As mentioned earlier, Joel Justus stepped in for John Calipari today to preview Kentucky’s trip to Florida. We’ve already gone over his vague comments regarding De’Aaron Fox and Mychal Mulder’s status, but here are some leftovers, along with some comments from Derek Willis and Tai Wynyard.
1. Yes, Florida looks really good right now
The Gators have won each of their last three games by more than 30 points and Justus couldn’t find a fault when asked about their hot streak.
“They’re a very good team. They have experience. They have athleticism. They have size and they present problems for their opponents because of those things I just mentioned. I mean, when you have experienced guards in college basketball that always helps you. When you have guys that have been through the wars of the SEC, that helps you. And you can tell (they’re) well coached. They’re disciplined. (They) play very hard. They are doing what they do well, and that’s something as a coach you — I would imagine for them — they feel good about.”
2. The zone was a “game changer” Tuesday night
Calipari hates it, but even he couldn’t deny that the 2-3 zone worked vs. Georgia. Justus agreed.
“I thought we had some good possessions out of it. Our guys were talkative and active in it. I thought it was a bit of a game-changer for us that gave us some life there in the first half. Coach is asking our guys to be empowered on the floor. They were during that zone. They took it on and took that challenge. I think, as a staff, you know, Cal would say that’s a good thing.”
Tony Barbee is teaching the team zone, not Cal, which Tai Wynyard admitted is an adjustment.
“Yeah. I don’t think Cal likes zone very much. So yeah, he gets Coach Barbee to do it. It’s a bit different.”
3. Everyone feels good about how the Cats battled back in overtime
“I think as we met yesterday, and as we were on the floor yesterday, you had to feel good about that, of what we did the other night,” Justus said. “I don’t think anyone around here is looking at that as a bad thing — what we had to experience the other night. It was something that taught us lessons, and at this point in the season, wins or losses, you’re going for lessons learned. Our guys are embracing every day those lessons and then growing from them.”
Willis was also encouraged.
“Yeah, it kind of showed we have fight and when it comes down to it we can win games. Just need to not let it get to that point. Just from the jump be on teams, and when you have a lead stay on that lead. So, we can do it, we just have to.”
4. Justus doesn’t even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl
Or so he claims (although he obviously knows Tom Brady’s a part of it).
“To be honest with you I don’t even know who’s in the game. Whoever, I would say, has the best quarterback, and that’s probably debatable. I think Tom Brady is a tremendous player in terms of his preparation. I think as a coach you always appreciate guys that prepare as much as you do. His attention to detail — I feel like in the things that I’ve read; I never played football, I’ve never coached football — I feel like it’s something that’s impressive. The things people say about them and their organization.”
5. Derek thinks Florida’s the hardest road environment he’s been in
As a senior, Willis has been to plenty of challenging venues over his four years, but he thinks Florida’s O-Dome is still the toughest to play in.
“I would say it’s probably the hardest place to play in. I mean, the environment is so humid. You get in the gym and the fans are right on top of you,” Derek said. “They’re like literally right on top of you. Their bench is on the court and the stands are like that. It’s super close. I don’t know, sometimes you hear stuff and sometimes you don’t. But you just play the game and you’ll be alright.”
6. Tai Wynyard’s dad is in town
Jason Wynyard, the world-champion lumberjack, is visiting his son in Lexington this week and brought Tai some snacks from New Zealand.
“He did. He brought some Tim Tams and some different chocolates and stuff from New Zealand. So it’s not very good. I have a lot of snacks up in my room now I’m going to have to finish off.”
So, Google tells me Tim Tams are a big thing, and there’s even something called the Tim Tam Slam/Challenge, which these annoying girls will demonstrate:
If you can make it through a minute of that video, you’re stronger than I am.
7. Tai confirmed ServPro workers sanitized the players’ rooms
“It’s just kind of annoying at times, having cleaners in your room and all that kind of stuff,” Tai said of the illness going around the team. “It’s just a bit different, having them all around, but it’s all good. You gotta do what you gotta do and you just gotta get through it.”
Check out the videos below: