Cats Open Season with First Exhibition

Nov. 1, 2011

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Transylvania (exh)
Weds., Nov. 2 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via UKA
Live Video via ESPN3
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Prior to opening the 2011-12 season, Kentucky will host a pair of exhibition games, the first of which pits the Wildcats against in-town rival Transylvania.

The 2011-12 season marks the third year of the John Calipari era. In that span the Wildcats have made their 14th trip to the Final Four, two trips to the Elite Eight, won two SEC Tournament titles, a regular season title and have gone 33-0 in Rupp Arena.

Fans got a first look at the 2012 team last week in the Blue/White scrimmage. Sophomore Terrence Jones led all scorers with 52 points, helping the Blue squad to an 126-104 victory. Jones also pulled down 16 rebounds and handed out six assists in the win.

Scouting Transylvania

Transylvania is an NCAA DIII member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Pioneers were picked to win the HCAC championship by league coaches.

The team is coached by Brian Lane, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the Pioneers. During his career, Lane led the Pioneers to Heartland Conference regular season championships in 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2008-09.

He's totaled an overall record of 168-99 (.639) at Transylvania.

Series History

Kentucky and Transylvania have played 14 times, splitting the series 7-7. However, the two haven't played since the 1911 season, despite residing in the same city.

Transylvania Media Opportunity Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On how the addition of the semi-circle will affect the game …
“I’ll explain it to you so you may have a better idea. That arc is for secondary defenders, not the guy guarding you. So if the secondary defender comes over to take a charge and he is not outside of that arc then it is a block, unless you stop. If I come to a stop and then hit into him it is still a charge whether he is in there or not, you have to be flowing into the basket. If you look below the arc there is about two feet between that arc and the baseline. You can take a charge standing directly under the basket as long as it is below the arc. So if you drive baseline and you’re below the arc and that guys steps down and takes a charge and that arc is above him then it is a charge. Hopefully secondary defenders will come away from the basket so we can throw some more lobs.”

On having an exhibition rather than a scrimmage …
“I’d rather have a scrimmage because you can control it more, work on zone stuff, do situations with the other coach and you can practically play two games. But you can’t do it here, when you get 23,000 people here it is just impossible to say ‘$700,000, don’t worry, play a scrimmage coach.’ You can’t have anybody in the building (for a scrimmage). You can’t keep score, no media can see it, and it’s just a scrimmage. Most teams are playing at least one, some are even playing two.”

On emphasizing defense in practice …
“We’ve got to start getting better. I still think we have the same issues before the Blue-White game. It’s going to be a process. How we are playing the pick-and-roll, how we are playing post defense and rebounding the ball. Against each other, our rebound attempts were just awful.”

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s defensive ability …
“That’s one of the reasons (he is at Kentucky) but I tell you, he can attack that basket. I have already made a policy that if he is ahead of you on the break and you don’t give him the ball you have to come out. Just walk to the bench and come over and sit down even without the horn blowing. When he gets ahead of the pack, even if there is one or two down there, he is a slasher that will finish and is playing well.”

On the importance of a game atmosphere for point guard Marquis Teague
“He’s got to learn. It will be good. He needs more games just to learn. He’s like all these point guards that I’ve coached, you can talk them through it all but until they get in there and get the feel of it, like when to pull back, when to push it, when to pass, when to shoot a jumper and everything else.”

On his relationship with women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell
“I’ve done it everywhere I’ve been. Probably the best friend I’ve had everywhere I have been is the women’s coach. Joy Lee McNellis and I are still in touch, Jony O’Brien, when I was at UMass, and I are still in touch and Matthew and I will still be talking to each other 10 years from now. I’ve got two daughters and one of them played basketball, I just want them to know I’ll do whatever I can to help. He helps me too, I’ll go over and we talk about basketball. I told him yesterday we had the worst practice we’ve had all year yesterday but they had practiced so good up to that point it was hard for me to get mad because you know you’re going to have one bad one. I told him I was going to give them a pass and he laughed.”

On the young guys learning from sitting on the bench and watching him coach …
“Those kids will be so anxious to get in the game I don’t think they are going to listen to anybody. All four of them are good kids. Kyle Wiltjer is a really good player; he has such a good feel and runs the court well. With Anthony (Davis), I’ve come up with a new zone offense I’ve never used before, leave Anthony under the basket and the rest run around him and throw him a lob when you can. He had his teeth on the rim the other day. Michael’s (Kidd-Gilchrist) practice the other day was one of the best practices I have ever seen from any player I’ve ever coached. He’s just vicious. He drove baseline, got by two guys, two guys grabbed his arm, Anthony pinned his shot against the glass, and he grabbed his own rebound, got blocked again, grabbed his rebound and laid it in. I just stopped practice and said, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ If you go in there with him you better do anything you can because you know he will. Anthony and Kyle aren’t physical enough, Doron (Lamb) is getting better but still not there, Darius (Miller) understands angles better than he had and Terrence (Jones) is looking good.”

On who the starting five will be …
“I don’t’ know yet, but I think what will happen is we will play a couple exhibition games and everyone will know. I don’t care what year he is, how old he is, color, whatever; you’ll all see who should be in there. Who should be in the game at the end is probably more important. I probably have seven starters. Eloy (Vargas) is playing well, he’s not the same player. I got on him the other day and said, ‘you are way better, still haven’t earned minutes but you are getting there.’ He started coming in early and late at night to get shots up, all of the sudden you see Eloy is trying to work his way into minutes. I told him if it takes me to build your self-confidence then the minute I get on you, and I will, then all that is gone. If you build your own self-esteem and self-confidence then no one can take that away from you since you earned it and developed it.”

On what he expects to get out of tomorrow night’s game …
“I watched them (Transylvania) on tape. They are really organized, they play tough, they make you make decisions on what to do and they shoot the ball well. In a scrimmage you can stop the game and put in situations. We are playing a game tomorrow, against a good team with a good coach, but it’s different from playing a scrimmage.”

#14, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F

On playing an actual opponent …
“Yeah, it will be good going against someone different. With me and Darius though, there are some wars in practice, but it’ll be good.”

On how much he has improved during the first few weeks of practice …
“My jump shot has gotten a lot better, and I’ve been able to be around my teammates a lot more.”

On playing against Darius Miller every day in practice and what that has taught him …
“It’s been good. I’ve raised my game a lot.  He’s taught me to be humble and hungry, just be hungry all the time on the court.”

#25, Marquis Teague, G

On how his game has improved during the first few weeks of practice …
“I think my game has come a long way. I’m being more of a floor-leader, and I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger also, so I’m able to finish at the hoop better.”

On Coach Calipari’s demands in the first month on his point guards…
“He gets on his point guards more than anybody because that’s where it starts.  He even tells me, ‘I’m going to be on you the hardest, so don’t take it personal, just respond.’  So he gets on me pretty hard.”

On how much the team has improved defensively since the Blue-White Scrimmage …
“We started taking more pride on defense, that’s all it was. We just started giving more effort, helping each other out more, not leaving each other on an island. So, we’ve come a long way on defense also.”

On learning the offense and defense and keeping up with everything Coach Calipari is teaching …
“It’s difficult, we’re doing a lot of pick-and-rolls and just trying to soak in everything he’s saying.”

#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F

On working on his goals in practice …  
“I'm working hard every day in practice trying to do the little things Coach (Calipari) wants me to do for our team to be successful. Right now, I'm playing at the four spot. So, I'm trying to get rebounds, run the offense, and do what Coach (Calipari) wants.”

On playing in the upcoming game against Transylvania …  
“I'm really excited for the opportunity to play against someone else, besides our own team. I've been looking forward to this experience, playing college basketball, and finally we have our first game. It's going to be a little different. We've all been the stars of our high school teams, but we're all just looking forward to the opportunity to play. Whatever our roles are, we all want to play them so we can win.” 

On his ability to learn from the bench in addition to being on the court …  
“Most definitely (it will be a learning experience). We have such a talented group. There are so many weapons. That shows how great we are that we have great players coming off the bench that do not even start.”

 On playing for Coach John Calipari …  
“He's so lively. He's such a great coach. He lets you know what you need to work on and what you need to do better. Just watching the other players with him, you know he's such a great coach. He's crazy. He's all in your face, but it's for your own good. He's doing it because he wants you to become better and he cares about you.”

On the early season practices …  
“We're trying our best to learn all the plays and not mess up. And the last couple days have been crucial, just running the offense and defense, because it's getting closer to the game. And we’ve got to do what Coach (Calipari) wants us to do. There's always a time where you're not really sure. It's difficult when you play a couple of positions like the four or the five because you have to know both of them. But both have been fun and easy to learn.”