Gameday: Kentucky vs. Georgia
UK Celebrates Senior Night Against Georgia
Kentucky will play at home for the final time this season as the Cats host Georgia on Senior Night.
The Wildcats, who are 83-5 all-time on Senior Day, look to gain a series sweep with the Bulldogs after picking up a 68-45 win in Athens earlier this season.
Kentucky is still in the hunt for the SEC East title, but the Cats are in a must-win situation. They enter Wednesday's game one game behind first-place South Carolina and Tennessee and in a tie for third with Florida.
UK owns a 110-23 advantage in the all-time series with Georgia including a 53-4 all-time mark in Lexington. The Cats are also 28-3 against the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena and have won four in a row on their home floor in the series.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,985.
- The Wildcats are 110-23 all-time against Georgia, including a 53-4 mark in Lexington.
- Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks fifth nationally in scoring (25.1 ppg).
- Patrick Patterson is third in the nation in FG percentage (63.3) and tied for 30th in rebounding (9.1).
- Patterson is the only player in the SEC to rank in the top five in scoring (4th - 18.6) and rebounding (t3rd - 9.1).
- UK ranks third in the country in blocked shots per game (6.8), fifth in free throw percentage (77.5), eighth in FG pct. defense (38.3) and field goal percentage (48.6) and 18th in assists/game (16.2).
- Perry Stevenson ranks ninth on UK’s all-time blocked shots list (131).
- Jodie Meeks (1,119) became the 56th member of Kentucky’s prestigious 1,000 point club. He currently ranks 45th on UK’s all-time scoring list.
- Meeks broke the UK single-season three-point record previously held by Travis Ford (101 in 1993).
- UK is 10-1 when recording more or the same amount of points off turnovers.
Head Coach Billy Gillispie Quotes
On senior Jared Carter …
“He's been great. It's very difficult for a player, no matter class he's in, to not be able to play much. Jared has been here for so long. He came here with such high aspirations and I know he approached this season and last season with high expectation. For not having played more, he has the best attitude I've ever seen. He's worked hard and continues to get better. He's just been a joy to be around and a joy to coach. I think his teammates love him to death and he's been a really good member of our team.”
On keeping the tradition of starting seniors on senior night …
“Well, last year I started Joe (Crawford) and Ramel (Bradley) so we'll see what happens.”
On recovering from the loss against LSU …
“They're doing fine. We got whipped Saturday, but we'll bounce back. The season is not over yet.”
On Jared Carter attempting to reach his aspirations …
“Last year, I think he was really bothered by his shoulder, but then he started practicing better but, by that time, we were in a pretty good groove as far as Perry (Stevenson) producing points and Patrick (Patterson) was really good. We had a pretty set situation at that point. I think that big guys usually mature later in life as basketball players. He's probably trying to still develop the ‘eye of the tiger' and that would have probably helped him a great deal. It's not uncommon for a big guy like he is to not fully develop by now.”
On what the team needs to work on for the game against Georgia …
“We just have to be able to finish games. We've had the two teams, which are leading our league from both divisions, down by 10 points on our home court and usually those games end up being 16-point wins. If you're tough enough to get defensive rebounds and defensive stops, then you can win games. That's all we need to change. When you get down by 10 points on your home court, you have to have the mindset to get you through the rest of the game.”
On playing against Georgia …
“Georgia is a very talented team. They've had, I would assume, a lot of distraction during the course of the conference season. The thing that scares me the most is that they are very capable of making three-point shots. They have four interior players that are as good as any foursome in the league. They're big, strong and athletic. We definitely have trouble getting defensive rebounds and that's a major concern for me. They proved themselves to everyone last year by winning three games in 24 hours. They have a lot to play for and so do we. I know we have to play very well to have a chance to win.”
On the team being inconsistent with their performance throughout games …
‘I don't know if it's immaturity or if they got tired. It's really the approach and the understanding of how to close out tough games and taking something that's really not yours. When it got to the 10-point lead, we didn't offer enough resistance defensively, and then we won't be the kind of team that wins tough games. Two out of the three toughest games at home; we just didn't do a good enough job to close the game out. We just have to understand that it's a 40-minute game and not a 30-minute game.”
On improving consistency …
“I would think that every coach would want consistency. As you have seen, sometimes you play some guys and they're lights out and other times you play them and they don't do anything. It's kind of tough because we haven't developed enough consistent scoring to know exactly what we're going to get. If you know players other than Jodie (Meeks) and Patrick (Patterson) are going to get points then you can start to play at a high level. When you don't always get that then it's too much of a crap shoot and so you're hoping instead of knowing and I'm not much for hoping, I'd rather know. It's still a work in progress and we have a couple games to go. We're going to try to get better. I know they're still trying very hard and I think we'll play hard tomorrow night.”
#21 Perry Stevenson, Jr.
What's Jared (Carter) like?
“Jared's a great guy. I had the honor of getting to be his roommate for a year and I got to know a lot of stuff about him that most people won't know. He comes to practice with a great attitude every day. He has great character. Those are the kinds of guys Coach (Gillispie) wants on the team, not only good basketball players but great character guys.”
Why do you think Jared was able to keep a good attitude when there was plenty of reason to be upset?
“I guess because he just likes the game of basketball. He knows he's going to get that opportunity to play one day and he's just been waiting it out.”
What are your thoughts on Georgia?
“They're a good team. They beat Florida, they beat Vandy. They're capable.”
#43 Jared Carter, Sr.
Ten years from now, when you think about your time here, what do you think you would say?
“During my four years I've had a great experience. Even though I've been through a couple coaches and some injuries, overall I've met two great coaches and met a bunch of players. I've had a great relationship with all the players I've met. One of the greatest guys I'll ever remember is (former UK equipment manager) Bill Keightley. I feel honored to have met him.”
Jared, are you going to cry tomorrow?
“No I probably won't, I'm not a crier. I'll be sad for sure but I won't cry.”
Coach Gillispie said it's hard for someone to come into a program with a lot of expectations and then doesn't get to play a lot, how tough was that for you?
“It was tough. I went through some adversity and injuries were a big part of that. But like I said, there are a lot of upsides to my whole career. I'm not going to look back on these four years and think it was a mistake or a bad decision. I think it was a great decision and I'm going to look back on it and be happy about it.”
What was your ambition when you first came to Kentucky?
“I thought I was going to come here and make a big impact. I thought I was going to come in and just play. But like I said, no one sees injury coming and I had injuries which set me back a little bit.”
Do the behind-the-scenes things like road trips and hanging out with the guys mean more to you than anything else? When you go back, are those things you will remember more?
“The behind-the-scene moments are the best. I remember just yesterday I was talking to Michael Porter about some of those moments and I wish I could remember them all. Just looking back I remember a bunch of funny things that happened like the players cutting up and the locker room moments. Those are probably the best times.”
Coach pointed out that your career isn't over yet and you could still have your chance to shine. Do you kind of look at that for tomorrow night?
“This definitely isn't the last of me playing basketball for sure. Tomorrow I'm just going to go out and have fun. I'm not going to be nervous because I've been here for four years and I know what it's like to play in front of the fans.”
Will you be playing somewhere after this year?
“Yeah for sure, I don't know where yet, but I'm definitely still going to play. If Europe draws me out to play basketball I will.”
#55 Josh Harrellson, So.
What will you remember about Jared Carter?
“He's very hard working, outgoing and a great person. He's a great player in practice. He posts up hard, he finishes around the basket, I think he's strong and a great person to play against. I guess it's frustrating for him to be here for a while and not get to play. But he has the greatest outlook on life and attitude even though he doesn't get to play. He still competes every day.”
If the Kentucky fans asked what is wrong with the Cats, what do you tell them?
“Nothing. We're just getting back on track. We need to fix what we've been doing wrong, more rebounding, more team leadership and play better as a team. We talk a lot about it. We have a team meeting every day before practice and just talk and fix what we need to fix.”
People talk a lot about the bubble with two games remaining in the regular season, do you guys feel pressure?
“We try to avoid it at times, but we all know that our backs are against the wall right now. We have to win out and we're just going to do our best to keep playing.”