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Revisiting Calipari’s preseason comments about this team

Back on August 28, John Calipari sat down with the media to preview the season. Six months, 21 wins, and 10 losses later, do any of his comments about this squad still ring true? I went to the preseason roundtable transcript to find out.

“None of the guys are where they need to be on a consistent basis.”  Amended to be TRUE

Almost everyone on this team has shown flashes of the player Kentucky needs them to be, but none are that on a consistent basis. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander comes the closest, but has a tendency to turn it over when he puts too much pressure on himself to score, i.e., whenever Kentucky struggles. In the last two games, Shai’s turned it over nine times, something that must be cleaned up going into postseason play.

We’ve learned the hard way that Kentucky can’t handle an off-night from Kevin Knox and that PJ Washington isn’t the consistent beast that Calipari wants him to be. Right now, stringing together six wins seems impossible, so how about just three this weekend?

“Wenyen’s playing way better, thank God.”  TRUE

One thing you can’t fault Wenyen Gabriel for is effort. Over the summer, Gabriel dedicated himself to improving his strength and conditioning, which has allowed him to be the energy guy Kentucky needs. In his second year, Wenyen has thrived in a supporting role, infusing the team with some much-needed hustle on the boards, and, when he’s hot, a presence on the outside.

“Quade is a better shooter than I thought.” — Amended to be TRUE

Quade Green may not be Tyler Ulis 2.0, but it was never fair to expect him to be. An eye injury and back problems forced Green to hand over point guard duties to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but by playing off the ball, he’s filled this team’s biggest void: shooter. Quade has become clutch from the outside, hitting 55% (11-20) from behind the arc over the past five games. Needless to say, he must carry that over to the postseason.

“Shai can run the point.” — TRUE

By far the most pleasant surprise of the regular season is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. When nothing else is working for Kentucky, you know Shai’s going to put his head down, drive the lane, and, most of the time, score. By doing that, he’s saved the Cats from themselves on more than one occasion. Shai took over at point when Quade Green had to miss time due to injury and still starts at the one, allowing Green to come off the ball and score. As Caliapri has preached throughout conference play, Shai’s the team’s best player because he works the hardest, which may turn him into a lottery pick.

“Quade will lead, but you need Hami.” — TBD

If Shai’s been the biggest surprise, Hami’s been the biggest disappointment, which pains me to type. Kentucky has managed to win big games without him, but there’s no denying that life would get a little easier if the ball would just start going in the hole more often for Hami, who was 0-7 from the floor vs. Florida. For Kentucky to make any kind of run this postseason, Hami has to break out of his slump for good.

“We’ve got a great group of kids.” — TRUE

This team’s on-the-court performance has been disappointing so far, but thanks to the Facebook all-access show, it’s easy to see they’re great kids off it.

“I think you have a couple alpha dogs.” — FALSE

Leadership was one of the biggest concerns coming into this season and it remains that going into the postseason. Calipari singled out PJ Washington, Hamidou Diallo, and Quade Green as this group’s “alpha dogs” before the year started, but none of them have lived up to that moniker on a consistent basis.

“Jarred Vanderbilt — they’re like WOW.” — TRUE

It took a little longer because of his foot injury, but Jarred Vanderbilt definitely wowed us when he debuted at South Carolina — even if it was a “Wow, he’s rusty, but finally, someone playing with energy!”. With the rust off, Vanderbilt has finally hit his stride, averaging 9.5 points and 11 rebounds in Kentucky’s recent four-game winning streak. Foul trouble limited him vs. Florida, but Vanderbilt’s impact on this team is undeniable, particularly on the boards.

“There’s no reason for P.J. to be a bad free throw shooter.” — Painfully TRUE

PJ Washington struggled with his free throws in Egypt this summer, shooting only 40%, and even though he’s improved that to 62%, man, it would be nice to see him hit both of them on a consistent basis.

“This could be a team that should play zone.”  TRUE

Kentucky actually played a lot of zone early in the season, but just as you knew he would, Calipari has mostly gone back to man-to-man; however, this team is playing zone on 18.7% of its defensive possessions, by far the most of any Calipari team at Kentucky. For reference, the next closest is the 2013-14 squad, which played zone 5.3% of the time. While Calipari may not use the zone as much as he did early on, even he can’t deny how effective it can be with this group’s length. Count me among those that would like to see it even more this month.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

25 Comments for Revisiting Calipari’s preseason comments about this team

  1. Catcasey1
    8:48 pm March 6, 2018 Permalink

    Zone lol

  2. Jiminy Crickets
    9:13 pm March 6, 2018 Permalink

    “Were just not good right now”- TRUE

  3. BigBlueNationDude
    9:21 pm March 6, 2018 Permalink

    Yeah but the libs like big board are still very mad even furious that Trump is our president. The minorities are angry everyday especially just open twitter for 5 seconds. Maybe they will actually vote in 2020? Very mad bro

    • cats646
      10:47 pm March 6, 2018 Permalink

      What are you even talking about?

    • Han
      10:57 pm March 6, 2018 Permalink

      Presumably you’re referring to some other comment.

      Me personally, as a conservative Republican, I’ve been disgusted with the hypocrites and fools who continue to support a conman and deny the mountain of evidence that he his a money-grubbing, lazy egomaniac who only hires the worst people (which leads to them quitting, being fired, being indicted, etc).

      You don’t have to be a lib to see when someone who was a buffoon 5-6 years ago when he was laughed out of the primaries is still a buffoon now.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      1:15 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah han. Im not for any of them. Its just hilarious how much they complain and didnt vote.

    • antiquefurnitureandmidgets
      11:15 pm March 6, 2018 Permalink

      You know what these KSR comments sections need more of? Politics. Ooh! And religion. That’d be great.

    • cats646
      12:38 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      Tone it down a bit Han. I’m a conservative too but bashing someone in that way isn’t going to help anything.

    • 4everUKblue
      7:30 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      You know what KSR needs much less of? BBNDude/Slater. I’m sure he can find a website for nonsensical comments somewhere else.

    • catsarerunnin
      7:53 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      Slater needs us!

    • 4everUKblue
      9:09 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      You’re right cats, Slater has no life or friends outside this site. Come to think of it he has no friends on this site.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      9:24 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      I am a Trumpster for life. He is a genius

    • 4everUKblue
      9:26 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      I could care less but what you really are is a complete idiot!

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:38 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      Of course bbnd is a Trump supporter. That should surprise absolutely no one at all.

      I wonder if Slater has the balls to share his twitter name?

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:42 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      “the minorities are angry”…? Not only are you a clueless idiot, you are obviously racist. Your parents must be bitch-slapped.

      Oh, and Trump has the lowest approval rating in history – it isn’t just the minorities, bro.

  4. blueballs80
    12:00 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

    what is Green’s 3 point percentage over the course of the season?

  5. rockatao
    1:15 am March 7, 2018 Permalink


  6. peaches76
    8:07 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

    Quade is a GREAT shooter when comparing to the rest of our team!

  7. CatManDo
    8:16 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

    “Brad will be our leading scorer” – FALSE

    • abevh5
      8:21 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      Ha! That’s funny

    • Booby Petrino
      8:54 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      um yeah, okay if you think that’s funny I guess you think anything is. Hating on Brad is lame.

    • 4everUKblue
      9:10 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      Agreed Booby, hating on any of our player or coaches is lame.

    • catsarerunnin
      9:35 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      “CatManDo is an idiot” – True

    • CatManDo
      11:01 am March 7, 2018 Permalink

      If you think that is hating on a player you must be great fun at parties. Chill bruh, just an innocent joke, not attacking anyone at all (and never have to any UK players).

  8. RajonTheDon9
    12:33 am March 9, 2018 Permalink

    We don’t play well under Republican presidents. Too much of a negative vibe with all the gays infiltrating Univ. of Kentucky. Has anyone seen MJ with a woman? No, more likely to see him with Mayor Jim Gray.