UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky’s ‘ultimate professional’ works to return to active duty

Five takeaways from media interviews previewing Kentucky’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday night:

1. Assistant coach Joel Justus, who substituted for John Calipari, called Reid Travis “the ultimate professional” in the approach to rehabilitating the right knee he sprained at Missouri a week ago. But no one spoke of Travis playing against Arkansas.

2. Much talk centered on a new unofficial statistic: rebound attempts. Justus acknowledged that there is subjectivity involved in determining a rebound attempt. Video must be watched and re-watched to make a determination at times.

3. Arkansas comes to Rupp Arena on a five-game losing streak. This will not affect UK’s preparation, Justus said. The losses are a reflection of how good SEC basketball is this season, and not a reflection of Arkansas being a struggling team, he said.

4. Coaches have not used the fact that Louisville is an NCAA Tournament regional site as a motivational tool, Justus said. He added that the players probably did not even know how many teams play in the NCAA Tournament. When asked that question, EJ Montgomery answered correctly: 68.

5. Justus admitted that he spends time on Twitter. He said Twitter and tennis shoes were “my two vices.” He said it was a big day when Calipari began following his Twitter account.

Tuesday

Arkansas at No. 4 Kentucky

When: 9 p.m.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1

Records: Arkansas 14-13 (5-9 SEC), Kentucky 23-4 (12-2)

Series: Kentucky leads 31-11

Last meeting: Kentucky won 87-72 on Feb. 20, 2018, in Rupp Arena.

Jerry Tipton has covered Kentucky basketball beginning with the 1981-82 season to the present. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.
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