UK Men's Basketball

UK basketball notes: Hood just needs to believe in himself, Calipari says

Jon Hood, a former Kentucky Mr. Basketball, is back after missing last season because of injury. Coach John Calipari wants Hood to carry over his shooting eye from drills to real games.
Jon Hood, a former Kentucky Mr. Basketball, is back after missing last season because of injury. Coach John Calipari wants Hood to carry over his shooting eye from drills to real games.

Junior Jon Hood shoots with dead-eye accuracy in drills. But in scrimmages and games, his marksmanship suffers.

To explain the disparity, Kentucky Coach John Calipari said, "It's all in your mind. It's not anything else."

The UK coach questioned whether Hood shares the staff's confidence in his shooting ability.

"You're capable of doing it," Calipari said Thursday. "You just don't think you deserve to do it or you don't think you're going to do it. We all think you can do it. That's what we all think. Now, we've got to get him thinking it. We're trying to get him to believe a little bit more in himself."

Hood, a former Mr. Kentucky Basketball, made seven of 30 three-point shots (23.3 percent) in his first two UK seasons. He sat out last season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament during workouts in the summer of 2011.

Hood made his one shot in a three-minute stint at the end of UK's exhibition victory over Northwood. In 14 minutes against Transylvania, he did not take a shot. He contributed two rebounds, two assists and a block.

The restraint Hood showed in the latter performance drew Calipari's approval.

"A couple times I wish he'd shot the ball," the UK coach said. "But it's OK he didn't."

Calipari said he wants Hood to grow more comfortable as a contributor and not try to be something he's not. Without mentioning any names, the UK coach seemed to refer to others seeing the player in a prominent role rather than, say, a valued contributor.

"Not being delusional," the UK coach said. "He's listening to himself (and not others).

"You're comfortable putting him in games. He can help us."

Cal-Turgeon memories

When Mark Turgeon began his college playing career at Kansas, Calipari was an assistant coach.

Calipari said he recalled Turgeon approaching the coaches and pronouncing himself "better than any point guard you have on the team."

Said Turgeon, "I really didn't say it like that." As Turgeon recalled, first-year Kansas coach Larry Brown asked him if he believed he was capable of playing for the Jayhawks.

Turgeon, who said he was 5-foot-81/2 and 135 pounds, answered in the affirmative. He said it helped that Brown and Calipari could identify with a relatively small point guard.

Turgeon recalled Calipari as someone who "talked all the time" and exuded confidence.

Weather alert

Because of the nor'easter storm that followed Hurricane Sandy into the New York-New Jersey area, UK decided to change its normal travel routine and leave early for Brooklyn.

Normally, UK players attend classes and practice before leaving for a road game. On Thursday, UK players left campus at mid-morning and practiced Thursday night in the Barclays Center.

Bipartisan Cal

When asked his reaction to the presidential election, Calipari described the results as, "Government for everybody."

The UK coach said he "kept a little eye" on the election results Tuesday night.

"We've got issues in the country and people have got to come together," he said. "Reach your hand across the aisle and say, 'We need each other. Let's go. We can't do this alone.'"

Calipari likened the kind of cooperative spirit needed to solve problems to the unity shown by Kentuckians in responding to Wednesday's telethon seeking relief funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Calipari noted that such relief was not a "handout."

He expressed hope that FEMA and state government do "their thing" and "we get all those people back on their feet."


Dave O'Brien and Dick Vitale will call the game for ESPN.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Email: Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog:

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