It’s Friday and that means John Calipari invited his favorite media members and Jerry Tipton into the Craft Center basement for a little conversation about the upcoming game. This time Calipari looked ahead to Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers, who the Cats will meet for a 4 pm tip-off in Lexington tomorrow afternoon.
First, a brief statement about Bruce Pearl to lead things off.
The first question for Calipari was about his relationship with Pearl, to which he said, “We coached against each other a few times when I was at Memphis and then coaching here. (He) does a great job, mixes up the game. (Auburn) plays hard. They battle and fight. He’s good at what he does.”
Hamidou Diallo won’t play in dire situations, such as the early foul trouble at Vanderbilt.
No matter how bad Kentucky may need him one day, Cal will not throw Diallo into action to simply help the team in a time of crisis. Take for instance the early foul trouble at Vanderbilt last Tuesday night; Cal would not have turned to Diallo for help in the backcourt with De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Dominique Hawkins in foul trouble. If Diallo ever plays, it will be for his own benefit.
“The situation wouldn’t matter,” Cal said. “It would be about him. What I know, what’s in his mind, and what I see — he needs to get squared away, get his base set, and come back and do his thing. That would be my recommendation if you ask me.”
Diallo will not dress for games.
When asked if Diallo will suit up and travel for games this season, Calipari said he will go on trips but he will not dress.
If that is indeed true, there’s the answer to whether or not Diallo will play. It’s tough to get into games in blue jeans.
Calipari likes Bam Adebayo switching on guards.
“He is really good,” Cal said of Adebayo’s ability to switch on defense. “He bounces. He stays in the stance. He can guard every position.”
Cal also said of his big man, “He is getting fouled like crazy when he catches the ball. Like fouled. The last game was worse than this game, this past game. But, you know — and he is keeping his cool. He never changes anything. By the end of the year, he will be that guy. That is my prediction.”
In practice yesterday, Cal asked his team who is the hardest worker and all of them turned and pointed at Bam.
He told them, “There you go. My point is made.”
Auburn is a dangerous team to play.
“It’s just like Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had some shots that they could’ve made, but they missed, and the game could have been different. I don’t think Auburn will hold the ball and then try to shoot it. He might — he’s done it in the past — but I don’t think he will. You knew Vandy was going to come down and take 20 seconds, move the ball and try to get a shot that way. They’ll probably press us some. One game I watched today they played all zone. They got in the zone and they stayed in the zone. They’re good. They’ve beaten teams, like Oklahoma. They lost to Georgia; had them down 16. They lost to Mississippi; had them down 15 or 16 and lost. They’ve been up big. They play active and they’re aggressive. It’s going to be a hard game. We lost to them last year, had to watch that game again and wanted to throw up.”