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Coach Cal talks where the Cats are losing games, DeAndre Liggins and the issue of talent and experience

A few notes from Coach Cal’s turn on the SEC Coaches Teleconference this morning…

 – In his opening, Calipari joked (I think) that he thought Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt was at home and asked why his team doesn’t get to play any home games.  He joked (I think) that he should be paying more attention to the schedule.

 – Coach Cal said that despite his team failing to close out another game at the end, the thing he’s trying to focus on with them is that they are losing them long before that with short spells of mistakes and ineffectiveness.  He said that in every game they’ve played this year, they’ve had at least one stretch in the middle of the game where they have fallen into a rut and that is where they need to get better.  Against Florida, it was at the end of the first half when Brandon Knight went to the bench and the start of the second half when the Gators opened up the lead to double-digits.  Cal said they’re going to work on avoiding those slow stretches.

 – In terms of specific players needing to provide more, Cal cited the need to get DeAndre Liggins 8-10 shots per game.  He acknowledged that Liggins needs to finish his lay-ups, but said that they spoke yesterday about him getting more drives to the basket out of the offense and that he needs to feel more comfortable shooting the three-point shot, which Cal noted he does better than anyone on the team during practice.  He added that Liggins has earned the ability to take more shots through his defense and he wants to make sure he’s getting and taking them when he gets them.  Hopefully, this little reward is noted by his teammates.

 – Though it’s not necessarily anything new, it was particularly interesting to again hear Calipari side with taking talent over experience after the Cats dropped another close game to a more veteran squad.  Calipari quoted John Wooden again in saying that he believes talent will win and that he would prefer to take very good young players and try to develop them.  Of course, he did qualify that by saying that the best recipe is a mix of both and that his best teams at Memphis had young talent (Derrick Rose) and veterans (Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey) and last year’s team benefited from having Patrick Patterson and two reserves who had previously been starters (Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson).  It’s a debate that will continue as long as Cal is UK’s coach and he noted that a lot of reasons why Florida won (offensive rebounds, “out-working” the Cats) came from experience.  UK is unquestionably a better team when they have both.  But, the lack of veterans on the roster from the time Cal came in makes the freshmen have to play.  Then, you end up with two guys who never would have been tabbed as one-and-done players (Orton and Bledsoe) leaving.  That then makes guys like Doron Lamb being forced into a bigger role and a similar decision.  With the continued recruitment of elite players, the ability of Kentucky to field a team balanced in talent and experience will likely come down to the development of guys like Jon Hood and Stacey Poole and maybe even the decision of guys like Knight and Lamb to return for a sophomore year.  It’s certainly a nice problem to have, but it might be one that’s a little hard to alter.  I blame Gillispie.

 – Along a similar note, Coach Cal was asked about a possible NBA rule that would make players enroll in college for two years.  Though Cal didn’t endorse the idea outright, he did say that he thought making guys play for two years in college would be beneficial both to college basketball and the NBA.  It would absolutely be great for UK.

 – With Tennessee coming to town tomorrow, Scotty Hopson is listed as questionable.  Calipari said he expects him to play since “it’s Kentucky”.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

24 Comments for Coach Cal talks where the Cats are losing games, DeAndre Liggins and the issue of talent and experience

    12:21 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Shoot it Liggins!

  2. Al's IndiCats
    12:26 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    He works his tail off on defense, why not give hime 8-10 shots game.

  3. Sapper
    12:26 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Take it to the goal baby, let that horse run!!

  4. Mikegilchrist
    12:27 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    I would like to tell Darius Miller that “be aggressive” means “shoot the ball more!” His shot is good enough that I would be ok even if he took a few bad shots a game, as long as he would shoot when he is even slightly open. Geezus.

  5. old-school
    12:29 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Talent and experience? Why does it have to be one or the other?

  6. The Stuff
    12:29 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    The starting lineup is loaded with veterans. And they are playing like 2 star prospects. I agree with Cal. Give us talent all day regardless of their class in college.

  7. DJG
    12:31 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Looks like we fell to number 18 in the polls

  8. OH Napier
    12:37 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Coach Cal did not even know where the next game was or the team we was playing tomorrow night on a National sports cast. Come on people???OH Napier

  9. OH Napier
    12:39 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    why is this at least I can remember where I will be playing tomorrow. OH

  10. SoCalCat
    12:40 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Please Liggins, take the shots within flow of the game. No lean back 3-pointers 🙂

  11. BukakenNursinHomes
    12:42 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Old School the Old fool punches babies in the face

  12. Kernel Sanders
    12:47 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    hearing that Doron Lamb has quit attending classes. Nice to have you for 1 year Doron…

  13. Wildcobb Salad
    12:47 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    my god that is some terrible clip art.

  14. old-school
    12:57 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    11 – try answering the question.
    Why not strive for talent and experience.

    Make fun of Duke all you want – and yes I still cringe when they shot Laetner’s shot from 92 – but anyone who suggest their philosphy is not succesful is in utter denial.

  15. old-school
    12:59 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    On a positive note – heard that academically – Knight will be a junior at the end of the season. Whether he turns pro after the season or not – it’s a safe bet right now to suggest that he won’t be among the 60 percent of former NBA players who are broke five years after they leave the game.

  16. William Braskey
    1:20 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    We seem to be on par with last year’s Texas team, just with less bodies to work with. That team had too many guys that didn’t understand their roles and how to help the team win.

  17. Just Sayin
    1:33 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Liggins does need to get more shots than he did against Fla. But not if it means driving to the lane and throwing up junk like he often does. I’d much prefer Miller be taking 12-15 shots per game, but at this point I’ve given up hope that he will ever make that happen consistently. He had a good 1st half at Fla and then once again disappeared in the second half.

  18. Just Sayin
    1:36 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    14) old-school – People have explained it to you numerous times. The answer does not change just because you didn’t like the reply(s) and keep asking the same question over and over and over.

  19. old-school
    2:09 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    No – nobody has explained why UK can’t seem to recruit both talent that becomes experienced.

    The truth is – Cal is looking for a quick fix because he’s not the coach he’s made out to be and you know it.

    At UMASS and at Memphis – he rode big talent to 30-plus win seasons in VERY weak conferences. He had enough talent where his lack of X’s and O’s wasn’t exposed.

    In between – he had a chance to really ‘coach’ in the pros – and he was a bust because he couldn’t ‘out-talent’ the opposition.

    At kentucky – he saw a chance to exploit Kentucky’s name, following and TV draws to attract unparalleled talent – and he thought it woudl be a cakewalk to a tournament championship.

    However, he’s finding out that the best teams not only have talent – but also experience.

    Now he’s caught in a catch-22. In order to recruit the top talent – he must promise that top-talent that his priority is to get them to the show. Thus – we have guys like Jones who isn’t here for the program – but who’s here to get his.

    Last year was extraordinary no doubt – and Wall really played team ball and no-doubt was a once-in-a-decade talent who was ready to go pro. By the nature of his position – point guard – it was to his advantage to lead the team within a team framework – thus helping UK as a team and himself individaull.

    Cousins was a great talent too – but if Calipari truly considered this a “player’s first” program – as he’s claimed several times – he would have been looking out for Cousin’s interest and kept him for another year or two. Physically- the kid was ready, emotionally and mentally – not so much. From comments from Cousins – it doesn’t sound like it would have taken much convincnig to keep Cousins on board another year.

    However, Cal had a couple of other big men waiting in the wings and he needed Cousins out of the picture. In comes Jones and Kanter. Cal took a big gamble on Kanter, and he knew the stakes going on. Fair or not – he lost that gamble.
    And Jones is doing jsut what Cal promised him – he’s using UK as a chance to raise his NBA stock.

    This is the pattern UK fans – Get used to it.

    For a growing number of fans – this is not the way to build a program or to continue the legacy of the greatest college program in history. It’s a recipe for disappointment and continued frustration.

    UK should not have to settle for some get-rich quick scheme.

  20. JR50
    2:52 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Ok, Jones is not killing us as we have noone who wants to shoot, and that is what the coach is telling him to do. And as far as experience is concerned we will have that in due time. Remember we had 5 guys go in the first round( unheard of ). We are just not good on weak side help, cant recover on help side defense, and we just play soft…So lets just hope that Lamb, and Knight will be back and that Poole stays. Miller will always be a ghost for 20 mins every game and Jorts is just Jorts peroid!

  21. TheGuyPitinoForgotToPayToGetFreshFishAtPorchinis
    3:28 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    “Coach Cal was asked about a possible NBA rule that would make players enroll in college for two years…. It would absolutely be great for UK.”

    I challenge that assumption…

    Would Calipari have been able to secure the commitments from Knight, Lamb, and Jones, had they known that Wall, Bledsoe, Cousins, Orton, would have to stay 2 years?

    Would Calipari had been able to secure the commitments from Teague, Gilchrist, Davis & Ewiltjer (All 5 star recruits – had they known that Knight, Lamb, and Jones would have to stay 2 years under rule?

    What we know is Cal can outrecruit anyone in the country. So this would suggest, we would be able to do in any scenario as long as everybody has to play by the same rules (cough, Pearl, cough). Yet, as far as the 2 above scenarios suggest, this 2 year mandatory rule could thin the potential thickness of our quality depth. How?

    Example: With the potential lockout next season in the NBA, it’s likely that we could have Jones and Knight stay another year regardless of their performance or desires throughout the en of the season. This would mean UK gains a windfall double by chance. This would have been less likely if we would be under the 2 year mandatory rule, since it could be more difficult to have secured the quality of commitments of we can get in each class under the current 1 year mandatory rule.

    Other teams would not be as affected negatively, yet might benefit by a 2 year rule, IMO. Since their yearly freshman class quality doesn’t demand starting roles to sign a LOI. Therefore their teams would benefit from forcing their rare one and dones to stay around another year increasing the quality of their teams.

  22. tom9698
    11:30 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    I’m goint t try and say something nice concerning old school,since my last post got lost in cyberspace.Sir,Cal has only been here 2 yrs. so it’s kinda hard to recruit a team of rookies to go with our veterans.Not having Bledsoe,Orton and Enes took away any chance of us having a real good team.I think Cal has done a great job with what we have.Just because the upperclassmen have let the team down on occasion isn’t the coaches fault.GBB

  23. tom9698
    11:33 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Does anybody know who old school is? I think he’s a blogger,because every time i try and make a comment concerning him it gets deleted! I’ll be surprised if this even goes through.1,2,3

  24. tom9698
    11:35 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Well,i can’t believe it.Old school,reveal your true identity.UK fan or troll?