Knight readjusts game, gets six assists

Team dons black socks to honor Calipari's mom

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 1, 2010 

After the loss to Connecticut, Kentucky Coach John Calipari said he needed to sit down with Brandon Knight and define how the talented freshman should play point guard. UK's victory over Boston U. Tuesday night showed Knight listened.

Knight's 23 points and, more importantly to him, his career-high six assists led UK to a 91-57 victory.

"Getting others involved and running the team," Knight said of the definition he learned. "Creating for others."

Feeding Josh Harrellson at the basket. Forcing help defense by driving into the lane and then passing to an open teammate on the wing. Looking for fellow freshman Terrence Jones on the perimeter.

That sounds like how any point guard should play. But it's not the way Knight played as practically a one-man team for Pine Crest High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"If I didn't score, we weren't going to win," said Knight, who added that the transition to how Calipari wants him to play was not a difficult transition. "It's just a mindset you go into the game with."

Assistant Coach John Robic, who subbed for Calipari in the post-game news conference, said that redefining positions for talented freshmen is nothing new. Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall all needed their games recalibrated.

Knight, who averaged 32.5 points as a high school senior, will still be asked to score. "He's going to score in the flow," Robic said. "He doesn't have to force the action."

Like a proud papa, Robic noted how Knight seemed to take the most satisfaction from his assists against Boston U.

"That's really want I'm trying to focus on," Knight said. "Not simply the assists, but making the right play (and) making the right reads."

Cats wear black

UK players wore black socks to signify their mourning. Calipari's mother, Donna, passed away at age 74 on Sunday.

Before the game, Calipari tweeted his appreciation of the gesture.

"It means a lot to me and is another sign of the kind of superb young men we have in our program," he tweeted. "Thanks to all of (the Big Blue Nation) for your support.

"I'll coach with a heavy heart tonight. But I know my mom is watching from the luxury boxes with a whole crew of UK luminaries cheering along with her."

In addition to Robic doing the post-game news conference chores, assistant Orlando Antigua did the post-game radio show in Calipari's place.

Robic called the black socks "a neat thing and a special thing.

"We're all in this together, and he knows we're there for him."

Free throws improve

UK improved on its 59.7-percent free-throw accuracy by making 17 of 24 (70.8 percent). On the weekly call-in radio show Monday, Robic said that Calipari had ordered all the players to use the same routine in shooting free throws. That seemed to be three bounces of the ball and then shoot.

Robic called free-throw shooting "very important. It's going to come into play" at some point this season, he said.

"The guys tried it their way," Robic said. "Cal said, 'Now, you're going to do it my way."


UK plays next at North Carolina on Saturday. The Cats have lost three straight at Chapel Hill by an average of 14.7 points per game. ...UK improved to 20-0 in Rupp Arena with Calipari as coach.

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