Cats Close Out Exhibition Season

Nov. 6, 2009

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The Wildcats close out the preseason Friday, hosting UK head coach John Calipari’s alma mater, Clarion. Calipari led the Eagles in assists and free throw percentage at Clarion in the 1981 and ‘82 seasons.

UK opened the exhibition season on Monday with a 74-38 win over Campbellsville. The Wildcats turned in a fine defensive performance, holding the Tigers to 21.1 percent shooting from the field, while forcing them into 25 turnovers.

Darnell Dodson led all scorers with 19 points while Daniel Orton pulled down a game-high seven rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins and Perry Stevenson each finished with 11 points, with Stevenson’s 11 points coming in just over five minutes of action. The Wildcats finished 50 percent from the field.

Cat Scratches

  • Kentucky is in its 107th season of basketball.
  • Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,988.
  • The Wildcats were picked to win the SEC East by select media and were the overwhelming favorite to win its 44th SEC title.
  • Once again, every Wildcat basketball game will be televised live, including both of UK’s exhibition games as well as the Blue-White scrimmage and Big Blue Madness.
  • Kentucky opens the 2010 season on Friday, Nov. 13 hosting Morehead State.
  • Patrick Patterson was named an Associated Press Preseason 1st Team All-America.
  • Patrick Patterson and John Wall were named to the Naismith Preseason Watch list.
  • Patrick Patterson was named preseason SEC Player of the Year, while freshman John Wall garnered the second most votes and was named a second team performer by the league coaches.
  • Kentucky is 42-4 all-time in exhibition games to start the season or in season.
  • The Wildcats’ recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the country by Rivals and Scout.

Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On implementing two-a-day practices and team conditioning…

“We have a little curfew going, we have morning practices and I'm back into an exercise killer, so you know where my mind is. They will either catch up with it or be drug through the glass. We have good kids and they're trying, but we're not where we need to be. I don't like what it looks like and that can go for each player. I know it's about me, it's not about them. These kids will do whatever I ask them to do. I told them that we have to get better conditioned and tougher. If you accept that, you will do whatever I tell you, and they do. It's hard because they go to class, tutoring, study sessions and morning practice. This weekend will be rough and it's what they need to set the tone. Coming in, everything was positive and upbeat. Now we need to get to the next level. I tried to be the same guy and get them to the next level, but it didn't work. Now, they have the other guy. All I'm doing is holding the bar higher and they need to get that bar. If they don't get it, then we do it again and again. Then, there are some peer pressure things we do and I get louder. I love my team, I just don't love where we are right now, but we have to be patient.”

On the slow play against Campbellsville…

“We are pressing the button as though it was solely condition. But, it could have been anxiety, warm-ups or a lot of different things. It could have been jitters that kept you up the night before, and wore you out because you couldn't sleep. But, we better learn what it is, because we can't play this way.”

On Eric Bledsoe…

“I don't think we'll play Eric Bledsoe tomorrow, because of his ankle. We really need him (in the season opener), so I may not play him. He is tentative and we don't want him to do something more.”

On Patrick Patterson's play against Campbellsville…

“I got on Patrick [Patterson] and I said, ‘You took seven shots [against Campbellsville]. Are you kidding me? I don't care if we are playing a five-out offense, you took seven shots. Go get the ball, go demand and go get 20 rebounds.' I may call for him a little more now that I know he will just get into the flow if you don't run it to him. I'm trying to get to know these guys too. He is one of the best players in the country and he needs to play that way. We need to play him that way and see what happens. We need him to be the star that he is. I'll help him, but he also has to do it. It has to come from what we're trying to run through him and how we are playing. When he speaks, they listen, so he'll do it in his way. I don't need him to be someone he is not. All I need him to be is Patrick Patterson. He needs to come every day, so we can figure it out together and be who he is.”

On the play and leadership of John Wall…

“Fans will enjoy it, and it's a good thing for them. I imagine there will be 24,000 there to say I was at John Wall's first game. He and Patrick [Patterson] are our hardest workers. He is a verbal leader, and Patrick leads more by example. I would have loved to play half of the game with him and Eric [Bledsoe] on the floor together. We all want to see that. But, I don't think that will happen. I think he has gotten better [at leading] and part of the reason is because we have a lot of young guys. He is young too, but he is taking it on. He looked at the team and said this team needs me. We need somebody to speak because we have a lot of guys who are very quiet. The major issue we have defensively is getting players to talk. It's not just being physical and fighting screens, it's talking. That is one of the things I'll continue to raise the bar on.”

On facing Clarion, his alma mater…

“I've gotten 20 calls from the bus coming down. They are from my high school coach who is a Clarion graduate, my college coach who coached me at Clarion, and high school and college teammates. They will have 100 or 150 people in town. It puts a smile on my face to think about my friends being here. Right now, I'm concerned about this practice and I'll see them tonight. Tomorrow, I'm concerned about the game and I may see them after the game is over.”

#4, Jon Hood, Fr., G

On playing any offense and winning…

“You still have to make shots and play defense. That's a mistake that everyone makes by thinking we can just roll over anybody if we play fast enough. We are everybody's Super Bowl team, but we are just trying to get better.”

On adjusting to college basketball…

“Most of us came from a high school background where we were the main players. We have been used to being the main guys and now we are part of a bigger team. We are adjusting to that. We can't just take off with the ball whenever we want; it's a longer process than that.”

On playing hard…

“I play as hard as I can when I'm in the game. I make mistakes, but everybody makes mistakes. I make up for it with hard work. You have to do something to combat your mistakes.”

#12, Mark Krebs, Sr., G

On learning to play Coach Calipari's offense…

“It is definitely a transition. It is different than anything I've done throughout my basketball career. It is a lot of new things to learn, but a lot of them are things we have been taught before. As far as plays go everyone seems to be picking up really quickly.”

On having two-a-day practices…

“We stay focused in practice. We have a good morning practice and then another good practice in the afternoon. This way we get to play more, learn more about the offense and go through conditioning. Breaking up the drills between practices helps us to stay focused longer.”

#15, DeMarcus Cousins, F

What was it like playing your first game in Rupp?

“The first game, I was nervous. I believe I could have done a lot better. I just had to get those jitters out. I think I'll perform better next time.”

What is it like practicing twice a day?

“It's not something that we wished for, but it's only going to help get to where we need to go. Anything that helps me, I'm willing to do it. We've been up and down and running. If you're not running get prepared to get chewed out. (The two-a-days) are tough; going throughout the week with schoolwork, tutors, and practice. Waking up at 5:30 a.m. the next morning is pretty tough. It's a regular practice where we're getting after it.”

Has Coach Cal turned the intensity in practice up a notch?

“Oh yeah, it's a new Coach Cal. He's more intense and focused. He finally got to see what we needed to work on after our first game. We didn't go hard enough on both sides of the ball; we have to work on everything.”

How's the offense coming along?

“A lot of stuff we thought we knew, but we really didn't. Now we're trying to fix that and it's coming along well. In a game-time situation with the crowd and the defense, it's hard to focus sometimes. But you're never wrong if you drive to the basket. That makes it so much easier.”

What's the toughest thing for a big guy to learn in this offensive system?

“You have got to be able to read your guard and which direction they are coming at you. I believe that's the hardest part. It takes time, we're still learning.”

Are you excited to play with John Wall?

“This is going to be our first time playing together. John changes the game. I'm excited and. I'm excited for him to play in his first game.”