Three-spot from today’s UK basketball media opp previewing Tuesday’s game with Samford.
1. Twitter was the topic of the day. Or the off-the-court topic. Apparently a few of the players deleted their twitter accounts after getting negative tweets from fans after the 64-55 loss to Baylor on Saturday. Willie Cauley-Stein was one of those players. (Alex Poythress, Kyle Wiltjer and Julius Mays were the others.) Cauley-Stein declined to say what tweets he received, but admitted he did get some. The freshman said he was thinking of deleting his twitter account anyway. “Nothing good comes of it anyway,” he said. “You can’t say what you want to say because it’s monitored.”
Calipari brushed off the twitter questions and said the fans were fine. He said some fans actually cheered the team when it left the floor after the Baylor game. “I’m not sure I would have done that,” he said.
During the questions, my colleague Jerry Tipton asked about the players “turning off their tweeters” which drew a laugh and caused both Jerry and Calipari to turn red-faced. It was the highlight of the media opp.
2. Sunday’s practice was the toughest all season. Archie Goodwin said that and Calipari concurred. He said he doesn’t like to beat his team up in practice, but he may have to go harder with this group. Goodwin said that competitiveness was clearly a theme to Sunday’s workout, that the team had to run whenever mistakes were made or if a certain team of players lost a drill to another team. Competitiveness wasn’t a problem with last year’s team. But every team is different.
Calipari said he needs his players to “fall in love with the gym,” but he had not seen that from this team. Not yet. He said the fact that players weren’t putting in the extra time was starting to show. Hence the 4-3 record, though Calipari said he was good with his team, that he knows what he needs to do, it’s just going to take time. If, that is, the team falls in love with the gym.
3. The small lineup. Caliapri said he was thinking of starting the small lineup Tuesday night. He said he probably would not, but did use it in practice on Sunday. He said he even started Jarrod Polson in practice and could start Tuesday. “I want Jarrod to hold his spot,” said Calipari, noting that Polson is one player he knows will get in the gym and work.
Asked about Ryan Harrow, Calipari said that he needs to do things to help the team win. Said he did some good things on Saturday, but the sophomore also took some bad shots and that needs to improve. The comments about Polson were probably a signal to Harrow that Calipari isn’t going to give the point guard anything just because he came back.
“I’ve had teams where the point guard wasn’t my best player,” said Calipari. “I can play that way.”