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Cal says Cats will go big, back to basics

More preseason basketball interviews! This time around, Andy Katz sits down with Cal to talk about his new squad, whom Katz calls his most unique so far at Kentucky. The highlights:

— With 6-foot-10 Nerlens Noel, 6-9 Kyle Wiltjer and 7-foot freshman Willie Cauley-Stein on the roster, Cal says he plans to use a bigger lineup this season, but as a result, the pace of play will be much slower than Cats fans are used to. When asked about possible “Twin Towers” combinations, Cal said he’d be most willing to use Wiltjer and Nerlens together to capitalize on Wiltjer’s passing and shooting skills:

I’m not sure if I will play Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley together. I’m not sure whether I’ll play Willie and Nerlens together or how much. I will play Nerlens and Kyle Wiltjer together to be 6-10, 7-foot. You can play a heck of a big zone, and the second thing with Kyle Wiltjer is that he can make 3s and really pass. You’d have two bigs so you can play a big zone.

— With two huge games early in the season against Maryland and Duke and a roster full of newbies, Cal says he’s changing the way he’s preparing his team for the first time in a decade:

“We’ll do things differently with our practices for the first time in 10 years,’’ said Calipari. “This team is so young that we need to do things differently. Our first two games are Maryland and Duke so we have to put the basics in to be successful.’’

— Ryan Harrow may not be a “breakdown” point guard like his predecessors, but he’s got a year in the system under his belt and is improving daily. Cal said Harrow had his best day of practice on Sunday, and now “understands how to attack the rim and play with his teammates.”

Stop comparing Nerlens Noel to Anthony Davis. Really. Cal said they’re still working on developing Nerlens’ game, and that all of the comparisons are unfair, as are those between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (whom Cal called a “once-in-a 10-year guy”) and Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress.

Get your click on to go read more.

[Five Questions: Kentucky’s John Calipari]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

11 Comments for Cal says Cats will go big, back to basics

  1. Confused
    4:18 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Wasn’t there just an interview with Cal where he said this team would need to play more uptempo since we would always have an advantage in athleticism on the court?

  2. cakeonyou
    4:19 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    yeah there was…i thought the same thing

  3. Confused
    4:22 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    TTT – Help us reconcile this statement with the one above.

    On Team Tempo: Over the last three years, Kentucky has played a number of different styles, as Calipari adjusted to his team’s personnel. This year however, he has one plan. “We are going to play fast. We are going to dribble drive and get moving.” Calipari thinks that he has athletes on the court that will be better than almost anyone they played and thus it is important to have a “higher tempo” than any of his other teams at Kentucky. When I asked how someone like Kyle Wiltjer will fit in, Calipari said that he would have Kyle play behind the ball, as the last man down the court “like Larry Bird late in his career, spotting up for shots.”

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      4:27 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

      3 – That was Katz’s assumption–that a bigger lineup would lead to a slower pace, but I think it will all rely on Harrow. I’ll make a note to ask Cal about it tomorrow night at the Women’s Clinic.

  4. DB11
    4:22 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Who’s comparing Noel to Davis? I haven’t heard any of that.

  5. Big Blue Coming at You
    4:26 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah, i’m with the above in what happened to Cal saying we were going to play fast? Did he finally get to evaluate the team and realize that they can’t be the fast team he originally thought he had?

  6. chad
    4:39 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Thats Katz assumption he doesn’t know Willie is a fast as he is. Katz just thinks big means slower.

  7. Confused
    4:42 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    TTT – Thanks for the quick reply and for the explanation. You’re awesome!

  8. jengland
    4:51 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    i think its great that new players are compared to last year’s players…not Cal’s first or second UK group. just goes to show how impressive every group has been since the Wall season

  9. LA
    5:12 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    Cal is sand bagging, he is going to unleash size and speed just like last year when its appropriate and play a good half court when it aint there.

  10. Rockfield, KY
    5:31 pm October 2, 2012 Permalink

    10. Exactly what you said.