Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne slid over to the big chair after John Calipari’s early ejection, but he doesn’t want credit for coaching the team to its 27-point win at South Carolina.
In the postgame press conference, Payne admitted he did not coach Kentucky’s offense in the game. He focused on defense and rebounding, and left the offense to its point guard, Tyler Ulis, who is a mini-Calipari in a UK uniform.
“One of the telling things about this game is you saw the influence of what Cal has been teaching offensively,” said Payne. “I never touched on offense, didn’t have to. Between Cal and Tyler Ulis, they’re on the same page. Tyler Ulis ran the offense. Every now and then I may have interjected something, but at the end of the day, it was his show.”
Ulis said the coaching staff gave him the green light to call whatever he wanted to call, occasionally taking suggestions from John Robic. But it was Ulis who ran the offense, which wasn’t any different than if Cal had still been on the sideline.
“The story isn’t someone else coaching the team,” Coach Payne said. “The story is Coach Cal coached the team through Tyler Ulis.”