It’s Monday and that means the weekly technica difficulty fest that is the SEC Basketball Coaches Conference Call. Here are a few interesting tidbits from today:
– Coach said that Auburn is a very athletic team that has played a lot of close games and that the Cats will need to be playing their best
– Gillispie also commented on the play of Patrick Patterson by saying that the big man “always does his job, even if he’s not getting a bunch touches”. He added that the coaching staff can always count on Patterson to “occupy defenders, rebound and defend” and called him a “tremendous” player.
– His biggest praise, though, might have come when asked about Michael Porter’s improved play. Gillispie said that he’s been getting better with eacfh day and that “he’s a great leader on and off the court and guys have confidence in him”. Gillispie went on to add that he has been playing “tough, determined basketball” and that he expects Porter to get on a hot streak shooting the ball in the near future. He finished up by saying his already good defense is improving and he expects his confidence to continue to rise throughout the year.
– Gillispie said that Jodie Meeks’ success can be attributed to his energy level and that he’s never seen a guy use more energy offensively or defensively and that he gives a great effort every night. He also credited Jodie’s “amazing accomplishment”, but noted that he’s been consistently good all year.
– When asked for his reaction to Meeks’ 54 points, Gillispie replied “Great, because our team won” and praised Jodie for his post-game interview where he credited the team
– When speaking of UT’s loss to UK, called Kentucky (along with Gonzaga) “one of the best teams in the country right now”
– Something I thought was interesting, but not necessarily UK related. Donovan was asked how Nick Calathes was able to improve through playing with the Greek National Team and seemed a bit irritated. He said initially that he wishes Calathes would have spent the summer in Gainesville with his teammates but understand the opportunity to play internationally. He said that he hoped the biggest thing Calathes learned was to “appreciate what you have” because he, according to Donovan, “plays in his home state with a group of guys that enjoy playing with him and he gets to play a lot”. Donovan said that being forced to play a different style with different players and coaches in a foreign place would hopefully give him more appreciation.
– Coach Felton called Patrick Patterson the “most aggressive and most energetic forward in the league” and later added that he was a “terrific talent combined with energy and is a terrific tribute to the game”.
– Another interesting comment came from Coach Pearl about the turnover in the SEC. Pearl mentioned that former Vols JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton played against three generations of Florida teams as UT players and they were much more confident in their final season when they weren’t playing the teams that won the national title. He then equated that to Kentucky by saying that this UK team has seen the turnover in the Vols and they aren’t intimidated by the current team like they might have been against Smith and Lofton. I can certainly see where Pearl was coming from and he might be right, but I’d still lik to hate him for saying that.