Krebs catches on to dribble-drive
Senior Mark Krebs acknowledged there was a reason not to take bows for the kudos sparked by his performance against Campbellsville on Monday.
"I guess it was not the best thing for the team," said Krebs of a former walk-on singled out for praise for simply playing the way the coach wanted.
UK Coach John Calipari praised Krebs after Monday's game for driving assertively to the basket, which triggers UK's dribble-drive offense. Calipari repeated the verbal pat on the back Thursday.
"I'm glad I wasn't scared and I wasn't nervous," Krebs said. "I did what I need to do. Just do what (Calipari) asks. Play hard and play smart and take it from there."
Krebs, a senior from Newport, noted that he's ill-equipped to deviate from the system and succeed.
"I'm not going to be a flashy player," he said. "I just did what he asked. Run the play he asked. That's about all I could do."
When asked why his more celebrated teammates struggled, Krebs said that nerves might have been a factor.
"I made it a point to stay focused and do what he asked," he said.
Until the next day, Krebs was unaware of Calipari's kind words in the post-game news conference.
"It's nice to know I did the right thing when I was in there," he said. "I guess it's how you build more time. So I guess I'm on the right path."
UK players and Calipari look forward to welcoming freshman John Wall back to active duty against Clarion.
Wall sat out the opening exhibition against Campbellsville as part of the punishment for an agent, his AAU coach Brian Clifton, paying for some recruiting expenses.
Coincidentally or not, UK did not attack the basket against Campbellsville like the dribble-drive requires.
When asked if Wall's absence led to the timid play, Krebs said, "You want to say it didn't mess with it because we're all supposed to pick up the slack. It definitely affects you.
"In the future, we have to take up the slack better."
Calipari noted how seeing Wall play against outside competition for the first time should excite UK fans. The coach also said Wall is the team's vocal leader.
Freshman DeMarcus Cousins wished aloud for the game when Wall and Eric Bledsoe both play. That might not happen against Clarion because Bledsoe might be rested because of a sprained ankle incurred against Campbellsville, Calipari said.
It definitely won't happen in the opener against Morehead State on Nov. 13 because that's the second game Wall must sit out.
"I can't wait till we get them both," Cousins said. "Then we'll have a story."
And the name of that story?
"The unstoppable duo," Cousins said.
After not playing sophomore DeAndre Liggins against Campbellsville, Calipari hinted there might be more benchings against Clarion.
When asked whether all the players would play against Clarion, Calipari said, "Probably not."
He did not say what players might get pine time.
With a smile, Calipari noted how any coach would enjoy wielding the power over playing time.
"That's the greatest thing about being head coach," he said.
Clarion: Small ball
"We're a smallish team," Clarion Coach Ron Righter said. Righter cited guard play as his team's strength. The Golden Eagles might play as many as four guards at once.
Although exhibitions are intended to be one-sided competitions, Le Moyne did beat Syracuse this week.
"We always try to figure out a way to win," Righter said. "We wouldn't come down if we didn't have that down in our belly."
However, the exhibition serves another purpose.
"The biggest thing is some of these kids will never have an opportunity again," the Clarion coach said. "To see, live and breathe a D-I type atmosphere. I want to give them that opportunity.
"If you really compete and lay it on the line, and you're going to play hard in front of fans that are sophisticated, especially in Lexington, They'll appreciate the solid effort. Win, lose or draw, that's what we're looking at."