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Calling Coach Calipari’s Bluff on Dontaie Allen

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

At this point, it seems like every person in Big Blue Nation officially has a membership to the Dontaie Allen Fan Club. Unfortunately for Allen, the one person who actually controls his minutes is still holding out.

An array of criticisms were thrown John Calipari’s way on Saturday night after Kentucky’s loss to conference opponent, Auburn. One of the most common critiques was Calipari’s decision to only play Allen for 23 minutes. Calipari had an answer, but not one that satisfied any of the naysayers.

“At the end of the day, we were running plays for Dontaie and he wouldn’t shoot the ball,” Calipari said in response to his substitution patterns.

Now, on the surface this obviously upset people, but to be a fair judge, I went back and watched the game again (yes, it was as painful as the first time).

Upon review, Allen passed up a whopping two wide-open looks. In contrast, he kept the team in the game the first half, led the team with an 11 +/-, and was one of two players on the team to have zero turnovers on the night.

Additionally, Allen gave the team something no other players are providing: spacing. When Allen was on the floor Auburn struggled to contain players on the drive and constantly had to locate Allen off the ball. On the other hand, with Allen on the bench, Auburn contracted its defense to the point where gaps for any Wildcats to slash inside became nearly impenetrable.

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It seems painstakingly clear Allen not only did more positive on the court than negative, but may have had the best night of any of the ‘Cats, while only playing nearly half the game. So, why isn’t he playing more?

To start, it’s true that Calipari is calling plays for Allen. Nonetheless, more often than not those plays end up falling apart or resulting in Allen being looked off altogether. Let’s start with the less depressing explanation of the two.

Calipari runs a few plays for Allen, but maybe the most repetitive was the gate screen leading to a three-point attempt for Allen at the top of the key. A good play, but not one a defense is going to repetitively fall for. By the time Kentucky was attempting the same play in the second half, Auburn’s defenders were jumping the screens as if they had seen into the future.

More commonly, Allen was finding his shot attempts through the flow of the game as the Auburn defense got caught watching the ball. The problem doesn’t fall solely on Allen not shooting when a play is ran for him, but rather the play-calling becoming repetitive, and more importantly, predictable.

Secondly, as mentioned before, Allen is simply getting missed by his teammates. One can only assume this issue is less intentional, however the problem is just as urgent.

Fellow guards such as Davion Mintz and Devin Askew missed an open Allen on multiple occasions throughout the game. For a player like Allen to succeed it’s imperative whenever the defense slips up that he has a chance to capitalize. Allen isn’t going to be the player to hit step-backs from deep in the defender’s grill, but he is the type of player that will win a team games. I can say with confidence that most people would prefer the latter.

Two shots not taken by Allen doesn’t equate to the numerous shots he makes and helps create for teammates when he’s on the court. Much of the root of this issue falls back to the same drawback Calipari has faced for years: having a longer leash for highly-touted players.

Allen isn’t the only one of the ‘Cats to pass up open shots, but he is the one to pay the price for it. Why? Because he isn’t supposed to be as good as the other guys on the court? Dontaie Allen has been just as good, if not better than the other guys on the court.

Frankly, Allen deserves more chances not only for his shotmaking ability, but his effect on the game. If Coach Calipari is concerned about taking “anybody’s heart away” then he should be most concerned about the Kentucky kid, willing to play his heart out, sitting on the end of the bench.

Article written by Grant Grubbs

62 Comments for Calling Coach Calipari’s Bluff on Dontaie Allen

  1. blueballs80
    2:08 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    We would be 3-8 if not for Dontaie going off on miss at. Good thing Cal got himself ejected. Maybe he should let Bruiser decide what line up is best.

    • jim tom
      2:34 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink


    • BigBlueFoo42777
      2:49 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Even if Allen played 40 minutes a game our record is the same. Fact is this is not a very good team for whatever reason. Remember Cal was one of the few people who actually wanted the job. Barnes told us no then went to Tennessee.

    • katmandue2you
      3:07 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Yeah BBF…who wants to coach the Kentucky Basketball team? It pays horribly! There’s no prestige at all! Never been any tradition here. It’s been proven over and over and over that you can’t win here…much less win National Championships. Did I mention the pay was bad? Gosh if you went back and looked at who all has coached here it would read like a who’s who of all time failures! Adolph Rupp? Who the hell is he? Joe Hall? What a wanna be! Eddy Sutton? He proved long before he got here how bad of a coach he was! Rick Pitino? What the hell did he ever do in his career! Tubby Smith? Completely devoid of honor and character but definitely not the best of the worse! Billy Clyde? Well sometimes you gotta dig alittle deeper to maintain your reputation as a terrible program that no one wants to work for! And JOHNNY C? Surely he only took the job cause no one else would!!! Did I mention the pay was bad?

      Let me summarize. This propaganda that no one worth a hoot would want to coach basketball at the University of Kentucky is more horseshit than has been mucked out of all the stalls in this state since before Rupp got here.

    • Nickerbocker05
      3:41 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Hahahah love it!

    • UKgrad80
      4:10 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink


    • LanceSAdams
      6:16 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Pearl was still at Tennessee when Calipari got hired. I’m not sure that you know what you’re talking about at all. Calipari was the first and only choice in 2009.

  2. Wild Turkey 101
    2:11 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Dumpster fire.

  3. Stop Hammer Time
    2:14 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Allen is the best offensive player on the team and it isn’t debatable. And it is obvious Cal doesn’t want to play him. If I were Allen’s dad, I would be furious. And I would have to seriously consider a transfer for next season.

    • jim tom
      2:34 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Gone for sure. I sure as hell would

    • Beaver_Fever
      10:48 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Can’t believe you haven’t gotten the “you’re not a real fan”, comment yet!

  4. 8XChamps
    2:15 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Cal, if you are truly a “Player’s First” coach, then play your best players and let’s try to win some games

  5. Elvis Is Alive
    2:16 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Preach Grant. Statistics back up the fact the Allen should be playing starter minutes and Boston playing 10 or fewer minutes. Cal sacrificing the season to hand BJ a nearly unlimited leash so he doesn’t get his heart taken away. GTFO here with this BS. Change what you are doing Cal or leave.

  6. Papaw
    2:16 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    I still say, it wouldn’t matter if DA didn’t take a shot. Being on the floor is the one guy defenses have to cover on the outside. Defenses let Boston shoot at will and his turnover after turnover lead to opponent scores time after time

  7. GM1978
    2:17 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    I like Allen’s shooting and rebounding, but he gets torched on defense (he’s given up 20+ points in 3 games)

    • trumpetguy
      2:53 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      1978, granted DA is not a lock down defender like a Liggins, or further back Cliff Hawkins, etc. BUT defense half court is not what is getting UK beat, though it has been bad at times. Half court offense, ALL of it is beyond atrocious. The ONLY guy on the team who has shown the ability to put the ball in the basket, PLUS help others by keeping his defender honest, is DA. He by a wide margin gets more positive things done than any other wing player. Being an in-state kid isn’t the issue, OUT PERFORMING other guys is! The possession right after Ware FTs on Flagrant 1 tech, there was an open look 3 Cal set up for DA, directly in front of UK bench. He passed it up. I told my wife right then and there DA would come out at next deal ball, and he did. The kid should get 15 FGA every game, but Cal will not play him if he passes any up. But Cal acting like DA is supposed to be without blemish is ludicrous too. Pluses DA contributes far outweigh any perceived liabilities on other end.

    • trumpetguy
      3:32 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      ***dead ball. Half court defense played by DA IS NOT the problem here! Neither BJB or OS are proficient enough to run any offense through them….Half court offense is the problem.

    • EdC
      6:46 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      +11 next lame point?

  8. mashman 93
    2:23 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    If Dontae Allen transfers the #BBN will never forgive him.

    • Bluehender
      3:07 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      I would forgive him and blame Cal for letting him get away

    • mashman 93
      6:05 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      That’s what I meant sorry guys!! Cal would never be forgiven.

    • gwhittle
      4:42 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Wrong. BBN would never forgive Cal. Most of BBN is sitting at home praying he doesn’t leave while also knowing if it was our own son, we’d tell him to find another place to play.

    • EdC
      6:46 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      No if he transfers then the people who worship Calipari won’t forgive him. UK fans will understand and already expect it.

    • Beaver_Fever
      10:55 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Nothing to forgive. It’s completely understandable why he would transfer. We’re getting dangerously close to the point that Dontaie should absolutely transfer. With Cal’s comments about him and the rest of the team, it’s very clear at this point that Dontaie isn’t one of Cal’s guys (we all know exactly what that means). If Dontaie transfers, I will absolutely be keeping up with him. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

    • Beaver_Fever
      10:58 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Unless you end up at Louisville. Richard Pitino, you moron!

    • madguner
      7:49 pm January 18, 2021 Permalink

      Iam from pendleton Co and it wouldn’t bother me at all if DA transferred in fact I would encourage it.

  9. FatDaddyCat
    2:24 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Toppin gets screwed, too. This is nothing new, same crap as Hagans last year. If you got the most stars by your name you can play like crap, hurt your team repeatedly and lose. Just as long as Cal can be on the TV on draft night. All this talk of everything earned, nothing given at UK rings hollow these days.

  10. Big Sexy
    2:24 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    I don’t understand Cal’s obsession with getting 5 stars to the NBA. Are 3-4 stars not just as deserving as far as changing their socioeconomic situation? It may take them 3-4 years but it should be just as satisfying getting them there, if not more. About any college coach is going to get the 5 star guys drafted. Is it an ego thing to get as many as possible in the pros? I’m a HUGE Cal supporter but this isn’t working the way it did in the first 6 years. I think players are realizing they don’t NEED to go to Kentucky, Duke, etc., to get to the NBA and other coaches are willing to embrace a one and done guy more than they used to.

    • KYCat4EVER
      2:38 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      OMG! ? This is hilarious!

      Come on BBN?

      The date was April 4, 2015…

      Calipari left the Harrison Twins on the court for the final critical minutes against Wisconsin… while Ulus and Booker SAT on his bench left to watch and cheer!

      THREE straight times our CATS brought the ball up the court needing a basketball to keep momentum, and ALL three times the Harrison Twins ran an offensive set that resulted in the basketball NEVER touching the RIM!

      Game over!
      Undefeated season over!
      NCAA Championship over!
      Calipari as head coach? Should have been over!

      Instead TWO MONTHS LATER we hear Calipari confess he probably cost us the game because of his “loyalty” to the Harrison Twins!

      BBN… wake up!

      This was FIVE YEARS AGO… and Coach Process has not changed “his process”!


    • Big Sexy
      10:20 am January 18, 2021 Permalink

      I’m assuming you didn’t like the first six years? A National Championship, 4 Final Fours, and 5 Elite 8s. Not to mention a 38-1 season. Only unreasonable fans wouldn’t like that.

  11. eddie27
    2:25 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    So Cal is worried about hurting someone’s feelings? Is that preparing them for the NBA? Would an NBA team keep playing, much less start, players with statistics like some of the Cats?

  12. jim tom
    2:35 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    It’s time for a tweak . LOL !

  13. dhard
    2:42 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    I am still shocked that he says they run offensive plays. I thought their one play was to dribble 40 feet from the basket, set a screen and have one of them shoot it as the shot clock expires.

    • jim tom
      4:18 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      This beloved program is dying a little bit every day.

  14. kentuckybackupplayer
    3:00 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    One glaring problem is the team is really bad a running plays, let alone plays for Allen. Cal calls plays and the players break them off and do selfish stuff. Allen did pass up a couple open looks but his team mates missed passing him the ball several time when he was open.

    Allen also has to work a lot harder at running screens to get open.

  15. millertim
    3:00 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Excellent analysis and on point. I wonder if any of Cal’s assistants have brought this information to the stubborn, mule-headed Cal? He lies when he says he’s “pulling for the kid (Allen)”— don’t be fooled… he’s not. He’s pulling for the kid that lives at his home and was a projected lottery pick (Boston)— that’s the kid Cal was referring to when he said he “couldn’t take away his heart”… Cal bleeds for the 5 star “one and done” and placates the fanbase with miniscule playing time for the lesser regarded 4 star kids… With the vast majority of BBN publicly cheering for Allen (hometown kid), I find it unlikely that he transfers. Kids who didn’t grow up here, absolutley would (Green, Baker, Juzang, Wiltjer, Lee, etc…) but being a Kentucky kid, it means a lot more to wear the jersey and know you belong out there and BBN has your back!! He could transfer to another school, but won’t have the love and affection that he has at UK…

  16. RevJab
    3:06 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    This comes across a bit like “teacher’s pet” mentality. Cal has decided that BJ Boston is great, regardless what he actually does, and that Dontae Allen is “meh” regardless of what he does.

  17. drbigblue
    3:07 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Black Lives Matter and National Anthem Kneeling Supporter Along With Being A Terrible Bench Coach Needs To Have His Bags Packed And Shipped Back To Liberal Massachusetts. KY Needs To Go Back To Its Rich Historical Basketball Ways!

  18. drbigblue
    3:08 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Hoorah For Yahoo Sports Writer For Calling The Arrogant Calipari Out!

  19. Nickerbocker05
    3:11 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    I’m tired of hearing, “who else are we going to get to replace coach cal”… there are plenty coaches out there worthy of this job at UK! I’ve been a huge cal supporter the whole time he has been here but always felt like he had something to hide! Now it’s abundantly clear he is only here to use The Kentucky name to better himself and HIS guys!!! Cal is just using UK like a smokin hot chick uses a rich guy for money. That’s just the way it is and we gotta all live with it now.

    • gwhittle
      4:43 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      I bet a lot of BBN would prefer to have Pearl or Nate Oats over Cal right now.

    • Blue Bill
      7:30 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Yet you don’t say who you’d rather have?

    • EdC
      8:51 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

      Lots of names have been named Blue Bill. You just have your head so far up Cal you can’t see or hear it. You’re boring.

  20. Nickerbocker05
    3:13 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    It’s clear cal is not a good coach… USED to be a great motivational coach that could get the best talent in the Nation! But he has lost that motivation!

  21. Bigblu30
    3:19 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Cals excuses r horrible

  22. DoubleB65
    4:08 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Some of us have said all
    Of this for years. But many kept drinking the Cal Kool Aid.

  23. gasman01
    4:29 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Guys.. there are 2 major issues with this team. They have absolutely the worse basketball IQ of any UK I can remember, and they are a step slow. That combination can’t be overcome. Add the poor coaching this year and it’s a recipe for disaster!!

  24. City shuffle
    5:51 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Yall are insane. Allen played 35mins and tied for second most on the team.

  25. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    6:00 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Start Allen

    Sit Boston

  26. east-ky-boy
    7:17 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Why would someone that’s not a 5 star and possible lottery pick come here???? True is, they will be treated differently.
    Side note: if Boston is a lottery pick. Even a first round pick then I’m a albino midget spider monkey!

  27. tdub
    8:00 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    Great comments guys. The game has passed him by. But he won’t leave.

  28. lgmagruder
    9:15 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    I find it difficult to believe that a man that averaged 42 ppg in high school was somehow reluctant to shoot yesterday when presented with the opportunity that Cal days. I like Cal, but he’s digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole of his own creation.

  29. Glam Girl
    11:37 pm January 17, 2021 Permalink

    If Cal hadn’t been in the locker room at Miss St, we lose.

  30. zooboy7323
    2:02 am January 18, 2021 Permalink

    For some inexplicable reason Lance Ware repeatedly did not look at DA standing open on the three point line to throw it to Askew to drive the lane Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t. Nevertheless he was passing up three point shots that could have gotten us back in the game. The bigger problem is Calipari is stubbornly not playing Allen to show favoritism for Boston who is killing us! Boston will do well in the pros after a few years in the G league much like Archie Goodwin (maybe).

    • Steady
      6:24 am January 18, 2021 Permalink

      Boston is a “poor mans” Archie Goodwin.

    6:37 am January 18, 2021 Permalink

    Bring back KP!

  32. LayTheOdds
    8:47 am January 18, 2021 Permalink

    It’s called “Cal the Agent and his NBA farm team”. We’re just pawns in his $9M/year chess game. Remember when Cal said it was the greatest day in UK basketball history when he had five guys go in the first round? That explained it all.