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Jeff Goodman tries to figure out UK’s struggles, misses the point on Knight


People near and far are trying to decide just what exactly is wrong with the Cats these days, and Jeff Goodman took his shot today. His diagnosis hinges on what he believes the Cats lack the most…Leadership:

John Calipari is doing all he can with this group.

Just think about this: Kentucky remains in the Top 25 with Josh Harrellson logging big minutes in the middle and Jon Hood and Eloy Vargas occupying the seventh and eighth spots in the rotation.

Calipari also has virtually no leadership.

A year ago, he had the combination of rock-solid veteran Patrick Patterson and poised freshman John Wall. This year he has to rely on Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones to lead.

Although Knight played extremely well on Saturday night and nearly led Kentucky to a much-needed road win, he’s just not cut out to be a leader.

Jones almost has been thrust into the role, as well, but he’s not ready, either.

However, Calipari has no other option. DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller, the team’s two upperclassmen, are quiet followers. Harrellson has gotten the most out of his ability, but let’s be honest: No one is following his lead.

Now, agreeing with Goodman is usually about as successful as going into a debate using only notes drawn up by BTI, but he makes a few salient points, as the overall leadership on this team clearly doesn’t compare to last year’s. The one thing I have to take issue with him on, though, is the notion that Brandon Knight is ‘just not cut out to be a leader.’ Excuse me while I chuckle a little bit at that.

This is, after all, the same Brandon Knight that put the team on his back Saturday night when it looked like they were on the cusp of getting run out of the gym. The same guy whose second-half emotion lifted the rest of the team to a huge comeback against the team leading their division in the SEC. The same guy who was named a finalist for the Cousy Award, just today. I guess what I don’t understand is, would he still not be cut out to be a leader if his buzzer-beating three had fallen against the Gators?

I’m a little puzzled, because the idea of leadership that I carry has pretty much nothing to do with hitting threes at the horn. It has more to do with the things Knight did before that point to even give the Cats an opportunity to win. With a 13-point lead, the game was Florida’s to take, to beat the Cats down and announce themselves as the class of the SEC by a wide margin. And they would have, had it not been for Knight leading the Cats to a gritty comeback. But, since the Cats lost, apparently he must not really be a leader, with the difference between the two extremes coming in the form of a missed shot at the end of a game. In reality, though, the fact that there was even a shot to take is a pretty big testament to just the type of leader he is.

You can call Kentucky young, you can bemoan their lack of depth or inside scoring, or wonder when the upperclassmen will step all the way up. Yes, Kentucky has issues, and there’s no question about that. But Brandon Knight not being ‘cut out to be a leader’ is decidedly not one of them. That, I’m sure of.

[Kentucky sorely lacking leadership]

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.

48 Comments for Jeff Goodman tries to figure out UK’s struggles, misses the point on Knight

  1. Urincatland
    5:35 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Jeff Goodman is full of SH!T!!

  2. Coachless
    5:37 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    The leader should be the Coach which we don’t have. He’s not a leader, he’s a RECRUITER. If this team had a COACH as a LEADER, we wouldn’t be sitting at 4-4 in a very down SEC league. Pitiful!

  3. Just saying
    5:37 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Sorry, but I completely agree with good man on this one. Knight is a terrific player, and he’s being FORCED to be vocal and lead this team, and he’s going a good job (esp more recently) but Knight is NOT a leader. He would be the best PG in the SEC and maybe America if he had anyone else demanding theb all, and taking the load off. He is trying to lead a team, that has no leaders, so it appears he is the leader, but in reality this has no leader.

  4. ibleedblue
    5:39 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Your right, he’s wrong. Lack of depth combined with inexperience is why they struggle on the road. If they were all juniors, 6 players would be enough and I’m sure Knight with a 4.0 and a nice bball game is more than capable of being a leader on and off the court.

  5. Big D
    5:44 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Mongo only pawn in game of life.

  6. Players that drove me nuts...
    5:52 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Brandon Knight ‘not being cut out to be a leader’ has more to do with his personality it seems to me. He is not vocal enough, remember Wall last year running timeout huddles and telling everyone what to do. He is also very weak with the ball. To lead, he either needs to be vocal and in control, or lead in his play. While he scores well, he has some of the worst turnovers I have ever seen. Totally unforced. Wall turned it over a lot, but led with his voice and took care of the rock in ‘winning time.’ I guess some forget Knight’s 2(unforced) second half turnovers that absolutely killed us which had nothing to do with Florida’s defense. Sometimes Goodman is wrong, but in this instance I believe he is right. Not taking anything away from Brandon’s incredible shooting performance in the 2nd half, but he needs to become far more vocal and learn to be strong and take care of the ball before he can be anything close to a leader. I only wish that Deandre’s offensive game matched up with his defense and intensity. If he was more consistent offensively…he could be the leader this team needs. Attitude, hustle, veteran…that’s the kind of leader Knight, Jones, and Lamb need. Man, wish this team had PatPat.

  7. Dancin Man
    5:55 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Knight is as much a leader now that Delk and Meeks were their freshman year. It is obvious that by next February, he will be THE MAN (should he decide to stay), but as of now he is not a team leader. Goodman is right, I’m afraid.

  8. It may be that Knight isn’t as strong a leader as Wall was, but I wonder if the big difference really is purely that he doesn’t make the kind of circus/highlight reel plays that Wall was making.

  9. tightywhities
    5:58 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Sorry, Goodman is correct on this one. NOBODY on this team is a leader. And it’s not Cal’s fault. He can’t make someone be soemthing they’re not. He can only coach them to a certain point. They ultimately have to go out and do it. When it comes to leadership, you either have it or you don’t. And nobody on this team has it. They are all followers. Not knocking them, that’s just how it is. If you can’t see that, you have obviously never been ina leadership position.

  10. agman79
    6:00 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    I am not sure it about leadership, I think it is about maturity. Most of these guys are immature freshmen. Last year they had a very mature Patterson, a solid mature Wall to lead by example and by voice. This year even the upperclassman are somewhat immature, the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores, yes, even uber-talented ones like we have this year. It is a good thing they had this year and did not get thrown into the pro ranks! I hope they see this and stay around for next year as well.

  11. ChidderCheddar
    6:04 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Agree with Goodman. Knight taking a game over offensively does NOT make him a leader. Might I recommend Maxwell’s 21 Laws of Leadership? Nowhere will you learn that the ability to ‘do it yourself’ makes you a leader. When the team was struggling there was NOBODY on the team that rallied the troups. Not saying it’s not in Knight’s makeup, but he’s not doing it. This team desperately needs a leader.

    And #2, you’re an idiot. Go away. And if you insist on sticking around our site, please don’t use the word “we” when referring to UK.

  12. blitzmr2
    6:08 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Goodman is spot on.

  13. Bluecalizone
    6:08 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Putting the team on your back and scoring does not equate to being a leader. He’s a great player and I think he’s doing his best, but I agree with Goodman on this one. Having a freshman come in and be able to “Lead” a team is a rare thing. Wall did it, but he also had Pat. There’s only one player on this team with the abilit to do it, and he will not. I ain’t going to hate on him though, just doesn’t have it in the DNA apparently.

  14. Alan Cutler's Fart
    6:18 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Long story short: jones, knight, and lamb need to stay here for one more year. None of those guys have shown that they’re ready for the next level? Will they stay? Probably not, because none of them seem to care about Kentucky basketball. But next years team would be pretty good if they did stay. But my guess is we’ll be having a conversation similar to this next year when the team is still playing only 6 guys. Go Cats?

  15. Lex07
    6:22 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    I think Goodman is mostly right. Knight is a great player, but mostly as a scorer. Here is the difference: this year players look to get Knight the ball because he is the point guard. Last year, players got the ball in John Wall’s hands because he was John Wall.

  16. senn from richmond
    6:24 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    apparently this guy hasn’t watched Knight play at all lately….

    6:26 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Most of you guys are nuts on this subject. Anyone with half a brain and one eye could see if you put the big men on this team that we had last year we would probably be unbeaten. It’s not comparing guards that are killing us when we loose; its not having those big men that we had last year to dish off to / get us rebounds / block shots / block out the other teams big centers. Cousins or even if we had gotten Kanter would have made more than the 2 points difference that we have lost by in 4 of our 5 loses. This team; as a whole; is a better shooting team from outside. The CENTER is making the difference in this year & last year.

  18. old-fool
    6:26 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    #2 = “old-school”. You can change your handle all you want, but you can’t hide your stupidity.

  19. kentuckyjoe
    6:32 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Goodman has his head up his arse. Good work Hunter. Excellent post!

  20. Cal'smassiveboobs
    6:41 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    goodman nailed it. UK sucks.

  21. Big_Duss
    6:57 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Goodman, correct. Campbell, wrong.

    Knight is a terrific basketball player, but not a terrific leader. Scoring baskets when no one else seems particularly interested in doing so, but showing little interest in getting teammates to follow suit, doesn’t make him a leader. (Well, I suppose “leading scorer”” kinda technically qualifies.) Point is, he seems essentially emotionless at most times, and lacks the chip-on-the-shoulder-I’m-better-than-you attitude of #11 last season.

    Other players feed off that confident attitude #11 showed last year, and the one time I saw Mr. Knight try to demonstrate that attitude, and, yes, “leadership” this year, his soaring dunk was rejected. Conclusion? Fail. Good player, but not a “leader”…..yet?

  22. Eli
    7:07 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Knight isn’t cut out to be a leader, right now. If he stuck around a couple of season, yes. Don’t confuse the statement.

  23. old timer
    7:18 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    How can Knight do more with the way Jones plays???

  24. Jake the Brake
    7:26 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Stacey Poole should transfer along with Jon Hood. Those kids have talent but can’t play enough to show for it. Coach Cal is wasting their time and if I were them, I’d walk off and quit the team. Wake up Calipari, you’ve lost 3 of your last 5 games, maybe these kids can help you. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? A loss? LMAO. Cal’s a joke.

  25. bakert
    7:46 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Wow, can’t say how proud I am of everyone. It almost makes me, cough, cough, choke up!

    Pretty much everyone is correct. BK is a great player but not a leader. No less an expert than Cal has more or less implied the same thing a number of times.

  26. Computer Blue
    8:00 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    The problem is not Knight’s leadership, it’s the roster. We pretty much only have 6 guys and out of those only 3.5 on offense. Jorts has played well, but he should be a back-up not a starter. And Vargas provides him no relief. We really need something out of Vargas, Hood, and Poole.

  27. TheGuyPitinoForgotToPayToGetFreshFishAtPorchinis
    8:03 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Cal has overbaked them. That’s why he sees it as crisis. They are overcooked.

    He can’t teach in game lessons like last year because he doesn’t have the depth to bench kids.

    Jones can do anything he wants and most people think he might as well. That’s what you call a coach who needs to reel his team in.

    Start making it fun again Cal. The players play for you then.

  28. Balls O'plenty
    8:33 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Why is Cal so fat?

  29. kyartist
    8:44 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Dead right Hunter!

  30. Stew McGoo
    8:46 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Gotta love the KSR, blue tinted spin on all subjects….

    We have a leader when we really don’t.

    We could be 6-2 when we really aren’t.

    Our coach is a good in-game coach when he really isn’t.

    Enes should be eligible, according to us. But the NCAA begs to differ, and that’s what matters.

    Matt Jones is good on TV, but he is terrible in reality.

  31. spookykim
    8:47 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    I think that Knight is a great player, but definitely not a leader. Everyone touted the fab freshmen last year, but Patrick was the one that got them to play so well together. You could see him directing the team on every offensive play. John Wall was vocal about winning & pumping the team up — we miss someone like that too, but Patrick’s who we are missing the most. 🙁

  32. scott
    9:02 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    our coach is leading. it is not his fault the players arent responding like they should.

  33. SaggyWheels
    9:05 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    wasn’t that last second 3 by lamb and not knight?

  34. The Truth
    9:06 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    Lamb is not going to class and that is a fact.

  35. The Dirty
    9:12 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    ^34 Who’s your source?

  36. No coach
    10:09 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    can’t say i disagree

  37. kyhank
    10:21 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    this kind of talk is why they say we are stupid

  38. rac
    10:25 pm February 7, 2011 Permalink

    when the rest of the team plays properly within the offense, knight runs it perfectly, when they don’t we are exposed. this is probably the first time jones has ever been coached to be responsible within a system. last years team mostly came from the midwest and even knew each other, this years freshmem could not have lived further apart and prob did not get to know each other so that may add to the challenge…

  39. Stack
    2:02 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Knight is a class act. Maybe a leader… but honestly guys, if everyone didn’t think he was such an amazing shooter, no one would really have that much to say. I mean he is good at some things and average at other things. For a point, I guess he is a pretty good shooter. But, he is barely over a 1:1 assist/turnover ratio. I think he’s a bit overrated and I really think he will struggle at the next level. He’s not that tough… and is not that great with the ball in his hand. It’s too difficult for him to get to the basket against a down SEC. What’s he gonna do in the NBA. If you cant beat your man w/o a pick, your NOT going to play. I love Brandon, but he is not a leader. Not at this level and not at the NBA level. Please, please Brandon…prove me wrong!!

  40. Vargas
    3:03 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    What about me as a leader?

  41. Lou eaton
    7:58 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Sometimes this leader sh#t is overvalued. Who is PUKE’s “leader”???????

  42. Cristoforouk
    8:14 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Leadership plays a big part here. Would a team with strong leadership be losing this many close games? Heck no. Knight may do an OK job, but we look lost at the end of games. A good leader would correct that.

  43. BigCatDaddy4263
    9:31 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Lamb is going to class each and everyday. My son, who has freshman English with him, talks to him on a daily basis while on campus and he sits beside Lamb on class days. I don’t know why people come one here and starting crap like they know it to be the gospel…

  44. ukfan4life
    9:40 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    no that was knight that took the last shot and you raise a point i thought of: had that last shot gone down, people would be singing our praises (though i agree we don’t deserve them). But Knight is a capable leader and in two straight games now (florida and ole miss) he had put us on his back and led a comeback. if only someone else would jump on board and give him some help

  45. random
    10:24 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Why do you all post pictures of Corky on here every so often? I dont get it?

  46. struggler
    11:13 am February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Let’s see… Jeff Goodman as a leader or Brandon Knight as a leader? A middle-aged sports writer who has only sat on the sidelines and critiqued young athletes verses a fine young man of character at age 18 doing his best (without the 5 player they all hoped/planned to have, yet not complaining or walking out on the hand of cards dealt to him) to lead a team with the tradition and fanbase of Kentucky… I am thinking I would take Brandon Knight in the foxhole next to me instead of a Goodman wetting himself – but critiquing others about it. Brandon is the kind of player that speaks/leads with his actions/play. I think he says A LOT with that. Support your team. Brandon Knight is an impressive young man – very young… I don’t think the jury is in on his lifelong leadership skills just yet. What a stupid broadbrush remark for someone like a Goodman to make.

  47. Granny
    1:47 pm February 8, 2011 Permalink

    #46….I must say this is the most intelligent remark that has been posted! Brandon is an exceptional player that is not playing the blame game. We are not as talented as last years team, and the sooner everyone accepts that, the better.

  48. Jimmy Dykes
    5:17 pm February 8, 2011 Permalink

    Terrence Jones is hard to guard