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Kentucky Welcomes Cleveland State in Penultimate Keightley Classic Matchup




Nov. 23, 2013

Scouting the Vikings

Cleveland State enters the Kentucky game with a 2-2 record overall. The Vikings own wins over Iona and UT Arlington. Cleveland State is averaging 76.8 points per game with three players logging double-figures. Bryn Forbes leads the way with 20.0 points per game and is a perfect 20-of-20 from the charity stripe. He’s also knocked down a team-high 12 3-pointers on the year.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Keightley Classic
Kentucky vs. Cleveland State
Monday, Nov. 25 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | CSU Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: FSN
Radio: UK IMG
Gameday Live: Live stats, audio, blog, and social media
Live Video via WatchESPN
Text Updates

Trey Lewis averages 12.5 points per game and adds 4.3 rebounds per game, while leading the team with 13 assists. Charlie Lee is the final Viking in double-figures with 11.8 points per outing. He has a team-best nine steals.

Head Coach Gary Waters

Gary Waters has led the Viking program for seven seasons. He’s notched four 20-win seasons including 27 wins in 2010-11, which is tied for the second-most in a single season in program history.

He’s directed the squad to four postseason appearances in the last six years, an NIT invite in 2008, the school’s second NCAA bid in 2009, an NIT appearance in 2011 when CSU advanced to the second round and another trip to the NIT in 2012.

Waters has notched five victories over nationally-ranked opponents including three victories in 2008-09. CSU was just 1-24 against ranked teams before his arrival. The win at No. 7 Vanderbilt in the 2011-12 season opener was the highest ranked opponent CSU has ever defeated.

Cleveland State has claimed one Horizon League title in 2011 under his direction, while two players have gone on to play in the NBA. Norris Cole was a first-round selection in 2011.

Kentucky-Cleveland State Series

Kentucky owns an all-time record of 1-0 against Cleveland State having met the Vikings in the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 24, 2009 in John Calipari’s first season as coach of the Cats.

Freshman John Wall scored a team-high 15 points, including 11 after halftime, as he zipped in and out of the Cleveland State defense.

The game was played in unconventional surroundings, with the resort’s main ballroom being converted into a makeshift gymnasium. Chandeliers hung from the low ceiling, two electronic scoreboards were connected to the ceiling by wire cables, and a food buffet sat just a few feet off the end of one baseline. Sections of the hardwood floor had gaps several inches wide and the baseline was a jagged line where the floor did not match up.

Kentucky took control early in the second half when freshman forward DeMarcus Cousins hit a 3 as the shot clock expired, then made five free throws on one possession, aided by an intentional foul called on D’Aundray Brown for grabbing Wall and pulling him to the floor on a breakaway.

By the time Cleveland State (3-2) called a timeout with 13:08 remaining, Kentucky had outscored the Vikings 18-4 in the second half to open a 22-point advantage.

Kentucky vs. the Horizon League

UK is 15-4 all-time against teams comprising the Horizon League. UK owns a perfect 4-0 record against then-member Butler, while Loyola (Ill.) has scored the most victories with three. UK still leads the series by a 4-3 margin.

Pregame Media Opportunity - November 22, 2013

Head Coach John Calipari

On players saying they only worked on defense yesterday …
“We’re trying to get them to play through a whole possession, stay in a stance. Someone said ‘Wow, you guys got beat on the dribble.’ Yeah, if you’re standing straight up and down, it’s pretty easy to get beat on the dribble. So we did a lot of things of keeping them in a stance. But again, when I watched the tape there’s just not the effort, and I’m trying to explain, you guys – I asked them what having fun was. They said winning. I said, ‘No, not necessarily.’ It’s coming out and having an unbelievable effort by everyone that’s on that floor and who comes in the game and forcing your will on the other team, doing it together, talking and having fun doing it. That’s fun. You may lose a game and be miserable after the game, but throughout the game you had a ball playing because you tried to do it and the other team did it back, and you went back and forth. I said there are games you can lose and feel good about because you gave everything. Then there are games that you win by 30 and you should not feel good about. But they don’t know all of that. This is all stuff that’s new to them.”

On how the Harrisons are handling his coaching …
“They’re trying, but they’ve got a ways to go. But it’s not just those two. Julius (Randle) has got a ways to go. When you rebound, stick, rebound, bang, and then they say, ‘Man, he played hard,’ but then you’ve got to watch defensively, you’ve got to watch running the floor. Alex (Poythress) has gotten better, but got a ways to go. I mean, we’re just, you know, we’re a team that is behind. Dominique (Hawkins) probably is closest to what we’re looking for of anybody on the team, but it’s not where we need to be right now.”

On whether or not he is emphasizing talking on defense …
“If you don’t know where everybody is and if people aren’t talking, you’re not comfortable. You kind of get, you go back, because you’re afraid to go out. Because you don’t know if people have your back, and that’s where we are a little bit right now to. Look, there’s a lot of fronts that we’ve got to work on. You know, we’ve got to work more on the press, which I want to do today and do some different things out of it. But the whole point comes back to your effort, if you want to know, again, what’s success, it’s just ‘I’m giving my best, I’m doing my best.’ You have to feel good about that. If you’re not doing your best, if you’re standing around, if you stop playing, for most of these kids, they were always bigger and stronger and longer and faster. You didn’t have to outwork the other guy. If a team’s effort level is far beyond yours, it will smash a talented group. Just will. A less talented team that just fights like crazy will beat the talented team. So, my job right now is to get these guys to understand how hard they’ve got to play, what it’s got to look like, and we’re just not there.”

On who his lockdown defender is and if the leading candidate is Dominique Hawkins
“Well, his size. I mean, James Young should be able to be that guy. Julius (Randle) should be able to be the guy. He got beat on the dribble four or five times again. (He) stood straight up and down, didn’t really get down in the stance. And then getting down, we’re so long, you have to get down in the stance and have a hand up, because you’re taking away a jumper, because you’re 7-foot tall, you’re 6-9. You don’t get in it, go down and go like this and make yourself 6-foot. So then it’s like, ‘Well, I can’t have my hand up and get down.’ Oh, yeah you can. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing. So we’ve got some of that. But again, I’ll say this, great bunch of kids. They really are, one of the greatest groups I’ve coached. But they’re kids, you know, and we’ve got a lot of learning to do and a lot of habits to break. And it’s hard to break them, and especially if I keep seeing on tape and it’s the same. Then I’ve had to change what I’m doing in practice and how I’m doing it to you know, to get them to do the right stuff.”

On Dakari Johnson
“We worked on his free-throw shooting yesterday. I think he’ll be fine. Showed him clips of Enes (Kanter), some other guys in the league and how before I worked with them, worked with Enes. Enes right now is the leading big-man free-throw shooter. (We) Just shortened his stroke, so it’s from here, and he (Dakari) did it yesterday and he looked pretty good. But he’s got to grab balls with two hands. He’s got to be more athletic, which means be more alert before you guard and before you catch the ball. Don’t bring the ball down. Get it up to the goal and keep your hands up, you’re 7-foot tall and you’ve got long arms. Why would you bring it down and make yourself small? Because it’s easier. ‘I want to gather myself.’ To do this and make it, it’s hard. So most of our guys if there’s two ways of doing it, this is the easier way and this is the harder way, right now, this group has been used to, let me do the easier way. We’ve got to get them out of that mode.”

On the article written about him coaching in the NBA …
“I mean I don’t pay any attention to it. The job I have to do here, to develop these kids and get them right is all-encompassing. So, I’m not, my focus is here and I don’t get into all that, rumors and innuendo, and it won’t be the last one that’s out there, and I just don’t deal with it.”

On if he will ever consider going back to coach in the NBA …
“I’m good where I am. I’ve said it publicly. This is a great, what makes this unique, and I mentioned today driving in, I was reading a new book, and it’s about purpose. And the purpose here is real clear to me, is I’m getting someone’s child, and my job is to develop them in all areas, not just on the basketball court, to prepare them for reaching their dreams. And when they reach their dreams, they become successful and understand the bigger picture. Which, John Wall gave a million back to charity. DeMarcus Cousins gave a million back to charity when they signed contracts. That’s, and you see it here, and so my focus is on just, this is what I’m doing. Here’s a purpose that is one that’s, you know, it’s a heavy thing, because you got people’s children. But, this stage and what we do and how we prepare them has worked. So we’re just going to keep working that way.”

On if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist helped rub off on his teammates defensively …
“It did, but also Marquis Teague would go guard. We didn’t have just one, and Anthony was back there alert. He never was flat-footed. Terrence and Darius and Doron, you know, those guys, you had a lot of guys that were willing to defend and you had some veterans that were showing the others. Michael didn’t need to be taught about effort. That’s what Michael brought to the table. And so we’re right now just, there’s just something lacking that we’ve got to get out of them, and they got to accept it, as much as anything else.”

On the attendance at Rupp …
“That’s one great thing here, I don’t need to market and I don’t need to sell tickets. I don’t need to put up billboards. No, we’ll be fine. This program, I think what happens for us is every game being on TV and you have an arena the size of ours, sometimes people ‘Ah, I’ll just go watch it on TV.’ And that has an impact. But that’s everywhere. I think the one program that has sustained that support has been this program.”

On the officiating thus far…
 “I think scoring’s up. The only thing, in the post, I think you know, we were all taught when you’re defending, to push, go up, because if you went down, it was an automatic foul. So if you were going to go to somebody, you whack up. Because, watch this, his hands are on the top of the ball. So you whack up where the ball was. For a guy rebounding it, all you basketball Bennies, you rebounded it, where are his hands? On the top. Do you want to whack here or do you whack up? For some reason, we’re now letting kids whack down and saying the hand is part of the ball. Really? So when he throws it, his hand stays on the ball? I didn’t know that. So then, hey, I’m throwing the ball with two hands on it. Really? And then when he moves it, and I want you to understand, the guy holds the ball like this and they take it out of his hands, that’s, you could understand. But how about when he moves it and they whack? You’re going to hit that ball without hitting elbows and wrists., and so right now what we have is, there’s still a lot of whacking going on. We did this rule, ready? Ball raises. If that guy’s not there, automatic (foul), automatic. If I move the ball and you whack down, my humble opinion, that should be an automatic foul. How are you going to hit that ball as I move it, move it to, you’re going to hit right on the ball. ‘Well, he only had a little bit of your wrist.’ Oh, which portion? The inside? The outside? So, those are the only things. I think the direction we’re going with officiating, long overdue. I’m just hoping that coaches that are coaching their team to play this way don’t get punished as the year goes on because they start calling it rough again. They start letting them do this and that, and all the other stuff. Push in the back, hit in the elbows. As long as that’s the case, you just, you want to reward the coaches who did what you asked them to do.”

On the players’ not allowing missed shots to affect their attitudes …
 “A little bit. But you still have a bunch of guys that, you know, like I told them, you look like you’re a bad kid, like you’ve got an attitude and it’s not true. Why would you want to be perceived that way? See, I think a lot of times guys put their shoulders down because they just want to stop playing. Because if you don’t, you’ve got to run back and get in a stance and play and get your, or I could just put my head down and run like I’m mad and look around. ‘Anybody watching me?’ So I’m just saying, play. Just play. You missed a free throw, head went down. ‘I’ll jog back. Anybody watching?’ Are you kidding? Just keep running. Guys get used to stopping and not having to play through stuff. It’s what happens. So they developed habits. We’ve just got to correct them. And it’s going to take time. It’s not happening overnight.”

#25, Dominique Hawkins, G, Fr.

On being surprised that he’s gotten as much playing time as he has so far …
“I’m not really surprised, but I’m kind of like – I knew that I would get some playing time, but it’s like earlier. I didn’t expect to get early playing time as I do right now in the season, so I guess I’m kind of shocked that I got some playing time so early in the season.”

On how much he’s playing point guard and how much he’s playing off the ball …
“When I play the true point guard position it’s probably when the twins (Aaron and Andrew Harrison) aren’t in because us three are pretty much the point guards for the team. When they’re not in, I’m pretty much playing the true point guard position. I’m off the ball, a combo guard (when they’re in).”

On how much stronger he’s gotten since he arrived at UK …
“I feel like I’ve got a lot bigger. I feel like the weight lifting here – I played football in high school, and the weight lifting here is way harder than it was in high school. They consider lifting at least twice a week, even if we’re playing and stuff like that. I feel like I’ve put a little more muscle on.”

On what has helped him so far …
“Probably being in the gym more helped me so far. Like I said, I played football in high school so half of my year was football and then the other half of the year was basketball. This year it’s been all basketball so I’ve been able to be in the gym more and get up more shots and be able to get some training in.”

On Coach Cal always having something to teach to his point guards …
“I feel like he’s harder on (the Harrison twins) because he knows they can be really, really good. He knows that I’m just learning it still so I don’t have that much pressure on me. He still gets on me when I make mistakes at the point guard position.”

On whether he sees how much Cal is on the Harrison twins …
“Oh, I definitely I see how much he’s on them. A point guard here is definitely a hard job. Coach Cal, that’s probably the main position he’s looking at. The point guard has to be a leader and all that. He just wants every point guard that he has to be working hard and being able to do what they can do best.”

On how much time Cal is spending on defense …
“Yesterday was one of our first like all defensive practice almost. He’s spending a lot of time on defense now.”

On bringing defense to this team …
“I knew when I was on this team that I would probably get in games because of my defense. I’m trying to learn to become a better defensive player, definitely putting pressure on the ball and trying to be a defensive force for our team.”

On how far this team has to go defensively …
“As a player, I really don’t know, but as a coach, I’m pretty sure we have a long way to go because it’s still early and we’re working on progressing and getting better on defense.”

On guarding off the ball …
“I’ve definitely gotten better at that because in high school I always had to guard the point guard, and I usually didn’t have to guard the best player because my coach wanted me to get a little break and stuff like that. But now I’m guarding players off the ball and on the ball. I learned a lot of stuff from Coach Cal, what he taught how to guard off the ball.”

On this possibly being a good zone team …
“We’ve been practicing that for about a week. I’m not familiar with the zone at all to be honest. It’s something new to me. I just know that you have to cover your own areas. I feel like we could be a good (zone) team because we’re long and athletic and everybody on the team could probably cover an area pretty good because of how long and athletic we are.”

On what Cal wants to see more from them defensively …
“He wants to see me talking a lot more. I’m kind of a shy person and I don’t really talk that much, but he’s making me have to talk and yell out stuff because when I’m talking I’m usually quiet, I’m not loud enough. So he’s working on talking louder with me.”

On talking louder being a team wide thing …
“It is kind of a team thing because our communication on defense hasn’t been too good lately, but we’re working on it.”

#44, Dakari Johnson, C, Fr.

On the change with his free throws …
“Just not bringing it above my head. Just keeping it in front of me and just getting a softer touch on in it.”

On how his confidence is building …
“It’s getting better each and every day. Just stepping on the line, taking my time. Once one goes through, I just keep the same routine each and every time.”

On what Coach Cal’s biggest teaching point is through five games …
“Just to compete. He really got on us yesterday, you know, after our off day just to compete and stuff like that and play better defense. So we’ve been doing a lot of defensive drills lately and just competing throughout the whole shot clock and just getting more stops.”

On whether competing throughout a possession is tough to do …
“Yeah, it is tough to do. It’s something new you have to learn each and every day, just not to stop on defense. Even though it’s easy to step on defense, you have to play throughout the whole possession.”

On whether that’s tiring …
“Yeah, it’s real tiring.”

On whether he knows anything about Cleveland State …
“Not yet. We didn’t go over the scouting report. We’re just trying to get better on the things we need to work on that we saw in the past games. And that’s just playing defense and getting stops.”

On how much the team has improved …
“I think we’ve gotten better. I think we’re starting to get it now, that we have to just compete the whole time and not stop and we just have to just keep on playing with energy and keep on working hard every possession.”

On his biggest area of improvement …
“Just everything is fast in college. It’s real different from high school. Everything has to be quicker. You have to get your shot up quicker and stuff like that. Everything is in constant movement and I think I’m getting better each and every day at that.”

On where they need to improve defensively …
“I think what it is that most of us, we’re so used to stopping and so used to not competing every time. But we’re doing certain drills out here that are forcing us to compete the whole shot clock and stuff like that.”

On playing so many games so quickly …
“I think it’s good for us, just getting used to playing about three games a week and stuff like that is just good for us.”

On whether practices have been different with a long break before the Cleveland State game …
“Yeah. When you go back and look at the tape and look at things we need to work on, he’s going to work on that stuff more.”

On whether he looks forward to these times when things calm down …
“Oh yeah. I look forward to that a lot. When we have this stretch of no games and just practice, that’s the time we get to just work on the things we need to work on and getting stops and thing like that.”

On whether anything has surprised him about this team …
“Just, you know, the main thing is not stopping each and every possession. That’s the main thing. We’re so used to just stopping on defense and stuff like that, but each and every day we’re getting better at it.”

On whether there’s anything the team is better at than he thought …
“Probably rebounding. Playing as a group each and every day, we’re learning how to play together.”

On whether it’s hard to find a rhythm after checking out …
“Yeah. Just mainly I have to go in and just produce. That’s the main thing for me. Just go in and play the best of my abilities.”

On how much fun the team is having …
“It’s a little bit of a grind. Guys are getting tired and stuff like that but the main thing for us is just to get better as a team. That’s what we’re working on so far.”

On the three-man combination at center …
“We bring different things to the table each and every day and it complements what we need as a team and also what we do for each other.”


 

 

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