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Cats don’t have the “joy”

After back-to-back losses, we’ve been trying to figure out just what’s wrong with this Kentucky squad. Not even a serving of cupcake could fully heal the Cats, who let little ole Samford run all over them in the second half of last night’s game. While WebMD thinks Kentucky’s problems (sluggish, low energy, no joy) are symptoms of bi-polar disorder or depression, Willie Cauley-Stein thinks the Cats just aren’t having any fun out there:

“If you look at clips of last year’s team, they’ve got smiles on their faces, they’re getting super hyped after a dunk. We don’t do that. If somebody gets on the floor, two people help him up instead of the (other) four players helping one guy up. It’s just little stuff like that. When someone dives on the floor, just little tic-tac plays, people are getting stupid hyped over it. We’re not doing that yet, and that’s what we need to do.”

Willie’s right: one of the trademarks of Cal’s most successful teams is joy. When the Cats are playing their best on the court, you can tell–not just from the score, but from the smiles on their faces. Just thinking of the past three teams conjures memories of John Wall tackling DeMarcus Cousins into the sideline at the SEC Tournament, Jorts’ primal roar against Ohio State, and every single MKG smile, salute and Terrence Jones mini-flex. This team doesn’t have that…yet.

Why? Cauley-Stein says Cal thinks the team is “too cool,” but Willie thinks it’s because the players are too unsure of themselves to tell each other what to do:

“He keeps on telling us: Are you too cool? Are you not going to do this because you’re too cool to do it? It’s not even like that. It’s like, well, I can’t tell someone else what to do when I can’t even do it right.

What can shake the Cats out of their ennui? The first thing they need is a leader. Last year, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took charge, creating the Breakfast Club and inspiring his teammates through his tough and unrelenting play on the court. While Julius Mays has shown leadership qualities so far this season, Cauley-Stein says Archie Goodwin has been stepping up in practice this week too: “In the past week, Archie has done a really good job of talking on the floor in the huddles, telling people (what to do).”

Camp Cal won’t hurt either. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through bootcamp (and movies like “Remember the Titans”), nothing bonds people together like blood, sweat, tears, and maybe a little bit of puke.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

54 Comments for Cats don’t have the “joy”



  1. Cards
    11:17 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Where’s the UK score from lastnight on ESPN? Oh wait, I have to click on the ‘SEC Scores’ tab, no longer top-25 lol.



  2. DAT HATA
    11:18 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Actually UK players get hyped after a dunk. You are wrong on that.



  3. Cards
    11:20 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Mommy, can I get some more hot pockets?



  4. ruger
    11:22 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    What I want to know is who’s going pro out of this bunch ths April. As it stands, it’ll have to be on potential.



  5. Tosis
    11:25 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Oh! You had me at ennui.



  6. UK Fan
    11:27 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Compared to last year’s team, this is an incredibly immature group of young men (with the possible exception of Noel). I don’t mean that critically as I do as a fact. They seem to be overwhelmed at where they find themselves and are unable to assert themselves in any meaningful (leadership) way. They may be 5 star recruits, but collectively are a group of young men that have not been able to grow into their situation. I have no doubt they will improve, but they may not be as mentally prepared to play on this big of a stage as some of the one-and-dones we have become used to. Their lack of success is compounding their insecurity (look at Wiltjer) and driving them further into submission. Unless Cal can break through this collective anxiety, this team will not achieve great results this year. Time will tell.



  7. Ryan Harrow
    11:29 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Mommy, can I have some more chicken noodle soup? I’m not feeling too well..



  8. BobKYCats
    11:30 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with you, 6.

    The good thing is, we have a good stretch of cupcakes before we hit SEC play.



  9. Craig McKinney
    11:31 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    I have been waiting all year on someone to throw up some 3 Goggles or to start waving for the crowd to get up and get loud – I thought the moment when Julius put Archie on his back and carried him back to the bench would be the start of that. Passion, laying it all out on the court and carrying nothing back – this group seems to be internalizing everything and keeping it locked away. I think they will get there – it may take a big victory over a good club to give these kids the confidence and “swag” that they need.



  10. KcMunk
    11:31 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Last night when Hood hit two threes in the final moments our entire bench never moved. No smiles. No Laughs. No excitement for their teammate. Last years team would have lost their minds. AD, MKG, Doron, TJ and everyone else on the bench would have been jumping up and down and waving towels. Thast concerning to me.



  11. kentuckyjoe
    11:33 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    All this negativity is just crap. This is still a national championship team. Cal just has to get the pieces in the right place. I really think we will win it all again this year. And Willie or Nerlens will be the team leader(s).



  12. Troy
    11:35 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    What this tells us is we have a lot of players who lack CONFIDENCE, and Cal yanking Wiltjer out for missing an OPEN three, not a contested three, sends the wrong message. Yanking Poythress out when a guy hides a fade away three pointer 4 feet behind the line OVER the outstretched arm of Poythress sends the wrong message. Kids will miss open shots. It the shot selection that matters. Opponents will hit miracle shots. They do it ALL THE TIME against UK. It was a contested shot, and that’s all you can do.

    Cal needs to lay off. Get them in shape, condition them, help them learn better rebounding, but do it POSITIVELY. We don’t need shattered confidence because that CANNOT BE FIXED quickly, some times NEVER!



  13. GeePee
    11:35 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Freshmanitis…



  14. tom
    11:37 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    10 – KC. Agree completely. These guys are really down on themselves. They seem beaten down. Too much comparing themselves to last year and BBN expectations. That is understandable. Probably, many of these guys haven’t faced a lot of adversity in their athletic careers. Now they have to dig and scratch for the first time in their basketball lives. Everyone keeps saying, ‘look out come March’…but that is not a given. The longer we go without correcting some of these glaring issues the more concerned I become. We should be doing things much better against a team like Samford but we are seeing many of the same issues on the floor.

    Fingers crossed.



  15. yep
    11:38 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    12 I agree



  16. Willie Cauley-Stein
    11:38 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    2-youre right, you would know more than me….



  17. tom
    11:39 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    11. Joe – applaud your enthusiasm but help me understand why this is a national championship team?



  18. I Say
    11:42 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Thank you #11, some of you all are morons. WE HAVENT EVEN PLAYED TEN GAMES YET!!! and some of you are saying that the rest of the season is going to be like this, smh get a damn clue.



  19. I Say
    11:42 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    And im not saying this is a national championship team but it is as much of one as louisville or Indiana



  20. BobKYCats
    11:44 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    @17: I think he’s thinking along the lines that the talent is there, it’s just raw and unseasoned and needs time to develop. I agree with him, we’ve only played eight games. I believe this team will be fine, it’s just going to take a little while more to establish themselves than last year’s team.



  21. ummmm
    11:44 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Pretty simple AGE! NO experience! The past couple of teams have had PPat, Harrelson, Jones and Lamb as depth and experience… this team has none of that. Look back at Cals first team with JWALL they should have lost 3 or 4 games early in the season but we got lucky with a couple of last second shots. They just need to keep playing hard and giving it all they have and everything will be fine! I dont see how any of these kids at this stage in the season could go pro. In next years draft we could have 10 players in the top 10 picks! And i dont think there will be any excuses about depth on next years team!



  22. Dear IU and UL, We are National Champs; you are not. The end.
    11:52 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    The only fools are the ones who expected anything different from this team. This is a team that would need a while to develop. Everyone knew that right?

    Personally, I’m seeing huge improvements in the players. It’ll have to continue if they want to contend.



  23. Breakfast Club
    11:54 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Wasn’t it about this time last year the “Breakfast Club” began in the first place? Cal has been telling us from day one that
    this team wasn’t good yet, and we shouldn’t be expecting it. Why don’t we ever listen to him? I think Cal expected this
    from DAY ONE. I also think he knows what he’ll do about it, and it will simply be up to the players to accept his
    challenge, do the hard work, and once again, prove everyone wrong. CATS CATS CATS!



  24. Miller
    11:55 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Definitely enjoying Cauley-Stein’s ability to tell it like it is lately. Identifying the problem is half the battle.



  25. Swoony
    11:55 am December 5, 2012 Permalink

    The new page fonts are horrible.



  26. Sheriff Buford T. Justice
    12:06 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    And to think, this time last year everyone on these boards were complaining about the flexing and saluting and saying the cats should just shut up and play ball.



  27. ky mike
    12:07 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    this team is younger than last year.we had miller,lamb,and jones.Who knows what we would be playing like at this time last year without those guys.Just be calm and let it play out.I think we will be ok in mid jan.We as fans need to encourage these kids instead of blasting them.GO CATS



  28. Peter Gibbons
    12:12 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    At least I didn’t sleep with Lumburgh.



  29. kywildcat
    12:15 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    TROLLS FER DAYZ



  30. Truth
    12:20 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    I think Cal and Harrow hate each other.



  31. TravisFord
    12:22 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    If Kyle Wiltjer spent half as much time in the gym practicing his shot as he does making stupid YouTube videos, we’d have a Lofton/Jenkins type player!



  32. CatBlue in LR
    12:28 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    An imposter wrote this. Tyler wouldn’t try to spell losses with only two S’s. Also, what does she mean “memories of John Wall tacking DeMarcus Cousins into the sideline…”? That’s a verb with which I am unfamiliar.



  33. bsquaredcat
    12:29 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    #10 – I commented on the same thing last night. The camera went to the bench after Hoods’ shots, and…nothing. Almost no reaction at all, except for maybe some half-hearted clapping. Last year’s team would have been jumping up and down – for that matter, so would the Wall/Cousins team. They were always so supportive and excited for everyone on the team, not just the stars. It seems like a small thing, but I am afraid it speaks to a larger issue of a lack of unity and brotherhood.



  34. Derek
    12:35 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    This team is a bunch of kids compared to last year. They don’t have the steady force of Miller or Lamb to guide them. They don’t have a man-child like Jones to push them. None of these players have the hustle of MKG or the talent of Davis.
    I do think they will get better. Better but not Championship, final four or even sweet sixteen. I do think they will learn and when you add them to next years class they will make a run at it.
    For anyone who thinks this team will be great just remember. Wright State just thumped Morehead and Northwestern beat Baylor at home.
    Go Cats…Be patient.



  35. G Bailey
    12:35 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Past teams would have had everyone on the bench jumping and dancing when Jon Hood made his three pointers. Didn’t see anyone move last night.



  36. billy
    12:37 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Is this the reason for the 29% shooting against Baylor?
    Uk doesn not have a REAL POINT GUARD FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE CALIPARI CAME TO UK.



  37. Mrs. Tyler Thompson
    12:41 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    32-It’s me, I just wasn’t fully awake when I wrote this. Thanks for the catches.



  38. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    12:43 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    It’s real simple: Someone on this team is gonna have to go H.A.M.



  39. billy
    12:45 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Why can’t fans just concede that Uk cannot be the best team in the nation every year?Two years ago some were writing about how great UK would be after the 2013 recruiting class.
    Fans feelings are hurt because they aren’t as good as last year and are embarrassed. I am a Uk fan but this team is not very good compared to the first three years. Chill out and wait for next year. Harrow or Polson are not very good point guards. Period.
    I think that Calipari is trying to make Goodwin the point guard.
    So far Poythress is not consistant against good teams. Patients must be exercised. DON’T JUMP OFF THE BRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  40. billy
    12:49 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    #1 uK SCORE WAS LAST ON THE LIST. GET USED TO IT THIS YEAR.
    SAW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAMFORD AND ND AND BAYLOR.



  41. Misplaced Mirth
    12:56 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    You are so funny #1-Moronic too.



  42. Joe
    12:57 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Patients must be exercised

    I agree, totally, otherwise their muscles atrophy and prolonged and expensive Physical Rehabilitation is necessary.



  43. barn
    1:00 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    willie has some very insightful comments. i hope the other guys are listening to him



  44. CATS
    1:16 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    I wonder why #1 wanted to know the score of our game anyway?



  45. NotALawyer
    1:26 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images called and said they were curious where you got that image from…



  46. ajhank2
    1:26 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Thank you, GRE prep. For forcing me to know the definition of ennui.



  47. Cards
    1:29 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    I wanted to know the score because I’m obsessed with UK. I claim to only come to this site to get UL news, but commenting on an article that has nothing to do with UL just shows that I really am obsessed. All I do is sit on KSR all day and refresh the screen, as evidenced by me being the first comment on this post. I love KSR and I love to worry about UK!



  48. Cards
    1:31 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    And this is totally off the subject, but I have a tiny penis.



  49. Swamp Jankins
    1:48 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    The Cats need a video montage with sweet 80s music…then like 3 minutes later, they will be ready to beat anyone that dares challenge them. I’ve seen it 100 times.



  50. lets do it again
    2:30 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    I think the entire problem is there is no experience to ground this team. You’re basically asking freshmen who played high school last year to be mature enough to play at this level with no experience to ground them. I would hope after this year that there is a better blend of youth and experience, and this year should prove it’s importance. They may do well later in the year if they are mature enough to handle what they are going through now, but balance is everything, both in sports and even life itself.



  51. RealCatsFan
    2:52 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    #14, I could easily take your comments and apply them to the 2011 team. Relax, people it’s THE BEGINNING OF DECEMBER! This team will be fine by the middle or end of Feb. They will have some growing pains until then. Starting to think that BBN stands for Big Blue Neurosis!



  52. Cards
    4:02 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    WCS has a line beard.



  53. Jughead
    4:53 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    Clay Travis molests collies.



  54. Wild Turkey 101
    6:28 pm December 5, 2012 Permalink

    When in doubt hard work prevails.