The Southeastern Conference held its yearly summer teleconference with the 12 men's basketball coaches Monday morning to give an update on where the teams are midway through the offseason. As usual, UK head coach John Calipari joined the call to provide us with an update on the Kentucky men's basketball team.
Below is part two of a full transcript of the interview. Read part one here. Fans can check out the complete audio of all 12 coaches on SECsports.com.
Question: Can you talk about how you see Lamb fitting in and what you see his biggest strength is?
Calipari: "I'll be honest with you, what I visualize is he's a one, two or three, and he's really a one or a two. I think he'll be the second point guard. I believe we may play him like we played John (Wall) and Eric (Bledsoe). The greatest thing about the dribble-drive is the positions don't matter. The four perimeter positions are all the same. It doesn't matter if you're on the right side, the left side or behind the ball. They're all the same positions. I'll tell you who else is a pretty good playmaker is Darius. So if you have those three on the floor at one time, you've got three playmaking guards. We have another guard-forward in Terrence Jones, who is a playmaking guard. The dribble-drive, that's what makes this offense go, that and the ability to shoot. Brandon came in the other night and I guess they were playing pickup, and he says, 'I don't see shooting as being a problem this year.' I said, 'Well, I hope you're right, kid.' I think we'll have those guys that can break people down and make those plays."
Question: What role do you visualize Josh having and will he have a legitimate chance to be an impact player?
Calipari: "Oh, yeah. Absolutely. We lost three frontline guys who were really good players. We're bringing in a couple of frontline guys in Eloy and Enes. We can play Darius at some four and maybe slide some Terrence at some four, although I don't think that's his best position. So you're talking that we're not that deep in the frontcourt. There will be times where we may be playing four guards and a big. We can do that with this team because our guards are big. When you're talking your guards are 6-7 and 6-5 and 6-6, that's big. You can get away with it. I think we're going to play a little bit more like we did my last couple of years at Memphis where it was a little more dribble-drive, maybe pressing more. But until I get the team together, that's just conjecture because I really don't know."
Question: Of all the things your that team did a year ago with a lot of freshmen, were you maybe most proud of that you led the SEC in field-goal defense?
Calipari: "I think we were probably right there in rebound margin. I think we were right there in blocked shots. I think our 3-point field-goal percentage was awful the first three weeks of the season. It became one of our strengths at the end of the year. I'm proud of what they did defensively. You bring up a great point: Can we get this team that's going to be just as young to defend like last year's team? We had some big bulls with Eric and John could defend. DeAndre was a key to that. DeAndre could be that stopper, that guy that could go in and do those kinds of things. It was amazing the things that happened with that young team last year. I'm trying to drive them and have them believe they're as good as anybody, but I shook my head at times. I would go into the office and say, 'Could you believe these guys are playing this way?' I can remember going up to Knoxville, playing awful and having a chance to win the game. How in the world? When you get down in Knoxville like that, you get down by 30. I've been there where we've done that. This team just fought and had a chance to win the game, which was incredible. Mississippi State in the championship of the of the SEC (Tournament). How do you do that? We had a unique group. I'm proud of them and really excited to get started with this group. Thursday was kind of my last day with last year's group, at that point. The enjoyment of last year ended on Thursday night. It was ecstasy for me. Here's how loyal those four were. Patrick graduates in three years and three of the others finished academically so we have no APR issues. We easily could have. Four of our players graduated from last year and got degrees. There are issues that we could have dealt with, but because we had good guys that were loyal, we're not going to deal with."