Cats Head South of the Border to Cancun
Nov. 24, 2009
Cats Head South of the Border to Cancun
After opening the season with a four-game homestand, in which the Wildcats went 4-0, Kentucky travels to Cancun for the remainder of the Cancun Challenge. UK closed out the home portion of the tournament with a 92-63 win over Rider.
Freshman John Wall and junior Patrick Patterson led the Cats with a pair of double-doubles. Wall scored a game high 21 points and dished out a game best 11 assists, while Patterson recorded his third double-double in four games with 19 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, tying his career best.
Kentucky opens action in Cancun against Cleveland State on Tuesday at the Moon Palace Resort with the winner taking on the winner of the Stanford/Virginia game.
- Kentucky is in its 107th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,992.
- 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.
- UK’s 4-0 start is the best for the Wildcats since the 2005 season.
- Kentucky has never faced Cleveland State, but the Cats are 14-4 all-time against the Horizon League.
- UK is 2-0 all-time against Stanford (21-10 vs. Pac-10) and 6-3 all-time against Virginia (121-61 vs. the ACC).
- Patrick Patterson recorded his 24th career double-double against Rider, tying him with Pat Riley for 10th on Kentucky’s all-time double-double list.
- Patrick Patterson was named Associated Press Preseason 1st Team All-America.
- Patrick Patterson and John Wall were named to the Naismith Preseason Watch list.
- John Wall was named to the Bob Cousy Watch list, given to the nation’s top point guard.
Head Coach John Calipari
On whether the team is growing together...
"The best teams I've coached, they would move in mass. They would go to a movie and they would all go; they would go to the mall and they'd all go. My best teams, whether they were Massachusetts or Memphis, that's how they were. I was in my hotel room yesterday and I looked out and I see all of them walking around the complex and I thought, `Not bad, maybe it's the start of something.' I've told them, and so has Tony Delk and Scott Padgett, that the best teams at Kentucky, and the best pro teams, they'd land in a city and they'd all go to dinner together, or they'd go to a movie together. But it's hard, because they are into their own things, so if we can get a team that's truly concerned about each other it's a step in the right direction."
On the floor...
"They brought the floor down from Boston Garden. They don't quite match; there's a little seem, balls are going to fly. There's (a gap) in front of one bench that you can sprain an ankle, there's a gap about three inches. There are some dead spots on the floor and it's a ballroom. We go from 24,000 to playing in a ballroom, which is fine. The good news is the other team is playing the ballroom on the same floor too."
On whether this helps them play through things that are out of their control...
"The only thing I've always worried about was getting us prepared for the NCAA Tournament. Let's play every different style; let's play at different times of day; let's play afternoon games; let's play veteran guards because if they're in the NCAA Tournament they're going to be veteran guards or they wouldn't be in the NCAA Tournament. Playing in a ballroom isn't exactly preparing you for NCAA anything.
"It's a good experience; we're coming down, we're in a bracket with four good teams. The NCAA Tournament, what you do is go into a bracket of four and you try do is win that bracket, so you play two games. And the next weekend you're in another bracket of four, you try to win that. And if you win the next one, you just won the national title and that's how you do this. So coming down, playing in a tournament format, there would be in a day in between, it wouldn't be back-to-back, but that's ok because whatever we're up against, we're playing somebody tomorrow, and whether we win or lose, they're doing the same thing. They're flipping around real quick too."
#4 Jon Hood, Fr., G
On the gym...
"The bleachers look like high school soccer bleachers, like metal bleachers. It's about like Alumni (Gym). It's got chandeliers raised up; you can barely see one of the scoreboards because a chandelier is in the way. They're the rickety bleachers too. The court is not good at all, but that goes both ways, (opponents) have to deal with just like we do.
"That's not a gym, that's a ballroom. Our high school gym held three times as many people. It's like an auxiliary gym at an AAU tournament.
"We have to bond down here and that's really good because we're just with the guys. There is no cell service, well there is if you're loaded, but mine's off. It's fun."
#54 Patrick Patterson, Jr., F
On whether the trip is a business trip...
"It's definitely a business trip. We came down here for one thing, and that's to win and that's the thing we want to concentrate most on; working in practice, working hard in preparation and pregame practice and then play hard and hopefully get the win. But it's still kind of a vacation; not many of us will have a vacation this year due to playing basketball all year around, so we're going to have fun while we're here but also take care of business."
On if getting away helps the team bond...
"We're finally getting away from Lexington, finally having an away game. The bond is getting stronger with us. We were walking around the other day, the entire team just walking around, hanging out, walking around the beach, walking around the pool, just talking about what we're going to do in or spare time. We're just hanging out in our rooms with each other, signing autographs for the fans. The chemistry is getting stronger."
On what they know about Cleveland State...
"We know they're a tough team. They have great size and great guard play. But we don't know much as of right now, we'll watch tape tonight and go over their team and personnel in practice today."