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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Could Increased Depth Lead to more Aggressive Press?

Every coach has some basic fundamental beliefs that his or her teams stick by in almost all cases.  Bruce Pearl teams are going to press the crap out of you.  Jim Boeheim’s teams are going to 2-3 zone.  Rick Pitino’s teams are going to lose in Rupp Arena.  Things like that.  I would say if Calipari has some basic fundamentals, it would be these:

1. Man to man defense.  Does Calipari ocassionaly play a zone defense, of course.  It was actually effective at times last season.  But overall, Cal likes to play man to man and he sounds almost like he’s passing a stone when talking about playing a zone more.

2. Crashing the glass.  Even his teams that were not necessarily as big as his teams at Kentucky have always tried and dominate the glass.  And that includes on both ends of the floor.  UK has been one of the best rebounding teams in the country during Cal’s 5 years.  Part of that certainly comes from talent and part of that comes from scheme.

3. Drive the ball.  Guards are what make Calipari’s offensive system run.  And those guards must be able to drive the ball and covert in the paint.  He doesn’t want jump shooting point guards.  He wants guys to get deep and either make the layup, pass to a big man for a dunk or setup that big man for an easy offensive rebound.  I think in Cal’s mind a 2-footer is always easier than a 15-footer is always easier than a 25-footer.  Seems to have worked so far.

But one thing we never seem to see from Kentucky teams that I think they may have a chance to capitalize on this year is the press.  Normally, depth has not been one of Kentucky’s strengths, and part of that is by design.  Calipari doesn’t necessarily try and play 9 or 10 guys on his roster.  Give him 7 really good players and he is sold.  But hey, next season he is going to have 9 or 10 guys that seem to be able to play good minutes.  He’ll have length, speed, and athleticism.  He will also have big men that can really move around nicely.  It makes me wonder if a press could be a good option.

Calipari has employed a press in the past, but his press is more token press than it is press to turnover.  And look, that has not been necessary in his 5 years.  When you control the glass as much as Kentucky does, it forces teams to shoot the ball well to have a chance to beat Kentucky.  And that will probably be the case again next year.  Does Kentucky NEED to press next year?  Of course not.  Or at least it seems that way.  But CAN they press?  I would argue yes.  And if that press can cut down on the other team’s possessions by 5 or 6, why not?

Good presses need length and Kentucky has tons of it.  Since Rick Pitino left Kentucky, we really haven’t had a coach who has employed a serious press.  But the roster next year says it could totally be a weapon.  The question then revolves around if Calipari loosens his basic coaching philosphy, which really doesn’t emphasize forcing turnovers or speeding up the other team.  I am certainly not suggesting that Kentucky suddenly turns into the mid-90’s UK teams.  But I wonder if fans think or want to see more pressing from the Cats.  What say you?  Should Calipari tweek the defensive philosphy for a more full court style at times or should we just stick with the way it’s been?  

Article written by Bryan the Intern

27 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Could Increased Depth Lead to more Aggressive Press?

  1. Buddy
    9:18 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. It will bea a nice arrow to have in our quiver, but don’t mess with success unless you need to!

    • danger
      10:12 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      Not like we could actually pull it off… we dont have that kind of pacing. once we start to speed up, Our young guys lose ALL control. That was proved against Florida, Uconn, Lou, the list goes on. I think we should just stick with the game we play.

  2. RealUKFan
    9:26 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Coach Cal knows more about coaching than any of us. If he wants to press he will press. If not he wont’. Either way will be good. He does not need our opinions on this.

    • Bryan the Intern
      9:44 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      So good fans just shut the heck up?

    • Luther
      1:13 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

      Well that settles it, BTI, he wont’…

  3. Grant
    9:35 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Sorry, I couldn’t get past your illustrations looking like fingers…

    • me
      9:42 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      I thought penis. Sorry kids 🙁

  4. Mack
    9:46 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Those are not fingers? In his 5 seasons with the CATS Coach has not shown he wants to press or use more than 7 or 8 players during any game why he would change now.

    • Luther
      1:14 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink


      And no matter how many quick, long, NBA players he has sitting on the bench eager to press…

  5. Old School
    9:48 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    So funny to hear you young guys talk about the ‘mid 90s’ Kentucky teams as the genesis of up-tempo basketball in the bluegrass. Rupp defined up-tempo and dominated with it for 40 years. Where do you think ‘Show Time’ and the Lakers in the 80s came from? Kentucky basketball was run, run, run and run some more from 1930 to 1972. That’s why everyone, including the old-timers, embraced Rick Pitino more then they ever did Joe B or Tubby.

  6. theWilkman
    9:56 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    He’s shown that he can adapt his coaching style to fit the team’s build. If he decides the press fits, I’m sure he can implement it successfully. I do think it would be a good arrow in the quiver, to use Buddy’s analogy. How would a team simulate our size in practice? Get them focusing on that and the rest comes even easier.

  7. bosshogg24
    9:59 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    UK players need to follow every shot by going to the rim like LEE does, most just stand and watch! Calipari has never wanted to press, he gives up 75 ft. of the floor and guards the last 19 ft.! If the Russians invaded the U.S. I wouldn’t let them come all the way to the Ohio river I would meet them in New York! With this depth Cal needs to play 10 or 12 players instead of 7 or 8!

    • Russia
      11:40 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      You may want to look at a map. We would be at the Ohio River long before New York

    • lonnieb
      11:44 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      Hopefully he thinks they are coming from the east>>>

  8. blueblue
    10:01 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Pressing…perhaps, but one thing I think is for sure. A much more physical style of play. We got 25 fouls in the front court and 20 fouls in the back court. Don’t a afraid to foul anybody who is brave enough to drive the lane. If you get into foul trouble, we got another McDonald’s All American who can step in and play.

    • MKG
      11:50 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      I think this is one of our strongest attributes next year. Given we have so many fouls to give and so much talent, our front court should be the most physical in the country.

    • MKG
      11:53 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

      So yeah, I agree with you blueblue. Great point…

  9. Halfcourtshots
    10:04 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    I doubt you see more of a press. With their size they will have the ability to make it tough to get clean looks in the half court and will likely be the best rebounding team in the country.

    • Luther
      1:17 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

      Right. No sense in exploiting our depth. It would be unfair to our opponents to actually utilize all the talent we’ll have next season by pressing…

  10. bluewhite
    10:20 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Just because we have the depth to do the press doesn’t mean we should. Tyler Ulis seems to be the type of point guard who could lead the press, but the Harrison Twins don’t have the foot speed to be good press guards. We might see it more than we did last year, but I doubt we see the press used consistently.

  11. lonnieb
    11:45 am May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Elite teams and talent DO NOT PRESS. All americans do not want to come and press. They wanna play the game as close to the nba game as possible so they can prepare. THIS is why pitino NEVER gets elite recruits

  12. jus sayin
    12:02 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Pressing is for small quick teams. Not big slow teams.

  13. Honky Kong
    12:15 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

    That looks like a diagram for a sex education class.

  14. KG
    1:54 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

    This is just my opinion about how I like to see teams play. Cal has a method that isn’t just proven when it relates to winning basketball games it’s almost a given! Who am I to second guess how He coaches. That being said, I would love a hell bent for leather press with him using his whole roster to harass the other team. I’d like to see a half court offense run like The Unforgettables ran theirs. Damn the fouls!!! I’d belly up with an agressive defense that forces the officials to become whistle weary.

  15. lou eaton
    4:26 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

    A the lone dissenter, I think we should use the press as a tool at times and utilize the incoming guards who can use the experience, are faster than the twins and the press wears down teams quickly. When we have this much talent then it simply makes sense to employ the press at certain times as a weapon just for the element of surprise. AND because it can be very effective in tiring the opponent at the end of the last half. I don’t question Cal’s ability to plan I am just saying with this much athleticism and depth it makes sense just to give the new players time for more experience and it pays benefits period.

  16. Monica Lewinski
    4:40 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

    That diagram looks like Bill Clinton sat on the copier six times.

  17. Admiral Farrugat says
    7:49 pm May 20, 2014 Permalink

    Damn the torpedos! Full press ahead!