UK basketball notes: Cats advised to make autographs personal

jtipton@herald-leader.comOctober 14, 2011 

A reporter at Kentucky's Media Day on Thursday asked freshman Anthony Davis if he'd observed unusual behavior by UK fans. Davis recalled an example of free enterprise at work.

A fan asked him and other UK players to sign basketballs, Davis said. After the autograph, the fan noted, "Thanks, I'm using it to pay for school."

UK advised players to not simply sign their names in the future.

"After that, we sign something to whomever it is," Davis said. "So they won't be able to sell it."

Body sculpting

Several UK players noted how they worked on their bodies.

For instance, Davis said he had gained 15 pounds.

Terrence Jones said he had managed to put on weight while slimming down and becoming trimmer. Or as Jones put it, he went from a high school guy to a player with a "college body."

"Not as small anymore," he said. "In high school, you don't touch weights."

Freshman point guard Marquis Teague said he arrived at UK weighing 170 pounds and now tips the scales at 187.

"Trying to get a lot stronger," he said. "It helps to be able to take more contact. Defensively, I can pressure the ball a lot better (and) not get knocked around."

Lockout helps UK

UK players touted the benefit of having played against NBA players this fall.

Several NBA players, primarily members of the Oklahoma City Thunder, worked out in Lexington earlier this fall. Those workouts included pickup games involving UK players.

"Nothing's better," Stacey Poole said of the benefits derived from such games.

Added Jones: "It gave us more confidence as a team going into the season."

But Jones tempered his comments when asked about competing with LeBron James.

"It's hard to compare open gym against really playing him in a NBA game," Jones said.

Smartly aggressive

Point guard presents an interesting dynamic for Kentucky.

The presumed point guard, Teague, plays so aggressively he's been called "a pit bull" by Coach John Calipari.

Yet, UK will have to scramble to find a backup point guard should Teague get in foul trouble.

"I think I'm over-aggressive," Teague said. "... (Calipari) says I need to pick and choose.

"He still wants me to play aggressive defense. But I have to watch myself. If I get one quick foul, back off a little bit."

Teague welcomed the "pit bull" tag and the snarling connotation that goes with it.

"He says that because I play defense aggressively," Teague said. "I pick up people full court, try to get into them (and) try to make them mad."

Busy man/bushy man

Sophomore Doron Lamb had noticeably longer hair.

"Don't have time for haircuts," said Lamb, who noted how much time he and his teammates had been spending in the gym. "As of now, I might not ever cut it."

Media relations

With a cluster of reporters standing in front of him, Jones noted how UK had schooled the players on what to say — and what not to say — to the media.

And what was the advice?

"I don't remember," Jones said with a smile.

When a reporter suggested that Jones and the UK players might be counting down the minutes in the hour-long Media Day session, Jones said with a deadpan expression, "I don't look at the clock."

Then, he added, "We have 14 minutes (remaining)."

Cal aggravates?

When asked about angering Louisville fans by becoming the latest UK coach to declare the program pre-eminent in Kentucky, Calipari said, "I'm not trying to, I'm just coaching my team. That's what I do.

"I work here at the University of Kentucky, and I coach my team. That seems to aggravate a lot of people."

Reporters laughed. Then another question prompted Calipari to say, "I was still thinking about what I said. Tell me that again."

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service