John Calipari pushed assistant Joel Justus aside to take his rightful seat at the pregame press conference throne in the bowels of the Joe Craft Center today. Among the topics Calipari discussed in his unscheduled appearance: Malik Monk, Isaac Humphries, the Alabama-Clemson rematch, The Jetsons, and more.
Here are five things to know:
1. Malik Monk should be getting double-doubles.
With almost 23 points per game this season, Monk is the highest-scoring freshman and falls in the top 10 of all scorers nationwide. Scoring is obviously not an issue, but his rebounding sure is, Coach Cal said today.
“He’s got to take it up a notch rebounding the ball. He’s got to go after balls. He’s got to check out. In my opinion, he should be a double-double as a guard. Like, what? Yeah, he should be a double-double and it should be rebounds and points. He could be that guy, but he’s got to focus on that.”
Cal also said he wishes Monk would draw more fouls because he is the team’s best shooter at the strip at 86.4 percent on the season.
2. Isaac Humphries was “really good” in Thursday’s practices.
The birthday boy shined in yesterday’s practices, according to Cal’s comments.
“Isaac looked really good yesterday,” he said. “Like, really good.”
Humphries said the scrimmaging during Camp Cal has really helped his play because he and Bam Adebayo are going at one another.
3. Outside of Humphries, everyone else had a slow Thursday.
“Yesterday they weren’t as focused,” he said. “We worked out in the morning, had a great workout and then they came back in the evening and we started slow and got going and then they kind of lost focus a little bit. So instead of just getting mad I just had them condition. So we just did conditioning for 15-20 minutes, because like I told them, I said, ‘You guys, I’m enjoying coaching you and I don’t want to get mad so we’re just going to condition instead.”
He told them they could come back on their own time at night to play pickup and “shoot hook shots and do what you want to do.”
4. Briscoe has changed his shot to avoid getting blocked.
Cal said, “He’s changing, because we’re doing it in practice. He’s shooting it higher now, because he’s got a big ole thing out in front of him and it’s blocking him if he doesn’t shoot it higher. See, last year, he made those. He didn’t get shots blocked.”
The whole team worked on that yesterday:
Our coach said we were getting too many of our shots blocked. Well, let's make the adjustment … pic.twitter.com/S8p6eKf4GK
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 5, 2017
5. Monday’s college football championship will be a good game.
In talking about the incredible job Nick Saban has done at Alabama, Calipari noted it helps that Saban keeps his star recruits for more than a year.
“The advantage they have over us is they have returning guys — some leave and then they’ve got a mass group returning that can really teach the new guys. You have redshirting and different things that make the kids older, and you get more of a chance to teach them.”
But he warned everyone to not sleep on Clemson in the title game.
“People are acting like Alabama is just winning. I’m sorry. That other team is showing up and they have an expectation that they’re going to win.”