Wildcats Face Smith's Alma Mater High Point

No. 10/10 Kentucky (4-1) vs. High Point (3-1)

Tuesday, Nov. 29 - 7:00 p.m ET
Rupp Arena - Lexington, Ky. |


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UK hosts Tubby Smith?s alma mater, High Point, in the second of a three-game homestand Tuesday. It?s the third time UK has faced off with the Panthers, but the first since Smith?s college coach, legendary Jerry Steele, retired following the 2003 season.

The Wildcats are coming off a 30-point win over Liberty on Friday. Junior Bobby Perry had a career game, netting 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also sunk three three-pointers, another career best. Rajon Rondo, who has led UK in rebounding in every game this year, had seven boards to go with a career-best nine assists.

High Point serves as UK?s last preparation before welcoming defending national champion North Carolina to Rupp Arena on Saturday, Dec. 3, for a nationally-televised (CBS) matchup between college basketball?s two all-time winningest programs.

  • Press Conference Quotes - Nov. 28

    Head Coach Tubby Smith

    Opening Statement?
    ?This week is going to be a busy week for us coming off Thanksgiving. I thought we played well in the second half against a good Liberty team. We have had some good practices since Friday?s game as we try to get ready for High Point on Tuesday. We need to work on our fast-break because I don?t think we?re getting the chances to score in transition. We have spent a lot of time working on that in practice. We have tried to put in a little more time working with our post people because I think we are not getting them the ball at the right time. We are marking some poor decisions with the ball.?

    ?This is a big stretch for us because guys are preparing for finals, the holidays are coming up and we have a tough part of our schedule coming up. Guys need to be focused on the right things and take it one practice at a time and one game at a time. Its going to be tough for our guys because people are going to want to talk to about North Carolina and other future games. I expect them to be able to concentrate on what they have to do get ready for High Point and then to take care of the rest of the week.?

    ?High Point is my alma matter and I look forward to them coming to town. High Point has gone Division I the last six years and it?s a really tough transition. All the teams that we have played early on this year that are making that transition are going through the same struggles. In High Point, you?ll find a team that is pretty athletic. I think they are trying to establish themselves as team. Coach Lundy does a good job of getting them to be an up tempo team that likes to push the ball and get in transition. That will be a good challenge for us because that?s the style of play that we want to have as well.?

    On what the team was working on to improve their fast-breaks?
    ?We are working on trying to get the ball inside at the end of the break because that is something we have struggled with early on. We have kind of given up on trying to get inside and have mostly reversed the basketball a lot. We need to keep the pressure on the defense by looking at every option in our secondary break.?

    On feeding the post?
    ?It takes a passer and a receiver. What?s happening with us is that our spacing has been poor. Our guards aren?t doing as a good a job as I?d like at looking inside. Our post players are also posting up before the ball is ready to go inside to them. Feeding the post really comes down to timing as well as our perimeter people not throwing it inside when guys are open.?

    On the importance of scoring inside?
    ?We always try to score inside. It?s not so much as throwing the ball to our post man as it is getting points in the paint. Scoring inside can also come from our penetration. When we get inside we force guys to foul and we can get higher percentage shots, so it?s critical that we do score inside from a guy with a low post presence or a guy penetrating.?

    On Joe Crawford?s status?
    ?Joe didn?t practice yesterday and I don?t know if he?ll practice today. We don?t know his status for the High Point game. He has a hip pointer that hurting him more than we thought. We have a solid back court and hopefully he?ll get healthy because was doing a lot of different things well when he got hurt.

    On Rajon Rondo leading the team in rebounding?
    ?I think it?s a real positive for us. I don?t care who leads us in rebounding as long as we get the ball.?

    On the play of Shagari Alleyne, Jared Carter and Lukasz Obrzut?
    ?We?ll probably continue to play them according to match ups until somebody steps up and claims the center spot for himself. Nobody has really stepped up and said I?m going to own the center position and play to my potential all the time. With the way we play, we want to go inside but we have a lot of great perimeter players as well. If we can?t establish our game with big guys, than we are going to establish it with guys like Bobby Perry, Sheray Thomas and Rekalin Sims. So far this year, we haven?t played against a lot of seven-footers so it makes it tough on our guys. I have adjusted our lineups according to match ups. I was pleased with the way our big guys played yesterday in practice. I thought it was one of our best sessions of the year.

    On being a trustee at High Point?
    ?Education has always been important to me. The people at High Point were extremely helpful to me in pursuing my goals of getting a degree. My degree was paid for by a scholarship and I feel I owe it to them to do all I can to give back. Both my wife and I went there, so High Point definitely has special meaning to the both of us.?

    On coaching against his alma mater?
    ?It?s fun. ot a lot of folks are there from when I was there because it has been a long time. The new president, who was in school when I was there, has a terrific job raising all sorts of money and has made a lot of expansion to the campus. To see that go on makes me proud.?

    Kentucky Players

    #23 Sheray Thomas
    On his shot selection?
    ?I?m feeling a lot better about my shooting and my shot selection. I?m just trying to shoot a lot more and hopefully the shots will go in.?

    On any adjustments he is making in practice?
    ?I?m trying to concentrate more and I?m taking a lot more reps in practice, which makes my shooting percentages go up. The more shots I take, the more I?m going to make.?

    On the team?s emphasis on the fast break?
    ?We?re trying to run and get the ball up the court quicker without dribbling it. That allows us to score a lot faster and make shots at a higher percentage. We?ve got a really fast team and we?re just working on pushing the ball up the floor.?

    On whether Coach Smith has said anything about playing his alma mater?
    ?That hasn?t come up at all. This is just another game and we need to prepare and be ready to play. We want to go out and work hard and try to get better in the areas where we have been lacking.?

    #3 Ramel Bradley
    On how the team?s toughness has improved since the Iowa game?
    ?I think that our toughness has improved a whole lot. We have been getting better at putting pressure on the ball and we?re also getting better defensively.?

    On whether losing to Iowa was a wake-up call?
    ?It definitely was a wake-up call to lose that early in the season. I think we went in there thinking that we could win the tournament and to lose in our third game really made us realize that there were some things that we needed to work on.?

    On the importance of playing with toughness?
    ?It?s very important because you can?t win without toughness. You can?t let people push you around in there. Everyone has been doing a good job of finding their own way and becoming tougher.?

    On the team?s upcoming meetings with North Carolina, Indiana and Louisville?
    ?I definitely get excited for those games because they are big games and they?re televised nationally. We get to go home for Christmas, so I really want to be able to play well, get some wins and be happy over my break.?

    #42 Rekalin Sims
    On playing the center position in the team?s recent games?
    ?I never thought that coming in that I would be playing the five position. It?s going okay, but I?m also a four at the same time, because I can go outside and take the outside shot like I usually do. It?s kind of different being 6-foot-8 and playing the five spot.?

    On why the team has emphasized a quicker tempo in its recent practices?
    ?It?s just easier to get baskets when you?re running faster because you can get out and get lay-ups on the fast-break instead of shooting from the perimeter. It just creates easier shots.?

    On the team?s non-traditional lineup?
    ?It?s really just what works for us. Putting me at the five and Bobby [Perry] at the four is working out. Going with a smaller lineup gives us a little bit more quickness and allows us to do more running. I think we?re really playing well together.?