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UK Hosts Marshall in Final Home Game of 2012




Dec. 21, 2012

Following their third-straight home victory the Wildcats meet Marshall on Saturday in the final home game of the 2012 year. UK claimed an 88-50 win over Lipscomb in its last action. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer had a season-high 23 points to couple with a career-high 12 rebounds in his first career double-double effort to lead the Cats to victory.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Marshall
Sat., Dec. 22 - 4:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | MU Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
Gameday Live: Online audio, blog and stats
TV: ESPN2
Radio: UK IMG
Text Updates

Freshman Nerlens Noel continues to provide a steady presence on the defensive end. He logged four steals and seven blocks against the Bisons. He's posted five or more blocks in three-straight games while leading the team with 28 swipes on the season. Kentucky leads the all-time series with Marshall 11-0 with the last meeting coming in 2003 in an 89-76 Wildcat triumph.

Scouting Marshall

Marshall has four players averaging 10 or more points per game led by 15.5 from DD Scarver. The junior guard also leads the team with 34 made 3-pointers on the year. The Thundering Herd have faced a challenging schedule thus far including playing at West Virginia and a home date with Cincinnati.

UK leads the all-time series with Marshall by an 11-0 margin. The last meeting came on Dec. 1, 2003 which resulted in an 89-76 win for UK. John Calipari owns a 5-0 all-time record against the Thundering Herd.

Media Opportunity - December 21, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On if he has been satisfied with practice this week …
"Yeah, they've done good but the follow through; carry over into the game is what we'll all wait for. Everybody is watching for the same thing, every fan and everybody else is just, are they going to compete at a really high level? Are they going to battle, are they going to talk more, are they going to play with more energy? If they do, we're all going to be really happy. Winning will take care of itself if we get to that point. Right now it's not even about that, it's you watch it; are they competing at a high level?"

On the focus of practice this week …
"Just to make them aware of, holding them accountable, making them aware that they aren't going as hard as they think they're going. We've done some things, I'm not going to talk about some of the things we did because they're really interesting, outside of the box. I think I'm going to do it in another week or so and I may tell everybody what we're doing because it's really, I don't know if anybody else is doing it. It really makes you aware of, it's funny if three of us workout and we all get our heart rates to a certain level, one guy is going to say, 'this is easy.' The same heart rate on another guy, he's going to say 'I can't believe this, this is torture.' Well this guy doesn't think he's working at all, the other guy says, 'it's pretty hard.' You've got some guys whose heart rates are saying, you're not going that hard. You think you are, but you're not. There's a lot of stuff we're trying to do and it's all, again we just need to carry over into the game. This (Marshall) is a good team, they've got great size and we're going to have to play. I watched them against Cincinnati, gave Cincinnati a terrific game until about five minutes to go. It was a seven, eight point game and then all the sudden it broke open a little bit. They shoot 3's; they're good enough to beat us, Marshall."

On communication of his team …
"It's not good. I've had other teams that weren't good, but they got better. This team, they've got to understand they need each other. It's a form of selfishness when you don't talk, you're worried about you. You're worried about how you feel and you don't understand the impact that has on your teammates. If you're really into what they are doing and there with your whole thought about helping your team, you talk a lot. If you're not into that thought, you're only into how you feel or what you look like, you don't talk. A lot of times a player will think, 'well I pass the ball, I'm not selfish.' Yeah, but you don't speak, you're not doing anything to help your teammates. You're only worried about how you're playing so that's what we've been addressing and they've gotten better."

On how you address the lack of communication …
"Real simple. 'Were you not talking?' Everybody on the baseline. 'You didn't talk again?' Alright, on the baseline. 'But I'm on the other team?' It doesn't matter what team he's on, if he doesn't talk, we're running. 'But I'm on the other team.' Doesn't matter, not going to talk over there, we're going to run. It doesn't matter what team he's on. Now if he's in the game doing this, I'll take him out but that's not solving the issue here. Say something to him. I'm trying to do some things to empower them a little bit, if they defend and rebound and steal or block, what goes on offensively because at some point this has to be their team. We're trying to do some of that. The biggest thing is just compete, battle and we're all going to see it. There is no question, everybody is watching, is the guy really battling and diving and competing or is his head down and does he act sad and tired. It's not just one guy now; it's a bunch of guys. Hopefully we're breaking through. I've been pleased with what we've been doing though. We've been going early in the morning and ending at dinner time so it's like they're putting in a full day."

On the team spending a lot of time with each other even off the floor …
"They're eating right so now all of the sudden they're gaining weight. They're getting energy back. It's all intertwined together. They're together, they're pushing each other, they're eating their meals together. They're eating all of their meals. They're doing better."

On the NCAA's rules regarding food …
"I think it's stupid. A kid comes from practice and he's not real hungry but he wants to eat something so he eats a little bite and a couple bites, 'I'm not real hungry right now, I'm going to take some stuff up to my room that I'll eat later.' No. That's an extra benefit. Excuse me? That's an extra benefit. I told the story; Michael Phelps and big time athletes eat five, six and seven times a day. They eat, they eat again, they eat again, they eat again, they go down, that's because they're burning up calories. Now, what I imagine they're afraid of is some team goes over the top and feeds their kids too much. Have a fat team."

On if players are getting the proper food and nutrition they need …
"Now. They all lost weight. Maybe they were dieting then, but they did. I have been saying all along, I don't understand why we don't --. If you have a place and a kid is hungry, go eat something. 'Well you have to eat between six and eight or you go hungry. Well you have to eat between this time and that time.' Eat when you want to eat. Have things in the refrigerator. Go eat. Eat like you are at home. You want to eat six times a day? That's fine. Every individual is different, I just don't understand it, but then again, there's a lot of stuff I don't understand."

On the team's chef at the Wildcat Coal Lodge …
"They have a cook that has been with them, and cooks with them. My deal is if you have a kitchen there, why wouldn't you put stuff there where they can eat it whenever they want it. Refrigerator in there? Stick sandwiches in there. You want a sandwich at night? Go grab a sandwich. Can't right now. I'd probably be suspended for three games. Folks, it's not smart. Why do you think they have that rule about food? 'There is a school that couldn't afford to feed their guys like that, so you are not going to feed your guys.' Whether they need it or not, that is not what this is about. Whether a high-level athlete needs to be fed? Feed them, because they are burning up tons of calories. Feed them."

On the new out-of-the-box idea he has for this weekend's game …
"It's all about everything inclusive including diet and calories and all the other stuff that; Look, I like to have experts talk. Someone says 'Well, you don't have all of the facts.' Well what do you do? 'Well, I'm a writer.' Well what do you know about diet? How about this professional over here? 'Well he doesn't know all the facts.' What? What do you know about eating? So, what I like to do, is before, I like to get all of the facts professionally done, so we know, here are numbers, these don't lie. Here is what we've got. We're not quite ready for that yet, but we will be."

On Ryan Harrow growing as a player …
"Yeah, he has gained five pounds, he is getting better as a player, he is helping our team, he is talking more, he is being more active and looks a lot better."

On the team seeking a leader to step up …
"Yeah, we got a couple of guys that are never going to be that 'rah-rah guy"' but there is still times that they can show emotion. They are talking to each other. They understand they are connected more to each other. We just have a ways to go. This is going to be a process. I probably thought they would come quicker than they would, but when I saw it, I kind of knew we were not very good right now and I knew it, but I probably didn't believe it. I just thought we would win, and we are where we are. We are probably about where we should be as a team, really."

On the break the players will get after Saturday's game …
"They leave after the game tomorrow. They will be gone the 23rd, 24th, 25th, come back on the 26th at some point. We are giving them a good break. This has been an experience for them, so they need to get away, get their heads back, be with their families."

On his reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and gun control …
"I don't see the need for assault weapons. I don't see the need at all. Again, we as a country have to come together and say we have some mental illness issues, how do we deal with those? How do we truly deal with someone who has an illness and not shove it under the rug that it's an embarrassing thing. Well, is cancer embarrassing? Mental illness is an illness. We don't need assault rifles. It's a problem. Maybe its video games, I don't know. There needs to be a dialogue of how do we come to grips with this, and if we don't, I think we have a lot of bull-headed people, and if it were their child, I think they would act. I think if everybody just looked at this issue, whether it was the mental health issue, or whether we need to cut metal health spending, okay, what if that was your child in that room? Whether it was gun control – 'We don't need it, I need my assault rifle.' What if it was your child in that room right now? Would you feel the same way? I think if you look at it and looked at it that way, people would look at it different and we would come to terms. It's happening too much now."

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On if the team is getting better …
"We're getting better last week, we had a good week of practice, but it just didn't show during the game. This week, we worked really hard and I just feel like we got so much better. We just have to carry it over to the game now."

On the team going to bed earlier and relaxing in the dorm rooms …
"There is nothing else to do. It's not like there is anyone else on campus. The only thing you can do is rest. Sleep is a must, though. We would not be able to make it through this if we did not have enough time to sleep."

On if the team is now in 'basketball shape' …
"We are definitely (in shape). You don't realize it though, that's the thing. To regular people, it would be like 'Oh, we are definitely in shape,' but if you have been playing basketball for the last three months, it feels the same, it's just a lot more intense now."

#34, Julius Mays, G

On the team's progress …
"I think we made a lot of progression in practice, but I think we're still waiting to see if we make those changes in the game and compete nonstop or if we're tired, called for a sub, but competing at all times and not stopping on plays."

On having fun on the court …
"It's been a lot more competitive and guys have been getting after each other. It's been a lot more fun than what it has been. He (Coach Calipari) wishes he would've done this from the beginning with this team, but I'm glad that we started doing it now and I think guys are starting to enjoy it more. I'm hoping to see a big change tomorrow."

On the biggest improvement over the last week …
"We've been getting a lot more aggressive on defense as far as pressing or just getting up on guys, being more active and just not quitting on plays; giving 100 percent at all times and competing at all times."

On the amount of practices …
"It's been tough, it's been really competitive, a lot of hard work, a lot of hours in the gym, but I think guys are getting better and I think we're starting to realize what we have to do to be a great team."

#22, Alex Poythress, F

On being more vocal …
"Yeah, I think everyone's starting to be more vocal. He (Coach Calipari) wants everyone to talk more on defense and offense."

On if they are having fun …
"We're always having fun. We love the game of basketball. We've been playing the game our whole lives, you know. We're always enjoying ourselves out there."

On getting comfortable with being vocal …
"It's kind of weird. He (Coach Calipari) just wants us to talk more. Really you're not talking for yourself, but for your other teammates."

On playing with more energy and intensity …
"He (Coach Calipari) just wants you to play hard. You have to pick it up and keep playing good at a certain level."

On if he's played as hard as he ever has …
"I'm working as hard as I've ever worked. Coming here to Kentucky, you work hard every day."

On the number of practices …
"It's been real tough because we're having two to three practices a day, just getting used to practicing hard at practice every day. You just try to work on your game, work on your skill set, trying to get better every day."

On if he's seeing improvement in the team …
"Yeah, I think we're starting to see improvement. Everybody has been talking more. People are getting better on defense."

On the adjustment to the college level …
"It's been real tough. We're all working each and every day. There are no days off. You've got to come prepared to work every day."

On preparing for Marshall …
"Yeah we went over a couple of (Marshall's) plays, but we're trying to focus on us and trying to get our stuff down right first."

On what he's individually work on …
"Just during pre-practice drills trying to stay low in my dribble, trying to keep my follow through up on my shot. Just trying to tighten up a few areas."


 

 

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