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With Vanderbilt and Green back, along with defensive improvement, Calipari is optimistic going forward

When everyone else was worried about the sky falling, John Calipari was the calmest person in the media room following Kentucky’s disappointing loss last night to Florida.

The phrase “we’re fine” was uttered several times, with Cal saying the team’s turnaround on defense, along with overall improved health makes him feel confident going forward with this team.

One of the newest additions to the lineup, Jarred Vanderbilt, has the Kentucky head coach excited. He has averaged five points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in nearly 14 minutes per game in his first two outings, and that’s with little to no conditioning, scrimmaging, or plays set up for him.

“What we end up doing is saying when he’s in, we’re only going to run these three for four things, and then we try to figure out what they should be,” Calipari said. “I need his energy and his rebounding and his toughness and his ability to pass balls.

“He scrimmaged like two times with us, so now we play again Tuesday. So, what do we do tomorrow, and we’re off Wednesday, and then we practice Thursday, fly Friday, play Saturday. It’s hard to get him acclimated.”

With Vanderbilt and Quade Green back, Kentucky now has the healthiest roster they’ve had this season, and Calipari feels that will motivate those on the floor to put forth their best effort. If not, there’s someone itching on the bench to replace him.

“The good news right now, I’ve got a full roster,” Coach Cal said. “So, if you are really not giving it this game, I can play somebody else. So, there’s no arguments on the bench, no back and forth. You don’t have to. Out. Next.”

Even with guys playing winded and extremely rusty, the Cats were in position to win right up until the end. Because of that, Cal said he feels better about this game than he did with the team’s road win vs. Vanderbilt and the tough loss at South Carolina on Tuesday.

“We had a full roster (Saturday),” Calipari said. “Quade doesn’t shoot the ball first game back. If he makes a couple 3s, the game’s different. But you know what, first game back, what do you expect? I thought Jarred did some good stuff but he got winded again. But like I said, this is very, very much encouraging, and we went 1 out of 11 attempts to end (the first) half. Think about that. And we still had a chance. It’s because we guarded and we did some good stuff.”

Aside from the game itself, the Big Blue Nation did their part. Roughly 3,500 fans showed up to the College GameDay morning show yesterday, and then a season-high 24,394 fans filled Rupp Arena for the game last night.

Check out KY Wildcats TV’s recap of the event:

We’re on to Mississippi State.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

14 Comments for With Vanderbilt and Green back, along with defensive improvement, Calipari is optimistic going forward

  1. Alleykat16
    10:38 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Coach you do what you know I have complete confidence in what you do and how you do it if not this year we will get it done soon

  2. Rixter
    10:40 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Glad he’s confident. That makes one of us.

  3. FACTS
    11:54 pm January 21, 2018 Permalink

    Same Rixter

  4. BlueSteel
    12:00 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Rixter…Facts – y’all are pitiful: Why so negative!? Will you actually admit you were wrong when Cal has them playing well in a couple of weeks and/or tournament time? Or will you just be a bandwagon fan like the rest of them?

  5. KYcats11
    12:22 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Kentucky is getting #9 this year. You heard it hear first folks. It’s going to be a great story.

    • bbnZach
      12:36 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

      I’m thinking the same thing. The tourney will be wide open this year as no teams are “great.” I feel as though if we get completely healthy and a few games under our belt with JV we can be one of, if not the best team in the country.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:14 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Funniest comment I have ever read. I give you credit for thinking of it.

  6. Headhurts
    5:55 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    For now know one on this team is ready for the NBA, stay in school and play or go pro and sit, next years team…….. look out!

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:47 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Problem is this is players first. Even if your a fringe guy Cal is telling you to go. Hes gotta have material for new recruits

  7. BallDontLie
    6:05 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Not to say it will happen with this UK team, but it’s almost as if everyone who has decided to write this team off has either not seen an ncaa tourney or has forgotten all of them. You don’t have to be the best team to win it. You just have to be playing your best and run into a little luck. I guess butler and uconn and Wichita st and George mason and vcu, and the Brandon knight and Julius randle teams and all the other teams who have unexpectedly made a run in the tourney should have just given up. It’s like people don t remember those 2 Cal teams I mentioned above. They are unrelated to this year, and obviously have no bearing on what this team will or won’t do. However, they are proof that the season isn’t over in January. And I’m glad our players and coach don’t function the way some of these fans do or we wouldn’t have a lot of the late season/tournament memories that we talk about still to this day.

  8. henderblue
    7:53 am January 22, 2018 Permalink

    Well said BallDontLie. Well said. The season is definitely not over IN JANUARY!!

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:18 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      Really? Duhhh. I am currently writing this team off. They dont even have the makeup to beat a couple teams in tourny. Much less 6 in a row. This team is flawed beyond repair. They literally have not gotten any better. Maybe a couple pieces have, but as a whole they have not. Funny that every loss we have comes another excuse and another round of ppl saying ” tourny isnt in january”. What happens when we dont get into tourny? We have 0 good wins 5 losses already well on our way to 10+. This has a potential to be a weak bubble team

    • BallDontLie
      1:52 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

      If you want to teeter on the brink of a mental breakdown be my guest. I’ve seen your other comments on other posts and the fact is that you seem to laugh in the face of rational thought and want to continue with your doomsday prophecies. Get real.

  9. BigBlueNationDude
    12:13 pm January 22, 2018 Permalink

    No doubt whats he gonna do give up. Hes making more than a small country to yell at kids for a living.