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Northern Kentucky coach — who grew up a UK fan — on Cats, Randle, defense

Vaught’s note: Here is what Northern Kentucky coach Dave Bezold had to say after Sunday’s game — and he said a lot of good things about UK.

Northern Kentucky Head Coach Dave Bezold

Opening Statement …
“I just want to thank Coach Calipari and the University of Kentucky for having us here. What this means to our university is priceless. Our alumni, the people in our state – I mean, I grew up and still am a UK fan, but to be able to be here is very, very special for our university what it does for us, not only regionally but nationally. We are very fortunate for those guys to be here.”

On the difference between Kentucky’s team and Purdue’s team …
“Tremendous size. They are very, very skilled with their size. We couldn’t simulate this in practice and we tried. We built some extensions that were about three or four feet long with fake hands. Our managers did a heck of a job, but we still couldn’t simulate. We needed them to be about 10 feet long. Purdue plays tremendously hard, they really do, they are a heck of a basketball team, but Kentucky is so big and skilled at every spot and they keep coming in waves at you. Probably the hardest thing is rebounding because they are very active and really, really talented.”

On his teams shooting performance today …
“Yeah, we were very happy. I may be crazy to say this but when we had two or three wide-open layups in the first couple of minutes, two or three wide-open three’s in the first couple of minutes and we didn’t make them, I thought that relaxed Kentucky a little bit. If we would have made two or three of those shots and we would have had six, seven, eight, nine more points thought that we could have changed the tempo a little. When you don’t make those shots early against tremendous teams when you are outsized and really out-talented, it is really difficult to control tempo and it really allows those guys to be relaxed when they shoot the basketball. There is not a lot of pressure when you are up 12 or 15 as opposed to being in a two-point or three-point game. I really thought that was the difference in the game.”

On if Kentucky’s defense matched the intensity of Purdue’s defense …
“It’s different because they don’t have to. Purdue is smaller. Much smaller. And they had to get after us, deny us, and not let us catch the ball. Kentucky is so long they don’t have to and if they do do that I think that’d be foolish. Then they would be at risk of us blowing by them where they could just stay back, play containment and use their length and that’s what they are really, really good at – switching, containing, and using their length. When you have a 6’6” or 6’5” point guard, you are going to be able to switch with anybody and that’s really difficult.”

On the play of Julius Randle
“When I walked out on the floor and saw how big they were, I thought about turning around and going back in the locker room for a little bit. They are monsters. He is just physically so gifted and a special player. He is like all young kids, if he works really, really hard he is going to be special at this level and the next one, too. He is one guy that we really couldn’t physically matchup with right now.”

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1 comment

  1. Kokamo Joe

    Big is not all. Randle and the Harrison twins soon will be nineteen years old, which is older than the typical college freshman.

    It is common for kids to repeat a grade in middle school now, and it is not only the superstars who are doing it. No doubt this gives the better players an edge and it also would be helpful for the less talented because playing against older players. I expect that this is or has happened at our local schools. Personally I oppose that because an extra year of schooling cost the tax payers a ton of money. But that is a topic for another place and time.

    Being older means that freshmen are physically more developed and have a year more of AAU and in most cases basketball academy experience. For that reason our players and top recruits that go elsewhere are going to be beyond what we used to think we could expect from freshmen.

    Occasionally a player grows and develops fast enough so that he can “reclassify” or skip a year of high school. Our next year’s center, the Towns kid is a good example of this. He repeated a middle school grade, but developed physically and athletically well enough that UK was interested, so he took 6 classes on line over the past summer and is now reclassified as a senior and will be at UK next year.

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