UK Men's Basketball

Players run wild at Cal-less practice

To test his team's conscientiousness, Kentucky Coach John Calipari put the inmates in charge of the basketball asylum earlier this week. He left practice and let the players run a scrimmage.

"It wasn't very successful," Josh Harrellson said. "Everybody went crazy without having structure.

"That won't happen again."

Harrellson likened the scrimmage to "open gym."

Calipari received a message.

"Basically, they're not ready to be empowered," he said, meaning to take responsibility. "I have to be on top of them (and) drive them."

Calipari said he wanted responsibility, trustworthiness and loyalty to each other to emerge.

Slow starter

Freshman DeMarcus Cousins has developed a pattern: slow start, sometimes complicated by foul trouble, giving way to more production as the game unfolds.

Calipari questioned how Cousins warms up.

"He gets so crazy to get ready for the game," the UK coach said. "Then, the first three or four minutes, he's spent. Then you foul, walk, take bad shots."

A reporter asked whether Calipari considered bringing Cousins off the bench.

"Maybe," the UK coach said. "Right now, he's one of the best players. You try to start the best players to see what's happening."

Daniel Orton has played well at times in relief of Cousins. Sometimes Orton does not play well, the UK coach said. So, for now, Cousins will continue to start.

Wall 'leery'

Flashy freshman John Wall has asked for a reduction in his interview obligations.

"He's leery of how it comes across," Calipari said of all the interviews. "Like it's all his team. He doesn't want it that way. He defers to teammates."

Calipari noted how he'd like Wall to motivate teammates, but the UK coach said the freshman does not have a personality well-suited for confrontational leadership.

Fall behind, rally

In eight of nine games against Division I opponents, Austin Peay has fallen behind by 10 or more points and then rallied to either win or make it a competitive game down the stretch.

Among the victories that fit the pattern were games against Akron, Niagara and Ohio.

"I think these kids have a great deal of resiliency," Coach Dave Loos said. "They've shown an ability to bounce back. I wish we wouldn't do it so often, but we have not laid down."

The Governors start three sophomores, a junior and one senior.

Happy memory

Austin Peay regularly played "guarantee" games against Calipari's teams at Memphis. The Governors won 81-80 in overtime in 2002-03.

"They were a little short-handed," Loos said of Memphis. "We were pretty good. We had a veteran team that ended up in the NCAA Tournament. On our level, we were pretty good."

Austin Peay later lost a first-round game to Louisville in the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Looking ahead

Calipari noted that UK could go to three-a-day practices now that final exams are finished.

After conceding that No. 1 Kansas might be the best team, he said there were about 10 to 12 teams at the same level.

"The question is, in the next month, which of those teams gets better and who jumps the most," Calipari said. "I'm just hoping it's us, but I can't promise you that. I don't know."

Calipari said he'd like to see improved shot selection, fewer turnovers, better boxing out and more sustained defense in a month.


■ Loos, the winningest coach in Ohio Valley Conference history, saw no advantage to catching UK at the end of final exams.

"I don't know if there's a good time to catch Kentucky," he said. "We've been in exams, too."

■ Matt Stewart and UK icon Kyle Macy will call the game for Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.

■ Saturday's game can be seen in Lexington on Insight Cable channel 17. Viewers who do not have Insight should contact their cable provider to find out whether the game will be broadcast. DirecTV and Dish Network customers must purchase or have access to the ESPN Full Court package to see the game.

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