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Darrin Horn is the reason UK’s bench didn’t play


In this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Coach Cal got a little testy when questioned by a reporter about why his bench players did not see significant minutes against South Carolina, despite the game turning into a blowout early on.  Coach Cal initially noted that the reason the Polson-Hood-Vargas-Poole quartet didn’t get any quality tick (laugh it up, Pete Thamel!) was because South Carolina remained in a press late in the game.  Calipari said that his team was struggling to break that defense – a feeling noted by many of you a bit more profanely on the live blog – and that he yanked his big guns as soon as Darrin Horn dropped back into a zone.

After his initial response, Calipari was asked again why he had not given them meaningful minutes and chance for “demonstrated performance”, which is what he cited as the biggest reason that Josh Harrellson has developed into a major contributor.  Calipari clearly got agitated and repatedly noted that he’s working on this team’s psyche as much as anything right now and the last thing he wanted to do was have a situation where his team struggles to finish off another game and he has to bring his starters back in to save it.  Seems to make sense.

Calipari did say that the bench players might get an opportunity to still crack the rotation, but didn’t seem too committed to the idea and mentioned it only in passing.

Article written by Thomas Beisner

37 Comments for Darrin Horn is the reason UK’s bench didn’t play

  1. ruraraga
    12:11 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink


  2. ruraraga
    12:11 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink


  3. bubba
    12:17 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Cal is gambling that the starters will remain healthy and injury free. Safe bet more that likely but one twisted ankle will make thing really interesting.

  4. Bg Cat
    12:21 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Im With Cal On This One. If The Bench Had Come In Early. They Might Have Given Up Half The Lead, Instead This Team Now Should Have The Confidence That It Can Close Out Games Going Into A Huge Road Contest At Arkansas.

  5. BigBlueFan31
    12:25 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I would rather win by 18-20, and have the bench guys get at least 5 minutes of mop up time, than go the entire game with the starters and win by 30. We are one injury away from an automatic 2nd round exit. I am not questioning Coach Cal. I jsut feel like it is demoralizing to those guys who work their a$$es off in practice, yet they can’t get into the last 5 minutes of a 30 minute blowout. If Cal had put the bench guys in, as sign of realizing the game was in hand, maybe Horn is not forced to press? Maybe he leaves with and 18 point loss instead of a 30 point loss. I have not understood what Cal is trying to prove all year, so this does not surprise me at all.

  6. BigBlueFan31
    12:25 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    30 point blowout…….had minutes on the mind like the bench players….

  7. hersheyisabear
    12:28 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Those boys on the bench seriously needed to get some PT during the South Carolina game. No excuse not too.

  8. KickRR
    12:34 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I think Cal is more concerned with getting the six guys playing well than trying to develop a bench in late Feb.

  9. William Braskey
    12:36 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe I missed this but why was Trevor lacey on an un-official recruiting visit? Is it because he doesn’t have a qualifying ACT yet?

  10. Boogiewoogie
    12:39 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t like to question Cal and I can see where he is coming from. His starters are still figuring out what kind of basketball team they are. Breaking the press is still a skill these youngsters need to grasp as was obvious at the beginning of the second half.

    On the other hand, I still have NO IDEA what Poole can do. This is becoming very frustrating. But he is the coach and he knows a lot more about his team than we ever will. I have no problem with his decision.

  11. BigRudy
    12:43 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    “Pshyche”- the new way to spell “Psyche” while scoffing at the very thought of it. Psh.

  12. awilly
    12:49 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I like the move – teach these kids how to finish off an opponent.

  13. bigbluedaddy
    12:53 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    one plays ‘matador’ defense
    one has forrest gump basketball IQ
    one has hands of stone….
    this is the reason they don’t play.

  14. KING_REX
    12:57 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    This has nothing to do with this post, but am I the only person who thinks Russell Westbrook looks identical to Daniel Orton? Just curious.

  15. Cal Purnell here
    12:59 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    14) I thought the same thing. Great minds think alike.

  16. girlwildcatfan
    1:00 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    In Cal we trust–at least when it come to our basketball team. Go Cats!

  17. KING_REX
    1:01 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    P.S. People would have bitched either way. You pull the starters, people cry that they need more minutes to work against the press. You don’t pull the starters, people cry because 4 guys who will hopefully never be in during crunch time didn’t get to work against the press. Its pointless to argue this.

  18. BigBlueFan31
    1:02 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    $4 million a year to have the #22 ranked team in the country. Amazing…

  19. knightynight
    1:05 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    18) haha you suck

  20. ThatsAShame
    1:05 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t understand the people who are saying ‘we are one injury away from early tourney exit’ as a reason to develop the bench.

    We lose one of these six that’s it people. The talent gap between the 6 and the rest is just too big to overcome. As it is we are almost playing 4 on 5 with Harrelson on offense. No dissrespect to Josh but the points have to come from somewhere.

  21. Sammydog
    1:06 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    #10 Oscar Combs said on the pregame show that if fans went to a practice they would see why Poole is not on the floor. He apparently can’t learn the plays even with individual instruction. He is constantly out of position on both O and D. He is described as a “project”.

  22. knightynight
    1:11 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    21) the crazy thing is, is that people are mad about having one and dones and are also mad that we have “projects” like poole. Some people you will never satisfy.

  23. Bigbluecalizone
    1:14 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    #7-Yea, there actually is one excuse,,,They Suck! Who are you looking to give minutes to, Hood? He comes in and plays like his friggin hair is on fire, runs into 3 defenders and shoots a 17 foot shot with his eyes closed, that just does hit the rim. Poole, I have no idea about. Maybe he does need some minutes. Early in the year I had some hope that Hood could contribute. He instead has choosen to squander his chances by playing well out of control everytime he sees a minute. Polson has played more quality possesions that Hood. I think he’s gone after this year anyway.

  24. Uk man
    1:19 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    18-im sure there are others teams that u could follow if u dont likebthis one

  25. Calipari
    1:28 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Playing with what has brought us here, and building on what takes us into tomorrow. It is lat February, not early November. Chance given, not taken advantage of. On on UK!! Go Big Blue!!!!

  26. Mr Schwump
    1:46 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    You need to understand this bench is not very good. If so they would have been playing months ago.

  27. john4uk
    1:48 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Plain and simple,if the bench players were good enough to play,they would be playing.These guys have been given ample time to prove they belong on the floor and have’nt proved it.Fans need to quit worryimh about whose not playing and be more concerned about the guys on the floor.

  28. Norm
    2:19 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    Cal is smart enough to know that playing 6 guys isn’t the best idea, so if our bench isn’t getting any playing time then it’s because they just aren’t good enough.

  29. sunnycat
    2:35 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    18 $3mil for the NIT or $4mil to be #22 and having a legit chance to make some noise in the big dance? Lets not forget 3 straight #1 recruiting classes….soounds like a bargain to me.

  30. sunnycat
    2:35 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    25 and 27 Well said

  31. STEVE!
    3:11 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    18 – Yes, some of those other coaches (Crean, Izzo, Ford, Pelphrey) that some people wanted here are doing so much better than Cal this year, and their futures look really bright, too. No, wait…

  32. bubba
    3:19 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    27, True….No one knows the players like the coach does.

  33. sunnycat
    4:49 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    31 Great point.

  34. BigBlueFan31
    6:49 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I just think if we are going to hold these players on the bench accountable, we should hold Cal accountable too. What good is a #1 class if it only sticks around for a year and does not win a title? Or even make a Final 4. If you say that you would rather be able to say you have the #1 recruiting class as opposed to a Final 4 team, then this fan base is dumber than I thought.
    I can guarantee I am just as big of a fan as anyone here. However, I am tired of all the “young” excuses and the lack of results. I just feel like if you give someone $4 million a year, we should get a little bit more out of it.
    I would never root for another basketball team. This is not football that we’re talking about.

  35. BigBlueFan31
    6:53 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink the way…how many Final 4s and titles does Izzo have this decade? 4 final 4s and a national title. I am not complaining like you may believe. I just want to be up there with those guys like we should be. These one and done’s are never going to get that!

  36. i.b.poe
    11:38 pm February 21, 2011 Permalink

    I’m getting so tired of this “one and done” thing. Yes, we will have one and dones — last year was a fluke, orton and bledsoe shouldn’t have gone. This year only Jones and Knight should go. Lamb may go on potential, but may not.

    Out of all of Cal’s recruits (last year, this year, and next), how many are true one and dones? Blame the NBA for drafting potential, unless of course you want Saul Smith as your point guard for what seemed like forever. They’re not all going to be one and dones like people make it out to be — we have a bench full of non one and doners

  37. where are the posts
    12:15 pm February 22, 2011 Permalink