After that video and Cal’s comments to the media today prior to the Samford game, let’s just call this the “Missing MKG” edition of the afternoon notes. Here’s what Cal and the players had to say this afternoon:
— Cal said the negativity after two losses isn’t all of the fans, just a minority. “They cheered these guys coming off after Baylor. I’m not sure I would have cheered them.”
— As a result, Cal and the players available to the media said that yesterday’s practices were some of the hardest of the year. Cal said he’s taking the “Josh Harrellson” approach with this squad and working them harder in practice. I hope that also means he’s wearing jorts in the process.
— He also echoed what he said after the game Saturday, that certain players have to “fall in love” with the gym to improve their shooting, something he hasn’t seen much of from this current group. #WWMKGD
— Add a “sense of urgency” to the list of things the Cats currently lack, along with a competitive spirit and a leader like…you guessed it, MKG.
— As for Kyle Wiltjer’s shooting woes? “He’s fine. He just missed a bunch of shots. Shooting isn’t easy.” But, Cal reaffirmed his trust in Kyle: “You’re trying to win. You’re going to go with the guys you trust.”
— On point guard woes: “I’ve had teams where the point guard wasn’t my best player. I can play that way.” Cal said Harrow did some good things, just had bad shot selection at times. He’s also been trying out Polson at point of his small lineup in practice: “I want Jarrod to fight and hold the spot.”
— The funniest moment of the press conference? Jerry Tipton asking Cal about the fan negativity leading to players “turning their tweeter off.” Cal through laughter: “It doesn’t bother my tweeter.”
— Joking aside, Cal asked fans to leave players alone and direct all criticism towards him. Willie Cauley-Stein confirmed to the media that he deleted his Twitter account because of “a bunch of negativity” and that several other guys (Mays, Wiltjer, Poythress) did the same as a show of brotherhood. Is #TeamNoTwitter this year’s Breakfast Club?
— The players held a team meeting to regroup after back-to-back loses. Willie Cauley-Stein said the team was trying to live up to last year’s team’s expectations and have accepted that they are their own team now. Cal on that meeting? “I wish they had gotten together after the first loss.”
— In case you missed the millions of tweets and Sports Center blasts about it, the Cats dropped out of the AP Top 25 this week, coming in at #26. And yes, national media, we are aware that’s the first time it’s happened under Cal’s watch. It will also be the last.
— It’s not all bad: the Cats only dropped to #19 in the Coaches’ poll.
— UK Hoops moved up to #7 in the AP Poll after their big win over Louisville in the Yum Center yesterday.
— On today’s show, Matt and Ryan discussed the loss to Baylor, the subsequent negativity on Twitter, and the beginning of the Mark Stoops era in Lexington: