John Calipari met with the media this afternoon in the bowels of the Joe Craft Center to look ahead to his team’s regular season opener against the Fightin’ Kenny Georges of UNC Asheville. Â Below you’ll find a brief recap of the press conference…
— Andrew Harrison returned to practice on Wednesday and he’ll be ready to go tomorrow night. Â “He makes us different,” Cal said of his starting point guard, who missed the team’s two exhibition games with a bruised knee. “We’re a different team.”
Cal compared the loss of Andrew Harrison to a football team using a wide receiver at quarterback, something Kentucky fans know all about. In this case, Aaron Harrison, the shooting guard, was the wide receiver filling in for the point guard/quarterback, Andrew. Calipari said it was good for Aaron, but he’s glad to have his starting QB back and healthy. I can’t imagine UNC Asheville shares that enthusiasm.
–Â James Young did not practice on Wednesday.Â He did run, though. Cal said he made Young run for being late to his treatment. His status for UNC Asheville is still unclear for now; they’ll have a better idea after today’s practice.
The team has only had two or three practices with both Andrew Harrison and James Young on the floor.
— Cal said Young being out gives Alex Poythress more opportunities, and he likes what he is seeing from his sophomore sixth man.Â “Alex has been really good. He has narrowed his game and tried to play harder. He’s not caving in and stopping. There’s no excuse, he’s playing.”
— Where is this team defensively, Coach? Â “We’re not close,” he said. Â “I got four months to get this thing right. And if I try to do it in two weeks, I’ll cheat the kids and drive myself crazy.”
He said he needs to see more effort, more intensity, more fight and more concentration.
— The team will spend a lot of Thursday’s practice working onÂ playing against zone defense. They can expect to see a lot of zone in the upcoming games, so they’ll need to be ready. Three goggles on deck.
— UK announced that it will renew its deal with the Champions Classic today,Â but there’s still another big event in the works, according to Cal. He said fans can expect to hear something in a couple weeks. “It’s rolling down the pipe the way we want it to.”
— After seeing Anthony Davis become the first player since 1992 withÂ 15 points and three blocks in the first five games, Cal called him and told him, “You never would’ve done that if I had let you shoot more.” Â Remember, Anthony Davis took the fifth-most shots.
And that’ll do it for now.
Go Cats, everybody.