LEXINGTON — John Calipari knew Kentucky would not be a great rebounding team this year after losing DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton to the NBA draft. However, the UK coach thought the Wildcats would rebound better.
“That’s an ongoing issue. The biggest thing is the rebound attempts against Tennessee and Florida are so glaring. Just attempting, listen to me … attempt. All we are asking is for you to attempt to get the ball,” Calipari said. “We had guys rebounding 25 to 30 percent of the time, and they were our three (small forward), our four (power forward) and our five (center).”
He said in the win over Tennessee on Tuesday, the effort was much better. On offense, he wants players trying to tip in missed shots. On defense, he wants all five players going after the ball.
“Now we have a chance to out-rebound the other team. Before we didn’t even have a chance. So again, it is on them? No. That’s why I put those (rebounding) rims up (in practice),” Calipari said Thursday. “Every shot we take, none of them were going in. ‘Why didn’t you go after that rebound?’ ‘Because I thought it was going to go in.’
“Unless you can get it through a pinhole, it’s not going in. There’s a rim in there. So we are trying to get them to develop some different habits.”
Unhappy: Vanderbilt has had to play Thursday-Saturday games the last two weeks, something Vandy coach Kevin Stallings obviously does not like since UK played Tuesday and has two extra days rest.
“Everybody in the league except for Kentucky has to do it (play Thursday-Saturday). I am pretty sure Kentucky does not have any Thursday games,” Stallings said last week.
Stallings may have taken another jab at Calipari and his media presence this week when asked about having to do live in-game interviews for ESPN.
“It was brought up at our league meetings that was something ESPN had a desire to do and we were encouraged to be willing participants, so we agreed that we would be. There are some coaches who love to see themselves on camera, but in general it is not something coaches would prefer to do,” Stallings said.
“We agreed to do it and that’s what we have got. It’s a little run-off from the NBA and things they are doing. A concept that might make our game more enjoyable to people watching on television. My preference would be not to do it, but if that is what we agreed to do then we need to do it.”
Kanter update: Enes Kanter did not make trips to Mississippi and Florida with Kentucky for recent games before returning to the bench for Tuesday’s win over Tennessee.
However, there was not a problem. Instead, Kanter opted to say in Lexington to take care of academic work.