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.