Sorry but we’re doing things a little differently tonight because of some outside interference. The KSTV Christmas dinner ran late (Will Mapes was dancing the night away) and the screen on my MacBook shattered this afternoon so I’m trying to write tonight’s night post on a loaner computer. I’m pretty sure this device was last used at the Philadelphia Convention when our Founding Fathers wrote The Constitution. I’m sure my work will be quite similar to their’s — assuming they wrote in bullet points with bolded key sentences — but these notes probably won’t have the same impact on humanity.
Bear with me as we hurry through this…
— Loyola comes to town Thurday in the rare 1:00 p.m. weekday afternoon game during Christmas break. The Greyhounds enter their first ever meeting with Kentucky with an 8-2 record on season, fresh off a 10-point loss to St. Bonaventure. Calipari believes this game will be good for his team because of the style of play Loyola uses. He told reporters, “They play a funky zone, they press, and they press on the side-out. They are going to come after us and press, they will not back down.” This Loyola team is more physical and a little older than some of the other ‘cupcake’ opponents Kentucky has faced this season and they are capable of getting hot from outside. “The two games they lost, they had a chance to win both of them. They could have come in here at 10-0,” Calipari said.
— Kentucky will most likely be playing this game without Terrence Jones and it’s not because of the late night shopping he did at Fayette Mall on tonight. Jones did not practice on Wednesday, even though he was dressed up and ready to go before practice. Calipari said Jones wants to play but he’ll probably hold him out again until that pinky is fully healed. I don’t have any problem with Jones watching this one in street clothes so Kyle Wiltjer and Eloy Vargas can get more time on the court; those guys need all the minutes they can get right now. Plus, the last thing we need is Terrence Jones re-injuring that pinky in a 30-point blowout.
— Speaking of that Kyle Wiltjer fellow, Calipari had a few things to say about his struggling freshman big man. “We need a confident player out there making baskets because that’s what he does for us,” he said. “We also have to figure out how we are going to play defensively with him in. I have to come up with some plans and schemes with him on that court because he will do what we ask him to do.” Cal also spoke about Wiltjer’s struggles on offense against Samford and how he made a big shot right out of the huddle when he was called upon. “We were in the huddle and he hadn’t made a shot so I said we were going back at him, let’s see if he makes it now. That’s the one where Darius went off the screen and threw it back to him and he made the 3. It’s a good sign, the kid has courage, he can miss five shots and I can put him back in and expect him to make a shot.” I don’t know if you remember that exact play but Darius drew two defenders and made a great pass to Wiltjer, who knocked down the three with all net.
— Jerry Tipton was on hand before practice today and he asked a very Tipton-esque question when talking to Sam Malone. Tipton asked, “What thought do you have that maybe God is trying to tell you that you should play chess?” Way to be so sypathetic, Jerry. It hadn’t even been a full 24 hours since UK announced that Malone had torn his ACL. Although Tipton’s question was out of line, give young Sam Malone credit for being able to laugh about his injury. When asked what his first thought was when he found out he tore his ACL, Malone said he just wondered how the team would win without him. His bum leg was actually a cadaver ACL, which led Malone to say, “I guess the dead guy wasn’t very athletic.” It’s good to see that his spirits are up. I just wonder who will drive reckless to the basket in his absence.
— I am going to throw this computer at the wall in a minute. (Deep breath)
— Switching over to the gridiron, Joker Phillips held a teleconference today to update everyone on where his program stands after the recruiting period. The biggest news he gave us was an update on the quarterback situation for next season. It’ll be a competition for the starting job and Morgan Newton will be involved, although he won’t be ready for a return until May or June. Joker said Newton will get a chance to compete but he won’t participate in spring ball. Max Smith will be back at 100%, giving him a head start for the job. That is, if either one of them can hold off incoming freshman Patrick Towles.
— Joker also gave a few updates on other individuals on the team:
— Wide receiver Brian Adams plans to leave the team to focus on baseball.
— Josh Clemons should be ready to go by the time spring ball rolls around.
— Linebacker Ridge Wilson will not have any contact in the spring.
— The staff is considering moving running back Marcus Caffey to cornerback.
— Jorts had a big game for the New York Knickerbockers tonight against the Nets. He finished with 7 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in 24 minutes of action. After the game, Knicks postgame announcers said they not only expect him to remain on the Knicks roster but they think Jorts could make his way into the starting lineup. That would mean beating out Tyson Chandler for the spot.
— I’m really getting frustrated.
— Jarnell Stokes will announce his college decision tomorrow. CBSSports.com believes it’s between Florida, Tennessee, and Memphis.
— Shabazz Muhammad narrowed his list down to six schools. Scroll down on KSR to find the video where he talks about all six of them. I’m not even going to try to link to it.
— Watch Homeland. It’s very good.
That’s all for tonight. We’ll be back on track tomorrow. Hopefully.