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Tag:John Calipari
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:09 pm
 

Kentucky vs. NBA's Raptors: Not an easy call

By Jeff Goodman

Maybe I'm nuts to think a college group could hang with an NBA team, but I'm not so sure. 

Check out the Toronto Raptors starting unit last night against the Boston Celtics -- and tell me you wouldn't take John Calipari's first five over the Raptors. 

Not just for the future, but maybe even right now. 

The Raptors backcourt was Spanish point guard Jose Calderon and athletic freak DeMar DeRozan. The frontcourt: James Johnson, Ed Davis and Aaron Gray. 

Pitiful. 

I understand Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are just freshmen, but it's not like Davis and DeRozan are grown men, either. Both are just 22 years old. Johnson is 24 and Gray is 26. 

I'd take Davis over Gray in a heartbeat. Yes, today. I'd also go with Gilchrist over Davis -- today, tomorrow and every day thereafter. 

Calderon blows away Marquis Teague at this juncture and we'll give a slight nod to Johnson over Terrence "Mr. Enigma" Jones, but not if Jones' head is actually into the game. 

Then there's the matter of DeRozan vs. Doron Lamb. DeRozan is a terrific athlete and virtually a non-shooter. Lamb is a big-time shooter. Completely different players, but I'll go with DeRozan. 

So maybe Calipari's current edition down in Lexington wouldn't come out on top against the Raptors, but they'd certainly give them a run for their money. 

Posted on: December 26, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Want to watch UK practice? Today you can

By Gary Parrish

Ever wanted to watch John Calipari run a basketball practice?

If so, today is your lucky day.

Because the Kentucky Wildcats will take the court at around 5:30 p.m. ET, and the entire practice will be streamed live at this link. To my knowledge, no other high-major program has ever done such a thing on a random December day, but it should surprise nobody that Calipari is doing it. The man is always trying to come up with new ways to market and promote his program, and this is merely the latest example. He'll have recruits all over the country on the internet looking in why the AP's third-ranked team practices at the Craft Center, and those recruits will see all those banners representing national championships while they're watching. It's almost like an unofficial visit without the expenses. It's innovative and wise.

Will it be like a real Calipari practice?

Honestly, I doubt it.

I spent four years sitting in on pretty much every practice Calipari conducted at Memphis as his beat writer at The Commercial Appeal, and there's two things I learned while doing it. One is that he's a way better coach than most realize. The other is that virgin ears should be kept away. So my guess is that Calipari will tone down the language and run a simple practice designed to do nothing more than get his players moving around a little post-Christmas break. But it'll still be worth checking out, you know, just in case Terrence Jones starts being kinda selfish.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:20 pm
 

UK-IU draws 3.5 million viewers



By Gary Parrish


John Calipari spent part of last week publicly discussing the possibility of ending one of his high-profile home-and-home series -- either with Louisville, North Carolina or Indiana.

The Kentucky coach has his reasons, of course. One of them is that the SEC will move from 16 to 18 league games next year. Another is Calipari's strong desire to play more made-for-TV neutral-site games. So I get it. Honestly, I do. But I still hope all three series remain, and college basketball fans in general seem to agree because 3.5 million people watched Saturday's tilt between the Wildcats and Indiana.

That's a low number for "Jersey Shore."

But it's a massive pull for college basketball.

What Kentucky-Indiana provided was a game between two undefeated teams from two tradition-rich schools at an on-campus arena, and the importance of that last little detail can't be overstated. Take the same game -- and the same Christian Watford buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave Indiana a victory over the top-ranked Wildcats -- and put it at Madison Square Garden, and it loses something. Because the location mattered. It provided the type of atmosphere that makes college basketball special, and it created the postgame celebration that most of us will remember forever. I like that. And it's only possible with a home-and-home series between power programs.

Truth be told, we don't have enough of those these days.

That's why it would stink to lose one of the really, really good ones.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Kentucky's Lamb says 'Cats are more talented

By Jeff Goodman

LEXINGTON, Ky. - John Calipari delivered the message - over and over - about North Carolina's experience while Terrence Jones kept a stone-face while attempting to convey that this was just another game. Senior Darius Miller said all the correct things. 

Doron Lamb. 

He told the truth. No filter. No BS. 

"I think we're more talented offensively and defensively," Lamb said less than 24 hours before top-ranked Kentucky welcomes North Carolina to Rupp Arena.

And what about the two backcourts, Doron?  How do you think they stack up against one another?

"I think we're way more talented," he said. 

I wonder if Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland will get a look-see at those comments when they arrive in Lexington. 

Unlike Jones and even Miller to an extent - who both downplayed the significance of this game - Lamb spoke the truth. To be honest, it's refreshing.

"It's a big game for us," Lamb said. "We want to try and keep our No. 1 spot." 

This was supposed to be a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2. UNLV ruined that when the Running Rebels pulled the upset over North Carolina a week or so ago in Vegas. Now the Tar Heels enter the contest at No. 5 in the country, but the numbers don't matter. 

"You want games like this because they help you learn about your team," Calipari said. 

Calipari is all about spin, but that's not spin. 

No one is really going to care about who won this game if these two teams meet again in April 2 in New Orleans -- as many anticipate to be the case. Both teams will likely be No. 1 seeds entering the NCAA tournament come March and these two clubs will have a different look to them in four months time. 

This game is about figuring out your team's deficiencies and trying to correct - or at least - soften them. For North Carolina, it'll be whether they are able to defend and match Kentucky's toughness - among other things. For Kentucky, it'll be whether Marquis Teague can play with poise - and whether Terrence Jones truly is a different player from a year ago -- also among other things. 

Calipari and Roy Williams won't commit to continuing this series, using their league slate and other non-conference matchups as an excuse to halt the matchup. So this could be it for a while - so we need to enjoy it. 

"The moment I saw it on the schedule, I started looking forward to this game," Lamb said. "Everybody's been talking about it." 

Lamb and just about every diehard college hoops fan. You've got no shortage of potential lottery picks -- Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for Kentucky and Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller with North Carolina - in addition to plenty of others with NBA futures. It'll take place in arguably the most electric environment in college basketball: Rupp Arena. 

It won't be a methodical affair as was the case in the previous game for both teams, when North Carolina had to grind one out against Wisconsin and Kentucky was forced to watch St. John's milk the clock in an effort to stay in the game. 

Williams and Calipari have athletes - and they let them go. 

This should be terrific. 

Any predictions, Doron?

"We win," he said with a smile. "And leave the arena by 3 p.m.. -- and then I enjoy my day off Sunday."  

Posted on: November 20, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Even Kentucky has its limitations right now



By Matt Norlander

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — There wasn’t one minute that went by Sunday afternoon when I didn’t think about just how freakily athletic Anthony Davis was. Or how staunch Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played. Or how yoked Terrence Jones became in the offseason.

It was my first time seeing UK since last year’s Final Four lost to Connecticut. Team looked good. Looked physical, intimidating and about the closest thing to an NBA collection of talent we’ll be seeing this season.

But despite all that skill, Kentucky merely managed an ugly, 62-52 win over Old Dominion. The game was in doubt until the final five minutes. There’s already talk — planted proudly and publicly by John Calipari — that ODU provided the blueprint for how to handle Kentucky. Ah, that mystical documentation that decodes Big Blue. Each season, it’s the Holy Grail.

Hogwash, largely. Teams are going to beat Kentucky this year be either A ) Shooting incredibly efficiently, B) Having at least two NBA players on their roster, C) Food poisoning. Old Dominion used its system and had its guys up for the biggest or second-biggest game it will play this season. Kentucky was playing in front of 3,000 people, for the second straight day, in a far-away arena in the middle of Nowhere, Connecticut.

“Kansas, we were really pumped up because we were playing at the Garden. We were just amped,” Davis said. “Here, you know, we were amped, but we weren’t ready to go.”

I can’t take much from this kind of win. I just came here to watch a team that’s quickly becoming college basketball’s version of The Beatles. The amount of Kentucky fans here was truly reprehensible — Connecticut isn’t worth a trip, folks — and you can already see how possible (and easy?) it could eventually be for Kentucky to get to back-to-back Final Fours. Right now, the team’s following a pattern that’s existed the past two years, Darius Miller said.

“It’s kind of the same. The last two years we’ve struggled early on to figure out what we were going to do,” Miller said. “Eventually we’re going to find out exactly how we want to play, everybody’ s going to have their role and know what they need to do.”

What I learned: Kentucky can’t always dictate the terms by which it will win this year. And when a team has five or six future pros, that’s pretty amazing. But the youth and all that, you know? You get that young, you don’t deserve the right to say how and why you will win or lose. UK couldn’t push it, no matter how hard they tried. I can’t help but think of North Carolina played Old Dominion on a neutral court in three days that the Tar Heels would put up 75 with ease.

UNC has a point guard with experience and savvy. Kentucky has Marquis Teague, a flashy player who played god-awful Sunday. Teague had a stat correlation no one ever wants: as many points as turnovers (six).

For more than an hour, Old Dominion made it a fun game. An ugly one, but still fun.

“The only thing I regret is those last five minutes could have been an awful lot of fun,” Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor said. “We worked pretty hard the first 35 to get to the last five, and then we didn’t get to have fun down the stretch.”

Taylor’s team shook UK’s mental toughness. Jones and Davis were genuinely challenged and rattled at times. It’s what Calipari want to see right now—a team threaten his team without really threatening them. Kentucky does no good to itself by rolling fools to the tune of 96-63 each night.

Kentucky pasted Penn State Saturday, and what can we take from that? Nothing, really. Penn State's young and rebuilding. Old Dominion has some experience, an idea of what it can do.

“When you’re winning by 50 you can kind of put cotton in your ears sometimes,” Taylor said. “Not very many people had zoned them. So, one they hadn’t seen it … I thought we were kind of catching them at a point where we didn’t know what they were going to do or react. And they’re used to having their way, and the zone didn’t let them have their way, or give them immediate gratification, which they’re used to.”

“I think it’s just chemistry, to tell you the truth,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “It’s the chemistry on the court. We’re still figuring stuff out and we’re very young. But we’re very and we’re going to be very good. I’m not worrying about anything.”

Posted on: November 11, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: November 11, 2011 11:23 am
 

The SEC POY was out later than you last night

By Gary Parrish

John Calipari has long preached that "nothing good happens after midnight."

I disagree.

Because some of the very best things that ever happened to me happened well after midnight, and I wouldn't trade those memories for all the Final Fours in the world. That said, I do recognize the point the Kentucky coach is always trying to make, and I'll bet you five bucks Calipari repeats that motto at least 47 times between now and when the Wildcats open the season tonight against Marist.

Yes, UK opens tonight.

And yet Terrence Jones -- the preseason SEC Player of the Year -- was out and about in Lexington at 2:30 this morning, which is around the time he was, along with teammate Stacey Poole, involved in a traffic accident that sent both to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. To be clear, there's no indication Jones and Poole were at fault; they were apparently hit by an intoxicated driver operating on the wrong side of the road. Calipari posted on his website that no evidence of drugs or alcohol were found on Jones or Poole (or in their vehicle). So it appears this is simply a case of two people being at the wrong place at the wrong time -- although Jones needs to explain why he left the scene of the accident because the only public explanation given to date doesn't make much sense to the rational (and unbiased) mind.

Calipari said Jones left the scene out of "fear of an altercation with the driver of the oncoming vehicle," but who does that? Seriously, who has ever done that? Have you ever done that? I know I've never done that. I can't tell you I've never had friends or heard about people leaving the scene of an early morning accident, but they've always had a reason to do it, and their reasons are usually along the same lines. Never once heard about somebody leaving the scene -- and leaving a friend, much less a teammate -- out of fear of an altercation, especially when that somebody is 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. But I guess there's a first time for everything. Perhaps this is that first time. Perhaps.

Either way, what was Terrence Jones thinking?

Not about leaving the scene.

About being out so late the night before the season-opener.

When literally the only thing anybody questions about you as a basketball player is your ability to be mature and lead, it seems like you'd want to start eliminating those questions heading into your sophomore season, and being out in the middle of the night less than 24 hours before the opener doesn't do that. It only validates the questions and makes things worse. Jones, simply put, has to be smarter.

I still think he's a terrific talent.

I still think he'll be an All-American.

But popping around town at 2:30 a.m. the night before a game with a guy who is reportedly close to leaving the program can't possibly be a good sign, and it's a helluva way to start what could be a helluva season. Nothing good happens after midnight? Again, I disagree. But if I were a basketball coach, I'd probably say that a bunch, too.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: November 1, 2011 11:54 am
 

Report: Creator of Dribble Drive leaving UMass

By Jeff Goodman

The creator of the Dribble Drive is leaving UMass.

Vance Walberg, who was brought on by Derek Kellogg shortly after he got the job three years ago, will be leaving the staff.

At least that's the case, according to Matt Vatour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

Kellogg told CBSSports.com a couple weeks ago that he was going to cut down on the amount of the Dribble Drive this season - and that may have played into the decision.

Walberg was the head coach at Clovis West, Fresno City College and also had a brief stint as the head coach at Pepperdine, where he was 14-35 in two years.

His offense became renowned largely due to the success of John Calipari - who implemented it while at Memphis.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Terrence Jones erupts for 52 in scrimmage

By Jeff Goodman

I've always maintained there's no better used car salesman than John Calipari.

He can sell ice to an eskimo, sell hair gel to Chris Mack and, well, you get the point.

But maybe the Kentucky coach was on point when he said that he couldn't imagine there's a better player in college basketball than Terrence Jones.

Sure, it was just an intrasquad scrimmage.

But Jones went for 52 points on Wednesday night.

Jones was an insane 24-of-31 from the field, 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and 2-of-5 from the line. Oh yeah, he also grabbed 16 boards and dished out six assists.

We need to put this in context.

Jones' team scored 126 points.

It was a glorified scrimmage.

But still. By all accounts, Jones looks like a different player - maybe even more dominant than the one that came out of the gates a year ago.

I say some of the credit needs to go to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Gilchrist doesn't get outworked by anyone in terms of effort. Jones' weakness has always been an inconsistent ticker.

However, maybe Gilchrist is exactly what was necessary for Jones to fulfill his potential, the one that could have him at or near the top of June's NBA Draft.

The reports were that the No. 1 freshman in the country, 6-foot-11 Anthony Davis, was the one given the task of trying to contain Jones.

Davis put up 27 points and 13 boards in the scrimmage, but it'll still take some time for him to acclimate himself to the college game.

Fellow frosh Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Marquis Teague had 19 points and nine assists and Kyle Wiltjer went for 27 points and 11 boards.

Here's one reason not to put too much stock in an intrasquad scrimmage: Eloy Vargas had 16 rebounds.

Photo: AP
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com