Streaking Cats Host Portland
Nov. 25, 2011
The Wildcats added to their unblemished record, both on the season and at home under head coach John Calipari, with an 88-40 win over Radford on Wednesday.
|Kentucky vs. Portland
Sat., Nov. 26 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK
|TV: FS South/UK IMG
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via ESPN3
Kentucky won its fifth straight to open the season and its 35th straight at home under Calipari.
UK had five players score in double-figures for the third time this season, led by Terrence Jones' game-high 17 points. Jones also added eight rebounds and three blocks.
A member of the West Coast Conference, Portland hasn't shyed away from any tough competition. Including a game against UK, the Pilots have faced three BCS schools (Washington, Washington State) in their first six games.
Senior guard Nemanja Mitrovic was selected preseason All-West Coast Conference by league coaches. He hasn't disappointed, averaging a team-high 11.8 points, on a team-best nine 3-pointers.
Eric Reveno is in his sixth season at the helm of the Pilots, posting an 80-84 record during that time. Voted one of the top-25 recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com in 2006, Reveno has brought his eye for talent to Portland with good results.
He was named the 2009 West Coast Conference and District 9 coach of the year after leading the Pilots to a 19-13 record and invitation to the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
The Wildcats have won the two meetings between the two schools including a 79-48 win in Portland last season.
Pre-Portlans Media Opportunity
Nov. 25, 2011
Head Coach John Calipari
On what he expects from the Portland game …
“As I watched the tape of the last game we just have to get better offensively. We turned it over a bunch and played almost confused at points. This is a team that probably needs to play a little more random based on the fact that when you run plays in most cases you are trying to hide a guy or two. When you don’t have to hide one player on the court, the more random you can play the better. Secondly, it forces teams to have to use two defenders to stop a player, now you have advantages. I’m not saying we won’t, but this is a team that should in transition, should on made goals and there should be a lot of random play including against zones so we have been working on that a little bit. It takes a few strings out of my hand but so does the dribble drive. When I say random, a lot of it would be dribble drive, pick and roll, movement against the zone, attacking from the movement and spacing. It takes a lot more teaching in practice but it’s something I think this team should be doing more of. Dribble drive is random. Prior to the dribble drive when I coached I had 10 strings in my hand that I had to hold and after that I had about six. Now I had six strings and a lot of it was in their hands. You’re still coaching them; they understand what they are supposed to do.”
On playing random against a set zone …
“Well if they are set you’re not really random. The keys to beating a zone, first is beating it down the court. The second thing is you move men and you move the ball. You can’t just move the ball without moving men, you have to move men which distorts the zone and then you have to move the ball. Third thing is you have to get the ball in the lane on a drive or on a post. You do that easier than you do off a set. If you beat them up the court you can get them out of whack and you can move the ball, move bodies and post it quickly. Like I said we’ve got a ways to go. I’m doing this with all young players again so other than Darius (Miller) you are talking about all freshmen and sophomores.”
On the danger of selfish play while playing random …
“Not with this group, they know how they have played certain ways and that has not been an issue. Again, if you are trying to hide a player you have to run all plays. If your team is really selfish you have to run all plays and I have to call who is going to shoot the ball. If you have all good players who respect each other, which this team is, then you can be more random in how you play because you are going to rely on their decision making and you have to work on it in practice. We’re trying to figure out what’s the best way for this team to play and I need to let them go a little bit which means they are going to turn it over some and make bad decisions. You have to let them go a little bit and then you see what to tighten up a little bit. These kids want to win, they know we can’t play certain ways and win.”
On the early season schedule …
“Last year we played a ridiculous schedule and they gave us a four seed so none of that really matters. We’re playing the teams that we are trying to play. Portland is part of a two for one deal. The others are a part of a tournament we played in. In most cases we are trying to play the best teams in any conference. This year, the league is going to be very strong basketball wise, obviously football isn’t bad either. We are just trying to figure each other. I hope it doesn’t take me three months to figure us out like it did last year.”
On Sam Malone’s confidence …
“He’s not afraid and the other thing is that when I came back from recruiting at 9:30-10:00 p.m. and went to my office and he was in the gym. I told Brian (Long) the same thing, although he’s not playing much in practice he is going to get minutes. What I would be doing is: I can’t wait for my chance to play. We are keeping it simple when they are in there, playing a zone, playing some motion offense and doing a little pick and roll. They can do all that but why not be in shape so I can come up with a ball, I can make a lay-up or shot so when I get my time I am ready. That is what Sam’s approach has been so now let’s get Brian to have that mindset. “
On the team’s excitement when Sam or Brian score …
“It’s neat to see. I’m not really watching what the team is doing but I watch the tape and see the kid score and an eruption on the side line. This team likes each other a lot. Whatever we work on this team is going to do. If we haven’t worked on something and they are confused then that is my fault.”
#13, Sam Malone, G, Fr.
On if he hears the fans screaming for him during games …
“Yeah, it’s fun. The fans are the best part. I mean, the bench is the best part, really. I love to see them get up off the bench. It just makes it really fun for me.”
On what his teammates say to him when they’re on the bench …
“They’re just saying ‘Good job, keep doing that.’ They’re all great guys and I really appreciate them getting off the bench for me.”
On if there’s any hesitation to shoot it when he hears the fans …
“I mean, I like feeding off the crowd a little bit. They get me excited. I know I’m not going to be yelled at from Coach if I shoot it, so, might as well throw it up.”
On if he feels like he might as well make the most of it when he gets into the game …
“Yeah, definitely. I’m eager to get into practice whenever I’m needed. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been getting in a little bit more and more each time. I’m just hungry to play, dying to play.”
#25, Marquis Teague, G, Fr.
On how he felt he played against Radford …
“I feel like I played pretty good, under control. I tried to be a leader on the floor.”
On if he’s trying to focus on being a leader …
“Yeah, every game I’m trying to lead on the floor. That’s my main focus.”
On if he thinks he was ready for the spotlight that the point guard at Kentucky receives …
“I didn’t really think about it too much. I just came here to play basketball and get better. But once you actually live this life it’s pretty crazy. The fans here are great. They’re pretty crazy like Coach Cal always says.”
On if he has sleepless nights if he doesn’t play well …
“Yeah, I had some sleepless nights after a few of my games. I was pretty upset with how I played. But I slept pretty good last night.”
On if he wants to work harder when he doesn’t play up to his own standards …
“Yeah, it’s tough; it makes me want to come to the gym to work out more and get more shots up after the game depending on how I play.”
#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F, Fr.
On if he feels like he’s still in a feeling out process with how his teammates play …
“Not really for each other’s games, we all know what we can do. We’re just trying to get into the flow of offenses, where we like to operate and just playing basketball. Sometimes we don’t have to run a set every time, just like Coach said, just run our dribble-drive and share the ball well.”
On playing Portland on Saturday, being a Portland native …
“Yeah, not a lot of the guys are from Portland, but I’ve definitely done open gyms with those guys so it’ll be cool.”
On how much they think or talk about the North Carolina game on Dec. 3 …
“I mean, it’s always something on our mind, but we try to focus on one game at a time and get better. We can’t jump ahead like that. We’re using every game as a learning experience to become a better team all around.”
On if it’s difficult to stay focused …
“No, we’re a very focused team. We know what we have to do to become better. Every day in practice we want to bring it because that’s a game we’re looking forward to.”
On if he thinks all of their games help prepare them for games like the one Dec. 3 …
“Oh, most definitely. After we play a game we watch film and see what we need to work on and then in practice we work on that. It most definitely helps us prepare for those games.”