When it comes to Perry Stevenson, Kentucky Coach Billy Gillispie expects more production but isn't sure how to get it.
"I don't see why he shouldn't be a double-digit scorer and (grab) six, eight rebounds a game," the UK coach said at a Tuesday night news conference. "We're not getting nearly enough from him right now."
Stevenson did not grab a single rebound in 24 minutes against West Virginia on Saturday. He's scored 16 points in the last five games and grabbed 11 rebounds in the last four.
Gillispie acknowledged playing good cop and bad cop to spur Stevenson.
"I don't think there's any rhyme or reason" to what turns on Stevenson, the UK coach said. "I can't read his mind. I know he's intelligent and capable."
At a Monday news conference, Gillispie suggested that Stevenson might be "over-analytical." When he believes UK needs him most, he responds.
That kind of attitude, plus good free-throwing (78.3-percent accuracy this season) and a reliable sense of being in the right position mean Stevenson will be on the floor at crunch time, Gillispie said.
But as far as figuring out how to bring consistent production from Stevenson, Gillispie sounded like a defeated man.
"I don't know if anyone, including his mother, knows what really makes him tick," the UK coach said.
Meeks happy, but ...
Jodie Meeks smiled when asked about being named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week for last week.
"Oh, I'm happy," he said. "It's a big honor. I'm happy for all the hard work I did."
But, he added, there's a limit to the good feeling.
"After that, I'm just trying to focus on the next play," he said.
At Houston last year, Joe Crawford found himself alone as several Cougar players shot him menacing looks. This was much to Gillispie's chagrin.
But when Patterson found himself face to face with West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler, his teammates rushed to his side. Patterson noted how Meeks, DeAndre Liggins, Josh Harrellson and Michael Porter came to his aid. Meeks cautioned him against getting a technical, which would have been his fifth foul.
When asked if he recalled the contrast with the Houston game, Patterson said, "Oh, yeah. I remember that from last year."
In the WVU game, "It wasn't even two seconds and all my teammates were around me," he said. "We're out there to protect each other."
One of the hoariest coaching axioms is a team plays the way it practices. But Gillispie said that UK defies that theory so far this season.
"Usually practice is a direct indicator of how you play," he said. "You don't have to hope."
So far this season the Cats have practiced well, then turned the ball over an average of 23 times a game.
"I'm very surprised by some of the mistakes we've made," Gillispie said. "I'm a little bit nervous about the trend we've seen so far."
Despite the turnovers and practice/game disconnect, the Cats have rode competitive spirit to a 4-2 record, the coach said.
Kentucky faces an odd stretch of the schedule in which there are three games in five days: Lamar Wednesday, Miami on Saturday and Mississippi Valley State on Sunday.
Gillispie dismissed the notion of coaching differently to preserve the players' stamina.
Meeks shrugged off any concern about the UK players' legs tiring.
"Not really," he said. "I think this is when all the hard practices and boot camp and pre-season work (become) factors."