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Cal weighs in on who will be this team’s MKG or Liggins

John Calipari got a little bit philosophical in his mailbag video today when he started discussing how he has transformed from a coach “trying to survive” in the business, to a coach who is in large part “in it” for other people. After discussing his player’s first program mentality, he talked about two things pertaining to this year’s team in particular: how hard he is pushing this team right now, and who will become this year’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or DeAndre Liggins.

“My whole focus is on getting them better.” Calipari stated that his job as a coach is to make his players uncomfortable. He says that his players “need to have a little fear in me.” He also noted how critical he is about fundamentals on a daily basis.

“I have to be hard, and right now I’m being really tough on guys,” Calipari shared. “I’m even trying to embarrass guys during games to get them to change. But it’s still about them.” (Remember all the yelling on Saturday?) Calipari went on to add, “My job is to care about them. Their job is to care about each other.”

Then Calipari was asked about who might step up on this year’s team to become a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or DeAndre Liggins type of player. “We don’t know yet. We’re trying to figure it out. I was with Coach Hall the other day and I said ‘I might not figure this team out until February.'” Calipari admitted that this team is not forcing nearly enough turnovers to create more possessions on offense. He also talked about the offensive rebounds being given up, and how that equates to easy baskets around the rim for the other team. Heading into next week when the players will be on break from classes and have more time to practice, Calipari sees potential for improvement. “We’ve got a lot of things in the works that we’re tweaking and working out.”

Who do you think will be this year’s MKG or Liggins? Is there a guy on this team who will fit that mold?

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

47 Comments for Cal weighs in on who will be this team’s MKG or Liggins

  1. tyrus
    6:03 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    That’s a great picture. Blow it up and hang it in the locker room. Doesn’t need any description.

  2. UK Freshmen
    6:04 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Who in the hell wants to be Liggins??

  3. hersheyisabear
    6:06 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I truly believe it is going to be Alex. The kid has the heart. He just doesn’t seem sure of himself yet. Once he finds it he will be great!

  4. NervyBeef
    6:09 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    2- I would love to have about 3 Junior Year Deandre Liggins, dude was an unreal defender

  5. Mack
    6:16 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Amen Nervy!

  6. KYintheSky
    6:23 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Over the summer there was piece written about Twany being our lock down defender. He appears to only be locked down to the bench.

  7. Cats in the NBA
    6:28 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Kyle still has time to transform into a terrorizing defender.

  8. Jeff
    6:30 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    So far the only guy on this team that plays as hard as Liggins and MKG is Nerlens. Ofcourse he’s not a wing defender but maybe the guys can feed off his effort as the season progresses.

  9. Mayes
    6:31 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Im pretty sure mayes has already locked it down as far as hustle. but he is no where near the defender liggins was or the overall talent MKG is

  10. DieHARD
    6:31 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink


    You’re an idiot. Liggins was our emotional leader his junior year. The way he defended was a game changer. If we had one player like him this year our results would be different. We would have shut down Jackson against Baylow. Don’t forget his 3 pointer against UNC.. ya ya, I know he missed against UCONN but Cal said he would put the ball in his hands at the end of the game that year. I wish he would have been on our team last year, he deserved a championship.

    Don’t be surprised if you start seeing a drastic change in emotions from Goodwin. I have a feeling everyone will jump back on his bandwagon after he destroys the SEC.

  11. Homer
    6:35 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    It would certainly be nice to have a MKG or Liggins on this team but I think after 3 years of one and done players coming to UK…we might have a case of “I’m only staying a year” attitude for the first time. Wall even embraced playing for UK all the way to Davis embracing it.

    Guys like Wiltjer and Harrow should have picked it up after last year and taught it to this year’s players but they didn’t…Polson honestly is the only one that seems to embrace the concept but he doesn’t seem to have respect from the starters at all!

    It’s been said before…just because it says KENTUCKY on the front doesn’t mean you’ll play like KENTUCKY teams without hard work, dedication and having a team concept. It has to be embraced by the player, not the coaches or the fans…the player has to want to work harder than every other player in D1 ball to be the best. Instead it looks like they are “getting theirs” this year and that’s sad…understandable but still sad.

    These guys don’t think it will affect their draft position (and it won’t really) so why work hard…I’ll be in the NBA making millions next year! By rebuttal is yes you will be, but do you want to stay healthy and play longer than your rookie contract? If so…it begins now…learn it today while you are only a little behind rather than tomorrow when you’ll be way behind. Think it’s tough now…wait to next year!

  12. Isaac in Long Beach
    6:36 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    1) It really is an amazing picture. You can just feel the “swag” (and I HATE that word). We need a player on this team to really TAKE PRIDE in being an excellent defender the way that Liggins and MKG did. That’s the one thing we’re missing.

  13. dave
    6:58 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    by “cal weighs in” i assume you’re referring to when he says “we’re not sure yet” and then talks about turnovers.

  14. Ed has Tickets
    7:00 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    The cats ordered everything on the menu that day in the chicken palace.

  15. jonestown
    7:08 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    get tickets to the UL game from stubhub, back it blue while lyles is on his visit therer

  16. John Ellis
    7:08 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Actually it’s Nerlans. He’s the one who is always pushing. But he has to develop a go-to offensive game, use his quickness and lithe body to advantage instead of getting pushed around. Poythress has to get that fighting every possession mentality and also become a huge rebounder for this team to really do things. I know they thought they’d come in and repeat last year’s achievements but they’re 18. They need to give themselves some time.

  17. cal'sbloatedgut
    7:12 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I am guessing cal “weighs in” at about a duece and a half.

  18. Richard, from Shep. Ky.
    7:16 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with #10, about #2,
    Liggins was exactly what we
    need now. He was a show stopper
    on many occasions. Give him credit!

  19. NotSatire
    7:18 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I would bet it would be Goodwin. Nerlens can be a Jorts, but not an MKG or Liggins, because he plays the 5.

  20. liggins
    7:21 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    dont forget liggins story about his upbringing and how he lost his brother and wore 34 in honor of him, hes one of my faves

  21. I Say
    7:27 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I would take a Liggins any day of the week, wish he could’ve won a championship. But I really think Archie is going to be the guy, at the end of the game he’ll be the one with the ball in his hands.

  22. Yngvie Malmsteen.
    7:30 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    11-You’re a fraking idiot.

  23. kevin l
    7:39 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    archie goodwin

  24. mudcreekmark
    7:45 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I wish Cal would take this picture,blow it up and put it on a wall where they have to touch it before coming onto the court. That my friends is what you call getting down into a defensive stance. Jones is like oh yea bring it on, Liggins is going to eat your lunch.

  25. HackRichards
    7:45 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Easy Question – Kyle Wiltzer.

  26. Uk fan
    7:53 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t think Cal needs until February to”figure this team out”. They simply don’t want it as mucho as past teams. Maybe it’s just a lack of veteran leadership in Cal’S system. Maybe
    It’s their more passive personalities…who knows? Time will tell whether these guys have what it takes to win.

  27. Chicago Chris
    7:55 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Poythress or Goodwin. I’d say Goodwin.

  28. Chicago Chris
    7:55 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Nerlens can be this teams Davis. That’d be fine.

  29. bluefan
    8:01 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Archie Goodwin for sure. Brrr…..
    LOVE the photo! Good times.

  30. Truth
    8:09 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Matt likes black dongs.

  31. Catlogic15
    8:19 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I had great seats near the UK bench for this game. DeAndre was waiting on Silva to drive, as he blocked him every time Silva got near. It was hilarious. DeAndre agreed.

  32. Miss Ann Thrope
    8:23 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    In order to have “swag”, you have to be confident in your abilities. I understand having to “be really tough on guys”, but I think there is a point where it could end up backfiring. Everyone talks about the physical and mental aspects of this team, but these kids are YOUNG. The emotional aspect is probably the most important overall, and espicially now.

    Like Mays said in the last post game interview, when asked what he thought the problem might be. He basically said some guys aren’t used to being “coached” or having to work hard. If even one guy is doubting the system , or not trying hard enough, it effects the balance of all of them. I trust Cal to figure out what he’s dealing with, and make the right decisions at the right times.

    I don’t think we’ll know a whole lot about the physical side (good offensive/defensive sets, conditioning) of our improvement until the Louisville game, but between now and then, we should be able to see some mental/emotional gains, and them coming together as a team and having each others backs through thick and thin.

  33. The Better Question
    8:43 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    UK Freshmen: Offense intended, but are you a complete Idiot? Don’t you get the topic of this thread? The better question is who wants to be you.

  34. crackerhillbilly
    8:44 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I so miss Liggins. The sheer joy on his face getting ready to give hell on defense is pure C-A-T-S. Didn’t care if he scored a point, but by golly his man wasn’t going to either. He must have looked like a giant spider to a 6’2″ opposing point guard. Wish I saw it, but I don’t on any of this year’s Cats.

  35. 24, and Liggins is saying “Come get some!”

  36. Bob Loblaw
    9:29 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I think it’s time that Coach evolves his “players first” mentality and instead of pushing some players too early into the pros, think about their long term NBA career not the quick money, which will most likely be gone in 5 years.

  37. Elijah Smith
    9:51 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I believe Poythress because of the motor and the build of him reminds me of MKG.

  38. Dr. Tom
    10:23 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    I loved Liggins. I agree with #34, scoring points really wasn’t that important for him because he created such defensive havoc for the opposing team. For a player who was so messed up his freshman year he was the heart and sole of the team his last year. And #22, be nice…it’s the holiday season!!

  39. EC
    10:27 pm December 11, 2012 Permalink

    Liggins, as a defender, always looked like a leopard who was about to pounce on an antelope. That photo captures his intensity. Hope he has a long career in the NBA.

    It will come down between Poythress and Goodwin.

  40. Bledsoe's Biceps
    6:09 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    Several say Goodwin will become the lock down defender. Really? So far, he has shown zero desire to play defense. Absolutely none. He is 100% about scoring. He gets beat off the bounce 50 times a game and repeatedly causes the defense to breakdown. If Cal can turn him into a lock down defender, he will have performed a miracle. Hope he does, but I’m not betting on it. I’m not sure any of these guys have the desire or mentality to become a Liggins or MKG defender. But if forced to pick someone, I’d have to go with A) Harrow or B) Poythress. Harrow has the physical ability/quickness to harass any guard. Poythress has the size & skill to do the same at the wing. But can Cal get him to play with the passion of MKG or Liggins? I hope so. Time to earn those big bucks coach.

  41. Daniel
    7:10 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    im more worried about who is going to be Miller!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Jerk
    8:04 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    Whey you guys keep talking about the past, listen people I am only going to say this once, there is no future in the past. This team is trying to live up to last years team that had all the piece’s, just enough experience and young talent to perform, even tho they had lapse’s.That’s what’s wrong with this team, other than cal trying to beat them down. I mean really I am embarrassed for them during the games, treating them like they are idiots in front of 23000 people. I can’t stand to watch the game with the sound up, looks to me like cal is just trying to be the center of attention, think he has some major problems with his ego..

  43. bigbluejon
    8:26 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    Easy: Kyle Wiltjer. He has to step up. He has the size and length to be a great defender, he just needs to WANT it.

  44. James
    8:29 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    Does anyone realize how much better this team would be if only marquis Teague would have came back and we had a true point guard!

  45. Rockfield, KY
    8:37 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t see it being Archie. He gets lost way too much on defense and tends to stand straight up when guarding the ball. Look at Liggins in this pic and then look at a pic of Archie from this season. You’ll see a HUGE difference. Right now I’m not seeing much mental toughness. I have no clue who it will be if not Julius.

  46. Hard Truth
    9:57 am December 12, 2012 Permalink

    This team doesn’t have a stopper and won’t….the reason, along with no PG, that we will get bounced from the tourney. One and done has caught up with us this year, no depth. These Cats are the softest bunch yet. We will be fine once the Harrison twins get here….

  47. mustachio
    12:07 am December 13, 2012 Permalink

    Alex is the clear answer to this seeming conundrum. You can see it in his game, in his eyes, a recognition that he’s a superior athlete on both sides of the court. He hasn’t taken that roll and bu##f&c%ed this party yet like I know he can, but he will. I’m calling a monster like performance on DEC 29. Do it like Josh did two years ago or MKG last year.