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Cats Open Season with First Exhibition




Oct. 31, 2012

Prior to opening the 2012-13 season, the Wildcats will host a pair of exhibition contests. UK will first take on Northwood, which was the NAIA runner-up a season ago.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Exhibition
Kentucky vs. Northwood
Thurs., Nov. 1 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
Gameday Live: Online video, audio, blog and stats
TV: FSS/UK IMG
Radio: UK IMG
Text Updates

The 2012-13 season marks the fourth in the John Calipari era. In that span the Wildcats have compiled 102 victories, which ranks as the third-most wins in a three-year span in NCAA history. UK has claimed a national championship, advanced to two Final Fours, won two Southeastern Conference championships, captured a pair of SEC Tournament titles and garnered a 51-0 record in Rupp Arena.

UK is the only BCS-level team to not return a single starter from a year ago. However, Kentucky hauled in the No. 1 ranked recruiting class for the fourth-consecutive season.

Scouting Northwood

Northwood is an NAIA member and was selected as the preseason No. 1 ranked team for the second-consecutive season. The Seahawks finished as the national runner-up a season ago under Rollie Massimino.

Northwood returns eight players from a season ago. Senior guard Tyrone Davis is Northwood's all-time leader in assists and steals, averaging nearly eight assists per game, and earning the Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. Senior forward Masse Doumbe took home the Sun Conference Newcomer of the Year award, averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 rebounds a game.

Massimino enters his seventh season with the Seahawks. With a 171-37 record over his first six seasons, Massimino was garnered with the 2012 Rawlings Basketball Coach of the Year award and the 2012 Hillyard Golden Anniversary award, as well as being inducted into the Palm Beach Sports Hall of Fame.

Media Opportunity - October 31, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On the starting lineup …
“Don’t know who is going to start yet. Don’t know, still trying to figure some stuff out. What I’m tinkering with is combinations. I’m trying to figure out, when these guys are in together how do we play, when that group is in together how do we play. That’s what we are trying to do.”

On impressions from different lineup combinations …
“None really, I’m just trying to watch tape to see what I am comfortable with and all those kind of things. We just have a long way to go. Defensively, we are just awful right now. We don’t stay in front of anybody. We have guys stopping left and right and thinking it’s OK or not my man, it wasn’t my man, stuff like that. I watched tape of Michigan State and Northwood and you have two teams that play every bounce of the ball that are moving and helping and helping the helper. The greatest thing about playing a team like this, the No. 1 team in the NAIA and a team that was down six the Michigan State at half that made nine threes, has some post-up game, has a really quick guard, is that the weaknesses or the things that we are not doing well will be glaring. As much as I don’t like to play a team this good, this early, this is going to be great for this team because the more I’m watching tape, the more I’m seeing that they have to change and they have to understand that it has to be a habit.”

On the team being more versatile than in years past …
“It may be, put five guys and they got it rolling and leave them out there for eight minutes before you do anything, let them get their run through and then make a couple substitutions, call a timeout. But I don’t know before we start playing. That‘s the other thing with playing Maryland and Duke, you open up your schedule with those kind of teams, even Transy (Transylvania), who have all the seniors. This team that we are playing tomorrow has all seniors and we are going to be playing all freshmen. You’re going to see it. Maryland and Duke, they are going to exploit every weakness we have. Now you come back and show the tape and say if we want to win these are things we are going to have to do and let’s go. We just have a long way to go.”

On playing the two big guys together …
Oh, you’ll see it tomorrow; we started playing them and just wanted to get those two comfortable. What I like about it is, they were talking to each other on the court, Willie (Cauley-Stein) was saying to Nerlens (Noel) and they were talking, that’s what you want. You want a team of guys that are talking to each other, that are looking after each other, that have each other’s back. Who are those five, I don’t know. But we’ll stick different combinations, but you know, I’ve told you many times, for me it doesn’t matter who starts, it’s who is going to finish. I may be starting guys based on the fact that I just think this is the best way to start the game or what the rotation is going to be but when you look at my teams it is who is in the game those last five or seven minutes, that’s who really matters. So we’ll see.”

On what he likes about playing the big guys …
“We went to it with Alex (Poythress) and the other team got three offensive rebounds right away, so then why am I playing you three? What are we talking about here? What I like, is we’re so long, I just told them a simple thing, if Nerlens is out on the floor you get in the lane, I don’t care where your man is. If you’re out on the floor, Nerlens you get in the lane. So you’re always going to have someone like seven foot standing near the goal and then you tell the other guys, make them drive. How about that for genius basketball?”

On Kentucky having 21 players in the NBA …
“Pretty good stuff, guys are playing well. I’m so happy for Eric Bledsoe; you have 15 teams trying to trade for him. They love Brandon (Knight) in Detroit. I’m proud that our guys go in the league and are prepared. Here’s the thing, after two years someone will say, ‘I’m not responsible after they have been in the league two years. The guy goes in as rookie of the year and plays well, unless I’m trying to coach that team and my team...’ Well our jobs and what we’re trying to do is prepare these guys for that, their dream, and life after basketball, both of those. I’m proud of that. My biggest thing is, when I watch them play I want to see that they are having a ball when they are playing like they did here. The hard thing is, if you’re on a team that is losing it’s hard to have joy but you still control it, you control your own joy, no one else does, you do. I saw Darius (Miller) and Anthony Davis on the sideline, not on the court, going nuts when they were playing, they were waving towels, high-chesting, high-fiving guys, running out on the court. My thing is, if they lose games, you still have to have that if you are ever going to reach your potential as a team and as a player. That’s what I got on DeMarcus (Cousins) about, I said, ‘you have to have joy, man. You can’t be playing mad and mean, you have to have fun playing this game.’ We have a bunch of good guys.”

On Northwoods’ coach Rollie Massimino …
“He called me and said, ‘I’d like to play in an exhibition game, the reason is, we won our national title in Rupp Arena and I haven’t been back and this is my last year of coaching, would you play us?’ I said sure, now I didn’t know his team would be this good, I may have just said, ‘why don’t you just come in and watch one of our games, how about that?’ But I’m happy for him. Think about it, he was in the final game of the NAIA Championship, I don’t know if there is anyone that has won an NCAA Championship and an NAIA Championship. I think there have been a couple that has won the NIT Championship and the NCAA Championship.”

On if he is having fun …
“Yeah, it’s just, I’m tired, I’m beat down. Every moment you’re trying to think of ways, how do I get guys better, I’m having more individually meetings than I’ve had collectively since I’ve been the coach here already. What are we in, 21 days of practice but that’s what this team needs and that’s fine. I’m here for them, sometimes I have to do a little bit more, sometimes I can do a little bit less, depending on the team. I like my team; I think we will be good in time. It’s kind of scary, I know you’ll say, us getting dinged is not the worst thing. I’m telling you, for these guys to understand let’s get back down to this, you have to listen, you have to create habits, you don’t have it right now. Nobody is going to foul out, I already called them. We don’t have enough time so I play next week for real so if a guy has nine fouls, remember DeAndre (Liggins) had nine fouls, he almost had a triple doubles, he had 10 points, nine assists and nine fouls. It’s not because I want them to foul, because I know they are going to charge, I know they are going to reach, I know they are going to leave their feet because those are their habits right now. Well I can’t have, OK now you can’t play anymore this exhibition game. I can’t do it or we have to be in scrimmages instead of exhibition games.”

On the players knowing it is going to take patience and hard work …
“I think it’s more hard work than patience. It’s more of a focus on what you’re doing than patience. It’s more taking care of your body, getting your rest, taking care of business off the court, no distractions; let’s go we don’t have time for that. That’s what is going to get us to where we want to go. The one guy that is going to have to have patience is me, and that will only go so far with me, I know. Like I said, I like our team, I like our personnel. Kyle Wiltjer has gotten way better, Ryan Harrow is way better. The young kids are coming along and doing good. Jon Hood is way better, Jarrod Polson, way better. It’s just, they’re better, now getting out on the court against a team that is not going to stop until the possession goes, that will try to offensive rebound every ball, that will block you out if you don’t do stuff. All those things will come to light in this thing. You’re going to say, ‘oh my gosh, he just turned his head and the guy went in and dunked on him. Oh my gosh.’ If you watch the tape, there are many of those right now but when you’re talking young guys that’s what you have.”

#22, Alex Poythress, F

On practice since the Blue-White scrimmage …
“(We’ve been) Getting used to playing with each other with the different line-ups and match-ups, just learning new plays.”

On the number of possible lineups …
“(There will be) four or five different line-ups. There are a whole bunch of line-ups going on right now. There are different line-ups, I can play the four, and the three and some lineups where I play the two. It just depends on where (coach) Cal (Calipari) puts me. It depends if we go big or not.””

On what he areas he needs to improve …
“I need to tighten up areas in my game, just learn to play with all these different players.”

On his expectations for tomorrow night’s game …
“I honestly have no clue what to expect for tomorrow.”

On the development of his outside shooting …
“It’s coming along very good, shooting a lot, doing shooting drills and the five-minute shooting drill, and I am shooting the ball pretty well right now.”

On different Line-ups and where he fits in...
“There a different line-ups, I can play the, the 3 and some line up where I play the 2, it just depends on where Cal puts me, it depends if we go big or not.”

#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F

On how the team is divided in practice …
“There have been a ton of lineups, so there really hasn’t been one specific lineup. (coach) Cal (Calipari) has been doing a great job of putting together as many lineups as possible so we can get comfortable playing with each other since there are so many new guys out there. He has been really good at getting a bunch of lineups together.”

On possible starters and whether there’s any talking about it amongst teammates …
“Coach does a great job of getting us to work hard, and not worry about that stuff and just work hard individually and in practice to improve as a team. I don’t think anyone knows who is starting at this point.”

On learning to play with new teammates …
“It is interesting and it is great because all these guys are great learners as well. (They’ve) been able to pick up (the offense) fast so we have been fortunate to have another great group of guys who are able to come in and work hard and learn a new system.”

On the mixing and matching of lineups in practice compared to last year …
“It was kind of similar. We did that last year. This year there is a lot more because there are a lot more new guys so we are getting as many lineups as possible so we learn how to play together.”

On scrimmaging more this year …
“When we scrimmage a lot, we get to learn each other more. I think he (Coach Calipari) is happy where we are at, but he is never satisfied and he wants more of us. We are looking to move forward and we know we still have a lot of work to do to be better.”

On where this team is at compared to last year …
“Maybe a little ahead because we got to practice during the summer and that is the only thing. We are definitely making a lot of progress and we still have a lot of work to do.”

#34, Julius Mays, G

On the team’s defense compared to the Blue-White scrimmage …
“I think it will be a lot better. We have been working on a lot of help the helper, and a lot more positioning and being in gaps and how to play ball screens and down screens. So I think you will see a lot better defense than what you saw in the blue and white game.”

On where the offense is right now …
“I wouldn’t say its great right now we are still learning every day. He (coach Calipari) has been putting in multiple combinations of people in, so we are learning multiple spots. I wouldn’t say the offense is really crisp right now. But we have a small feel for it just enough to get us through right now.”

On playing fast on offense …
“Our offense is whoever gets the ball can push it. It’s not like he (coach Calipari) restricts anybody from pushing it up or restricts anyone from coming off a ball screen. There really aren’t a lot of set of set positions in offense. A lot of our guys are able to play positions.”


 

 

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