UK Men's Basketball

UK notes: Cats not at their peak, and that's fine with Calipari

Kentucky guard Dominique Hawkins, left, went to the floor to take the ball from Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan. Hawkins started in place of Alex Poythress, who was ill.
Kentucky guard Dominique Hawkins, left, went to the floor to take the ball from Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan. Hawkins started in place of Alex Poythress, who was ill. Herald-Leader

Kentucky Coach John Calipari described the 89-65 victory over Boston University Friday night as a lesson in time-keeping. It fit better in his hopes for a team progressing through the season rather than peaking too soon.

"We weren't very good today, and what we looked like was a November team," Calipari said.

That contrasted with the smothering of No. 5 Kansas on Tuesday that fast-forwarded talk of a national championship.

"The Kansas game, on defense, we looked like a January team," Calipari said. "On offense, we looked like a November team.

"Today, we looked like November."


At a news conference Friday, Kansas Coach Bill Self continued to laud Kentucky. UK beat Kansas 72-40 on Tuesday.

"As impressive a performance as we've had against us," Self said of UK. "I think it still remains to be seen if they're better than that 2012 team. Certainly, they have the pieces to be better if they continue to get better."

Kansas lost to Kentucky's eventual national championship team of 2012 in the Champions Classic early that season.

The game Tuesday marked the most lopsided defeat in Self's 12 seasons as Kansas coach.

Self expressed disappointment with Kansas' practice Thursday. Not enough of a "sense of urgency," he said. So he ordered a 6 a.m. practice Friday.

'Regular people'

Boston Coach Joe Jones noted the importance of mixing with "regular people" as a reason the team ate dinner Thursday at the Louisville home of player Nate Dieudonne.

Jones acknowledged that it's easier for a team like Boston U to have such interactions than, say, Kentucky.

"No question," he said. "Those guys (UK players) are like rock stars."

Earlier in his coaching career, Jones was a member of the Villanova staff for six seasons. "So I have some idea of what it is. Obviously, it's even another degree (at Kentucky)."

Do too much?

Before Kentucky's Trey Lyles played in his hometown of Indianapolis, UK Coach John Calipari noted how players can try to do too much in such circumstances.

Jones did not sound overly concerned about Dieudonne, a former Kentucky Mr. Basketball for Trinity High.

"That happens to some kids," the Boston coach said before the game. "Nate is a very grounded kid. I think he'll go out and play the game the right way."

Dieudonne scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and got credit for four assists.

"It was fun," he said. "Obviously, when you're a player, you want to play against the best people, and that's what we got to do."

Church and state

Dan Issel, UK's career scoring leader, will speak at Lexington's Broadway Christian Church on Sunday. Issel and his wife, Cheri, were married at the church. It was the church her family attended.

Issel will speak at the 9 a.m. and 10:40 services.

Senior Pastor Ernie Perry said Issel will talk about "God's faithfulness" and note the reversals in his life, which include filing for bankruptcy in 2009.

No Poythress

UK announced before the game that Alex Poythress was ill and would not play. UK listed him as day-to-day.

That sounded like Derek Willis from a week or so earlier.

In the first three games, Poythress averaged 6.3 points. He'd made only six of 19 shots (zero for six from three-point range). His five turnovers tied Andrew Harrison for the team high.

Dominique Hawkins started in Poythress's place, which enabled Calipari to keep the second platoon intact.


"This was one of the places I dreamed about coaching," the Boston U coach said. "You guys have great fans. Great team. Great coach. ... You guys are going to have a lot of good nights here (this season). I'll tell you that." ... According to Rupp Arena, the Comedymania fund-raiser Thursday night drew a crowd of 1,913 ticket holders.

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