John Calipari met briefly with the media today to discuss Kentucky’s upcoming game with Eastern Kentucky. I assume you weren’t in attendance, so here is some of what you missed…
Marcus Lee has not practiced since the UCLA game, Tyler Ulis practiced yesterday.
Lee suffered a minor head injury against UCLA, but Calipari isn’t sure of the severity of the injury or how it happened.
“I don’t have any idea, you’ll have to ask the doctors,” said Cal, who hopes Lee can participate today’s practice.
In other injury news, yesterday was Tyler Ulis’ first full practice since injuring his right elbow against South Florida a week and a half ago.
“He seems to be back to where he was.”
They’re scrimmaging a lot.
Cal doesn’t normally have his players scrimmage a lot in practice, but yesterday’s practice was almost all scrimmaging. The hope is it will get his team to fight and battle with each other, which will carry on over into games.
Alex Poythress said Cal really pushed them on Monday.
Skal Labissiere has to learn to fight for rebounds.
Offensively, Labissiere is very skilled, Calipari noted. He can score in a variety ways, from jumpers to jump hooks to free throws.
Labissiere’s problem is, opposing teams know he is timid when a shot goes up and they can keep him off the glass by simply putting a body on him.
“What’s happened to him now, when he’s on offense if you notice, they never have him without a body on him,” said Cal. “They know he’s not comfortable when there’s a battle. So now there’s never space for him. Whether he’s in the high post, they got a body on him. Whether he’s in the low post, they got a body. If he’s on the wing, they got a body on him. If he drives, they body. If he catches a post, they body.”
That is how everyone is playing Labissiere until he toughens up, and Cal said he would do the exact same if he were coaching against him.
Calipari doesn’t know which of his players have tattoos.
In his response to a question about having players of different nationalities and cultures, Cal said he doesn’t think about where they’re from or how they look, only how coachable they are.
“Do you guys even know who has tattoos on my team? I don’t. I wouldn’t know who has a tattoo and who doesn’t. I’m looking at their eyes. I’m not looking at their bodies. Like, ‘Wow, you’ve got a great body.’ That’s not what I’m doing. I mean, I have no idea with that stuff, and I don’t know when I look at a kid, ‘Well, he’s from Canada, he’s from Australia.’ You just want to have kids that want to be here.”
“This isn’t last year.”
This year it’s going to be a process (one of Cal’s favorite lines throughout his time at UK) unlike last season, when he “had the whip.”
“They’re going to be some games we look like umm along the way,” he said. “I’ve been here at Kentucky — we’ve had this — and by the end of the year, we get things right and we get going.”
He believes he has good guard play and knows any team with good guard play has a chance in the end.