Jimmy Dykes (he is the one on the left) today spent some time talking about this year’s Kentucky team with me via phone. Dykes is in Lexington to call tonight’s game on ESPNU and will be the announcer for a large number of UK’s games this year. Here were his comments:
On the talent of this year’s Kentucky team:
This is a very different team than last year and I think everyone knows that. I think one thing Billy did last year was really instill a sense of toughness and hard work, maybe sometimes too hard, in the team and that will carry on. But if you give me a choice between talent and experience, I will take talent. Talent can get experience but experience cant get more talent. And John will have a team with a huge amount of talent, plus the toughness of the group last year. That is a great combination.
On John Calipari’s coaching style:
People talk a lot about the Dribble-Drive offense and that is important, but to me that is not what John’s teams are known for. His teams always do two things well, play defense and rebound. It takes teams a long time to prepare for the Dribble-Drive but the thing John is known for from coaches is the way his teams defend and rebound.
On Patrick Patterson:
When I think of Patrick, the first thing I think of is what a great person he is. He is the kind of guy who is best friends with the manager and is as nice to him as he is the other guys in the starting five. He is a great representative for the University. As far as how he plays, I am interested to see how he does facing the basket in Calipari’s offense. I know that a lot of coaches in the conference will be glad to see him on the perimeter and not down low, because down low he works as hard as anyone in the country. My guess is that when the game is on the line, he will be right there in the post and doing exactly what he has done so well over the past two years.
On the UK Freshmen:
John Wall is an unbelievable talent. He has the potential to be one of the best defenders we have seen in the game at the point guard position. I really mean that. He also is one of the quickest players with the ball from rim to rim that we have seen in college basketball in the last decade. His outside shot is suspect and he needs to work on it during the year. But he is so mature for a kid his age and I think he will win Freshmen of the Year and make a push for National Player of the Year.
Eric Bledsoe is also very talented and unbelievably athletic. He is about a hair slower than John Wall but not by much. I think he is going to be very good but I will tell you what impresses me most about him. Here is a kid who signed with Kentucky knowing that John Wall might sign with them too. That is the kind of kid you want, who is ready to compete from Day one.
Demarcus Cousins also has a ton of talent. I am glad to see that John has him buying in to playing to his strengths down low. In high school he sometimes liked to float outside on the perimeter, but John has him doing what he should do best.
I appreciate Jimmy taking the time to talk with me today. He is big on the Cats this year and with his many UK broadcasts, we can expect “violent cuts” all year on