Most Recent Posts
- High school coach says he’s heard “no NBA talk” from Andrew or Aaron Harrison
- Playing No. 1 Florida “just going to be another game” for James Young
- John Calipari: UK needs Alex Poythress to “do two or three things on offense” and no more
- Kentucky gets the Gator off its back, beats Florida 75-70 in SEC semis
- Willie Cauley-Stein says Cats “obviously 100 percent” believe they can beat No. 1 Florida
- John Calipari has assigned assistants to monitor players’ minutes in games
- Kentucky Wildcats TV: How you approach the end
- John Calipari says Kentucky must “make some jump shots” to play with Florida
By LARRY VAUGHT
Earlier this season Kentucky coach John Calipari thought he had Alex Poythress moving forward. The last few games, though, Poythress has had trouble scoring and doing the same things he was earlier.
“We’ve got to get Alex playing back to how — an aggressive, ‘We need you to do two or three things on offense. Rebound and defend and go block shots. If you’re open, shoot the ball. One-dribble pull-ups. Don’t try to pass cross-court scoop pass. Don’t. Just give it to the guard. It’s not your game.’” Calipari said.
“We’re trying to narrow in guys so they can play in a confident way. You’re competent at these things, and it’s going to make you confident.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Willie Cauley-Stein knows a win at No. 1 Florida Saturday would change the perception of what Kentucky’s season has been like.
“I mean, they’re the No. 1 team. We’re searching for a big win, and it would definitely be a big win if we could pull it off,” Cauley-Stein said Friday.
He says Kentucky “obviously 100 percent” believes it can win.
“I mean, it’s a game. You play to win the game,” Cauley-Stein. “I think the team knows what we’ve got to do and what mistakes we’ve got to fix before we go down there and play tomorrow. But for the most part, I think we’re prepared more than you can be. There’s not much more we can do.
“We were searching for a win bad (against Alabama Tuesday). It might have been ugly but a win’s a win. Anybody in the SEC is liable to beat you. Any win is a good win.”
Cauley-Stein, like coach John Calipari, still believes the Cats have a big run left in them this season.
” It’s to that point where our backs is kind of against the wall. Players are going to have to show that they’re players – everybody on the team. It’s definitely a thing that we’ve got to keep in mind when we go in there,” he said.
He thinks it “would be great” to run Florida’s Senior Day and unbeaten SEC record.
“That’s what we go down there for and that’s kind of the motivation of what we’re trying to do,” he said.
He says there are mistakes UK made in an earlier loss to Florida that can be corrected.
“Not give up wide-open shots. There late we gave up wide-open 3s. Make sure we’re putting a body on everybody rebounding. Other than that we played a near-perfect game until those three points,” he said. “I think being a young team you make those mistakes at the end. We’re so young you don’t really know when the crunch time or the winning time is. It’s the last five minutes of the game and that’s when – everything else before that really doesn’t matter.
“You win or lose a game in the last five minutes, and I think we’ve learned that the past year pretty much. The last five games has been a struggle, but definitely watching that game back on film, easily you win if you take care of the things that you’re supposed to do as an individual.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Remember a few games ago when Kentucky coach John Calipari said he had players playing too many minutes because they would not take themselves out of game. Apparently, the UK coach has found a way to solve that problem — and it’s not him just taking a player out.
“We even got guys arguing that —I ’m putting a couple of assistants on individual players and telling them, ‘You sub. If they don’t want to come out, just take them out.’ So we’re doing whatever we can to get guys off the floor,” Calipari said Friday.
He said assistant Kenny Payne is assigned to Julius Randle, who had cramping issues early in the season when he played too many minutes.
“Julius in the last three weeks has done everything we’ve asked him to do. We just want him to take more jump shots, but he’s doing everything else. He’s rebounding the ball. Because he’s not playing as many minutes, he’s not breaking down defensively as much,” Calipari said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
For a team that has not been making shots in its last three games, facing No. 1 Florida and its defense could be a big problem Saturday.
“Offensively, you’ve got to make some jump shots,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Friday about what his team must do to play with Florida. “This is not a game you can go 2-for-22 from the 3. Their field goal percentage against the 3 is like 34 percent. They make sure if they give up something, it will be the 3. This is a game where they force you to make jumpers.”
That is not something Kentucky has done the last four games against LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama either from the perimeter or inside.
“They shot the ball well yesterday. Had a great practice,” Calipari said Friday. “Got to do it in games. Have a fire and passion to play. I think they will be ready to play, but we are playing an outstanding team that has not lost a home game in a long time.
“I want them to fly up and down the court, be aggressive, create for each other more than us having to run stuff. But they do a great job getting back in transition defense and will not give us easy baskets. You have to be strong with the ball. Our numbers versus are fine versus their numbers. It’s just let’s go and compete and see what happens. There’s nothing going to be easy about it.
“They press (at home) more there than they do on the road. You have to be strong with the ball and be aggressive. You have to be able to play their pick and roll offense.”
Kentucky played with Florida until the final eight minutes in Lexington earlier this season when Calipari said “we lost the game because of two offensive rebounds” that led to five Florida points.
“We fouled late in the (shot) clock two or three times down the stretch. Just didn’t have enough defensive discipline. We didn’t play fearful and then we hit a stretch of games where we got rattled,” Calipari said.
Calipari said it would be important for senior point guard Jarrod Polson to play well to give Andrew Harrison breaks.
“A guy like Jarrod can’t be timid. If you are open, let them go. We have to get minutes out of him,” Calipari said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Even though Kentucky coach John Calipari says he pays no attention to what others say or write, he apparently has been a bit stunned by comments about him and his team lately.
“What’s amazing to me is a team that has this much ability and size and the numbers we have are pretty good … if you look at our numbers: defense, shot blocking, offensive field goal percentage … we have some numbers that are not great but to have people say this team is done, I just don’t believe it,” Calipari said Friday as UK gets set to play at No. 1 Florida Saturday.
Calipari noted that with the “kind of skill and ability” his team has despite its eight losses, he doesn’t understand why critics have written off UK but not other teams that have lost games recently.
“Let’s hope the light goes on. If it goes on this game, fine. If they need another game, fine,” he said. “I believe in this team. I believe in individual players. These are great kids. I had a ball coaching them in practice yesterday.”
He’s had friends tell him how tired he looks coaching this team.
“I am tired. It is March. I am exhausted. How stupid is that? Do you look at any coach that is not tired (in March)?” Calipari said.
Others tell him he’s not having as much fun as he normally does.
“I told my team, ‘You guys must be rubbing off on me because that’s never been said about me when I’m coaching,’” Calipari said.
He knows his players are playing with the “weight of the world” on them because they were “over hyped and set up for failure” — and included himself as part of the reason for the over hype.
“But none of that matters. Go ball. Let’s see where we are against the best team in the country on their senior night,” Calipari said.
John Calipari was a lot happier during the Alabama game Tuesday than he was on Saturday when he was ejected from the loss at South Carolina. His players noticed, too.
“That’s just the type of person he is. He’s real loud and animated, but I guess wanted to see we would react to him just being quiet,” freshman center Dakari Johnson said. “And he did a good job just calling plays for us and making it player-driven. We were out there by ourselves, and it was kind of weird at first, but I think throughout the game we kind of adapted to it.”
Calipari said during Tuesday’s postgame press conference that his team was “rattled” by consecutive losses — something that didn’t happen his first three years at Kentucky.
“I’ve only lost two games in a row other than this year one time in my career and that was last year,” UK senior Jon Hood said. “One time since I’ve been here. I think all of us were a little rattled to a certain degree. We just had to rediscover, redefine what we were and we did that to an extent tonight and now we got to move forward.”
How does a team redefine?
“Go play. That’s the thing, go play. Players are going to play. Coaches are going to coach. Officials are going to officiate. You can’t get all boggled up with the officials and how they’re calling the call or how the coach is on you, whatever. We’re 18-year-old men and above. I’m 22. We know how to play basketball at this point. Just go to go play,” Hood said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla says he feels “badly” for Kentucky coach John Calipari because of the way this season has gone for the Wildcats.
“I feel badly for John in this regard — he is not having any fun coaching these guys and I am not saying it is the players’ fault. He has gone in with his eyes wide open recruiting one and done players. The last two teams I have been watching bear no resemblance to the teams he coached at UMass and Memphis,” said Fraschilla Wednesday on an ESPN conference call.
“Again, a lot of that is on him and some on the players. It looks like a team not having fun. I don’t think he is coaching them as hard as other teams he’s had in practice and holding them accountable. I do feel badly, but he knew what he was getting into with this type of recruiting style.”
Fraschilla, a former college coach and long-time Calipari friend, said the Cats were “just not fun to watch” this year.
“Having watched them practice and seeing them earlier in the year and where they are right now, this team beating (No. 1) Florida Saturday would be like Boston College beating Syracuse,” the ESPN analyst said. “It may happen, but I would not hold my breath.
“I don’t know how much better (the Cats) can get chemistry-wise going into the (NCAA) Tournament. They’re still enormously talented. If given the right draw, they could go far in the tournament. If I was a gambler, I wouldn’t be betting on them.”
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