A three-spot from today’s UK basketball media opp previewing Friday night’s game with visiting Lafayette.
1. Ryan Harrow is better, but not 100 percent. Julius Mays said that Harrow’s health is improving every day, and John Calipari confirmed that in the question-and-answer period with the media. Harrow is still not 100 percent, however. And in the meantime, Calipari said that Archie Goodwin, a natural two-guard playing the point, played too fast against Duke last Tuesday and the Cats got no easy baskets in transition. ”We got none in transition,” said the coach. “And we were the faster team, the more athletic team.”
Calipari said that Alex Poythress’ offensive rebounds ended up being UK’s easy baskets. That is needed, of course. But, said Calipari, the Cats also need to get up and down the court. No jogging. Sprint. “We need to fly,” he said.
2. If Kyle Wiltjer can’t get off shots, he won’t be on the court. At least not as long. After scoring 19 points against Maryland in the season opener last Friday, Wiltjer was held to just five points against Duke. He took just five shots, one being a fast break layup.
“We’re a post-up team, a pick-and-roll team. Kyle cannot get the shots on his own, we’re going to have to help him,” said Calipari, who later added, “Kyle’s got to step up.” He didn’t play as hard. He didn’t compete like he did against Maryland. Part of it is we can’t expect our team to find him shots. We’re freshmen. We’re not going to do that.”
Video of Wiltjer to come later, in which he said he needs to make more aggressive moves to get open. And Calipari said that it has nothing to do without how he sees his sophomore.
“I’m not mad,” said the coach. “I love him.”
3. Cal isn’t buying the idea that his shot blockers are leaving their feet early. It’s not Nerlens Noel’s fault. It’s not Willile Cauley-Stein’s fault. It’s their teammates fault for not picking up the abandoned guy when the two shot-blockers try to block shots.
“No one is helping him,” said Calipari. “That’s the issue, not Nerlens.”
Twice Duke reserve Josh Hairston scored on open follow shots when UK’s shot-blockers missed the block and there was no one there for help defense — “We ran the other way,” said Calipari — no one who rotated to cover the open spot.
“We’re trying to figure out how to be a helper,” Calipari said. “The next step is be the helper’s helper. Then you can be the helper’s helper’s helper. We’re not there yet.”