UK Men's Basketball

UK notes: Calipari wants Anthony Davis to step it up

Kentucky Wildcats' Anthony Davis dunked in the second half of the Marist at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 11, 2011. Kentucky beat Marist 108-58. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Kentucky Wildcats' Anthony Davis dunked in the second half of the Marist at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 11, 2011. Kentucky beat Marist 108-58. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

The Southeastern Conference named Anthony Davis freshman of the week for last week. That left Kentucky Coach John Calipari a little underwhelmed.

Although Davis impressed SEC officials with 21 points, seven rebounds and four blocks against Marist last Friday, the performance left Calipari wanting.

"During film session Saturday, I got all over him," the UK coach said.

Calipari suggested that Davis might have wondered if the coach's thumbs-down review held merit.

"I'm not worried about Marist," Calipari said. "I'm worried about North Carolina. I'm worried about Kansas. I'm worried about Louisville. You can't play that way and us win."

Like other freshman stars, Davis did not play with enough sustained zeal, Calipari said. Davis needs to stay in his defensive stance longer and be more physical, the UK coach said.

Lamb is backup

Shooting guard Doron Lamb has solidified the part of his role that includes backup point guard.

"Good for him," Calipari said. "That's what he needs. He needs to play both positions and show he can do it."

That said, Calipari added a familiar lament: Lamb needs to play with more passion. The UK coach said many observers who come to practices remark that Lamb must play harder.

"When you play that way, it really makes you uncomfortable," Calipari said. "You may not play as well. You're not used to running that hard."

Lamb remains UK's most skilled and savvy player, the coach said.

Defensive stopper

Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist embraced the role of defensive stopper.

"Oh yeah," he said. "Most definitely. That's what I do best on the court."

When asked which presented a greater challenge, defending a quick point guard or a bigger, stronger scorer, Kidd-Gilchrist said, "None. Neither of them."

Transition defense

Kansas Coach Bill Self emphasized transition defense as a key for his team when he talked last week about facing Kentucky.

"I think the biggest thing is transition defense has to be great," he said. "We have to handle pressure. They're going to press. We have to attack pressure and score behind their pressure. We have to rebound the ball. We have to go after it like men. We'll spend our entire next three days emphasizing that."

Self suggested that this Kansas team might be his most athletic team.

"Maybe even more than that 2008 team in a lot of spots," he said of Kansas' 2008 national champions. "Just because you're athletic doesn't mean you're getting much done," he said, "but I think we should be better defensively than what we are."

Garden tour

Members of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's Arts and Entertainment Task Force will tour Madison Square Garden on Tuesday morning.

The Garden is undergoing a sweeping renovation that is being conducted over three off-seasons. Between renovation sessions, the New York Knicks and Rangers play their seasons.

The task force, which will recommend the construction of a new arena or a "reinvention" of Rupp Arena, could satisfy UK's request that "home" games not be played at an alternative site during a renovation by following the Madison Square Garden model.

Etc.

In No. 2 UK, Kansas faces its highest-ranked opponent since beating Memphis, coached by Calipari and ranked No. 2 at the time, in the 2008 national championship game. ... UK has 2,053 victories, the most all-time. Kansas is second with 2,039 victories. ... Duke plays Michigan State in the first game of the double-header in Madison Square Garden. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski will be seeking a record 903rd career victory. ... Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and sideline reporter Andy Katz will call the game for ESPN.

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