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From the Pressbox: Wiltjer's shooting and more notes

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When CBS' Clark Kellogg worked the UK-Baylor game, he suggested Kyle Wiltjer might be trying to "aim" his shots instead of catching and shooting with confidence. I asked John Calipari what he thought about Wiltjer's shooting slump during a recent pregame radio interview.

"I just told him, 'Hold your follow through.' I think if he does that, he'll be fine. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about him rebounding the ball. I'm worried about him helping his teammates on defense, staying in a stance, defending better. If he does that, he doesn't have to make every shot," Calipari said. "But if you're not and you're going 1 for 11, it's hard to keep (him) on the floor."

Finding a comparison for Poythress


Fans like to find former players to use as comparisons to their current favorites. When Mike Pratt joined us on "The Leach Report" radio show this week, a fan wanted to know if Alex Poythress was a current version of James Lee, the rock solid sixth man on the 1978 national champs.

"He could use some of the James Lee aggressiveness," Pratt responded. "(I think) he's more of the Master Blaster, a Richard Madison-type of guy. If he can turn some of that finesse game into power, I think you've got one terrific baksetball player. He just lacks the consistency at both ends of the floor. He'll fade in and fade out."

Extra practice time alone doesn't assure improvement


The Cats are getting an abundance of practice time this  month, with a one-game-per-week schedule from December 8 through 29. But Pratt says there's no guaranteed timetable for the UK players answering the calls for certain areas of improvement.

"It's about maturity, about mindset, about drive. The maturity that you have to play a full game, right from the start. And that comes from the drive to be as good as you want to be. When that happens for this team, they're going to be very good," he said. "A lot of young teams have this problem every year. As a coach, you just keep pushing and talking and encouraging."

Shot-blocking pace


Kentucky led the nation in blocked shots last season but this year's Cats are not too far off that pace.

UK currently ranks fifth nationally at 7.8 blocks per game. Kansas, St. John's, Syracuse and Arizona State rank ahead of the Cats.

Noel chasing Rondo

Much has been made of Nerlens Noel's shot-blocking acumen, so who would have thought that he could be on pace to break another defensive kind of defensive record? steals.

Rajon Rondo has the single-season steals record with 87 in 2005 but with a current average of 2.5 steals steals per game, Noel could re-write that entry in the record book, provided he keeps up his current pace (and Coach Cal noted in his postgame radio show last Saturday that Noel is taking a few too many gambles for steals right now).

Jared Prickett had 66 steals within UK's full-court press in 1997 and that's the best mark thus far for a player on the frontline.

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