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DeAndre Liggins, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and… Twany Beckham?

Guarding hoops even in a suit and tie.

Although he gets a lot of people talking about his offensive scheme, the Dribble Drive Motion, Calipari is really a defense-first coach.  Good defense leads to easy offense, and over the last few years, the defensive efficiency of his Wildcat teams has been overwhelming.  One of the big story lines for last year’s championship team was that the offense was actually better than the defense, which came as something of a surprise, especially considering Anthony Davis’s propensity to clean up the inside.

Great defensive teams often need that catalyst player to spark the other four guys on the floor to hustle on every single play and not take possessions “off.”  Under Cal’s tenure, the two guys that stand out as defensive stoppers are DeAndre Liggins and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.  Both were pretty capable offensively (I don’t think you could get drafted into the NBA otherwise), but they really buttered their bread with defense.  There was little better than watching Liggins get ready to guard a team’s best player with that signature defensive pose.  Earlier this summer, our own Ally Tucker wondered if this year’s team would have a “stopper” of the same quality as Liggins or MKG, and if so, who it would be.  Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin were two of the guys that stood out, just based on their size and athleticism alone.

But according to, a surprising player has decided it’s time for him to step up and make it his job to make the other team miserable.  Apparently, second-year ‘Cat Twany Beckham is ready to wreak havoc.

“That’s the role I think I can fill,” Beckham said in an exclusive interview with “That’s the role I want to take. I love to play defense. I’m fierce and aggressive. Just anything to help my team, I’m going to go out there and do it.”

If offseason practices and individual skill instruction sessions are any indication, Calipari is both hoping and believing that Beckham can be a go-to defensive player. In workouts with Harrow, Calipari has called on Beckham to guard Harrow and make life uneasy for the projected starter.

Beckham has responded with unrelenting physical defense. He’s forced Harrow to adjust his game and play to his strengths, exactly what the coaching staff was hoping would materialize from the matchup.

Beckham, at 6’5″, 200 lbs., has the size to be a great defender at the guard position, especially at the college level.  But good defense isn’t just size.  The “defensive stopper” is a unique job: it’s a mindset as much as it is a physical attribute.  You have to get inside heads and frustrate other players.  That’s why guys like Ron Artest and Dennis Rodman (one of my favorite players ever) were so good on the defensive end.  Does Twany have what it takes to not just play, but talk like Liggins did?  To hustle and sacrifice like MKG did?  He believes he does.

“I’ve got to take everything I’ve learned the last two years I’ve been here. … Now I’ve just got to work hard and jell with my teammates and have a good season.”

If Cal is your coach, being a good defender is one of the surest ways to make sure you see the floor.  It looks like Twany knows that, and is trying to earn himself some minutes.  I love it.  Twenty-nine days until Big Blue Madness.

Article written by Corey Nichols

15 Comments for DeAndre Liggins, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and… Twany Beckham?

  1. First
    9:05 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Defense Wins Games !!!

  2. UKBlue
    9:09 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Twany better step it the F up then.

  3. mike
    9:18 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    corey with another awful article

  4. Rockfield, KY
    9:19 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Do you think Twanny will actually get any minutes this year? A defensive stopper gets quite a few on most of Cal’s teams, but I don’t see where that is going to work with the guys we already have. I hope he can get in there and shine this year. Always cheer for the KY kids.

  5. Head Bussa
    9:26 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t worry about #3 Corey, this was a good little post. I certainly think Twany will consistently get minutes this year and this is not the first I’ve heard about him being a good defender. Calipari has said it before, but I just think we’ve been too loaded at the guard positions for Twany to get off the pine. This year, we are a relatively thin team and I think there is a lot of minutes waiting for Beckham. I can see him getting 8-15 minutes a game.

  6. TAXman
    9:28 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    #3. Mike with another horrible, jealousy-ridden post

  7. Mike
    10:01 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Its too bad Twany couldn’t sufficiently grasp the point role. His size would make ridiculously impossible to score on at every position. I hope he gets a lot pt this year. Been rooting for him ever since he transferred here.

  8. Stevie
    10:09 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    If he can be that defensive stopper he most certainly will get his share of playing time. There is no doubt about this. It would be nice to see this happen after what Stansbury said about him.

  9. Twany 20 vision
    10:12 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Twany-nine days until Big Blue Madness

  10. ktmiln2
    10:30 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    40 time- 5.52 seconds
    Vert- 10″

  11. STEVE!
    10:33 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    We certainly need somebody to take on the Liggins role. It would be nice – and it is time – for not only Twany, but Jon Hood to be able to demonstrate to Cal that he can play them in meaningful situations.

  12. Pu
    10:41 am September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Keep up the hard work, Twany. I hope to see you log a lot of minutes this season

  13. Linda Taylor
    12:04 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    Fake David Beckham will be so proud.

  14. Corey Nichols
    1:09 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    9 – Honestly terrific.

  15. the Big Dog
    2:30 pm September 13, 2012 Permalink

    I thought Twanny left a lot on the table with his play last year. I watched his aggressive style of play in high school and I thought he was fairly passive on the court during his first season. I hope that with a year under his belt will make him feel more comfortable this season so we can see what he can really do.