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Calipari’s Cats are still “Figuring it Out”

In one month the Kentucky basketball team will be in St. Louis for the SEC Tournament.  It’s not exactly the perfect time to tinker with lineup combinations, but that’s what John Calipari must do.

“We’re figuring it out,” Calipari said at today’s news conference.  “I hate to do that with six and seven games to go but… How are we gonna get the dots — cross the T’s, dot the I’s, connect everything?  The kids are trying.  It’s just not easy.”

In Kentucky’s loss to Tennessee, you can criticize the Cats’ poor shooting, sloppy execution down the stretch and much more.  Instead of harping on the negatives, Calipari was excited to see his team play competitive defense for 40 minutes.  As they strain to correct mistakes, Cal believes the results will follow.

“All this stuff is like new.  They’ve never been like, ‘This is how you do this.’  And when you explain it to them, they kind of, ‘Oh.’  And I’ll say it again, I got great kids.  We’re just trying to figure this out.  We’re all trying to figure this out.  I’m trying to figure them out.  They’re trying to figure themselves out.  They’re trying to figure each other out.”

He does not know when that will happen.  He does not know a secret to make it happen sooner.  He does have a message for his team:

“All I want them to worry about is today.  Don’t worry about tomorrow, next week, the following week, the conference tournament, just worry about today.  Let’s try to get better.”

If the Cats get a little bit better each day, they’ll figure it out at the right time.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

9 Comments for Calipari’s Cats are still “Figuring it Out”

  1. MikesWay
    2:32 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

    Just keep thinking back to the UL game when we won by like 30. They have it in there somewhere, just need to find it again. If we could have a 20 point win right now it would be HUGE for the confidence. Not seeing any of those on the remaining schedule though. Would be nice to schedule a non-conference cupcake mid conference every season (not sure if that’s even allowed) to get everyone back in the groove.

  2. Han
    2:49 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

    Tips for the coaches to help them figure it out besides just saying they’re young:

    Coaches should teach them to pass when they drive so there are fewer charges. Coaches should remind drivers that passing back to open shooters will cut down on collapsing defense, resulting in fewer turnovers and charges. Then the next time, the defense will open up for the layup. This goes especially for the guards and Gabriel. Monk had this problem early last year, and excepting the UNC travesty when half the team got 2 fouls, he learned to stop trying to jump through guys on the way to the rim. Briscoe also learned this lesson between his frosh and soph years. 20+ games in, being a freshman is no longer an excuse except for Vando who hasn’t has as much experience with college refs.

    Speaking of Vando and the tech that could’ve been avoided: coaches should teach them to keep their cool when they get called for BS fouls because even if they don’t get T’d up (like Vando did), the refs will take it personally and call more fouls on them for whining (because the refs suck). Cal should also take a tech or two next time his players are getting screwed to show them he’s with them and not just screaming at them. It’ll go a long way in getting them to listen to him and stay positive on the floor.

    Coaches should teach Richards how to finish a dunk. His misses are so bad that his teammates are literally passing up open looks to him and dribbling into double teams because they have no confidence in him. While coaches are at it, they can do some extra drills with SKJ and his hands. He shows effort but is lacking consistency.

    Coaches should set up a system to incentivize/penalize players who get out-hustled for rebounds and loose balls by Vando and Gabriel. I’m tired of seeing those two crisscrossing the floor for contested rebounds while everyone else sulks over missing a shot. If everyone else can feed off and emulate their energy just a little we’ll stop getting manhandled and embarrassed as much, especially when those two pick up effort fouls and are sitting on the bench.

    If this team is capable of crazy big runs and locking down on defense, only to then give up big runs and blow leads, that’s on the coaches to figure out. These freshmen aren’t superstars like some we’ve had so you can’t just expect them to play with more maturity, especially at the end in tight games when they’re playing wild.

    • Han
      2:51 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

      By the way, I’m not trying to suggest I know how to coach. Just pointing out that there are a lot of fundamentals that the coaching staff is evidently failing to teach this group. It’s hard to teach so many freshmen at once, but some of this stuff keeps happening and doesn’t seem to get mentioned by Cal enough when discussing why they lost (“We’re young!”).

      Love ya Cal, but it’s on you to get consistency from them.

    • Kernel Sanders
      3:38 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

      Just a couple of thoughts on your suggestions….Cal obviously likes the dribble drive and would prefer his teams to attack the basket for easy scores or fouls. I don’t think you really want to “teach them to pass when they drive”. In my opinion, you don’t want them to decide what they want to do with the ball before they make a play. In other words, react and make the correct basketball play. If the lane is open, drive to the basket. If you drive and a defender slides in, then pull up and take the 8 foot jumper. If you start to drive and the defense collapses, then yes, find an open shooter if possible. But when you dictate EXACTLY what to do, then you make these guys think too much. Which they are already.
      I’m not really saying you are wrong because we do get a lot of charges. I’m just saying what that shows is a lack of knowledge and feel for the game on the players’ part more than a lack of coaching. On the whole, this team is NOT basketball smart. Hence trying to go too much one on one, recklessly driving to try to make the hero play and not playing smart, team ball.
      I love Vanderbilt and his hustle, but what Cal should really tell him is “against Tennessee you stayed on our end of the floor arguing with the refs about no-calls and left us 4 on 5 on the defensive end. Do that again, and you’re sitting down.”

      I don’t know whether this staff is failing to teach fundamentals, or whether these players are too stubborn and too spoiled to accept the coaching. What I see is “attitude” and backtalk, or at the least a look of complete disregard from many of these players when they are coached up during the game. So maybe its just a combination of way young, inexperienced players and not enough time to coach every fundamental.

    • TLDR. Hint: no one wants to read a tome in the comments, much less 2 or 3.

  3. Parker_UKFanNC
    2:51 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

    In before NIT tards come around.

  4. dbake
    2:53 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

    I really think its time to put the “still figuring it out” saying to bed. Look its almost the end of the regular season. If they have not figured it out by now, odds are they are not going to. Just face it this team is just not what were used to and it will never be. During the Tennessee game it showed the replay of I believe it was one 2 Tn players, Knox and another wildcat. It was the one where all three or four were going after a rebound. Anyway Kevin Knox 6’9 barely even jumping for the ball, I mean really like a hop…..let the Tennessee player take he was not even putting effort to it. That my friends is our season summoned up in one play with three weeks to go. No effort, and no heart.

  5. pinch9
    6:21 pm February 9, 2018 Permalink

    What are we trying to figure out. Make threes you win, miss them you lose. College basketball has become pretty simple.

  6. Luether
    12:51 am February 10, 2018 Permalink

    Can we please figure out things faster?