Category Archives: UK Basketball

U.K. ready for next "tough" test

cbs sports classicU.K. has defeated all eleven of it’s opponents by at least 10 points and leads the nation with an average margin of victory of 28.2 points. U.K. also ranks at or near the top in several defensive categories. Next up for U.K. is UCLA as part of the CBS SPORTS CLASSIC today in Chicago. UCLA’s depth may be an issue against the vaunted Wildcat “Platoon” system.

Coach Cal’s Pregame Comments –

On how the current team ranks with other teams he has coached … “It’ll be interesting to see how we finish, but the best teams I’ve had, like just unbelievable teams – I’m not saying the most talented teams – but I’m telling you the best basketball teams we had were when I was playing five and six guys.” On Tyler Ulis’ health … “He’s got to make sure he takes care of himself. It’s like when you go in an NBA locker room. Every one of them, I think 75 percent of the NBA has tendonitis so you can figure out how to play with it or don’t play. Get another job.” On if Ulis has tendonitis … “No, but it’s the same idea. There are certain things you have that you have to deal with. You have to learn to play with.” On the common characteristics between players who played for him that are from Chicago … “They were all different. I mean Derrick (Rose) played at one of the best high schools as far as the tradition of the program. Anthony (Davis) played at one of the worst high schools traditionally. Tyler played at a private school so it’s all different. What they all had in common is a desire to improve, a comfort-level in their skin, which made them very good teammates, great guys to be around. It’s funny how they won’t ever change. The injury that Derrick has, his team fully supports him because they know what a great guy he is and that he’s there for them. The same with Anthony. I mean, I’ve watched him play where Tyreke Evans – he played for me too – had like 35, and he (Davis) was fine with it. It never bothered him. He’d just keep feeding him the ball, chesting him. He’s one of those guys. This kid (Ulis) is the same way. I mean he’s cheering for Andrew (Harrison) to do well. And he knows how good Andrew is. And even though they run the different teams and they go at each other, he has great respect and he’s a great teammate.” On how well he knows UCLA head coach Steve Alford … “I’ve known him for years and years. We’ve become close, but I knew him when he was at Southwest Missouri State. I did things for him. My wife grew up an hour and a half from there on a dirt farm. You guys didn’t catch that. That’s what I told her. She grew up on a dirt farm. He and I have been close when he went to Iowa. I think we played. They beat us when I was at Memphis one of my first years, but he’s a terrific coach. Just a great guy. Great family. Tanya (Alford) is a great lady. His kids are great kids. And he now has that opportunity to be there in that job, which is one of the premier jobs.” On the idea of a grace period in a new coaching job … “There are two things. The kids remember the last three years. The families remember the last 30. The kids remember when they were 13 and 14 and before that they don’t have any idea. I think what Steve (Alford) did last year I think they won 30 games or 29 games or whatever it was. Walked right in and developed guys that people did not think would be able to go right to the NBA, and they did. Three of them after one year, one of them the (a high) pick in the draft. He’s also now done it with Kevon Looney. I mean, they’re telling me he’s the fourth or fifth pick in the draft. So he has developed players, but I think in our case we were prepared to lose a bunch of guys. I don’t think they knew that that many guys would leave them. And so that one guy missing has made it so they’re playing five and six guys. They would have played seven and they would have been fine. But I think he’s done a great job. He’s on the West Coast. He’s rebuilding the image of what they want there. We want to tie to programs like that. That’s what we want, both of us. Does that answer it?” On coaches like Roy Williams, Rick Pitino and Larry Brown this team to some of the all-time greats … “For a minute there I thought you were going to say all-time coaches. I understand that’s not going to be said. What were we talking about? No, I’m just kidding. What I really like is Willie (Cauley-Stein) has taken on a different persona. I sat him down about a month ago and said, ‘Why don’t you want to be the number one pick in the draft?’ He asked me what I meant. ‘Well it’s obvious you don’t want to be the number one pick. Why wouldn’t you? You have this team around you. All you have to do is perform and improve and improve in a couple areas and you’re on the page.’ He said, ‘I do want to.’ Then do more. Come into practice longer. Come in here at night. Spend more time at this – the sport. He has been. I think when you start talking about the teams that were the great teams, they had hall-of-fame players. We have yet to prove where we are in that regard. I think we’re a terrific team. I think what we’ve been doing to keep reinforcements coming has made us even better and made it easier for each guy to perform at a higher level. Let this season play out before they talk in terms of those teams because again some of them had three hall of famers on their team. In Springfield, their college team had three and to compare us to those teams. Come on. Maybe they’re looking at us compared to the other college teams in the last couple years. I don’t know.” On lessons taken from North Carolina game … “Toughness, rebounding, breakdowns defensively, and not sprinting back. Those are things that will cost you basketball games and we’ve focused on that now this week and for the next three. We’re the 13th best defensive rebounding team out of 14 in our league. Really? The tallest bad defensive rebounding team in the history of the game. There are things that I look at right now and I’m like, ‘Come on.’ We turn it over with just a little bit of pressure like token traps. We threw the ball all over the place. I would say if you watched our game, you have teams licking their chops saying, ‘We’re going to run, press, and trap these dudes. Try to get free baskets early and when we shoot it we’re sending four the glass. Forget about them.’ If you watched that game, then that’s what you’d do. Teams that will push you in the back on shots so they can get and edge and teams that just crash and bang and grab are looking at this and licking their chops.”

On how big the rebounding aspect is with a guy like Kevon Looney on their team … “It’s more than just him. I’m talking about my team. Our guards right now, we may have the worst group of rebounding guards in the country, too. So we’re doing stuff to hold them accountable. We started two days ago. Yesterday was an individual work day because we’re in finals, but we’re going to go back at it today. And I told them, ‘From here and through what we call Camp Cal, we’re doing this stuff every day.’ I said, ‘The stuff we’re not doing – the physical play, we get bumped, we hit the ground, we start throwing balls to a guy next to us, we throw it – well, we’re going to be playing in games where they grab, they hold, they kick, they push, they bite. Can you play in that type of game? If you can’t play in that type of game, you can’t win that game.’ ”

On how Alex Poythress is doing … “He and I met today. He’s doing good. He has a great frame of mind. He and I talked a little bit about Derrick Rose’s mental approach when it happened to him. He’s going to have the surgery after Christmas, so he has time. We talked about what his options could be and some things that we should think about.”

On how Poythress can still make it to the NBA Draft even though he’s going to miss the season and workouts … “He has more time than Nerlens (Noel) had, so he’s going to have an extra two months, really a month and a half. I would tell you that there will be an option for him if he chooses to (go). But we only talked (about it) slightly. We talked a little bit. I said, ‘The other side of it is being mentally tougher. Why? Because you’ll never get through the rehab (if you’re not). Pushing through a comfort level, which you struggle with. Well, you’ll have to through the rehab. You have no choice. Coming back with that increased motor. And then we’ll work on some skills.’ I told him about getting his wrist back on every shot. No more of this (hand straight up and down). Now we have time. Wrist is going to be back. You’re going to be up and off instead of that (straight up and down). I said, ‘We have time now.’ ”

On what it would be like to have him back as a senior … “A young man that they all respect and a young man that’s a straight-A student and a guy that can do things that normal players can’t do, it would be nice. But, if it’s in his best interest to put his name in the draft, I would support it and help it along and do that. He’s going to do what’s right for him. It’s tough. But he was really good today. I mean, I think he’s coming back to the reality of this happened, it’s not a dream, it’s real, now I’ve got to deal with it. He looked like was at ease with what was going forward.”

On if his hip is still bothering him … “I’m fine. The biggest thing is I’m sleeping at night. I’m working out every day. I still need to lose 20 pounds, which I gained – very happily – when I couldn’t do anything last year. But it’s a little harder getting it off. But like I told my team, I’m not supposed to have a six-pack. I’m 55. You’re supposed to have a little belly when you’re 65. Now I don’t want to have a big belly, but a little one.”

On if he was a “root for UCLA” kid when he was growing up a “root against UCLA” kid growing up … “I liked North Carolina growing up. I liked UCLA. I watched more basketball that way. I didn’t have a (team). Pitt, because Pitt wasn’t when I was younger the Pitt is now, but we had some guys from our high-school team play on that team so you followed Pitt and some of that stuff. West Virginia and all that because of where I grew up. UCLA, they were like faraway lands. I mean, I didn’t even go on vacation until I was 19, and that was to Maryland. Maryland. We drove to the Maryland shore. I was not on an airplane until I was 20. So when you start talking UCLA, ‘Where in the world? Is that in our country?’ Yeah. ‘Like, near Youngstown? Where is it?’ It’s just different than it was. So I wasn’t (a huge fan), but I liked them, respected them.”

Wildcats makes it 11-0 with easy win over North Carolina

UK is making it look a little too easy.  North Carolina fell victim to this new breed of Wildcat as UK dominated NC 84-70. UK has not allowed an opponent closer than 10 points in any game this season. They have defeated 4 ranked teams, at the time they played them. Kansas, considered by many to be a contender, Providence, Texas, also considered to be a championship contender and now North Carolina. None of those teams could come any closer than 12 points, that being Texas a few nights ago. Right now, it appears, the only thing that can cause a UK loss, will be UK coming out and beating themselves. Next up for the Wildcats is a game against UCLA in Chicago, followed up by a game with in state rival Louisville. Should they pull off those two games, all that stands in front of UK is a SEC sweep to give the Cats a real chance to go, dare I say it, “Undefeated”.

Schedule courtesy of

Fri, Nov 14 1-0 (0-0)
Sun, Nov 16 2-0 (0-0)
Tue, Nov 18 3-0 (0-0)
Fri, Nov 21 4-0 (0-0)
Sun, Nov 23 5-0 (0-0)
Tue, Nov 25 6-0 (0-0)
Sun, Nov 30 7-0 (0-0)
Fri, Dec 5 8-0 (0-0)
Sun, Dec 7 9-0 (0-0)
Wed, Dec 10 10-0 (0-0)
Sat, Dec 13 11-0 (0-0)

Towns Repeats as SEC Freshman of the Week

Piscataway, N.J., native averaged 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two wins last week

Karl Towns - Photo by Tammie Brown - Camen Media
Karl Towns – Photo by Tammie Brown – Camen Media

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Freshman Karl-Anthony Towns has been selected as the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week in consecutive weeks after averaging 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in wins over No. 6/7 Texas and Eastern Kentucky last week.

In the 63-51 victory over the Longhorns, Towns scored 10 points and made all six of his free throws in just 16 minutes of play. Against Eastern Kentucky, Towns scored a career-high 19 points – 12 of which came in the first half – and grabbed nine rebounds, just missing out on his second career double-double. He did all that in 23 minutes. Additionally, Towns knocked down his first career 3-pointer in the EKU win and sunk all eight of his free throw attempts.

He added four blocks, two steals and a pair of assists in the two victories. The Piscataway, N.J., native shot 71.4 percent from the floor in just 19.5 minutes of action.

Towns is the first Wildcat this season to earn multiple SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Trey Lyles, is the other player to win an accolade, after he claimed the same honor following the opening week of competition.

Kentucky will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena. UK plays host to Columbia in the first matchup between the two teams since 1948.

UK Announces Home-and-Home Series with UCLA

Wildcats will make first-ever trip to Pauley Pavilion in 2015, host Bruins at Rupp Arena in 2016 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Adding to an already marquee nonconference slate of games for the next two seasons, the Kentucky basketball team has signed a two-year home-and-home series with UCLA, beginning with a trip to Los Angeles during the 2015-16 season.

UK will begin the series with a trip to Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 3, 2015, which will mark the Wildcats’ first visit to UCLA’s storied facility. UCLA will return the trip on Dec. 3, 2016 in what will be the first matchup of the two bluebloods in Rupp Arena history.

Classic logoKentucky is already scheduled to face UCLA this season in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 20 at the United Center in Chicago.

“Steve and I have known each other for more than 20 years. When he and I started talking about a possible series, it seemed like a no-brainer to me,” John Calipari said. “One, with the way our schedule is shaking out for next year, it gives us another great opportunity early in the season to learn about ourselves. Two, not only does Big Blue Nation get to see two of the historic programs in Rupp Arena when UCLA returns the trip in 2016, it gives our fans on the other side of the country a chance to see our team in person. I couldn’t be more excited about the way our nonconference schedule is shaping up for the next two years. It should be another challenge.”

UK is 6-4 all-time vs. the Bruins, with all but three of the previous matchups having taken place on a neutral floor.

The last time Kentucky hosted UCLA in Lexington was a 77-76 Wildcat win on Feb. 17, 1961. Likewise, UK hasn’t played UCLA in Los Angeles since beating the Bruins 68-66 on Dec. 4, 1959.

UK’s nonconference schedule for the next two seasons is already shaping up to be every bit as good as the 2014-15 slate, which has already featured three ranked opponents in just eight games.

In 2015-16, in addition to the trip to UCLA, Calipari’s team will play Duke in Chicago in the Champions Classic, travel to Brooklyn, N.Y., to take on Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic, and host Louisville at Rupp Arena.

The following season, in 2016-17, Kentucky will play Michigan State in New York in the Champions Classic, battle UCLA at home in the second year of a home-and-home series, and face North Carolina in Las Vegas in the CBS Sports Classic.

The top-ranked Wildcats will return to the court on Wednesday at Rupp Arena when UK faces Columbia. Tip is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter and at

UK Keeps Lock On #1 Host Tarheels Saturday In Rupp Arena

uk ballBy – Ira D. Combs – Tri State Sports Media Service Inc. 

The latest Wildcat winning streak put together by Coach Cal and his uniquely talented hoopsters should be holding at 10 once the Cats paste Columbia at mid-week and then march into the 2nd weekend of play in December with another top 25 battle awaiting this Saturday in Rupp Arena against the North Carolina “Tarheels” at 12:00 (Noon) on CBS . 

Already on the Cats NCAA resume are wins over (#5 Kansas , #6 Texas , and #23 Providence) so even the most novice mind of the NCAA selection process will tell you that UK is setting in pretty good shape to get one of those coveted #1 seeds and in the lead for the overall #1 which should put them in a 1st weekend setting at the Yum Center in Louisville , Ky. where I’m sure tickets will be at an all time premium .


The trick now for Coach Cal is to keep this team engaged daily with an eye on the prize at the end of the season next March in Indianapolis .


Actually , that shouldn’t be very hard for the remainder of this month anyway with upcoming saturday prime time nationally televised games against North Carolina , UCLA , and the annual Battle of the Bluegrass with the Cards . If the winning streak continues on thru December and the Cats are setting at 13 – 0 on New Years Day and with the SEC being as putrid as it is then Cal may have a challenge on his hand keeping these young minds from wavering into mindless thoughts instead of the task at hand or heaven forbid having to deal with the old annual nemesis of years past the ( January Shooting Slump ) of the Joe B. Hall & Eddie Sutton eras . Don’t laugh you old school Wildcat fans it could happen and maybe already has to a degree . The last (3) games UK has went inside the last 5:00 minutes of each game 0 for every how many attempts they took behind the arc but was bailed out each game before the final horn .


But then again we or I may not be giving this team it’s just due in being more mature mentally and emotionally than what we think they are . I simply just still have a hard time labeling this a veteran team when it has no seniors who play actual minutes , I guess I just can’t get out of the old school mind-set .


On the other hand at the end of the day or in this case the season what better way is there to keep today’s young and mega-talented players like Cal has engaged and energized at tip off every game when they have a prize lying in front of them of an undefeated season but let’s wait at least until mid January before we start talking about what everybody wants to talk about but won’t and you know exactly what I’m talking about .


One thing I do like about this team is the fact that it has already proven it can win a big game against a solid ranked opponent without shooting the ball well from the perimeter both in front of and behind the arc . Proved that against both Providence and Texas but both those games were in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena when Big Blue Nation had the back .


Now the next question is can they survive a poor shooting night and win on the road because remember all NCAA tournament games are on a neutral court .   


  Press Row Notes & Tidbits


# 1 – Did you know that U Pike Univ. has scored more points on UK to date than any other team when they posted (68) on the scoreboard back on Nov. 1st .

# 2 – First it was Alex Poythress who missed back to back games with sickness then Tyler Ulis got the bug against EKU and now Coach Cal has left Rupp Arena early (2) games in a row .

# 3 – UK has now hit at least (1) 3 point shot 909 games in a row which puts them in 2nd place among NCAA Div. 1 schools behind only UNLV .

# 4 – After this Saturdays game against North Carolina there will be a (24) day stretch until Jan. 6th that UK will not play a game in Rupp Arena , the longest in recent memory .

# 5 –  CBS will televise both the North Carolina & UCLA games but ESPN2 will televise the Battle of the Bluegrass on Dec. 27th .


You can go online to for more coverage of UK basketball and football as well as KHSAA football and basketball .

Number nine would be divine

UK Championship Banners - Photo by Tammie Brown
UK Championship Banners – Photo by Tammie Brown

By Ricky Blair – It is that time of year. The temperature has dropped and the leaves have turned colors and are now falling to the ground. It is autumn in the Bluegrass. But more importantly for folks in Kentucky…it’s the dawn of another basketball season.

Last season was a wild ride. First, we saw the greatest recruiting class of all times along with a possible undefeated season. It turned to be a rough run through both the pre-conference and conference regular season. And just when it looked like all was lost with a late season defeat to a bad South Carolina team, this young team responded with a strong SEC tournament and offered a glimmer of hope. But it was the magical NCAA tournament run that landed the Wildcats in the national championship game. Last season also brought the team back into a positive perspective. With a number of returning players, they have once again sent expectations out the roof.

So, here are five questions to consider as we break down the Cats’ chances of securing a ninth national championship:

Q1: Will the two-team platoon system work?

Well, it’s highly unlikely that UK Coach John Calipari will stick with this approach. It was a fun way to get all the players time on the court in the Bahamas, but it is not a practical system. Calipari has already given hints that he will adjust the group of players according to the game situation. So, yes, look for more players to get into the games during crucial times. But also look for the platoon system to be an earlier season experiment, not something that will last up through tournament time.

Q2: Will playing time become an issue?

Not if the team is winning… and especially if the team is winning by a large margin. Sure, every player wants his minutes, but it is usually not as much a factor when the team is winning. A few losses could make it more of an issue. The platoon system will help early on, but look for the veteran players to log more minutes – especially during crunch time.

Q3: Will juniors Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein live up to lofty expectations?

For Poythress, it has been a tough road. He came in two years ago as a top ten recruit and a McDonalds All-American. He showed signs of what he could be early on by scoring 20 or more points in four of the first five games his freshman season. But as the season wore on, he became less and less of a factor, only scoring in double figures in two of the last 13 games during that freshman campaign. Now a junior, Poythress will need to get the most out of his incredible talent if the Wildcats are to become a truly special team. Cauley-Stein, unlike Poythress, came to Lexington two years ago as more of a ‘project-type’ player. His athletic ability has certainly lifted him up high in the minds of the NBA scouts. But Cauley-Stein is still learning the game of basketball and has yet to understand the intense energy level necessary to consistently deliver results. If he can play high-energy basketball, then the sky is the limit for him and his defensive skills could help the Wildcats to a championship in some of the same ways Anthony Davis did in 2012.

Q4: Will the twins be improved?

Most definitely! Andrew and Aaron were both a little out of shape last year and it hindered their ability to get to the basket strongly. Aaron had one of the most incredible runs of last-second heroics in NCAA tournament history last year. That in of itself should give him confidence for a strong run into his sophomore season. For Andrew, it was learning to pass first that turned him around during tournament time. Now with a leaner, stronger body, he will use that knowledge gained along with his new and improved physique to become the player everyone was expecting last season. Both players will play fewer minutes this season because of the depth of the team, but look for each to excel in their own way.

Q5: The Freshmen…will they contribute:

As with every team since John Calipari’s tenure started here at Kentucky, the freshmen have been a huge part of the Cats’ success. This year will be no different.   Even with all the returning players for the Wildcats, it will be important for the freshmen to step up and play significant roles in order for this team to win a championship. Karl-Anthony Towns looks to be the best of the group. At 6-foot-11, his size and versatility will make him hard to defend as the season plays on. Trey Lyles is another versatile freshman who has shown more athletic ability than most people first thought possible. He has a good outside shot and handles the ball well. Slowed by an injury when he first arrived on campus, he is now starting to really show the talent that made him a top ten player coming out of high school. Freshman shooting guard Devin Booker has the ability to be a zone buster for the Wildcats and they will need him to be consistent with his outside shot. And least, but not last, is tiny point guard Tyler Ulis. Ulis, who is small in stature at 5-foot-9, has shown a quickness at the guard position that has been missing over the last two seasons. If he can continue to make his outside shot like he did during the games in the Bahamas, he will give the Wildcats an added dimension that will make them tough to beat this season.

Five Wildcats on Preseason Coaches’ All-SEC Teams

Andrew and Aaron Harrison selected to first team

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Five Kentucky players were selected to the 2015 SEC Men’s Basketball Coaches’ preseason teams, the league office announced Thursday. Sophomores Aaron and Andrew Harrison were tabbed to the first team, while juniors Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress and freshman Karl-Anthony Towns were second-team selections.

Eleven different schools were represented on the two teams, but UK led the league with five selections. Florida and LSU each had two selections. In all, 29 different players received votes for the coaches’ teams.


The coaches’ preseason All-SEC first and second teams consist of a minimum of eight players on each squad, voted on by the SEC head men’s basketball coaches. No ties were broken and no predicted order of finish was made.


Aaron Harrison is UK’s leading returning scorer after averaging 13.7 points per game during his freshman campaign. Harrison logged 13 points and three assists per game in UK’s two exhibition contests in 2014. Andrew Harrison started 39 games as a freshman and dished out 159 assists, which ranks third among all-time UK first-year players. Harrison posted a team-high 15 dimes in Kentucky’s two exhibition games.


Cauley-Stein has seen action in 66 career games and has averaged 7.5 points and 6.1 rebounds during his first two seasons in a UK uniform. Poythress has appeared in a team-high 73 games in his career while making 31 starts. The Clarksville, Tenn., native averages 8.3 points per game and shoots at a .544 clip for his career. Towns was the lone first-year player selected to either preseason team by the league’s coaches. In UK’s two exhibition games, Towns averaged team-bests in points (17.5) and field-goal percentage (93.8).


The Wildcats open their 2014-15 campaign with three games in six days beginning on Friday. UK tips off with Grand Canyon at 8 p.m. on the SEC Network.


2015 Preseason Coaches’ All-SEC Teams:


First Team All-SEC

Dorian Finney-Smith – Florida, F, 6-8, 218, Jr., Portsmouth, Va.

Michael Frazier II – Florida, G, 6-4, 194, Jr., Tampa, Fla.

Aaron Harrison – Kentucky, G, 6-6, 212, So., Richmond, Texas

Andrew Harrison – Kentucky, G, 6-6, 210, So., Richmond, Texas

Damian Jones – Vanderbilt, C, 6-10, 240, So., Baton Rouge, La.

Charles Mann – Georgia, G, 6-5, 215, Jr., Alpharetta, Ga.

Jordan Mickey – LSU, F, 6-8, 235, So., Dallas, Texas

Bobby Portis – Arkansas, F, 6-11, 242, So., Little Rock, Ark.

Jarvis Summers – Ole Miss, G, 6-3, 186, Sr., Jackson, Miss.


Second Team All-SEC

Alex Caruso –  A&M, G, 6-5, 184, Jr., College Station, Texas

Willie Cauley-Stein – Kentucky, F, 7-0, 240, Jr., Olathe, Kan.

KT Harrell – Auburn, G, 6-4, 212, Sr., Montgomery, Ala.

Jarell Martin – LSU, F, 6-10, 236, So., Baton Rouge, La.

Alex Poythress – Kentucky, F, 6-8, 238, Jr., Clarksville, Tenn.

Josh Richardson – Tennessee, G, 6-6, 200, Sr., Edmond, Okla.

Sindarius Thornwell – South Carolina, G, 6-5, 215, So., Lancaster, S.C.

Karl-Anthony Towns – Kentucky, F, 6-11, 250, Fr., Piscataway, N.J.

Georgetown feels wrath of Wildcats

UK Wildcat LogoSure it is only exhibition, but can you really say you don’t see the difference in last years National Champion runnerups and this years newest Wildcat team? Last year, the Kentucky team that was supposed to go undefeated, started off fairly good enough with a 7-1 record and looked like a team trying to find it’s way. It was like that all season long until the NCAA Tournament where the Cats finally got it together. So far this year in two exhibition games, UK has thoroughly dismantled it’s two opponents. UK opened with a 116-68 win over Pikeville and followed that up with a 121-52 beat down over Georgetown. Granted, these two teams are not the caliber of teams the Wildcats will face this season, but they are not rollovers either. Kentucky is 12 deep and can literally field two teams good enough to win every night with either group. For those of you with dreams of a 9th title banner hanging from the rafters at Rupp Arena, this could very well be your year.

Official Basketball Box Score
Georgetown College vs Kentucky
11/09/14 7:00 pm at Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky.

VISITORS: Georgetown College
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
13 Kimbro, Tony…….. f  1-7    1-2    1-2    1  3  4   3   4  1  4  0  1  31
14 Washburn, Corey….. f  4-11   2-4    1-2    1  4  5   5  11  1  2  0  1  34
35 McWhorter, Deondre.. f  7-17   0-0    2-2    3  2  5   4  16  1  1  1  0  25
04 Cottrill, Noah…… g  4-16   2-8    0-0    0  0  0   1  10  1  1  0  1  39
12 Coleman, Gerald….. g  1-9    0-1    2-6    1  1  2   3   4  3  6  0  2  30
01 Stenzel, Bopper…..    1-4    1-4    0-0    1  0  1   2   3  2  0  0  1  16
03 Burns, Darion…….    1-2    0-1    2-3    1  1  2   0   4  3  1  0  1  13
34 Sandoval, EJ……..    0-2    0-0    0-0    0  4  4   3   0  1  0  0  0  12
TEAM…………….                         2  1  3             1
Totals…………..   19-68   6-20   8-15  10 16 26  21  52 13 16  1  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  8-35 22.9%   2nd Half: 11-33 33.3%   Game: 27.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-14 28.6%   2nd Half:  2-6  33.3%   Game: 30.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-7  57.1%   2nd Half:  4-8  50.0%   Game: 53.3%   4,1

HOME TEAM: Kentucky
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
12 Karl-Anthony Towns.. f  5-5    0-0    3-5    0  8  8   1  13  1  2  1  0  18
15 Cauley-Stein, Willie f  6-8    0-0    0-1    1  5  6   0  12  2  0  3  1  19
22 Alex Poythress…… f  6-7    0-1    3-3    2  2  4   0  15  2  0  1  0  18
02 Harrison, Aaron….. g  6-9    5-7    0-0    0  4  4   1  17  5  1  1  0  18
05 Harrison, Andrew…. g  1-3    0-2    4-4    0  2  2   5   6  6  2  0  1  13
00 Marcus Lee……….    3-3    0-0    0-0    1  5  6   3   6  1  1  0  0  15
01 Booker, Devin…….    4-9    3-7    0-0    0  1  1   1  11  4  1  0  3  16
03 Ulis, Tyler………    0-3    0-3    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  4  0  0  0  19
13 Malone, Sam………    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   2  1  0  0  1   2
21 Tod Lanter……….    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  1  0  0  0   2
24 EJ Floreal……….    1-1    0-0    0-2    1  1  2   0   2  1  1  0  0   5
25 Dominique Hawkins…    1-1    1-1    1-2    0  1  1   2   4  2  0  0  1  10
32 Long, Brian………    0-1    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
35 Derek Willis……..    3-5    1-2    0-0    1  1  2   0   7  0  0  1  0   8
41 Lyles, Trey………    6-9    2-2    0-0    0  4  4   4  14  1  2  1  1  17
44 Dakari Johnson……    3-6    0-0    6-8    5  5 10   2  12  1  2  1  1  17
TEAM…………….                         2     2
Totals…………..   46-72  12-27  17-25  14 40 54  20 121 32 12  9  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 19-35 54.3%   2nd Half: 27-37 73.0%   Game: 63.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  7-16 43.8%   2nd Half:  5-11 45.5%   Game: 44.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 15-18 83.3%   2nd Half:  2-7  28.6%   Game: 68.0%   3,2

Officials: John Hampton, Bart Lenox, Jacyn Goble
Technical fouls: Georgetown College-None. Kentucky-None.
Attendance: 21490
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Georgetown College…………   24   28  –   52
Kentucky………………….   60   61  –  121

Nineteen Former Wildcats on NBA Opening Day Rosters

UK players comprise 4.2 percent of the league

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nineteen former Kentucky Wildcats were on opening day NBA rosters, which were released league-wide Tuesday. Kentucky’s total former players in the league trump any other school in the country.

UK’s longest tenured member in the NBA is Nazr Mohammed who enters his 17th season in 2014-15, and the third with the Chicago Bulls. Kentucky’s newest members to the league are Julius Randle and James Young who enter their rookie seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, respectively.

Four different franchises have two former Cats: Boston (Rajon Rondo, James Young), New Orleans (Anthony Davis, Darius Miller), Phoenix (Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin) and Toronto (Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson).

Coach John Calipari has coached 19 players who have been drafted over the last five seasons. Fifteen players were selected in the first round with eight going in the opening 10 selections. All three of those totals are the best marks of any school in the country in the five-year span.

Furthermore, Coach Calipari has had at least one player selected in the top 10 of the draft in each of the last seven seasons dating back to his time at Memphis. No other school in the country has had a first-round selection in each of the last seven seasons. Calipari is the only coach in the history of the sport to have three of his players drafted No. 1 overall (Derrick Rose – 2008, John Wall – 2010, Anthony Davis – 2012).

Entering the 2014-15 NBA season, Kentucky players comprise 4.2 percent of all players in the league.

The NBA season officially tips off on Tuesday. Four former Wildcats will take the court tonight on the league’s opening night. Davis and Miller with the Pelicans host the Orlando Magic at 8 p.m. ET, while Terrence Jones’ Rockets visit Randle and the Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Former Wildcats on NBA Rosters: Rajon Rondo, Boston James Young, Boston Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Nazr Mohammed, Chicago Jodie Meeks, Detroit Terrence Jones, Houston Julius Randle, LA Lakers Tayshaun Prince, Memphis Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Anthony Davis, New Orleans Darius Miller, New Orleans Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Archie Goodwin, Phoenix DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Patrick Patterson, Toronto Chuck Hayes, Toronto Enes Kanter, Utah John Wall, Washington

Wildcats Slam Pikeville 116-68 in Exhibition Play

Game notes & Quotes provided by UK Athletics:

Pikeville at Kentucky (exhibition) – Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 2, 2014

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 116, Pikeville 68

Pre-Game Celebration - Photo by Tammie Brown - Camen Media
Pre-Game Celebration – Photo by Tammie Brown – Camen Media

Team Records, Notes

• This was Kentucky’s first exhibition game of the season.

• Kentucky is 52-4 all-time in preseason exhibition games and has won 23 in a row.

• Pikeville has played one official game already, a 100-63 win over Grace Bible College. The Bears are picked as the preseason No. 2 team in NAIA Division I.

• Kentucky’s next exhibition game is Sunday Nov. 9 vs. Georgetown College at 7 p.m. at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats officially open the season Nov. 14 at home vs. Grand Canyon.

First-Half Facts

• Kentucky started with the lineup of Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein.

• Kentucky jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed.

• Pikeville kept it close and trailed only 35-28 midway through the half when UK went on a 21-0 run to make it 56-28.

• UK went to halftime ahead 67-40 as all 10 Wildcats who played in the first half also scored.

UK had an easy night of it. Photo by Tammie Brown - Camen Media
UK had an easy night of it. Photo by Tammie Brown – Camen Media

Second-Half Story

• UK eclipsed the century mark, 101-60, on a layup by Dakari Johnson with 8:22 to play.

• UK’s largest lead was 49 points at 114-65.

• UK finished with a 116-68 victory.

Team Notes

• Kentucky shot 65.3 percent from the field.

• The Wildcats won the rebounding 49-28.

• UK piled up 29 assists, led by nine from Andrew Harrison.

• Six Wildcats scored in double figures although no player saw more than 20 minutes of action.

• Kentucky’s “second platoon” was comprised of Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson.

Individual Notes

• Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wildcats with 22 points, including 10 of 11 from the field.

• Also tallying double figures were Devin Booker (16 points), Dakari Johnson (13), Alex Poythress (12), Trey Lyles (11) and Willie Cauley-Stein (10).

• K.K. Simmons of Pikeville led all scorers with 28 points, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

Pike fell behind early 7-0 and was never in it. Photo by Tammie Brown - Camen Media
Pikeville fell behind early 7-0 and was never in it. Photo by Tammie Brown – Camen Media

November 2, 2014


Q. What did you like the most?

JOHN CALIPARI: 29 assists – and in a game where guys could have tried to get their own, it’s the only way this will work if they really want to share for each 25 what we would call one ‘mores’. I have a shot, but he has a better shot, we need to let that one go. You know, we did not settle for 3’s in the first half, we just did what we had to do. I’ll tell you what, I’ve got to give it to them. They came out of the gate making shots and playing and they weren’t afraid. We were just too big. What I’m happy with is that because we were too big, we threw the ball where we should have, in the post.

Q. How do you settle on the two groups and what did you think of that tonight?

JOHN CALIPARI: I didn’t think Alex (Poythress) played as well as I thought he should have played in the Blue/ White. And as much as I didn’t want to put two young kids on one group, I thought it was better for Alex and Trey (Lyles), I thought it would be better for him, too. Trey is still behind. Trey wasn’t doing it for the summer he didn’t do the Bahamas. He is just starting. So, he’s still a little bit behind and you see he’s still pretty good. But he stepped in the hole a few times because he ran up‐and‐down, got tired and went to jump and just stepped in a hole. He didn’t jump very high. So, then he dunked that last one. I left him in because I just wanted him to make some plays and shots. I thought Andrew (Harrison) was ridiculous. Andrew wanted Dominique (Hawkins) to shoot that. He wanted 10 assists. He threw that ball crosscourt and Dom was wide open. “Shoot it.” And he passed it to Alex, who made the shot. And he had nine assists, and I’m guessing four hockey assists. In other words, he threw it ahead quick enough for that I could throw it for a pass. So he was outstanding today.

Q. Speaking of communication in the first half, there was one time when Tyler threw the ball into Dakari (Johnson). He went over a double team, and I heard Tyler shout out, coming from behind. I don’t remember ever hearing that kind of communication on the court last year, is that what you’ve been striving for?

JOHN CALIPARI: A friend of mine came in, the coach up in Western Pennsylvania and watched us practice yesterday. And he said, last year at this time, you were coaching effort intensity, and passion, if you remember. And he said now you’re just coaching basketball. It’s a big difference. So, while I enjoy it a lot more, I’ll do the other if I have to. But that’s what happens when you have veterans back that get it and understand and have young kids that are hungry and are listening and watching. They’re learning from each other. Dakari (Johnson) made a free throw. How about that, too?

Q. Was there any part of the game that was exposed that would give you concern that is something you might need to work on?

JOHN CALIPARI: Probably should have one more platoon. I would probably feel better with three platoons, rather than two.

Q. What can we make of what Karl (Anthony-Towns) ended up doing, just because he was kind of towering overeveryone or is that ‐‐

JOHN CALIPARI: You can say what you want, but, you know, Dakari (Johnson) didn’t get that many baskets, and part of it was Andrew was spoonfeeding him. But, the other part was he was running the floor, he was active, he was getting to where he was open. He made his free throw. I mean, Karl can play. Now he broke down definitely a couple times, and I told him and Devin (Booker), if you guys want to score the ball, you will defend or you’ll be out. You’re not taking all the ball shots, and then go back and let a guy run by you and dunk on you. It’s not happening here. But they’re young. I thought Devin played well. I love his speed up‐and‐down the court. See, Devin ‐‐ if Devin thinks he’s going to get two points, you can’t believe how fast he is. He will run ‐‐ he will outrun world-class sprinters to go get that ball.

Q. Speaking of which, how well do you think your guys kept the pace, kept attacking?

JOHN CALIPARI: There was one segment where we backed up a little bit and we’ll show them on the tape. But short of that, I thought they were really good. We didn’t press and trap the whole game, but we pressured the whole game. And there are games we’ll press more. I like the rotation the way I did it, because if that veteran group comes in the eight-minute mark or 7:45 mark, I can finish a game with that group with one or two subs if I choose to or I can go back with that other group. And again, I’ve got to figure out how we finish games, it looks as though the best five free throw shooters should be on there, Karl being one. Maybe Trey being another. And probably the twins and Tyler. That will probably be a finishing team. I would imagine. We haven’t tried it yet, but that’s what I would imagine.

Q. How much do you feel like they have progressed from the exhibition games in the Bahamas?

JOHN CALIPARI: Physically you’re looking at a body and you’re saying, my gosh ‐‐ his dad said, I can’t believe this is my son. Karl Towns’s dad saying the same thing about him. The twins dad looking at their sons like, whoa. Dakari, you look at him running up‐and‐down the court, he’s as fast as anybody. This kid is flying up‐and‐down the court. Now the question is can we sustain it. And by doing it this way, we can sustain stuff. Now we’ll look at the stats, guys played all of about 20 minutes and we’ll equate these into 34 minute stats. If they had played 34 minutes, if it was a normal college starter playing a lot of minutes, what would their numbers have looked like. That’s efficiency. We’ll look at some rebounding efficiency. Which is how many offensive rebound attempts were there, how many did you get. Defensively the same thing. And I think when you start looking at those efficiencies, you’re going to see a different look at these guys. And I thought that, again, I loved Andrew’s aggressiveness on defense and how he passed the ball and got guys  involved. One team can switch pick and rolls, the other team doesn’t have to. We can fight and force down and it’s kind of like playing two different styles of games when you play these guys.