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9 More Notes from Calipari’s pre-UCLA press conference


I’ve already shared some notes from John Calipari’s press conference today, but here are nine more, starting with his thoughts on tomorrow’s matchup with UCLA:

1. “This is going to be a shot-maker’s game”

UCLA and Kentucky rank third and fourth in the country in points scored per game at 97 and 95.6 respectively, so there are going to be A LOT of points scored tomorrow. Right, Cal?

“This is a shot maker’s game,” Cal said. “If either team is not making shots, you’ll be in trouble. I doubt both teams won’t be making shots so you better hope it’s not you.”

2. Calipari’s rule of 62

“I always say, to advance in the NCAA Tournament, you can’t be a team that scores 62 points a game. You want to win a national title, go to Final Fours, scoring 62 points a game makes it really hard. Here’s why. You’re going to play a team that can score 75 and if you can’t score 75, you just lost that game. That’s why I think you’d like to have your team scoring 75-80 points is where you want.”

As previously mentioned, Kentucky’s scoring 95.6 points per game, an average that will dip as they enter the tough part of their non-conference schedule. But still, gotta feel good about where they’re at.

3. Comparing Lonzo Ball to Jason Kidd


A reporter asked Cal if Jason Kidd was a fair comparison for UCLA super frosh Lonzo Ball. Cal said yes, but Ball’s a better shooter right now.

“Somewhat, but he shoots it probably better than when Jason was in college,” Cal said. “He’s really good. Like, he’s big. He sees the court. He’s OK to take no shots. He doesn’t care. Or if he needs to score 25 he will. He’s good. He’s good. He’s smart. You can see on the court, he’s like our guys — he’s got a nimble mind. He’ll see something happening before it happens. He’s good.”

4. Also good? TJ Leaf and Isaac Hamilton

UCLA is not the University of Lonzo Ball. Calipari named a few other Bruins that he’s paying special attention to in scouting, such as TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford, and “that wing player,” Isaac Hamilton.

“Leaf has been good. Big guys have been good. Steve’s (Alford) son (Bryce Alford) has been good. They have a full team of guys. The guys come off the bench have played well. I’m forgetting the wing’s player’s name. [Reporter says Isaac Hamilton.] Yeah, he may be — because he can score in so many different ways, he’s got a little beastly to him. He’s good. He’s good. This will be one of those games, let’s throw it up and see what happens. I mean, it’s going to be hard for both teams.”

…But Lonzo Ball is still their best player.

5. “I mean, they’re good.”

Calipari stressed that UCLA, ranked 11th in the country, is good. Like actually good. Like, probably the best team UK’s faced so far.

“Steve has done a great job with his team. He’s really playing to their strengths. You watch them play, they play to their team’s strengths. They’re not trying to do stuff that they can’t do. Their big men can really shoot 15-footers. Their big men can shoot some 3s, so they play that way. Now, they’ll post it and jam it, but if I don’t have anything, I’m screening on the perimeter and shooting the 3. They do a lot of good stuff, and that’s why I said this is a game where you must talk because they bring people together. They do a lot of guard-to-guard screens. They try to throw lobs to Ball. I mean, they’re good.”

6. A rare Tai Wynyard update!


The quote most of you all have been waiting for!

“Tai is not even the same kid. The problem is that he’s behind Bam (Adebayo), Isaac (Humphries), and Sacha (Killeya-Jones) who are a little bit in front of him. But, that kid goes in and he’s tough, he’s good around the basket. He shoots the ball better. He’s getting in shape. He’s getting closer to where he needs to be. It’s a little harder because he’s behind these guys, but there’s no question that he’s a better player.”

7. Shoutout to Dominique Hawkins and his 22 assists and two turnovers

While rattling through his usual opening talking points, Cal made sure to praise Dominique Hawkins, who has 22 assists this year and only two turnovers.

“Dom has 22 assists and two turnovers for the year. Can I say that again? Twenty-two assists and two turnovers for the year,” Cal said, adding later, “He’s making easy plays. He’s a better basketball player. He’s got a better feel for the game. He’s more confident. He feels better about himself. There’s no anxiousness, so he just plays.”

8. Calipari says UCLA “could bash us”

“This is a great game in early December for us. Hard. They could bash us. They beat us last year and they beat us bigger than the score. Score said nine or 10, whatever. It was 20. It was not even a game. We never had a chance. Never had a chance in the game. We got down. Tried to mess around. Never had a chance. And they got the same team back with Ball. We lost everybody and have a brand new team so it’ll be interesting.”

“Could they go in here and lose their minds? Yeah, they’re all freshmen. They’re all sophomores. The sophomores might as well have been freshmen. So yeah, they can go in here and this be overwhelming for them.”

9. But…

“I’m glad I’ve got the team I have. Win or lose I’m glad I’ve got the team I have, and this is all building toward March.”


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.

11 Comments for 9 More Notes from Calipari’s pre-UCLA press conference

    4:29 pm December 2, 2016 Permalink

    Living in the LA area and being a HUGE UK hoops fan I’ve seen just about every game from both teams and I will be SHOCKED if UK does not break this game open at some point. They should cover that spread, but UCLA might have the best player on the floor. I can not compare Lonzo to Jason Kidd because Kidd did have anything close to Lonzo’s athleticism, I mean he is on par with Fox and Monk athletic wise and will be the best passer on the floor. This will be the first of many meetings between Fox and Ball as both will match up in the NBA for the next 10 years. This is a game for Bam! UCLA has nothing for him. After this game I hope stop saying that UK hasn’t beat anybody.

  2. runningunnin.454
    4:47 pm December 2, 2016 Permalink

    Wynyard is not in shape….YET?
    Make him go out and chop some wood.

  3. Sea Bass
    4:48 pm December 2, 2016 Permalink

    Gotta be proud of a kid like Dominique Hawkins. Just a really good kid who isn’t scared to play his role on 4 different teams of extreme talent.

  4. runningunnin.454
    4:59 pm December 2, 2016 Permalink

    Cal blowing smoke…UCLA will have to hit 15 threes just to hang with us.

    • Luether
      11:49 pm December 2, 2016 Permalink

      You might not know what you’re talking about…

    • UK Big Board Update
      12:20 am December 3, 2016 Permalink

      Luether is still mad. He’s hoping UCLA wins.

    • UK Big Board Update
      12:29 am December 3, 2016 Permalink

      It might be close at the half, though. I’ll say UK will lead 41-38. 😉

    • runningunnin.454
      5:31 am December 3, 2016 Permalink

      Maybe not, Luether….first time for everything. How much?

    • UK Big Bored Update
      11:05 am December 3, 2016 Permalink

      Luether can’t see because his eyes are swollen shut from LaMar’s swinging family jewel sack.

      And, Luether can’t talk due to the resulting concussion, coupled with LaMar’s presidential tounge depressor crowding his vocal cords – his hands are tied.

  5. snarkster
    6:05 pm December 2, 2016 Permalink

    Not so sure our scoring will take that much of a hit tomorrow. With UCLA liking an up and down game, I’d say we’re close to or beyond the century mark – win or lose.

    • jrdh13
      12:32 am December 3, 2016 Permalink

      We get close to the century man theres no way we lose i believe our defense is way to good to give up that many even if they do shoot out of their mind (which of course they probably will)