UK notes: Trip a great value at $35,000

Slighted Bello a close friend of top target Quincy Miller

jtipton@herald-leader.comAugust 17, 2010 

WINDSOR, Ontario — When John Calipari shook the hand of his counterpart for Windsor after Tuesday's game, the Kentucky coach offered high praise.

"It would be a little crazy for some team to go to Europe rather than come to Windsor," Windsor Coach Chris Oliver said in relaying the conversation to reporters. "I love that comment. We want to keep doing this."

Calipari sounded all but ready to sign up for another exhibition series in Canada in the future. In short, UK got 10 extra days of practice for a freshman-oriented team and the relatively inexpensive and low-stress trip across the border from Detroit.

"I'll tell you what, we just got a lot of work done," said Calipari, who noted how he did not want the head start to lead to peaking too early. So he said he might give the players as much as two weeks off before resuming basketball activities.

The trip left Calipari assured that "We're not a November team in December." In other words, UK won't be behind in its development.

"A couple things I needed to learn about the team, and I did," said Calipari, who declined to identify those two things. The UK coach said "a couple guys" must decide to step up their effort and production or accept less significant roles. The coaches also learned that a couple of other players looked lost and will need to have defined roles.

Josh Harrellson noted the bonding and conditioning benefits to playing three games in 42 hours here.

Added DeAndre Liggins, "It's big for the freshmen because the freshmen now know what Coach Cal expects them to do."

To Calipari, the trip benefited UK as a means to advertise its goal of becoming a top-20 research institution. The basketball program got an exclusive chance to show prospects what opportunities might exist with the Cats.

"If you watch us, and you're a player, you don't want to play here?" Calipari said in putting on his salesman hat. "He lets them play."

UK also benefited from the low-risk competition.

"Do you think I really want to play the national team of Greece and get beat by 100," Calipari said. "I'd recommend this to everybody. This is a heck of a thing. We had a great time. People treated us great and we got better. ...

"It was the best $35,000 our school has ever invested."

19 rebounds, four steals

Harrellson grabbed 19 rebounds Tuesday. "Every timeout, Coach (Kenny) Payne kept saying, keep getting every rebound," Harrellson said. "Every rebound is yours. Don't let anybody take it from you."

Harrellson also made four steals, twice swiping feeds into the post by anticipating the pass as Calipari advised the night before. It helped that Harrellson did not stand behind the post player he guarded.

Dodson to return?

In the middle of an answer to a question, Harrellson slipped in that Darnell Dodson would rejoin the Kentucky team.

When told of Harrellson's comment, Calipari said, "Darnell may be back. But he won't be playing. And I don't know if he'll even be practicing."

Calipari said he had not spoken directly to Dodson.

Earlier this year, UK announced that Dodson had been given a choice to return to UK, but not play this coming season. Or receive UK's help to transfer.

Jones goes home

Unable to play because of a rib injury, freshman Terrence Jones caught a flight to his native Portland, Ore., on Tuesday morning.

Fans saluted

UK fans filled the St. Denis Centre for all three games.

"They came from everywhere just to watch us play in an exhibition that didn't even matter," Harrellson said. "We don't even have the whole team together. Our first year (2008-09), everybody knows we weren't very good and they were still there."

Media friendly

In anticipation of the media coverage of Kentucky's team, Windsor officials converted a space in the St. Denis Centre into a work area for reporters. "Obviously, you guys are happy, too," Windsor Coach Chris Oliver said.

Box score correction

The official box score showed Brandon Knight with 27 points and Doron Lamb with 23.

However, several reporters had Knight and Lamb with 25 points each.

After speaking with reporters, Windsor officials gave the OK to credit Knight and Lamb with 25 points each.

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