After the overtime loss to Arkansas on Thursday night, Kentucky coach John Calipari said that his team is still too coach-driven, that not one player-driven thing happened as far as the Cats were concerned.
Apparently, not everything is coach-driven.
Asked about the fact that UK forward Julius Randle appeared worn down by the end of the game and into overtime, Calipari blamed Randle for not taking himself out.
“He played too many minutes,” the coach said. “I’m trying to get guys to sub themselves. They just don’t get it. The longer you’re in there, you’re not going to play better, you’re going to play worse. If you’re in there for numbers, you end up missing free throws, missing shots, not getting the key rebounds. You don’t look good. You don’t only hurt yourself, you hurt your team.
“Less minutes. Sub yourself. Get yourself out of games. Wasn’t just him. We had a couple guys that tried to play too many minutes.”
Question: Doesn’t the coach usually make substitutions? Isn’t that a duty the coach is paid to perform? Can’t a coach see that a player is dragging and sub in a reserve to give the tired player a rest?
And wasn’t that supposed to be the strength of this year’s team – a deep bench that would allow Calipari to (a) sit players that were not performing well, and (b) keep his players fresh?
Randle played 40 of the game’s 45 minutes, missing nine of his 15 shots and three of his five free throws. Even with the misses, he’s a 72.1 percent free throw shooter on the season. He made just one of two free throws with six minutes remaining, then missed an “and one” free throw with 3:18 left in overtime and UK trailing 63-62.
In the post-game press conference, Arkansas forward Coty Clarke remarked it was plain to the Razorbacks that the host Cats were fighting fatigue down the stretch.
“They got tired and you could tell when they were going up and missing (free throws),” Clarke said. “We were able to capitalize. For us making our free throws, that’s good and staying perfect at the line. You need that going in against a team like this on the road to maintain. That’s what we were able to do.”
Arkansas was a perfect 16-of-16 from the foul line. Kentucky was 12-of-22. After making five of six free throws in the first half, UK was seven-of-16 the rest of the way.
Besides Randle’s 40 minutes, Andrew Harrison played 39 and Aaron Harrison 38 minutes. Arkansas did not have a player on the floor for more than 32 minutes. That was freshman Bobby Portis. Clarke played 31 minutes, as did guard Rashad Madden, who made all eight of his free throw attempts.
UK minutes per game averages for season
- James Young 32.6
- Andrew Harrison 31.3
- Aaron Harrison 31.1
- Julius Randle 30.4
- Willie Cauley-Stein 24.7
- Alex Poythress 18.5
- Dakari Johnson 11.7