Kentucky Returns to Action vs. Samford

Dec. 3, 2012

The Kentucky basketball team will play its final midweek contest in the month of December when the Blue and White takes on Samford Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. Kentucky and Samford met for the first time a season ago with the Wildcats earning an 82-50 win.

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Samford
Tues., Dec. 4 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | SU Get Acrobat Reader
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Radio: UK IMG
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Freshman Archie Goodwin has logged four or more assists in four consecutive games including five against Baylor on Saturday. Classmate Alex Poythress leads the Southeastern Conference hitting .672 percent of his shots, while fellow freshman Nerlens Noel leads the league with 2.9 blocks per game.

Samford enters the matchup owning a 2-7 overall record which includes a pair of losses to ranked foes in Louisville and Memphis.

Scouting Samford

Samford travels to Rupp Arena for the second-consecutive season when the Bulldogs take on the Cats on Tuesday. The Bulldogs own a 2-7 overall record, but captured their first Southern Conference victory of the year in a 57-48 triumph over Georgia Southern in their last outing.

Tim Williams paces the Samford attack with 15.6 points per game, while also topping the team with an average of 8.4 boards per outing. Raijon Kelly is the other Samford player to averaged double figures with 13.4 points per game. He's also made 18 3-pointers on the year.

Kentucky captured an 82-50 victory over the Bulldogs in late December in 2011. It marked the first meeting between the two teams in program history.

UK coach John Calipari is 2-0 all-time against Samford.

Media Opportunity - December 3, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On his reaction to players deleting their Twitter accounts …
"I don't know. I know it was good for Josh (Harrellson) so maybe it will be good for them. It wasn't my suggestion. But, I will tell you what; it worked Josh into an NBA player."

On the players staying contained with the strong fan reaction …
"They know. They know. I don't think it's all of our fans. You have a few. Our fans cheered this team coming off (the floor vs. Baylor). I'm not sure I would have cheered them, but our fans cheered them walking on and off the court. I think it was a personal decision of 'let's get down to work.' You know, I keep telling you we have a long way to go. Individual players have to fall in love with that gym. They haven't yet. So, do they have to keep falling until they realize that because you have Kentucky across your chest that --. It makes you play harder. It doesn't give you any edge."

On practice being tougher Sunday …
"We changed up stuff. I'm a big guy that worries about injuries. Injuries can become career-ending injuries. But, this team needs it. It is not their fault. At the end of the day it is my fault. So, yesterday was good. It is just like Josh Harrellson. Josh needed to be on that treadmill. You know, you have those coaches who do the four-hour practices and early-morning workouts, but I just think you beat kids down by doing that. But, some kids need it. Alex (Poythress) and really all of them need it. They have to understand nothing is given to you. You have to earn it. But, you've got to fall in love with the gym, even if you are not in practice, you have to love wanting to go over there. Last year they were in the gym all the time. This year they haven't been in there one day. Well, it's kind of showing. Hopefully this year it will change."

On if there is a mechanical issue in Kyle Wiltjer's shot …
"No, he is fine. He's just missing a bunch of shots. Shooting is not easy. Not an easy skill. You are not going to make every shot. "

On Kyle Wiltjer getting some shots up early in the gym …
"Good. That's a good sign. We need some other guys to do it. We have some other guys who are saying 'I'm okay'. That's the scary part."

On if there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-type leader on this team …
"I don't know yet. I think they are all trying to find their way. So, I'm not sure. You have some guys who cannot lead; they have negated that ability. You have other guys that maybe don't think they are playing well enough to lead. And then you have other guys who probably don't want to work that hard to lead. You have a little bit of a combination, but eventually someone will step up. I got a call from a friend who said, 'Your teams always have a sense of urgency. This team doesn't. (It's) like it's just okay to go out here and play basketball.' Desperation, sense of urgency, toughness, diving … And you know what, we are going to have to do that in practice, if they are not playing that way. I'm going to tell you, I've got a great group of kids. I really do. They are young, and they are not as skilled as you would like them to be, but they are nice kids. They are going to do what we ask them to do. I think it was last year I told you that I was asking them to do the right things. Well obviously from where this team has gone from the practices before Maryland and Duke, where I went back and said lets work on situations. Situations don't matter down 15, 12. They don't matter. And so we needed to just keep focusing on cementing the habits of how hard you have to play and playing through comfort levels and all those sorts of things. That's not them, that's me. But, like I told you, I'm still learning about the team and what it needs from me and what I need to instill in it. I told coach (Joe B.) Hall it may be February before we figure it out."

On why this team has not found a 'true' leader yet …
"If you are not pushing hard and you're not working at it, what are you going to tell someone? 'C'mon, let's go!?' No, you go. I'm not going to do that."

On thinking about giving Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson more of a look …
"Well, you're trying to play to win and you're going to go with the guys that you feel most comfortable with. 1-9, 1-11, 2-9, 3-14, you hope it doesn't all happen at one time but (the shooting woes) did. There were other signs that we were playing more aggressive but, the guys, Alex and some of the others were stopping. The biggest play of the game was Nerlens (Noel) blocked a shot, we're down three, it's going to be our game and you see it on the tape, Alex's guy blows him out of the way because he is not prepared, he's standing straight up and down, grabs the rebound, and one. Ball game.  What? That's how you're going to lose the game? You're going to let him get the ball instead of you getting the ball? Well, that ball, my teams historically always get that ball, it's not every once in a while. This team right now does not so we are trying to do stuff in practice to hold them accountable. We're doing some things, the practices are rougher plus they're being held accountable. You don't do what you're supposed to, bang, we're on the line. I'm comfortable with what I have to do; I'm not rattled in anyway. This is not football, we're not out of the national title hunt, we're not out of anything. All we have to do is get right. I'm just going to tell you, I don't have a magic wand, I've said it before. It's not like, well all his teams get better, all my teams get better because they fall in love with that gym and then they have a will to win and they have a competitive spirit. We help them develop it but that's what they are; now they go. We'll have to develop it within this team but I'll tell you again, good guys, I like my team, I don't like losing but I like learning so we're going to continue to learn about our team."

On players deleting Twitter accounts …
"Our fans, we have the greatest fans and I told our fans if you want to be angry at somebody, be angry at me. If you want to (tweet) something or whatever we want to call it to me, do it. If you want to hit my Facebook and say I'm the worst coach in the world, do it. But let these kids grow, they're young kids. And most of our fans will, you'll have some angry guys; you never know why guys go crazy. Our fans are great, if I were a player I'd want to be here playing in front of these kind of fans who care and it matters. Like I said, they cheered them coming off the court. I'm looking around like, 'what, you're cheering that effort?' And again, when I watched the tape, we fought at times more than we did against Notre Dame and we just made no shots and then we got tentative. Now no one wanted to make the play and Archie is putting his head down trying to drive through four or five guys and he did occasionally. You can't, for me, worry about all the outside stuff and I tell them don't worry about it. It's about our team, coach our team and get better."

On what he expects from Ryan Harrow
"He's got to help us win; he's got to play winning basketball. He has to play for his teammates. He did some good stuff; he had some shot selection at times that just crunched. He played like a bunch of the guys played. I went small lineup yesterday for two practices and Jarrod was the point guard with the small lineup. I don't know if I'll start the small lineup tomorrow, I don't think I will but I might. We'll sub from there. I want Jarrod to fight and hold the spot. He's going to spend extra time; I know he'll be in this gym working. I've played with all kinds of different point guards. I've had the point guard not be my best player a lot; the game is a little different."

#10, Archie Goodwin, G, Fr.

On if he is more comfortable playing shooting guard or point guard…
"I feel comfortable playing the two a little more because that is my natural position. Ryan (Harrow) is definitely going to help us as soon as he gets in the groove of things. It is going to make the game easier for a lot of us because he is a great facilitator and a great player."

 On what Saturday night was like opposed to other games…
"It was a very tough loss for us. The fact that we could have won makes it even tougher for me. I'm a competitor so I like to win. With that loss being the first loss at home in about four years, that makes it especially frustrating. We have to learn from it and not let it happen again."

On how the team discussed the loss…
"We talked about it the next day. We had a team meeting where we talked about different things. It was a players only meeting that we called to just try and figure out what we are going to do because something has to change."

On if the team was well prepared for the game...
"I wouldn't say that it was because we weren't prepared for it, it was just a lack of competitive spirit. We were prepared for the game as far as schemes and everything perfectly. Our coaches did a great job of preparing us for that. At the end of the day, if we don't compete, it doesn't mean anything and that's something we haven't been doing as a team."  

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F, Fr.

On the team's chemistry…
"I think our team's chemistry is getting where we need it to be; most of us deleted our Twitter apps and we feel like we have to stick with each other and with our family and stick with our coaches."

On understanding that UK is not for everybody…
"Yeah, you don't think it's about the wins and losses, you think it's going to be hard because it's so upscale and you don't have room for error. As a freshman it's hard because you're going to make mistakes."

On Sunday's practices …
"It was tough, we did a lot of running and holding each other accountable, so if somebody made a mistake, we ran as a whole team and we ended up running a lot of suicides"

#22, Alex Poythress, F, Fr.

On the team meeting that took place…
"We were just discussing things like how we need to come together as a team. We all came to the conclusion that we needed to have a team meeting."

On practice yesterday…
"It was a real tough practice. The morning practice was real rough, and then the afternoon practice was just as rough. Coach Cal is starting to hold us more accountable for more things. We just have to get better really."

On having Ryan (Harrow) back on Saturday and adjusting accordingly…
"It wasn't necessarily a period of adjustment, but just more of getting our team together. We were just trying to find ways to win."