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Seth Greenberg on Kentucky: “I don’t like their chemistry, I don’t like their toughness”

(Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

College GameDay - February 13, 2016

There are a lot of talking heads in college basketball these days, but one I really respect is Seth Greenberg. After seeing Kentucky lose two big games in consecutive “College GameDay” appearances, Greenberg shared his concerns about the Cats’ slump in a podcast with Andy Katz. Greenberg was brutally honest, telling Andy that right now, Kentucky is not a good basketball team and he doesn’t like what he’s seeing from them in terms of chemistry, defense, and toughness.

You know, Andy, I hate to be redundant, I don’t like their chemistry,” Greenberg said. “I don’t like their toughness –“

“Their pieces don’t fit!” Katz exclaimed.

“Their pieces don’t fit. Their pieces could fit. They do have some weaknesses, but they don’t defend like a John Calipari team usually defends. They don’t have a toughness on the defensive end. They’re not as committed as they’ve been, just guarding the basketball. You look at De’Aaron Fox, he should be a great on-ball defender, he’s getting beaten off the dribble. You look at ball screen defense, Bam Adebayo should be a very good ball-screen defender. He’s taking bad angles. To me, as I watch this basketball team, defensively, they don’t have a toughness, they didn’t finish with defensive rebounds and then offensively, like, Malik Monk is a special talent, but he doesn’t work all the time to free himself, to get open, to come off screens, to set up screens. Bam has not established himself as a low-post player. Right now, today, I don’t like their chemistry. I don’t think they’re playing at a high level, and they’re not a good basketball team. Do they have a chance to be a good basketball team? Yes. But right now, in this moment in time, they are not a good basketball team.”

He makes a good point about Monk, who, yes, is an insanely talented basketball player, but right now, all Kentucky can rely on him for is making a shot if he’s already open. So, what does Greenberg think Kentucky must do to be a Final Four or National Championship contender? A lot.

“I think they’ve got to figure out a way to defend more purposefully. I think they’ve got to be a little more committed on the defensive end, not take plays off, be more connected defensively, and then offensively, they’re very reliant on Malik Monk making shots. He’s got to figure out – John – what he wants to do at the four-spot. Is it Gabriel, is it Willis? I think he’s got to tighten up his rotation a little bit. I think he’s got to, in somehow, someway, trust the guys on the floor not to have such a quick trigger in continuing changing his lineups after a mistake or two. This team plays really young, Andy. And immature. One thing is to be young, there are a lot of young basketball teams out there, but to me, they are very immature in their approach, in the manner in which they play and it reflects in their toughness.”

Hard to argue with any of that. For more of Seth and Andy’s thoughts on the Cats and the rest of college basketball, click the link below.

[Courtside: Big Wins & Stunning Losses Shape February]

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.

26 Comments for Seth Greenberg on Kentucky: “I don’t like their chemistry, I don’t like their toughness”

  1. Sentient Third Eye
    1:22 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    I think he pretty much nailed it.

    • DelrayCat
      3:44 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      The part about the “quick trigger” was especially right on the money.
      Cal yanks people out too quick. His temper and constant yelling seems to have a negative effect on many players, almost to the point of having them constantly looking over their shoulder waiting to see what he is going to do. It’s a players game. They are the ones on the floor, responsible for making it happen. How can they do so with a coach constantly jumping up and down screaming and barking orders during 80% of the game. Yes, it is “coaching”…but there is not another coach in America who rides the azz of his players like Cal. For better or for worse. Many times I think it is the latter.

    • AGSlater
      4:37 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      He only yanks you if you are not one of his “stars”. Only Willis, Mulder, Gabriel get pulled for misses.

    • UK Big Board Update
      4:03 am February 7, 2017 Permalink

      AGSlater July 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Duke has been getting every player they want even over UK.

      AGSlater April 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Damn. They are stacked. Could go 40-0. Not a Duke fan whatsoever just being real

      AGSlater January 18, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
      Like It (1)
      When do they release NIT bracketology? That’s where this team is headed

      AGSlater January 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Not if, but when they lose to Arkansas they will be out of Top 25 for good. We don’t need to worry about rankings. Need to worry about missing tournament.

      AGSlater February 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink
      Like It (1)
      I think they will have 9-10 losses before selection day and be a 7-10 seed. No im not a Cards fan. Our resume is poor. 3-4 really bad losses and 1 decent victory. If more teams keep losing 5-6.

      AGSlater May 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Our football program stinks and will always stink. Who would want to play for us? It gets old that kids say the school they decommit from is a top their list. Just shut up and say I will NOT be going to UK

      AGSlater September 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Here is a stat- we suck

      ag slater December 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Here comes another 2-10 season everyone. I predict 3 straight seasons without an sec win. Next years team may even be worse than this team. Everyone thinks barker is the golden child savior. Hilarious

      ag slater November 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      We suck so bad in football I really forgot that we were even playing a game at all until about 9. We are pathetic in every way possible.From the coaching to the players this football program is pathetic. Can we just take football away from the university It is pointless to play. The only thing our football program is good at is making a bad name for the university and making any team look awesome, How sad is it when your team cannot even win a conference game in 2 seasons. Absolute joke. laughing stock of all of football

  2. ClutchCargo
    1:47 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    Can’t disagree with one word of that.

  3. mikeintn
    1:55 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    I agree.

  4. Trinity45
    2:18 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    I agree about their chemistry and toughness, but disagree about the trigger finger. The ones who are not tough and make mistakes are not the ones getting yanked for making mistakes. I would like to see him sit one of those top guys down every once in awhile and let them think about it.

    • DelrayCat
      3:47 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      It would be different if it were in fact “every once in a while”. But it isn’t. In many cases, it is one trip down the floor as soon as a guy comes in, especially Willis, Humphries, or Dom. How does a guy have a chance to get into the flow of a game if at the moment of his first mistake back on the floor, Cal is yanking him right back out?

  5. runningunnin.454
    2:24 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    So whom does he like? 6 out of the top 10 were beaten Saturday…so are none of them tough?
    Saturday was our only blow out; we’ve been in every other game.

    • AGSlater
      4:39 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      Runnin doubts anyone even if they know 10 times more about bball than him. He defends any and everything about UK. Even if we had 10 losses right now

    • runningunnin.454
      11:40 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      I would rather support my team than be an obvious a$$hole.

    • UK Big Board Update
      4:06 am February 7, 2017 Permalink

      AGSlater April 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Damn. They are stacked. Could go 40-0. Not a Duke fan whatsoever just being real

      Nailed it.

  6. RC
    2:32 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    I said this on Twitter and will repeat it here: No coach- not Cal, not K, not Izzo, not Self- can snap their fingers and fix their team. It doesn’t work like that. Some teams- some players- don’t respond. Some are stubborn and some are difficult to reach. I honestly believe that Cal is just as baffled as you and I are by this team’s regression.

    Calipari hasn’t forgotten how to coach. He hasn’t forgotten how to manage elite talent. But this team has gotten “Lottery Pick Fever” and they’re not responding to him. Monk & Fox know they’re top 10 picks. Bam is too raw but still a high lottery pick. Briscoe is trying to hard to prove he’s ready for the NBA (but he isn’t). The rest of the team are role players (Gabriel included).

    Cal is not blameless but the team isn’t responding because they’ve mostly checked out. This is the downside of UK’s NBA success. How can these kids NOT think they’re the next Devin Booker or Julius Randle or John Wall? That’s a hard battle to fight for Calipari and this team appears to have tuned him out in favor of their own agenda.

    • RealCatsFan
      2:51 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      Just about every other team has gone through a slump at some point this season. Hopefully the last week will provide the “come to Jesus” moment that this team needs.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      2:56 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      Look at the draft performance of the year we didn’t make the NCAA tourney. How many got drafted high that year?

  7. SanDiegoCats
    2:40 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    Cal needs to show this article to the team, talk about how his teams have proved people wrong with how they have come together to finish seasons. They have the pieces, they will be healthy, they just need to come together. It could happen.

    • RealCatsFan
      2:49 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      I would prefer for the kids to stumble upon this article on their own. I coach kids (not in basketball), and I am a parent of kids who are athletes. Sometimes they need to get criticism about their game from a source other than their parents, or even their coach, for it to hit home. Some have suspected that these kids have been reading their press clippings all year and getting a big head from it. If that is the case, maybe now they will read some things that are not so favorable and take it to heart. We fans can only hope…

  8. Bluebloodtoo
    2:53 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    Totally agree with Seth. These Cats don’t value defense. You can’t score 90 points in a game that you lose and then talk about how our offense isn’t good. The way I see it, our issue is with effort and playing as a team. Rebounding and defense are mostly effort. Defense is effort and team coordination: all it take is for one person to break down on defense and they score. Teams score WAY too many points on us. I’d love to take the time and look at some stats to show how teams score against UK vs the rest of season average. I think it would be very telling.

  9. david8577
    3:31 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    Stats pretty clearly tell the story. You get out rebounded by 25, and you just plain aren’t tough. As far as chemistry is concerned, assist to turnover ratio shows that pretty clearly.

  10. Lip Man 1
    3:31 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    Hard to disagree with the comments from Seth and one more thing that may be overlooked in his remarks if the one about Cal immediately pulling a guy after a mistake or two.

    As someone who broadcasts college games it’s hard for players, especially young players, to develop confidence and to not be afraid of a mistake, if whenever they do they are immediate put on the bench.

    Granted it’s a fine line…you can’t keep a guy out there who keeps say turning the ball over, but it should be something Cal is at least thinking about and reviewing….oh that and free throws.

    • DelrayCat
      3:48 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      Preaching to the choir. Nailed it.

    • DelrayCat
      3:51 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      You could call it “passionate” coaching. But it is borderline psychotic the way Cal rant and screams and yells at players pretty much non-stop. Most of the time it is funny. But if I were one of his players, it would get freaking old….that and the constant yanking only to be sent right back in 2 minutes later.

    • catsarerunnin
      3:57 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

      Yes Cal should just sit there with a rolled up program. Worked for Wooden.

  11. Luether
    7:21 pm February 6, 2017 Permalink

    Let’s face it, we’re an unaccountable, soft, immature team who’s stars are running out the clock awaiting the NBA draft…