By LARRY VAUGHT
In John CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mind, Miami UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Charlie Coles is Ã¢â‚¬Å“one of the great coachesÃ¢â‚¬Â in college basketball.
However, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s MiamiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point guard, senior Kenny Hayes, that really has the Kentucky coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attention going into tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They probably have the best point guard weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve played to this point. He is a tough, strong, and hard-nosed kid. They put him in tons of pick-and-rolls,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Calipari.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This kid will go in the MAC (Mid-American Conference) and average 18 (points per game). If you go under the ball screen, he is making shots. If you try to fight over it, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll turn you down. They are running a lot of their stuff through that position. They have a nice little scheme that they are running. It looks a lot like a Florida team. If you try to go under, they roll. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll slip the screen. A lot of the stuff is the same as the way Florida plays.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Hayes was averaging 13.9 points per game and shooting 53.3 percent from 3-point range through eight games last year before he suffered a season-ending wrist injury and was granted a medical redshirt season so he could play this year. He was named to the All-MAC preseason team.
Calipari says Miami will not keep two players inside as it prefers to have an interior player step outside and shoot 3-pointers.
He also said Sunday that MiamiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense will attack the Cats and use numerous ball screens to free shooters because that is what Coles teaches.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They give you no gaps, no inches. They play old school, and chase screens. You can catch the ball, but when you catch it, someone is all over you,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They fight in the post, they double-team and trap in the post, they trap the big men in the post.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Offensively, they grind it. This year they are playing faster and they are running tons of ball screens. They run them all over the floor. I just watched the tape for 40 ball screens, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ready for that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
TonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foe also like will try to play physical with UK freshman point guard John Wall, who will be playing in his first regular-season game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I would imagine they are going to try to get him to run somebody over. They are probably going to take about 15 charges in the first eight minutes of the game. Some of them may be flops, some of them will be real,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ We havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t played a team that is going to lead the center and try to take charges, and we havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t played the team that is going to fake and take a charge. So if you pass on the run, you run people over. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to talk about it, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard if you play at a fast pace.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another good team where the team can beat us. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a game where you show up and you win anyway.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Freshman Eric Bledsoe had 24 points running the point in WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absence against Morehead State Friday. However, Wall says his teammates gave him plenty of support while he was sitting out his NCAA suspension.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“No matter how good a player is, he has to have teammates to take the pressure off of him. If you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, you arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to trust your teammates, kick the ball out to them or let them make plays,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“On this team, everybody can make plays. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind giving up the ball because I have a teammate who can finish.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Calipari was not happy with sophomore Darius MillerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s play against Morehead. However, the coach was quite a bit more understanding of MillerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s play Sunday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play a lot last year. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all acting like the kid played 30 minutes a game last year. Well, for a lot of games, he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get in,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He played eight minutes a game which means he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get in 10 games.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is only one way to build confidence and self-esteem Ã¢â‚¬â€ demonstrated performance. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s it. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not me pumping you up and giving you shots. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demonstrated performance. In other words, go perform, demonstrate to yourself and everybody else what you are and it builds your self-esteem and confidence. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not what I say.Ã¢â‚¬Â