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Orlando Antigua’s Wednesday News and Views

Guess who celebrates a birthday on Wednesday???

I’ll give you a hint: He’s a huge part of the reason Kentucky fans can brag about four consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes. (And that’s him in the photo.)

Yup, you guessed it, Orlando Antigua. Coach O turns a cool 40 years young Wednesday, though he doesn’t look a day past 37.

For those of you out of the loop, Antigua is in his fourth season on the Rupp Arena sideline at Kentucky; he came over with Calipari after one season on his staff at Memphis and five years under Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh.  Prior to coaching, Coach O was a McDonald’s High School All-American, Parade Second Team All-American, a star at Pitt, and a seven-year Harlem Globetrotters veteran. He earned the nickname, “The Hurricane” for his dazzling moves while trotting the globe in red, white and blue.

Since arriving in Lexington, Antigua has established himself as a highly-regarded assistant coach and one of the top recruiters in the country. Sure, Coach Cal gets credit for being the best recruiter in basketball, but it’s Coach O who is out on the road or in the air on scouting trips, while building and maintaining relationships with recruits to make all the #KentuckyEffect magic possible. He really doesn’t get enough recognition for what he does on the recruiting trail at Kentucky and it won’t be long before another program swoops in and takes him away for a head coaching position. But let’s not think about that right now. It’s his birthday and he’s happy UK is having success:

Happy Birthday, Coach!

I told the managers to put a candle in your almonds.

 

  The new-look Kentucky Wildcats will attempt to win its first basketball game Wednesday night when the Commodores come to Lexington for an 8:00 p.m. matchup on the SEC Network. Vanderbilt is currently sitting at 4-8 in conference play and looking to win back-to-back games after losing five of six from Jan 26 – Feb 13. The ‘Dores lost the first meeting between the two teams in a close one at home with a controversial late bucket from Nerlens Noel. But, despite Noel’s shot-clock-beating two that confused Bob Knight all to hell, Vanderbilt still had shot to win it at the buzzer but Kedren Johnson’s three-pointer was off the mark. Johnson led all scorers with 18 points against the UK backcourt.

 For Kentucky, this is the ultimate must-win of must-win games. We’ve said it time and time again, but losing isn’t an option Wednesday night. Vanderbilt at home is one of the two easiest remaining games on the schedule — along with Mississippi State at home (2/27) — and a loss will almost certainly remove the Wildcats from NCAA tournament consideration. Kentucky needs to go 5-1 during this final stretch with wins over Vanderbilt, Missouri, Mississippi State, at Georgia, and at Arkansas, and then play Florida reasonably close at home on Senior Day. Anything else, without a win over Florida, and we’re likely rooting for the Cats to run the table in Nashville to receive an automatic bid. This is life right now, UK fans.

 While most of us are confident Kentucky will rebound from Saturday’s appalling loss in Knoxville and get the job done against Vanderbilt, the college basketball odds makers out in Las Vegas are extremely confident, apparently.  Kentucky opened up as a 12-point favorite over Vanderbilt when the lines were released Tuesday afternoon. The line has since dropped down to 10.5 on most offshore sites. Before you go betting your life savings on Vandy to cover, I’ll advise you to be careful because this line screams “free money” and “too good to be true.” It’s lines like these that Vegas rakes in the cash.

 John Calipari was available to the media Tuesday to discuss his team’s second game in the A.N. era, and he used a question about his smaller lineup to remind everyone that things are different at Kentucky.  “It’s late, but this is a new team,” he told reporters before practice. “What we’re doing here has never been done with young guys. It’s not what we want to do; it’s just how it’s all played out. The second thing is there’s not been a team that’s been one of those teams that’s lost their best player the last six or seven games and have the guy be the kind of player that you have to change a little bit and tweak how you play. The only way you can learn what’s working and not working is in the games. Then you have some time to adjust, a day or two. Then you’ve got to throw it in the next game. That’s where we are. You can’t just skip steps. But I’m accepting it and saying to these guys, ‘Let’s go.’ We’re still getting after it.”

 Cal also said he believes this team can still be special, so long as the defensive, guard play — which he called “shaky at best” — and toughness improves. He said, “We can make what we want of this season. Whatever we want to make of this season we can do. We could be the story of the year of recovery and all that. We can do that, if they choose to do that. We don’t have to win every game. We just have to know that we’ve got to keep getting better and figure out how this team has to play, and then see how we can do it and how we march on.”

We, the fans, want to believe with Calipari that this team can still be special, but it’ll take some obvious progress Wednesday night. We’ve been seeing the same mistakes and lack of effort from the same people for too long.  If we’re to believe the potential for greatness is still there, there needs to be signs of drastic improvement across the board against Vanderbilt. The clock is ticking.

 Julius Mays, the only consistent player on the roster, also knows it’s now or never. He told reporters he’s not looking back, only ahead. “We know the task in front of us and we’re ready to get started,” he added. Mays said he doesn’t think their minds were right before the Tennessee game and he agreed with what Calipari said postgame that last Friday’s practice was the worst of the season. “We were just out of it mentally,” he said.

 One of the things they’ve been working on recently is taking charges, according to Jarrod Polson. The team never really felt the need to take charges with Nerlens in the lane because of his ability to erase or redirect shots, but now they’re focusing on drawing charges to help limit drives from opposing players. Polson said a lot of the guys have never taken a charge in their life, but they’re learning to do it now.

 Limiting Vanderbilt’s drives shouldn’t be too difficult Wednesday night; the Commodores tend to limit their own drives. Two interesting stats: 42.7% of Vanderbilt’s field goal attempts are three-pointers (ranked 16th nationally) and 38% of the team’s total point comes from three-pointers (ranked 4th nationally.) Get out on those shooters!

 Brian Long is mic’d up

It’s College GameDay week.

 In basketball recruiting news, Coach O didn’t make it to Cordia High School to watch Emmanuel Owootoah on Tuesday night, but Rodrick Rhodes confirmed UK will be in the building Friday night for the second round of the district tournament. Owootoah is undersized for a high-major point guard, but Rhodes told the Herald-Leader that UK likes his court vision and feel for the game. If an offer is extended and Owootoah signs, he could be a solid contributor in three to four years after practicing with the Harrison twins and whoever else Cal brings in from the 2014 class. It also suggests that the staff has given up any and all hope on Ryan Harrow, who should be the backup next season and should compete for the starting job in his senior season.

 Eric Bossi from Rivals.com caught up with 2014 power forward Trey Lyles to discuss life after trimming his list to six schools. When asked about the potential of playing at Kentucky, Lyles said, “Of course it is another great coach down there and they get guys going to the NBA every year. Of course they have a great legacy and I feel like I could be a great fit for the system.” Lyles also said he likes Pitino’s ability to put guys in the NBA, which tells me he only watches the Los Angeles Lakers when Earl Clark is in for an injured Pau Gasol. Or maybe he’s still holding out for the emergence of Samardo Samuels in Cleveland.

 Dakari Johnson measured at 7’0” for the first time on Monday and then tweeted it to his followers. The big news led Karl Towns to tweet that he’s one inch taller than Dakari. Together, the two tweets make me really excited about Kentucky’s frontcourt in the future. I’m going to tweet about it.

 I don’t want to leave you without any football updates, so I guess we’ll wrap things up by saying the Spring Game is 1,267 hours away. That’s 52 days.

Have a good night and Go Cats.

 

P.S.

Our friend Josh Hopkins is on Conan tonight. Tune in to TBS to see if #BBN gets a shoutout.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

40 Comments for Orlando Antigua’s Wednesday News and Views



  1. The Blue Goose
    11:52 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    ‘Cat fan in Missouri here. Please, go to college gameday and more importantly, the game against Mizzou. Please cheer loudly and with much vigor to help our beloved ‘Cats gain a psychological advantage over their opponents, the Missouri Tigers. These Tigers have shown that they can be rattled on the road, so please do your part to rattle them. You see, I hate them….and for the last 25 years or so, I’ve talked doodoo on them and proclaimed Kentucky’s superiority over their basketball program….and now, I’m scared. I have to live with these idiots.

    Oh, and do the same thing for UK vs. Vandy tomorrow night. Go Big Blue.



  2. Majuk
    11:54 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Which assistant coach would get the nod when cal retires? Robic, Payne, or Antigua? Assuming they all stayed that long.



  3. Andy Riktur
    11:55 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    J-Hop killed it



  4. HMM
    11:57 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    so we could add Owootoah AND Wiggins/Randle/Gordon?

    Interesting



  5. Bob Sugar
    11:58 pm February 19, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t wait to watch the Kentucky Wildcats attempt to take more charges tomorrow night. Should be a spectacle. College Gameday couldn’t be more lame and better suited for a less traditional program. We are Kentucky “getting loud” is not how we win games or hang banners. UK fans are old, young, and knowledgable not maniacs jumping around to “sandstorm” in black t-shirts.



  6. Stop!!!
    12:32 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Posting about basketball this team sucks and I wish all of these players were gone already. Talk about baseball, football, golf whatever just quit talking about basketball please.



  7. Realty
    12:33 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    another must win game….yawn….the only must win games will come in the SEC Tourney…..anyone that thinks this UK team can come even close to 5-1 the next six games is smoking the best stuff in the Universe



  8. still believe
    12:50 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    We will win those 5 more and get in.



  9. MADARCHITECT
    1:05 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    4. Owootoah is 2014.



  10. kingrex
    1:06 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    We would not have won the way we did his first three years without, Liggins, Patterson, Miller and Harrelson. Those guys we basically here because they were recruited by another person! Cal would have taken one and dones and they would have already been in the D-League riding buses rather than playing their junior or senior seasons and we would have lost in the first weekend of the tournament. Do we think Cal understands this? I still cannot believe how he was unable to bring Meeks back for his senior year. After the abuse he suffered from the psychopath, Meeks deserved a season with Cal. Not only that, but he was the guy we needed to win it all. I am not sure Cal understands that it was 2nd 3rd and 4th year guys who were responsible for our successes.



  11. Woo
    1:16 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Rivals has Owootoah as 2013 and Scout has him at 2014 lol. I don’t know who to believe.



  12. WKY blue
    1:24 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    When does there come a time when a person admits they were wrong? The CEO of a company hires people and they don’t show up for work or project a negative attitude on the other employees and even the employee’s don’t want to work with them. Regardless of how much money a person makes or how big their ego gets their comes a time to say lets sit these losers out n let the real employees do the work we may make more money cause the fans might be happier that way. This season really makes me wonder if the big employees and their parents aren’t guaranteed so many hours a week. Lets win or lose with the blue collar workers the rest of the season n the big EGO’ s n 5 stars can eat Cavier n watch the game. One thing is for sure. We’ll still be here cheering for UK when the EGO’s and 5 stars are gone.



  13. bobby
    1:29 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Does anyone know where can i get some updates on the football recruiting? Like another site?

    What happen to that guy that was committed to LSU?

    Or the guys from junior day:?



  14. eastcoastcat
    1:51 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    What does this mean???– “The second thing is there’s not been a team that’s been one of those teams that’s lost their best player the last six or seven games and have the guy be the kind of player that you have to change a little bit and tweak how you play.” ??!?



  15. WKY blue
    1:52 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    I think I just proved my point about fan support. The next comment that was sent to this site was about a football recruit. Don’t try and talk above us. Don’t try to get us to “buy in”we bought in years ago. We have all been team players for years. We put our hearts n souls into every game and want to watch players that do to. Talking about football recruits in February that funny sh–t.



  16. Steve
    2:41 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    whats football?



  17. Steve
    2:57 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Whats wrong with talking about football in February WKY Blue?



  18. Hey
    3:29 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Would prefer talking football than hearing Polson and Hood are getting minutes. If those two are legit parts of hoops then our basketball is beneath our football that didn’t even win an SEC game. That’s real.



  19. WKY blue
    3:58 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Wow. Lmao. You want to talk about maybe 3 star football recruits? 4 star at the best? Next year at this time I would love to talk about this but the enthusiasm is way too premature right now. I understand the football excitement but save it for later.



  20. iucansuckabigblue.....
    4:26 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Win or lose we always support the Wildcats. Give us something to believe in tonight. Come out with heart. Come out and be proud of the uniforms your wearing and be proud of the name across the front.

    And we will defend you until the end of time!

    GO Big BLUE!!!



  21. Bottom Line
    6:16 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Almost every player on this team sucks. Let them all go pro or transfer. They blow.



  22. bil
    6:39 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    From what I have seen of Towns on Utube he is the best 7 footer to come along in a long time. He can shoot shots away from the basket. NOt just a dunker. He definitely has NBA skills. The year he comes can’t come soon enough for me.



  23. bil
    6:40 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    21 you need to never watch another game this year. Actually UK does not need you or your kind as fans.



  24. Minchia
    6:46 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    OK, if Wed is a must game and UK loses, does that mean the season is over? Cal will just say that they can still be great, he likes his team, blah, blah,blah. I’m just hoping they come out ready on Wed and not go down by double digits because the crowd might get ugly. Hopefully, Goodwin plays less minutes and the rest play with focus and they come out with a win. At this point, any type of win would help.



  25. Believe
    7:03 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Hopefully we start anew tonight…we can win these next three at home…although Missouri will be tough…could lead to a play in game on senior day…rupp would rock and the gators get swamped…go cats



  26. SexnNursinHomes
    7:06 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is probably just biding his time to get this monstrosity of a season over with. He knows what he has coming next year. If pg play doesn’t improve starting tonight we’re toast. As if that wasn’t the case already.



  27. Miller
    7:12 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry Drew, but there’s no way this team has to go 5-1 to make the tournament. In what day and age did you grow up where an SEC team had to win 23 games to make the tournament?



  28. bluristhurr
    7:23 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    No more undersized PG’s please



  29. Defense, Defense, Defense
    7:32 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Defense is what wins basketball games, and good defense can kick start the offense with points off fast breaks. This is the worst defensive team of Cal’s tenure – aside from Noel, there was not a single player on the team that is above average at playing defense. Defense is mainly a matter of heart and mental attitude – you have to take it as a personal affront when your man scores on you. The guards on this team seem to think that they still have a shot blocker to bail them out when their man drives by them. If I was Cal, I would tell Goodwin and Harrow that they will sit the rest of the season if their man gets by them for an uncontested layup.



  30. Cats
    7:34 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    WKY blue, you said,”The CEO of a company hires people and they don’t show up for work or project a negative attitude on the other employees.” Replace employees with fans and you’re talking about yourself. Let’s be positive and hope for the best, it’s just a down year that’s all.



  31. PRiggs
    8:03 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    All the cool guys have BDays today. Its my Bday today



  32. BNClay
    8:17 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    10 – I must be mistaken, I thought Brandon Knight hit 2 game winning shots in the NCAA tourny, also I thought it was DeMarcus Cousins who got the tap in in the SEC tourny, and it couldn’t have been Anthony Davis that was POY last year, and it couldn’t have been MKG that had 20-20 vs the Cards, since of course only the upperclassmen are responsible for UK winning.

    As for all the player you mentioned all of them were bumbs before Cal got here, except Patterson. With out Cal Liggens, Jorts, and Miller are all playing oversees or selling insurance.

    Meeks wanted to make some $$$ and had the talent to do it. So he did can’t fault him there. If he came back I also think that team wins it all. They needed a shooter in the worst way. But saying Cal couldn’t get him to come back to stupid, if anything Cal probably told him to got get paid, just like he would any other player. That is why Cal is better coach than 95% of the other NCAA coaches, he puts the players interest ahead of his own.



  33. barn
    8:20 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    what’s with all the negative nellies on here. we’re not very good, true, but we have enough talent to make a run at the tourny if cal can somehow push the right buttons.



  34. Blue4ever
    8:22 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    What’s worrisome to me, we’re starting to here the same excuses and phrases from Cal and the players that we normally hear coming from the football program.



  35. SexnNursinHomes
    8:25 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    34- The Down Syndrome Society would have already kicked you out. That is the dumbest comparison I have ever read. “What’s worrisome” GD we are still the reigning champs and you are talking that bullshit????



  36. wow
    8:54 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    With Missouri beating Florida Saturday’s match up is huge. We need to handle Vandy, and if we can find a way to beat Missouri then we are right back in the hunt. That Missouri win can only help up



  37. CatomicBomb
    9:06 am February 20, 2013 Permalink

    I always forget this is one of Cal’s favorite sayings “What we’re doing here has never been done… (Insert everything that Cal does at UK)”. I like ole’ coach cal’s quotes/CALisms… do they have a calendar out full of his sayings yet?



  38. Special Ed
    12:54 pm February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Coach Cal says this team is special.

    Yeah…sure….it is.

    SPECIAL ED!!!



  39. papasnapp
    2:11 pm February 20, 2013 Permalink

    Coach O: When you get down to KCC to watch Cordia’s Owootoah, keep Camron Justice in your peripheral vision. Sure don’t want to see him in UT orange!



  40. shithead
    4:23 pm February 20, 2013 Permalink

    harrows boyfriend is his problem