Sidelines with John Clay

Three things from Kentucky basketball’s media opportunity for Wright State

Kentucky freshman Isaac Humphries blocks a driving shot by Duke’s Grayson Allen during UK’s 74-63 win over the Blue Devils in the Champions Classic in Chicago on Nov. 17, 2015.
Kentucky freshman Isaac Humphries blocks a driving shot by Duke’s Grayson Allen during UK’s 74-63 win over the Blue Devils in the Champions Classic in Chicago on Nov. 17, 2015. Lexington Herald-Leader

At his Thursday media opportunity to preview Friday night’s game against Wright State, Kentucky coach

1. Anyone expecting a letdown? After all, this is a young Kentucky basketball team. (Isn't it always?) After all, the young Cats are coming off an impressive win over a marquee team -- defending national champions -- on a big national stage. Might John Calipari's club come out a little flat for Friday night's game with 1-2 Wright State?

Calipari didn't seem to be worried about it. The Kentucky coach said he's more concerned about practice and his team getting better by increments. Despite the Tuesday takedown of the Devils, Cal said his team still has lots of improvement to make.

Still, it will be interesting to see if Kentucky can keep its focus against a Wright State team that lost to Cal-State Northridge and Northern Illinois.

Kentucky basketball game-by-game individual stats in a Google Doc

2. The surprised Aussie. Some players would have faked it, saying they knew all along they were going to play in a big game and play well in a big game. Not Isaac Humphries. The 7-foot freshman from Sydney said Thursday he was surprised when Calipari came down the bench and told Humphries to get in the game. "Really, me," reacted Humphries.

The rookie's main job was keeping Duke's Marshall Humphries off the offensive glass. Humphries was killing the Cats on the glass in the first few minutes. And Humphries did his job, grabbing three rebounds and scoring two points in 12 minutes, which was just one less minute than his combined minutes in the first two games.

“Isaac was not at all intimidated by the situation,” Calipari said Thursday. “Not at all.”

"I definitely learned that I could compete against the bigs, like Marshall, if I'm aggressive," Humphries said, who then asked, "It is Marshall, right? They all look the same to me."

3. How will opponents play this UK team? Cal said he got a better idea of that after what Duke did Tuesday night. The Blue Devils are coached by a pretty good coach, after all.

"What I saw, teams are not going to stretch the court out on us. They're not going to come out and play us (on the perimeter),' Calipari said. "And they're going to play a lot of zone. That's what I learned when I watched it. How you're going to keep those three out of the lane I don't know."

Wright State at Kentucky

When: Friday

Time: 8 p.m.

Site: Rupp Arena

Television: SEC Network with Dave Baker, Joe Dean, Jr. and Brooke Weisbrod

Radio: UK Radio Network with Tom Leach, Mike Pratt and Matt Jones

  Comments