UK notes

UK basketball notes: Calipari demands more from Jones

jtipton@herald-leader.comJanuary 4, 2011 

Good isn't good enough when it comes to the play of freshmen Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari wants more intensity from Jones and more consistent play from Knight.

"We've got to get him playing with more intensity ... ," Calipari said of Jones. "We've got to have him playing a little more physical."

Speaking on a Southeastern Conference coaches' teleconference Monday, Calipari said he had a plan to deal with Jones. He said he would banish the freshman to a treadmill away from the court if he saw Jones jog or raise up out of a defensive stance.

"I'm just not going to let him back up anymore," Calipari said. "He has to develop better habits. I told him, 'You're capable of dominating games, and you're just not doing it. And it's because of how you practice.' "

While noting the improvement Knight has made this season, Calipari said all of his star point guards the past few seasons needed a transition period to become better college players.

Knight needed to limit the times he broke away from the offense and free-lanced, the UK coach said. Knight also needed to reduce, if not eliminate careless turnovers and become a better defender.

"When he does that, I think you'll see the team take that next step up," the UK coach said.

After Kentucky beat Penn, Calipari acknowledged his never-satisfied attitude toward the players.

"I think if you demand a lot, you get a lot," he said. "If you accept mediocrity, you'll get it every single time."

Pearl to sit

Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl begins his eight-game SEC suspension on Saturday when the Vols play at Arkansas. Assistant Tony Jones will be acting head coach.

"The only thing that changes is Tony Jones will get a better whistle than I will," Pearl quipped.

That comment was the exception to the sober tone Pearl used in discussing the suspension imposed by the SEC for breaking rules and then lying to NCAA investigators.

Pearl said he would not be involved in any game-day activities, but he expected to talk to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive later in the week to learn such details about the suspension as whether he can travel to away games with the team.

When asked if he might send text messages to his assistants during games or at halftime, Pearl said, "No. Certainly that wouldn't be in the framework (of the suspension)."

In addition to Jones as acting coach, assistant Jason Shay will take responsibility for the offense and Steve Forbes for defense and substitutions.

Pearl noted how coaches prefer to maintain the same preparation for each game.

"The only thing different is I won't be at the arena," he said, "and we'll be a man down."

Miller All-SEC?

Calipari noted Darius Miller's stat-filled line: 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists (which tied a career high), two blocks and two steals. But as he has in the past, the UK coach saw MIller capable of much more.

"In the first half, he didn't go after any ball," Calipari said. "He was just flopping around on the court. Next guy!"

Calipari benched Miller to start the second half.

"I think he should be an all-league player," Calipari said. "But it doesn't matter what I think or you think. It's what he thinks."

SEC honors Cats

The SEC announced Josh Harrellson as its Player of the Week for last week and Brandon Knight as its Freshman of the Week.

Harrellson scored a career-high 23 points in UK's victory at Louisville on Friday. He also equaled a career high of 14 rebounds.

Knight averaged 21 points and six assists in victories over Coppin State and Louisville.

This announcement marked the second straight week Kentucky swept the SEC's weekly awards. Doron Lamb was the SEC Player of the Week the previous week and Knight was Freshman of the Week.

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