay back and hope he gets open.

  4. Tom R

    Kyle does not have a quick first step, Jim, you’re wanting him to do some things he can’t perform vs better teams.

    1. Jim

      Bird never had a quick step. What he did was go strong to the hoop and shoot the jumper with a hand in his face. Wiltjer has the talent, he just has to get the confidence to shoot with a hand in his face. Maybe that will come to him, next season. But, the Cats need that from him, this season.

  5. Kokamo Joe

    Next season? It is do or die for Wiltjer this year. With the talent coming in next year where or when would Wiltjer play? Who among these future super stars would sit on the bench while Wiltjer plays? Well, there is the Willis kid, but who expects him to play much next year or ever?

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