UK notes: Jones warming up to Cal's coaching

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 22, 2010 

Bad pre-game nap. Bad warm-up. Bad shot. Bad fouls. Bad something.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari finds plenty of areas where freshman Terrence Jones can improve. In UK's victory over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, it was negligible first-half production and a poor warm-up for the second half. Jones figures it will be something else when the Cats play Winthrop on Wednesday.

"I just know it's going to be something different each game," Jones said Tuesday. "Something I'm doing wrong.

"I'm comfortable with it. I believe in whatever he's saying. I just try to adjust."

When asked if he did what Calipari said because the UK coach's advice works or to simply follow orders, Jones said, "Both.

"If I don't do it, I'm not going to play. And I believe it helps me as a player."

More than one Wildcat has drawn Calipari's ire for poor warm-ups. During the August exhibition tour of Canada, it was another freshman, Doron Lamb.

"I know the coaches are watching us warm up and telling if we're having a good warm-up or not," Jones said.

What Jones called bad "body language" has gotten him a do-better lecture.

"Pretty much like I'm not looking at whoever's talking," Jones said in defining the bad body language. "... He doesn't like me to do anything that looks like I'm not focused."

Most notably, Calipari chastised Jones for taking a nap on the morning Kentucky played at North Carolina.

So no more sleeping the day of a game.

That was a carryover from high school, Jones said.

In acknowledging his day-of-games naps, Jones said, "It depended on who we were playing." Then he added, "We usually won."

Fine and dandy, said Calipari, who noted that high school days are over.

"This is not AAU," the UK coach said. "There's not another game at 3. There's not another game at 7. We're not going to McDonald's to get a burger and jag around (nor think), 'Don't worry about warming up. Just go play.'"

Kanter to sue NCAA?

Calipari said on his radio show Monday night that Enes Kanter could sue in hopes of a court slapping an injunction on the NCAA's ruling that Kanter is permanently ineligible.

When asked about the lawsuit option by reporters Tuesday, Calipari feigned ignorance.

"Did I say sue?" he said.

When reporters nodded in the affirmative, Calipari said, "Wow, strong statement."

A lawsuit would be an option for Kanter and his family to consider, the UK coach said. Earlier this year, the NCAA ruled Kanter permanently ineligible because he played three seasons for a professional team in his native Turkey. UK appealed that ruling, then asked that the NCAA reopen the case to hear "new information." Calipari did not sound optimistic of the NCAA granting Kanter his eligibility.

"Obviously, that's an option for them," Calipari said of a hypothetical lawsuit filed by Kanter and his family. "An injunction to say, hey, this isn't fair."

Of the legal action he mentioned on his call-in radio show Monday night, the UK coach said, "There's a lot of things I throw out (as) food for thought. I like to encourage people to think."

Dominican coach?

Calipari neither embraced nor rejected blog speculation that he could be approached to coach the Dominican Republic national team.

The speculation began after Louisville Coach Rick Pitino got into serious discussions about coaching the Puerto Rican national team. Pitino ultimately accepted the job.

Calipari told reporters Tuesday that he had not been approached about coaching the Dominican Republic team. He stopped short of ruling out interest in the job, saying that coaching any national team would be an honor.

When asked if he would consider such a job if asked, Calipari said, "I don't even know the time frame. So I can't even tell you that.

"No one has approached me about coaching anybody's (national team) or being a consultant for a national team whether it be China or someone else."

More than once in his two seasons as Kentucky coach, Calipari has lamented how summer recruiting intrudes on time he could spend with his family. When a reporter noted that coaching a national team would similarly take away family time, Calipari said, "You have a good point."

Etc.

■ The game against Winthrop starts at 1 p.m. so players can get out of town Wednesday for trips home for the holidays. The players are due back for practice on Sunday.

■ Dave Baker and Kyle Macy will call the game on television.

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