UK-Florida notes

UK basketball notes: Calipari tiring of Liggins' technicals

Wildcats' Liggins 'shocked' by latest technical foul

jtipton@herald-leader.comFebruary 26, 2011 

Coach John Calipari had a word for the official after UK's DeAndre Liggins, right, was whistled for a technical foul against Arkansas. It was Liggins' second technical in four games.

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

After getting slapped with two technical fouls in the last four games, wing DeAndre Liggins got instruction from Kentucky's coaches.

"We've talked to him," UK Coach John Calipari said Friday. "You've got to stop with any kind of arm-waving."

Calipari was asked whether the last technical came because of a no-call after Liggins got crunched by a screen.

No. What irked Liggins was a personal foul when it appeared Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke initiated contact on a fast-break drive.

"I backed away and let him shoot," Liggins said. "I didn't say anything. I just made a reaction. ... I was shocked he gave me a technical."

Liggins also got a technical foul at Vanderbilt on Feb. 12 when he appeared to direct a comment at the Commodores' bench after scoring.

"I said, 'He can't guard me,' " Liggins said.

Calipari's advice was to let the coaches deal with the referees, Liggins said. "Play ball. Let (Calipari) do a lot of the talking to the refs."

As for appeals to the officials, Calipari said the sometimes passive Cats cannot expect the referees to come to their rescue.

"You give up 15 offensive rebounds in the second half (at Arkansas), it's hard to say anything about anything," Calipari said of player complaints about calls. "Because if I'm them, 'You want that call?! Go get a rebound. I'm not bailing this dude out.' That's what I'd say if I'm officiating the game.

"'You're going to get pushed around and shoved, and expect me to make a call for you? No, I'm making a call against you because I'm watching and saying, I'm not bailing this dude out.'"

Cal's NBA advice

When John Wall was starring for Kentucky last season, Calipari memorably said he'd wrestle the freshman in order to force him to enter the 2010 NBA Draft. The UK coach makes no secret that producing NBA-ready players quickly is part of his recruiting pitch.

When asked if he'd recommend the 2011 NBA Draft to any of this season's freshmen, Calipari paused before saying, "If today, probably not. But we're still a month away (from making a decision)."

Cats KO'd

Calipari tried to create a more aggressive attitude a few weeks ago by having his players punch a heavy bag.

Calipari said Friday that he ordered the heavy bag taken away. Alas, not because the players knocked the stuffing out of it.

"Four guys got hurt," Calipari said, jokingly (?).

Home/away

Just as Florida contrasts sharply with UK in close-game results, the Gators are also much better on the road. While the Cats made history by becoming the first UK team to lose six SEC road games since the league went to divisional play in 1991-92, Florida has won five of six SEC road games.

"Historically, my teams play better on the road," Calipari said. "They felt the challenge of the road and they wanted to ruin people's weekends. And they had a different mentality."

Jones on Powell

After the Arkansas game, Calipari noted that the Hogs' Marshawn Powell outplayed Terrence Jones. Jones said Powell, a 3-for-18 three-point shooter in earlier games, surprised him by making two shots from beyond the arc.

"From what I was told, he didn't make that many threes," Jones said. "Back up a little."

On the plus side, Powell only scored two baskets in the game's final 18 minutes.

"I just knew I wasn't going to let him be the reason we lost," Jones said.

Jones, Knight finalists

UK's Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight are two of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award, voted on by the United States Basketball Writers Association, the school announced Friday.

Baylor's Perry Jones III, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Texas' Tristan Thompson are the other finalists this season.

Terrence Jones leads the Cats in rebounding (9.1), blocked shots (53) and double-doubles (10). He's averaging 17.6 points, second behind Knight (17.7). Knight has set UK freshman records for 20-point games with 12 and consecutive games in double figures with 22. He ranks third in the SEC in scoring and second in assists with 4.0 per game.

Last season, UK All-American John Wall became the first Cat to win the award, which has been given out since 1988-89.

Etc.

Florida will be playing its second game in less than 72 hours. The Gators are also in the midst of their second stretch of three games in a six-day period. So far, so good. Florida beat Auburn, Arkansas and Georgia in six days in January. Florida beat Georgia to start this busy stretch that ends Tuesday with a home game against Alabama. ... UK is 3-2 against ranked opponents, but 0-2 against ranked SEC opponents. The losses came at Florida and at Vanderbilt. ... Florida, which is already assured of the No. 1 seed from the Eastern Division, can clinch the divisional title outright by beating Kentucky or if Vandy loses at LSU. ... Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner will call the game for CBS.

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