Malik Monk has gone two straight games without a rebound, and after the LSU win on Tuesday, John Calipari hinted that his star scorer might find himself on the bench if that trend continues. Today, Cal said it was actually Malik who suggested Calipari bench him if his bad habits continue.
“Well I said to him, you’re not rebounding, you’re not defending the way you should. How are we dealing with this? He said, ‘Coach, tell me, and if I don’t do it, sit me.’ He said it to me. I didn’t say it to him, and I told the team what he said. ‘Anybody else want to have that comment?’ You have other guys that were like, ‘No’. You know, but that’s how they should feel. If I’m not doing my job, sit me out.”
Can Kentucky afford to bench its best scorer?
“We can afford to sit anybody.”
Well then. Malik and Kentucky will be tested tomorrow by an Alabama squad that ranks 17th in the country in total rebounds per game, with 40. Kentucky’s right there with them at 40.3, but as I pointed out earlier this week, in the past five games, Kentucky’s rebounding has slipped. Facing a team with big guards, Calipari knows his backcourt can’t afford another lackadaisical rebounding effort.
“It’s our guards that got to stick their noses in there and go rebound. This team [Alabama] is going to shoot it and send four guys to the rim. That’s what they do. And if your guards don’t rebound, it’s going to be ugly. If your guards do rebound, we can fly because you’re giving up something by sending them to the rim. And if we do what we’re supposed to, then we fly.”
“It’s going to be a really hard game for us to win down there the way they’re playing and how hard they rebound the ball,” Cal added. “It’s exactly the medicine we need to say ‘Where are we right now rebounding the ball?’ Because you’re going to find out, similar to what Florida did, shoot it and go get it.”