Julius Randle, James Young and Willie Cauley-Stein were the players made available to we the media at the UK basketball media opportunity this afternoon to discuss the upcoming SEC Tournament.
Randle drew a big crowd, so if you want to see video of the SEC Freshman of the Year, I suggest you click here.
As for Young and Cauley-Stein, they talked a little about the subject of the day — “tweaking” — but more about how John Calipari has punched the let’s-get-physical button in practice.
A three-spot from Kentucky basketball’s media opp today previewing the SEC Tournament, with video after the jump.
1. Tweak me. Of course, John Calipari would not let we the media and the public know specifically what this “tweak” was that he made to the offense in practice on Monday that “made all the difference.”
The players were no help either. James Young and Julius Randle both clammed up about whatever change Calipari made in hopes of getting the offense going.
Meanwhile, Calipari tweaked the media, saying that if we know basketball we’ll figure it out. (This implies that we don’t know basketball, of course.)
A friend from another newspaper, called me Monday looking for some information for a story he is writing. He wanted to know how many players had played for John Calipari during his five years as the Kentucky coach?
By my count, the answer is 42.
That prompted me to figure out how many players have played for Calipari just one season. I included this year’s freshmen and those leftovers from the Billy Gillispie Era who Calipari inherited, but played just one year under the new coach.
Here’s the list:
Tough news out of Lawrence, Kansas last night as the school announced that Jayhawks center Joel Embiid will miss the Big 12 Tournament and probably the first weekend of NCAA Tournament play after doctors diagnosed him with a stress fracture in his back.
“Based on that, this weekend is out,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in a statement. “Next weekend, we feel like is a long shot, but the doctors are hopeful that if Joel works hard in rehab and progresses, that it is possible that he could play in the later round of the NCAA Tournament if our team is fortunate enough to advance.”
So to hear John Calipari tell it, everything is fixed now.
On his weekly radio call-in show last night, Calipari — yes, apparently Calipari was actually on the show, which is not a weekly occurrence — the coach said that he “tweaked” things in practice and the offense made tremendous improvement.
That’s tweak — not twerk.
In doing some research this afternoon, came across an interesting and surprising stat. This is the sixth time in the past nine years that Kentucky is entering the post-season unranked in the AP Top 25.
Tubby Smith’s last two teams were unranked going into the SEC Tournament. Billy Gillispie’s only two Kentucky teams finished the regular season unranked. And now, after having two of his three teams ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 ending the regular season, John Calipari’s last two teams are unranked heading into the post-season tournaments.
Here’s a look at the last 10 years.
The final AP College Basketball Top 25 of the regular season is out. As expected, Kentucky dropped from No. 25 out of the rankings. The pre-season No. 1 enters post-season unranked.
Looking at the pre-season poll compared to the end-of-regular-season poll:
Biggest climb: Villanova began the season unranked and did not enter the poll until Week 5. The Wildcats are now ranked No. 3 heading into the Big East Tournament.
Biggest drop: Kentucky. The Cats are the fourth pre-season No. 1 to fall out of the poll. The previous three were Loyola of Chicago in 1963-64, UCLA in 1965-66 and Indiana in 1979-80. Michigan State was No. 2 in pre-season and finished up No. 22.
From my inbox, Rick e-mails:
Another good column! As I read it, I couldn’t help be recall the saying that those who do not, (can not, will not) learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
As a season ticket holder and long-time fan, I for one, do not want a three-peat of the over-promise, under-deliver results of Cal’s efforts to rewrite history! Seems to me that we should accept, (and learn from), the fact that experience does matter much more than unproven talent and that building our hopes on over-hyped players who have been coddled and, all but, promised a future of selfish riches, all of their basketball lives, is, (frustratingly and hopelessly), futile.
Time to admit that the experiment has failed and that history can teach us something after-all. Question is whether some very stubborn egos can admit that they have anything to learn?
Related link: UK basketball notebook: One man who didn’t buy the hype
In case you were wondering, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski does not dye his hair.
The Duke coach did have his head examined — clinically — after suffering a dizzy spell last week during the Blue Devils’ loss to Wake Forest. When Duke rebounded to beat North Carolina on Saturday, the coach told the media about his medical experience and said doctors told him he had “the brain of a 20-year-old. I’d rather have the brain of a 30-year-old.”
That prompted Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News and Observer to ask, “Did they tell you you have the hair of a 30-year-old?”