Young Cats adjust to 'growing process'

Calipari weathers trial-and-error period

jtipton@herald-leader.comOctober 28, 2010 

Before shooting a three-pointer in the Blue-White Scrimmage Tuesday, freshman Terrence Jones glanced at Kentucky Coach John Calipari as if to ask permission.

"Well, we have rules in practice," Jones said when asked about the hesitation. "Usually if the (defender's) hands are down, he wants you to shoot it. But I know with me that is not the case. He wants me to drive to the basket.

"So that is what I was just thinking in my head when I had the ball."

Such is the trial and error of intrasquad scrimmages and however many more games it takes for college basketball teams to function at peak efficiency. That seemed even more the case for a freshman-oriented team like UK.

"I stopped him a couple of times because he took a couple he didn't need to take," Calipari said in his post-game news conference. "If the ball is driven in the lane and it's thrown out to him, I'm fine with that.

"But if the ball is swung and he should be driving the ball and he's just jacking up a three because he's not in the mode to attack, you've got to come out."

Jones and fellow freshman Brandon Knight combined for 66 points as stars of the scrimmage. Knight led all scorers with 37 points, making 14 of 20 shots.

But Calipari shared a correction he gave Knight.

"The only thing I've told him (was) you can't go in there and throw your body into a player and shoot the ball," the UK coach said. "Because the officials will not give you that call in college. You're not getting it...

"So you know now, if you don't think you can get to the rim and play up to the bump, shoot at the foul line (or) shoot a runner. Don't go in there and throw your body and just like hit the floor because what will happen (is) not only will you miss it, but you'll be our first line of defense."

That meant that laying prone on the floor can be a poor start to getting back on defense.

Knight called the 34 misses at the end of drives a part of the "growing process" this Kentucky team must experience. "Getting acquainted with the offense," he said.

The growing process includes Calipari, who said he must adjust to having such a good shooting point guard in Knight.

For his part, Knight said he must become a more vocal floor leader.

"I feel I can be a quiet leader for right now," he said. "But I think over time I can become more vocal. I'm trying to get more acquainted with the atmosphere and grow into it."

After leading Kentucky in scoring (24.3 ppg) on the August exhibition series in Canada, Knight carries outsized expectations going into this coming season.

Jones, too, is expected to play an integral part of Kentucky's success, even more so if the NCAA does not rule Enes Kanter eligible.

When asked if he felt more responsibility to produce in Kanter's absence, Jones said, "I feel it. Coach Cal wants everybody on the team to rebound now because we don't have one player who's going to get a lot of rebounds."

However many rebounds Jones gets, his teammates expect big things once he fully adjusts.

"A versatile player," Knight said of Jones. "He creates mismatches across the board. I don't think anybody in the country can guard him."

Cal unplugs Harrellson

Josh Harrellson complained via Twitter about not getting a compliment from Calipari after grabbing 26 rebounds in the Blue-White Scrimmage.

"Either we are the worst offensive rebounding team in America or he's gotten better," Calipari said in his post-game news conference.

This prompted Harrellson to tweet, "yes he has been working hard this off season. . . It is just amazing to me but I look past it and keep trucking! You can't stop this train!!!"

Harrellson's Twitter account was shut down Wednesday.

Calipari sent two tweets.

"Please don't fault Josh. He's never dealt w/ how to handle success. I promoted him to the 1st team & told the team to applaud his effort."

A moment later, the UK coach added, "I'm looking for consistency in practice, scrimmages & games. He won't be tweeting until he's responsible enough to handle success & failure."

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