By LARRY VAUGHT
His players might think they are being more vocal on the court, but they still are not talking enough to suit Kentucky coach John Calipari going into Saturday’s game with Lipscomb.
“We’re still not vocal enough. I mean, there are a couple of guys that will say some things and speak up but it’s hard to speak up if you’re the guy doing all the running (in practice for doing something wrong). We’re running ’cause of you. You can’t say anything. The reality of it is I had a guy in our gym watch us yesterday and say it’s the quietest team he’s ever seen,” Calipari said Friday. “Why would you be quiet? Why wouldn’t you be really talking to your team? All you basketball Bennys out there, why would you not be, ‘Watch the screen, here I come, I’m here, I’m here?’ Why would you not do that?”
Maybe players aren’t sure what they are supposed to be doing since this team is so young?
“Or you’re more worried about yourself than anybody else on the floor,” Calipari countered. “I’m just making sure I’m where I’m supposed to be. Well, that’s what we’re trying to break down. If a team is a quiet team – even though those kids are good kids – they don’t understand that’s being selfish. They don’t know. ‘I passed the ball.’ It’s not about that. You’re into your own thing if you’re not communicating with your team.”
Sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow, who missed four games for personal reasons, said Thursday’s practice was the most fun he had had in some time. Calipari didn’t disagree.
“Probably in two months, yeah. Alex smiled for the first time this season. When you see them competing with each other, and I don’t have to drag them through everything,” Calipari said. “Like the one thing I’m doing with this running: it’s good because I don’t have to yell and scream and go nuts. Why didn’t you block him out? Alright, baseline let’s go, 34 seconds. Why did you not spring the court? Look, did you talk in that pick-and-roll? No. ‘I did, but I didn’t talk real loud, just kinda watch this.’ Alright, on the baseline. Let’s go, 34 seconds. I don’t have to yell.
“Why didn’t you play? Did you not see? Why didn’t you dig on that? He bounced and turned away and you didn’t go. Why? Cause it’s harder to go, and I want to quit on the play. OK, on the baseline, let’s run, 34. We ran 20 suicides, including them practice. We’re down to about 10 now, just total breakdowns. Stop, didn’t go hard. Why didn’t you go hard? You didn’t feel like it? What about your teammates? They needed you to go hard. ‘Oh.’ OK, you didn’t have a great practice this morning. On the baseline, let’s go, 34 seconds. I really don’t care what you tell me. We’re on the baseline, and we’re ruining. So that’s where we are.
“And I told them, I want to have fun coaching. I don’t want to be having to drag you. When you don’t have fun coaching it’s because instead of coaching X’s and O’s and situations and really teaching, what are you coaching? Effort, intensity, focus and concentration. I should coach that? That’s what my coaching should be. Well, that’s what my coaching is right now. That is a frustrating thing for a coach. I should never have to coach energy, effort, passion, enthusiasm, being vocal. They can do all that. We’re starting to do that, but we’re not there yet.”