Good evening, friends of KSR and trolls from opposing fan bases. It’s a pleasure seeing you here on this Thursday night/Friday morning before a weekend with no basketball game. What? Yes, we’re on the heels of a Saturday in January with no basketball game. I don’t get it, either. I love Kentucky basketball. I think they should play every day. And if not every day, at least five or six times per week throughout the year. Is that too much to ask? Huh? I digress.
So, I was listening to Coach Cal’s call-in show Thursday night when he took a call from a fan asking who he thought led the team against Eastern Michigan. Cal, being the philosopher he is, told the caller he doesn’t want to have a single leader, rather a bunch of leaders taking on the role when needed, like last year’s group. He said he wants a team of geese, not a team of buffalo. And that is why geese are the honorary recipient of your Friday News and Views.
The buffalo/geese analogy describes two different types of team leadership. The buffalo herd, a more traditional leadership, relies on one member of the group to lead while the others follow that “head buffalo.” If the lead buffalo were to run off a cliff, the entire herd would follow it off the cliff. Think, 2010-11 Auburn football with Cam Newton — a one man show.
The flock of geese, on the other hand, are a balanced group. When geese fly in a V-formation, the leadership changes as the need for different leadership skills arises. Each goose (Kentucky basketball player) has a particular specialty (shooting, distributing, shot blocking) that helps the flock (team) arrive safely at their destination (championship.) Using dynamic leadership, the geese share responsibility for the progress of the entire flock. In Calspeak, the geese are their brother’s keeper.
Calipari likes his geese.
News and Views…
Kentucky’s next basketball game is Thursday against Vanderbilt in Memorial Gym, and just like in Kentucky’s recent games, all eyes will be on Alex Poythress. Poythress is still fighting his way out of a funk as Calipari pushes him to break out of his shell and be the emotional, explosive player Kentucky needs him to be. Julius Mays said it’s hard on his freshman teammate right now because he’s being asked to change his entire demeanor on the court.
“He’s the only guy that I know that will dunk on somebody, then just run back down the court with his head down.” Mays said of Poythress’ on-court attitude. “I’m on him all the time about being excited, show that you’re happy to be here, that you love playing basketball, not like the world is about to end tomorrow.”
It could be another game or two before we see any signs of a more outgoing Alex Poythress. Thursday’s game is a homecoming party for the native from Clarksville, Tennessee so his nerves will be tested under the pressure to play well. Calipari said, “The Vanderbilt game is going to be hard on him. He’s returning home. That’s where he grew up.”
The Vandy fans will be giving him a hard time, too. He was Kevin Stalling’s No. 1 target in the class and was strongly considering Vanderbilt before he committed to Kentucky.
The Kentucky-Vanderbilt game will air on ESPN at 9:00 PM ET.
Just as he promised after the Eastern Michigan game, Coach Cal used his website to reveal a unique training technique he has been using with his team over the past three weeks. The big secret? Heart monitors. The players have been wearing heart monitors in practice and during games — which surprised me — so Calipari and the staff can track their exertion rate, sport zones, caloric expenditure and heart rate. Rock Oliver sits at a computer during practices so he can monitor the players’ vitals in real time. If Calipari thinks their rates drop too low, he has them hit the baseline and run until they’re back where they need to be, at maximum effort.
Kentucky players burn between 5,500 and 6,000 calories a day, according to CoachCal.com. I don’t burn that in a month.
Outside of practice, Cal continues to push these guys towards being a tight-knit group, even if it’s just providing much-needed calories on a day off. They had dinner as a team at Rafferty’s Thursday night, and now you’re craving one of those honey butter croissants. It’s natural.
UK Hoops kicked off conference play with a 76-69 win over Florida in Memorial Coliseum. A’dia Mathies scored a season-high 20 points, marking the 20th time she has reached the 20-point mark in her career and the fifth time a Wildcat has reached the mark this season. DeNesha Stallworth, a transfer from Cal, recorded her 16th career double-double and fourth at UK with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Matthew Mitchell’s squad returns to action on Sunday at Alabama.
Tomlin’s post on campus life at Vanderbilt is one of my all-time favorites.
2014 small forward Leron Black has decommitted from Baylor and is now considering Kentucky, among others, according to The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Black, ranked 11th in the ESPN 60, committed to Scott Drew and the Bears back in September but says he didn’t really look at the whole situation at the time. Now, he’s reopened his recruitment and is looking at the Cats, Louisville, Memphis, Kansas, Ohio State, and a handful of other schools.
No. 3 Arizona needed help from the officials to remain unbeaten after a buzzer-beater from Colorado was waved off. The shot, a 3-pointer off the glass, was clearly out of the shooter’s hands and should’ve counted.
Colorado lost in overtime.
KSR College is looking for a new writers for the spring and summer semesters. Interested candidates need to be in either college or graduate school, have the ability to attend events on UK’s campus and an interest in writing about UK sports and topics surrounding UK sports in the coming year. You don’t have to be a student at UK but you do need to be at a college close enough to UK so that you could be sent to Lexington for events (Transy, Centre, EKU, etc). We are especially interested in those that are SUPER CREATIVE, FUNNY, ENTERTAINING or UNIQUE in their viewpoints. If you are interested in applying, the turnaround is quick. We need (a) A resume, (b) a writing sample of a story/blog post you have done or have created for this opportunity and (c) your class/work schedule. All of this needs to be submitted to [email protected] by SATURDAY at NOON. We will be doing interviews in Lexington the weekend of January 12th and picking the staff soon thereafter. This is a great opportunity for all of those who are interested in writing/covering sports. You will get a forum to get your writing published and for those that excel, the potential to work on the regular KSR site in the future.
That’ll do it for now.