Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pitino Responds to Chris Jones' Flop Against Kentucky... Sorta

You don't even have to be a Kentucky or Louisville fan to know what the picture above is. Yes, that's right, it's the picture of the infamous "flop" by UofL's Chris Jones. It was probably the worst flop I have ever seen in my entire life and I have watched a lot of college basketball games some of them involving Duke who are the worlds worst for such acts, but not as bad as this one. Hell, this one had Coach K and even little Stevie Wojo blushing.

The entire sports world made fun of the play and Jones for that matter. Now, it seems that Rick Pitino didn't care much for the cowardly move made by Mr. Jones either. Tuesday, Louisville took on Long Beach State and Rick made the decision to bench Jones. Afterwards, Pitino told the Courier Journal "I was very upset at that (talking about the flop). We don't do that type of thing, and then to fake with the jaw like you got hit, you can't fake like you got hit. You can't fake it. That's something Louisville guy's don't do."

Okay, first of all, I love how Rick acts like his guys are above pulling such stunts when we have seen moves like that a million times, just not as obvious, embarrassing or blatant. Now, let's get back to the quotes...

Jones himself even addressed the situation as well by saying "I tried to time his elbows. He swung twice. I thought he was gonna swing a third time, but obviously he didn't. I tried to dodge it, but he didn't swing, so it made it look worse than it was."

I find it funny that Jones admits to the fact that he was looking for the third elbow so he could in-fact FLOP to try and draw a foul. Then when you add in the fact that he basically blamed the flop heard round the world on the lack of an elbow by Dakari Johnson for making it look worse than what it really was is beyond hilarious. Chris, I hate to tell you, but what made it look worse than it actually was is the fact that you walked around and rubbed the phantom pain out of your jaw for 20 minutes, something your own coach even complained about.

Jones went on to say "It's just something that I'm not gonna do anymore. I'm just gonna play straight-up defense. You've got to do what you got to do, and if you get bowed you get bowed, I'm just gonna have to take it."

Okay, first let me start by saying that it's good to see Chris try and turnover a new leaf, but I doubt that happens. If you do some research, he became a flopping professional in junior college and it was something that he was known for, so old habits die hard. Second, for Pitino to come out and bench Jones for a portion of the Long Beach State game is a joke. Do you really think that he would've done the same thing had the foul been called on Dakari? Of course not. He had to do something just for the simple fact that it made every major sports outlet in America and made Rick, Chris Jones and Louisville as a whole look like a complete joke, so he had virtually no choice but to dish out some sort of punishment no matter how lame the punishment was. 

It's just sad to think that Louisville has sunk to this level, especially when you consider the fact that they actually play really good defense WITHOUT cheap plays like the "flop".

Tyler Ulis has to be thinking.... Bitch, please....... 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cal Watches Anthony Davis in Action

Calipari took in the New Orleans Pelicans game to night to watch former Cat, Anthony Davis in action. They're right, he don't really care about his players or vice-versa. They look like they despise each other in this picture....

Jodie Meeks Scores 34 in Pistions Win

Former Cat, Jodie Meeks had a pretty good night on the court for the Pistons. Meeks scored 34 points going 9-11 from three-point range helping Detroit to a 109-86 win over Orlando.

Jodie having high scoring games in the NBA isn't nothing new as he has many during his time in the league. But, one can't help but wonder what would have happened had Jodie stuck around in Lexington to play for John Calipari during his first year as coach. Imagine, Jodie Meeks to go along with Big Cuz, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson just to name a few. I can tell you one thing that wouldn't have happened and that's that ridiculous loss to West Virginia in the Elite Eight.. Oh well.......

Another Day, More Praise For Tyler Ulis

Freshman Tyler Ulis has been named the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Week following his breakout performance at No. 4 Louisville on Saturday.

Ulis was selected by's Matt Norlander, in partnership with the USBWA.
Ulis, a 5-foot-9 guard from Lima, Ohio, came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points in 26 minutes in top-ranked Kentucky's 58-50 win over rival and 4th-ranked Louisville on Saturday. On the season, Ulis is averaging 5.8 points, 3.7 assists and 2.2 rebounds.

Norlander's popular weekly freshman watch column will continue to feature nation's the top freshmen each week in addition to the national player of the week. Later in the season, the USBWA will release a midseason watch list before naming finalists for the award. This season marks the first time a weekly national freshman of the week will be selected and, each Tuesday through Feb. 24, a standout first-year player will be chosen for the honor.
In addition to the USBWA honor, Ulis was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week and the Bluegrass Sports Commission Most Valuable Player for his efforts against Louisville.

Ulis is the first Wildcat to earn a weekly award from the USBWA this season, and the first since James Young claimed the Freshman of the Week honor on Dec. 31, 2013 following a double-double in last season’s regular season win over Louisville.

Kentucky will return to the floor on Jan. 6, 2015 to begin SEC play. UK hosts Ole Miss at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mitch Barnhardt Looks Back On 2014 and Ahead To 2015

With things slowing down just a bit over the holidays, I’ve had some time for reflection. I’ve thought about where we are and where we’re going. I’ve thought about what we have accomplished and what we are working to accomplish in the future. I’ve thought about all the people that make this place so special, from fans to student-athletes to coaches to staff.

As we close 2014 and move into 2015, I want to share a few of those thoughts with you, first by looking back.

We began this year by capping a record 11th-place Directors’ Cup finish for the 2013-14 season. But as we did that, I challenged everyone involved with UK Athletics to seize that momentum and pursue even greater things. So far, that challenge has been accepted.

Thanks to the work of our student-athletes and coaches, our fall sports got us off to a good start. Led by Jon Lipsitz, our women’s soccer team turned an incredible finish to the regular season into our first NCAA Tournament national seed and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time ever. Our volleyball team reached the NCAA Tournament yet again, making it 10 straight postseason berths with Craig Skinner as head coach. Our men’s soccer team reached the NCAA Tournament as well in spite of relying almost exclusively on underclassmen in Johan Cedergren’s third year. Football fell short of the bowl berth we all wanted, but the progress of our program under Mark Stoops is unmistakable.

Our winter sports have kept the ball rolling, led of course by our top-ranked men’s basketball team. John Calipari’s group has been truly a pleasure to watch so far this season with its unselfishness, talent and commitment to defense and I only expect to have more fun through conference and postseason play. Our women’s basketball and rifle teams, as usual, have given us plenty to be excited about as well and I look forward to the schedule heating up for all our teams in 2015.

I also want to make sure I recognize some of the standout individual performances we’ve seen this year, because there have been plenty. Bud Dupree is the first player who comes to mind. Watching him develop into the player and leader he is today has been so special and we’re thankful for everything he’s done for our program. We wish him the best as he prepares for the NFL Draft and congratulate him on being named to the All-SEC First Team, where he was joined by Austin MacGinnis.

Arin Gilliland has made a similar impact on our women’s soccer program. After she was honored with the Honda Inspiration Award this summer, she had the best season of her decorated Kentucky career, earning All-America and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in the process. I know she will continue to represent UK well as she moves on to a professional and international playing career.

Fortunately, we have a year left with Morgan Bergren and Callum Irving, who had great seasons for our volleyball and men’s soccer teams. Morgan was named an All-American, while Callum nearly swept Conference USA postseason awards.

Our student-athletes continue to make us proud off the field as well, starting with our cumulative GPA of 3.112 for the fall semester, our fifth straight semester with a GPA of better than 3.0. We are lucky to have so many positive role models on our campus, like AFCA Good Works Team member Max Godby from our football team and Good Works Team nominee Bria Goss from our women’s basketball team. Balancing practice and game schedules, class and life is a challenge, but our Wildcats do it well.

I’d like to close by expressing my heartfelt appreciation to our fans. Thanks to your feedback, your passion and the work of my staff, BBN First has helped make game day at Commonwealth Stadium and all of our events that much more special this season. We know we have work ahead of us – and I’ll talk more about that next week when I look ahead to 2015 – but the atmosphere at games like our win over South Carolina tells me we are headed in the right direction.

Your support means so much to us, and it’s about much more than what happens on game day. Take Alex Poythress as an example. After he suffered a season-ending injury earlier this month, the outpouring from the Big Blue Nation was incredible to watch and I know it uplifted him at a difficult time. I want to thank you for that and ask that you continue to show that kind of care for student-athletes from all 22 of our sports. It means more than you know.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about what’s on the horizon for UK Athletics in 2015. In the meantime, I hope you get to ring in the New Year with family and friends.

‘Til the Battle is Won,
Mitch Barnhart

Ulis Tabbed SEC Freshman of The Week

Freshman Tyler Ulis was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week following a career-high 14 points against Louisville on Saturday. The honor is the first of the Lima, Ohio, native’s career. He is the fourth different Wildcat to earn a weekly honor this season.

Ulis was named the Bluegrass Sports Commission Most Valuable Player after leading Kentucky to a 58-50 win against fourth-ranked Louisville in the team’s first road contest of the season. Ulis scored a career-high 14 points, including a pair of second half 3-pointers to lead the Wildcats in scoring in the victory to remain a perfect 13-0 on the year.

Ulis’ previous career high was 12 points against Buffalo in the second game of the season. It marked the first double-figure scoring effort of his career against a top-25 ranked opponent. He also dished out two assists with zero turnovers, while playing in a career-high 26 minutes of action. The five made field goals also marked a career best. With the two 3-pointers against the Cardinals, he has drained at least one from long range in a career-long three straight games.

With Ulis earning Freshman of the Week honors, all four of UK’s first-year players have garnered at least one weekly honor this season. Trey Lyles claimed the honor following the opening week of action. Karl-Anthony Towns was tabbed the league’s top performing freshman in consecutive weeks to begin the month of December, and Devin Booker earned the same honor following a 19-point effort over UCLA.

Kentucky Gettin' It Done On The Court And In The Classroom

 For the seventh time in the last eight semesters, the Kentucky men’s basketball team posted better than a 3.0 grade-point average in the classroom.

The Wildcats, who are currently 13-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country, posted a 3.129 cumulative grade-point average for the 2014 fall semester. The fall 2014 marks include grades from all competing scholarship and non-scholarship players.

Overall, 13 of the 16 players on roster had a 3.0 GPA or higher.

“These kids work in the classroom, and I’m proud of them,” John Calipari said. “They’re not only playing selfless basketball, they’re getting it done in the classroom too, which makes me just as proud.”

The most recent GPA numbers reflect continued academic success under Calipari.

In May, UK posted a four-year composite score of 989 in the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate report, well above the 930 four-year average needed to compete in the 2014-15 championships. The NCAA’s APR measures academic eligibility and retention of student-athletes. The four-year composite score covers the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years, Calipari’s first four teams at Kentucky.

All 10 players at UK under Calipari who have been eligible to graduate by the end of their senior years have walked away with a degree in hand, while two (Jarrod Polson and Patrick Patterson) have earned a degree in just three years.

Overall, UK’s scholarship student-athletes across all 22 varsity sports had a cumulative GPA of 3.112 for the fall semester of 2014.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kentucky Player Post UofL Press Conference QUOTES

#1, Devin Booker, Fr., G

On looking at the low score of the game …
“At halftime I kind of realized that we were only around 20 points and I was like, ‘it’s a dogfight out there. We just have to buy into it.’ ”

On Tyler Ulis’ play …
“Well, everybody’s seen it. He’s incredible. He’s showing people - you guys - things you haven’t seen out of him before, but I’ve seen it because we’ve played on camps and teams all the time, so it’s nothing new to me. He’s a real special player.”

On hearing talk of UK going undefeated …
“We can’t focus on that. Every time we go out on the court we try to win. I feel like that’s every team’s objective, so we’re just going to take it game by game.”

On knowing people are talking about the rest of UK’s schedule …
“Obviously. We haven’t lost yet. Like I said, we’re taking it one game at time.”

#44, Dakari Johnson, Soph., C

On limiting Harrell …
“We really backed off the five man and kind of helped the four man, whoever was guarding him.”

On Ulis’ play …
“It was great. He really stepped up. He hit a lot of shots. He controlled the offense and he just had a great game today.”

On shutting down U of L …
“We just went with the game plan. Defensively we just sat down and locked down.”

On the takeaways from this game and needing a game like this …
“We did need a game like this, where it’s going to be competitive away from home. The crowd was into it. It just shows we’re a really tough team.”

On the team dealing with 40-0 talks …
“We’re not going to think about it. We’re just going to take one game at a time. We’re not even thinking about the undefeated talk or anything. (Reporter says, ‘You know it’s there though.’) Yeah, but we’re just going to take one game at a time.”

On the physicality of the game …
“It was very physical. We knew it was going to be a bump and grind type of game coming in, so we prepared for it. That’s it.”

#12, Karl-Anthony Towns, Fr., F

On if the referees let the game go more than they expected …
“I think the refs, just like us, were trying to feel each other out. It’s one of those games you don’t want to go so quick to making calls, everybody’s physical. It was a game that was always going to be physical from the get. They just had to feel it out. I think the refs – some people won’t believe I’m saying this – but I think they did a great job of trying to control the game. And also, just making sure they were being as fair as possible.”

On how his play is dictated by the way the officials call the game …
“It depends. Like I said, you have to feel it out. You don’t want to be too physical and they call it, but some refs let you play a little more. Today, the refs were great. They let us play a little more. They wanted to set the tone early, called a lot of fouls in the beginning, but I’ve seen at the end they let the physicality play out and knew how everyone was going to play.”

On defending Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell …
“Our game plan was mostly to play the defense we always know how to play. If we can do that, we can beat anybody. We just came out here and we played solid. We made sure we did what we had to do to make sure we could keep the score as low as possible for Louisville. I think we did a great job today playing defensively.”

On how tough and physical this game really was …
“It was very physical. It reminded me a lot of playing overseas. It was very physical, but they let a lot go. It was one of those games you had to keep playing through the fouls. Don’t worry about it. Don’t complain. Just keep playing. You’re not always going to get everything. You have to keep playing. If they call a whistle, then be glad they called it and at the other time be upset. It’s fine. Just keep playing through it. This is one of those games you could have let little things like that affect us and it would have hurt us long term.”

On whether he cares about whether games look ugly …
“It’s always about the W. It’s never about how we look. It’s more about the W. There’s a lot of times we’re going to be as basketball players—it’s a process. It’s something that we have to know. Sometimes we’re not always going to look good. We’re not always going to look the brightest and the sharpest as we always are. As long as we come out with the W, I know that we have that W on our schedule and also we can move on to the next game and fix what we need to fix.”

On Tyler Ulis’ game …
“Tyler was great. He played amazing. He was able to—he was allowing us to—he moved the ball. He just led the team. He led the team. That’s one of the things: Against a team like this, you need to make sure everything’s under control. He kept the game under control. He was hitting shots like he always does. Hit a floater. He was pretty, pretty, pretty good today. Pretty good.”

On Willie Cauley-Stein in the second half …
“Does that surprise any of us that Willie played great defense? I mean, that’s his specialty. Willie’s one of those guys, it’s going to be one time in my life I’ll be able to play with a person like Willie Cauley-Stein. It’s a blessing playing with him and I just want to enjoy all the time I have with him because you never know when he’s going to leave. You never know. I’m just blessed to play with a person like him to learn from him. Possibly one of the best defenders I’ll ever play with.”

#1, Tyler Ulis, Fr., G

On playing well in his first game against Louisville … “It was a great feeling to get that win there, especially because it was a rivalry game. That’s was my first big away game and it was a great feeling.”

On experiencing his first true road game as a freshman … “I was more excited than nervous because it was my first away game. Being a freshman I just wanted to see what the atmosphere felt like.”

On relishing the hostile environment … “We kind of like that. Like I said, it was exciting. As freshmen we’ve never been in that situation. We just really wanted to see what the atmosphere would be like, see what the away feeling would be like and how their fans would react to us.”

On how physical today’s game was … “It was extremely physical. They played rough. They like to get up in you defensively. I got hit with an elbow and had to get (three) stitches. I just felt like we prepared very well for that game in practice and getting ready to play how they played. We were ready.”

On how he got the laceration above his right eye … “I got elbowed.”

On whether he knew he was bleeding when he came up the court after it happened … “No, I didn’t know I was bleeding until one of the players yelled to the refs, ‘He’s bleeding!’ And then they stopped the game.”

On how a player his size counters the physicality of a game like that … “Just trying to use my quickness and my basketball IQ to my advantage and not try to get into all the rough stuff and just play my game.”

On those 3-pointers late and how big they were … “They were really big. Three people hit big shots late: me, Aaron (Harrison) and Andrew (Harrison) hit three 3’s late in the game, which really opened it up for us in that point of the game.”

On how much they are looking forward to having a long stretch off before their next game after this type of game … “We’re just looking forward to getting better as a team and just trying to rest our body a bit and get better.” 

Tyler Ulis Named MVP of UK vs. UofL Game by Bluegrass Sports Commission

The Bluegrass Sports Commission (BSC) today named Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis the winner of its Most Valuable Player award of today’s men’s basketball game between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. No. 1 Kentucky remained undefeated and moved its record to a perfect 13-0 with the 58-50 win over No. 4 Louisville who dropped their first game of the year and fell to 11-1.
A native of Lima, Ohio, Ulis finished with a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. The 5-9 freshman added two assists and a rebound as he guided the Wildcats to an eight-point victory.

“The Bluegrass Sports Commission is proud to name Tyler Ulis as the 2014 recipient of this award,” said BSC President Brian Miller. “Both teams played a hard fought game today, but we can think of nobody more deserving to receive this honor.”

Ulis joins previous award winners Josh Harrellson (UK-2010), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (UK-2011), Russ Smith (UofL-2012) and James Young (UK-2013).

This award that will be presented annually with the winner selected by a committee of the BSC Board of Directors. Ulis will receive a trophy marking his achievement.

Final OFFICIAL Kentucky vs. UofL Box-Score

Cats Outlast Cards 58-50

Kentucky outlasts Louisville 58-50 in one of the most physical, ugly games that I have seen so far this season. Holding the Cards to 26% shooting for the game is just another sign of how good Kentucky's defense really is. The Cats out rebounded UofL 46-33, but did give up 17 offensive rebounds to the dirty birds. Kentucky moves to 13-0 on the season with today's victory.

Kentucky didn't attempt a free-throw until the second half going 10-14 and they needed every single one of them to get out of the !Yum Center with the W.

Just to give you an idea of how physical this game was, Tyler Ulis got opened up in the first half by an accidental elbow...

The cut didn't phase the freshman however as he went on to lead the Cats to the W with 14 points going 5-8 form the floor and 2-4 from deep. Tyler made the difference in this game on both ends of the floor. Kentucky's offense just ran a lot smoother with him on the floor.

At the end of the day, it was a good game and one Kentucky actually needed in the long run. It was their first true road game in front of a hostile environment and it had little effect throughout the course of the game. 

Also, I bet the parents of the girl in the photo below is so proud... Stay classy Cards.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Booker Named SEC Freshman of The Week

Guard Devin Booker was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday after scoring a game-high 19 points in Kentucky’s 83-44 victory over UCLA on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago. 

The Grand Rapids, Mich., native made 7 of 10 shots overall, including 5 of 6 from behind the 3-point line. The five 3-pointers were the most by a Wildcat this season and matched Booker’s career high. He previously hit five treys in a win over UT Arlington.

Booker’s 19 points, which tied a career high, came in just 16 minutes of action.

The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 10.0 points on the season, most of any UK freshman. He’s hit a team-best 22 3-pointers in 12 games and is knocking down his outside shots at a 45.8-percent clip.

Booker is the fourth Wildcats this season to win SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Karl-Anthony Towns has won the award twice already, and Trey Lyles claimed the honor following the opening week of competition.

Kentucky will return to action on Saturday when the Cats renew their annual rivalry with Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center. That game is set for a 2 p.m. broadcast on ESPN2.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Wildcat Christmas Video

R.I.P. Kevin Daniels; Big Blue Nation Loses A Loyal Member

(Whayne Supply Company Christmas dinner with Kentucky shirts worn in Kevin Daniels' Memory: From left to Right: Ernie Steele, Whitney Griffith, Raymond McKinney, Robert Hay, Tyler Layne, Bill Walker, Dave Mayhew, Gary Fraley, Mike Pennington, Jason Poplin, Rodney Conley, Larry Sheppard)

On November 26th of this year, Big Blue Nation lost one of its most loyal members in, Kevin Daniels.  

Since I started this site, I've come to love writing. In fact, I use it as a way to clear my mind of everything that has happened throughout the day. I never thought the day would come where I would hate writing about anything, but I was wrong. This is the hardest thing I have ever tried to write, in-fact, I've put this off for over a month now. I'm not going to guarantee that this will be one of my best posts, but I'll give it a helluva shot...

Kevin Daniels hired into Whayne Supply Company in Ashland, Kentucky about 8 years ago and that was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting a bigger Wildcat fan than myself. Kevin was a big man standing around 6'4", but he was anything but intimidating. This guy didn't meet a stranger, it seemed like he knew everyone and everyone that knew him, liked/loved him. I've never known of a person who didn't have an enemy, but Kevin really didn't. He always had a smile on his face no matter what the situation was. He just had a way of making everyone around him laugh even when there was nothing to laugh about.

I said that he was a bigger Cat fan than me and that is true. He was the type of fan that when the NCAA Tournament brackets came out, he'd put Kentucky down as the National Champion and work backwards from there, even when there wasn't a snowball's chance of Kentucky making it passed the first weekend of the tourney. Every single game during the tournament, my cell phone would ring around halftime and I wouldn't even have to look at the caller I.D. because I knew exactly who was on the other end to tell me how wrong my prediction was that I had given him earlier that day. 

He never doubted Kentucky, not even during the Gillispie years. Hell, even when Kentucky went to the NIT under Billy, Kevin still wrote them in as National Champions, that's just how big of a fan he was. His family was well aware of Kevin's love for his Wildcats that's why they asked for everyone to wear blue-jeans and Kentucky shirts to the funeral, that's what Kevin would've told us to wear anyway. It was really impressive to see how many people showed up in UK gear. The best part (if there is one in a situation like this) was that some of Kevin's friends were Louisville fans and they were decked out in nothing but Kentucky blue. I remarked to someone upon seeing all the blue that Kevin was laughing at the fact that he got his Louisville friends into Kentucky shirts, finally. 

Not only was Kevin a huge UK fan, but he was also a big family man as well. Nothing meant more to Big Kev than his family. He was a great husband, father, son and bother and he took pride in that fact. In just about every single conversation I ever had with him, his family was brought up in some way. To know Kevin was to love him, he just had that affect on everyone he came in contact with. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, Kevin passed away suddenly on November, 26 while at work. It was single handily one of the saddest days I've been through in quite sometime. I've never dreaded going to work, now, it's a different story. You never know exactly what kind of effect someone has on a place until you go back and they aren't there. It's different and something that will take a long time to get used to, if I ever do. 

Big Kev was a fan and a reader of this site and a critic at times, especially when I would talk negatively about the Cats.  As proud as I am to have him as a fan of this site, I'm more proud of the fact that I was able to call him a friend.

This post is for you, Kev. R.I.P., Kevin Daniels. You may be gone, but you will forever be remembered and missed.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kentucky vs. UCLA Final OFFICIAL Box-Score


Kentucky DOMINATES UCLA 83-42 (Twitter Version)

Well, that was just dumb. Never in a million years did I think that Kentucky would beat UCLA by 41 points. This was the most dominating performance by a college basketball team that I can remember. When you go to halftime with a 41-7 lead over a team with a name like UCLA, that's impressive I don't care who you are. There's not a whole lot that I can say about this game, so lets just see how Twitter reacted during the game...

                                                                          FIRST HALF:

Skylar Diggins:  Mercy.

Jeff Goodman:  I honestly feel bad for Bryce Alford. Looks beyond tired and still 32-plus minutes left.

Matt Jones:  Did you wonder what UK would look like if they were hitting on all cylinders? I give you this game.

Pat Forde:  Kentucky 26, ucla 2. Can we please get a live mic to Bill Walton ASAP?

Matt Jones:  Nice RT @RealMikeWilbon: Kentucky...My God....35 yrs of being at college basketball games and don't recall seeing anything quite like this

Stephen A. Smith:  What in God's name is going on! Is this real? With 4:41 left in the 1 st Half Kentucky is up 34-6 on UCLA? Why even bother playing the season

Nazr Mohammed:  Enjoying my #Wildcats at the unitedcenter 28-2 us!!! Vs #UCLA. #BBN #GoBigBlue #WeAreUK...

Jeff Goodman:  Kentucky 41, UCLA 7 at the half. That's not a misprint. INSANE performance by the Cats.

Seth Davis:  Kentucky. Sharpie.

Matt Jones:  Lowest scoring half in UCLA history....previous record was 14

Darius Miller:  Please stop the game brush. Please. They don't deserve this RT @AlexTheGreat22 This is bad.

                                                              SECOND HALF:


@VaughtsViews:  Here we go and Lee opens second half with dunk

@johnclayiv:  UCLA averaged 0.206 points per possession in the first half.

@johnclayiv:  Camp Cal is usually when Cal's teams really improve. Opposing coaches may mandate it not be held this year.

@uksportsifno:  Text 91991 to the UCLA relief fund. This is a major disaster.

@GregAnthony50: Not sure I've seen a team as good as @KentuckyMBB defensively...Unreal! #BBN

@ericcrawford:  Pretty sure Alford top his guys: "Just get us to 40 and we'll go home and enjoy Christmas."

@BDawsonRivals:  Cauley-Stein just hit the deck chasing a loose ball. At the time, Kentucky led by 43.

@BDawsonRivals:  Rockets GM RT @dmorey: One nice thing when U R watching Kentucky, U get 2see how players on the other team would do against an NBA team

@GeorgeDaAnimal:  @RealJayWilliams Kentucky vs UCLA is like Drago vs. Creed in Rocky 4. "Throw in the towel."

@ericcrawford:  #UK's guards 42, UCLA 35.

@KentuckyMBB:  Of the Cats' 29 made field goals, 22 have been assisted.

@CecilHurt:  Nick Saban on the Kentucky-UCLA halftime score: "you're kidding."

@GoodmanESPN:  Kentucky now 12-25 form beyond arc. Booker 5-of-6. NO ONE is beating them if they shoot like this.

@GoodmanESPN:  Even the UCLA cheerleaders look tired.

@UCLA_Nation:  Please stop @KentuckyMBB

@CoachCalDotCom:  For the first time in program history, Kentucky opens a season with 12 straight double-digit victories.

@DickieV:  KENTUCKY 239 vs Kansas-North Carolina- UCLA 152= TOTAL DOMINANCE #OUCH

Friday, December 19, 2014

Kentucky Pre-UCLA Press Conference QUOTES

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On how the current team ranks with other teams he has coached ...
“It’ll be interesting to see how we finish, but the best teams I’ve had, like just unbelievable teams – I’m not saying the most talented teams – but I’m telling you the best basketball teams we had were when I was playing five and six guys.”

On Tyler Ulis’ health ...
“He’s got to make sure he takes care of himself. It’s like when you go in an NBA locker room. Every one of them, I think 75 percent of the NBA has tendonitis so you can figure out how to play with it or don’t play. Get another job.”

On if Ulis has tendonitis ...
“No, but it’s the same idea. There are certain things you have that you have to deal with. You have to learn to play with.”

On the common characteristics between players who played for him that are from Chicago ...
“They were all different. I mean Derrick (Rose) played at one of the best high schools as far as the tradition of the program. Anthony (Davis) played at one of the worst high schools traditionally. Tyler played at a private school so it’s all different. What they all had in common is a desire to improve, a comfort-level in their skin, which made them very good teammates, great guys to be around. It’s funny how they won’t ever change. The injury that Derrick has, his team fully supports him because they know what a great guy he is and that he’s there for them. The same with Anthony. I mean, I’ve watched him play where Tyreke Evans – he played for me too – had like 35, and he (Davis) was fine with it. It never bothered him. He’d just keep feeding him the ball, chesting him. He’s one of those guys. This kid (Ulis) is the same way. I mean he’s cheering for Andrew (Harrison) to do well. And he knows how good Andrew is. And even though they run the different teams and they go at each other, he has great respect and he’s a great teammate.”

On how well he knows UCLA head coach Steve Alford ...
“I’ve known him for years and years. We’ve become close, but I knew him when he was at Southwest Missouri State. I did things for him. My wife grew up an hour and a half from there on a dirt farm. You guys didn’t catch that. That’s what I told her. She grew up on a dirt farm. He and I have been close when he went to Iowa. I think we played. They beat us when I was at Memphis one of my first years, but he’s a terrific coach. Just a great guy. Great family. Tanya (Alford) is a great lady. His kids are great kids. And he now has that opportunity to be there in that job, which is one of the premier jobs.”

On the idea of a grace period in a new coaching job ...
“There are two things. The kids remember the last three years. The families remember the last 30. The kids remember when they were 13 and 14 and before that they don’t have any idea. I think what Steve (Alford) did last year I think they won 30 games or 29 games or whatever it was. Walked right in and developed guys that people did not think would be able to go right to the NBA, and they did. Three of them after one year, one of them the (a high) pick in the draft. He’s also now done it with Kevon Looney. I mean, they’re telling me he’s the fourth or fifth pick in the draft. So he has developed players, but I think in our case we were prepared to lose a bunch of guys. I don’t think they knew that that many guys would leave them. And so that one guy missing has made it so they’re playing five and six guys. They would have played seven and they would have been fine. But I think he’s done a great job. He’s on the West Coast. He’s rebuilding the image of what they want there. We want to tie to programs like that. That’s what we want, both of us. Does that answer it?”

On coaches like Roy Williams, Rick Pitino and Larry Brown this team to some of the all-time greats ...
“For a minute there I thought you were going to say all-time coaches. I understand that’s not going to be said. What were we talking about? No, I’m just kidding. What I really like is Willie (Cauley-Stein) has taken on a different persona. I sat him down about a month ago and said, ‘Why don’t you want to be the number one pick in the draft?’ He asked me what I meant. ‘Well it’s obvious you don’t want to be the number one pick. Why wouldn’t you? You have this team around you. All you have to do is perform and improve and improve in a couple areas and you’re on the page.’ He said, ‘I do want to.’ Then do more. Come into practice longer. Come in here at night. Spend more time at this – the sport. He has been. I think when you start talking about the teams that were the great teams, they had hall-of-fame players. We have yet to prove where we are in that regard. I think we’re a terrific team. I think what we’ve been doing to keep reinforcements coming has made us even better and made it easier for each guy to perform at a higher level. Let this season play out before they talk in terms of those teams because again some of them had three hall of famers on their team. In Springfield, their college team had three and to compare us to those teams. Come on. Maybe they’re looking at us compared to the other college teams in the last couple years. I don’t know.”

On lessons taken from North Carolina game ...
“Toughness, rebounding, breakdowns defensively, and not sprinting back. Those are things that will cost you basketball games and we’ve focused on that now this week and for the next three. We’re the 13th best defensive rebounding team out of 14 in our league. Really? The tallest bad defensive rebounding team in the history of the game. There are things that I look at right now and I’m like, ‘Come on.’ We turn it over with just a little bit of pressure like token traps. We threw the ball all over the place. I would say if you watched our game, you have teams licking their chops saying, ‘We’re going to run, press, and trap these dudes. Try to get free baskets early and when we shoot it we’re sending four the glass. Forget about them.’ If you watched that game, then that’s what you’d do. Teams that will push you in the back on shots so they can get and edge and teams that just crash and bang and grab are looking at this and licking their chops.”

On how big the rebounding aspect is with a guy like Kevon Looney on their team ...
“It’s more than just him. I’m talking about my team. Our guards right now, we may have the worst group of rebounding guards in the country, too. So we’re doing stuff to hold them accountable. We started two days ago. Yesterday was an individual work day because we’re in finals, but we’re going to go back at it today. And I told them, ‘From here and through what we call Camp Cal, we’re doing this stuff every day.’ I said, ‘The stuff we’re not doing – the physical play, we get bumped, we hit the ground, we start throwing balls to a guy next to us, we throw it – well, we’re going to be playing in games where they grab, they hold, they kick, they push, they bite. Can you play in that type of game? If you can’t play in that type of game, you can’t win that game.’ ”

On how Alex Poythress is doing ...
“He and I met today. He’s doing good. He has a great frame of mind. He and I talked a little bit about Derrick Rose’s mental approach when it happened to him. He’s going to have the surgery after Christmas, so he has time. We talked about what his options could be and some things that we should think about.”

On how Poythress can still make it to the NBA Draft even though he’s going to miss the season and workouts ... “He has more time than Nerlens (Noel) had, so he’s going to have an extra two months, really a month and a half. I would tell you that there will be an option for him if he chooses to (go). But we only talked (about it) slightly. We talked a little bit. I said, ‘The other side of it is being mentally tougher. Why? Because you’ll never get through the rehab (if you’re not). Pushing through a comfort level, which you struggle with. Well, you’ll have to through the rehab. You have no choice. Coming back with that increased motor. And then we’ll work on some skills.’ I told him about getting his wrist back on every shot. No more of this (hand straight up and down). Now we have time. Wrist is going to be back. You’re going to be up and off instead of that (straight up and down). I said, ‘We have time now.’ ”

On what it would be like to have him back as a senior ...
“A young man that they all respect and a young man that’s a straight-A student and a guy that can do things that normal players can’t do, it would be nice. But, if it’s in his best interest to put his name in the draft, I would support it and help it along and do that. He’s going to do what’s right for him. It’s tough. But he was really good today. I mean, I think he’s coming back to the reality of this happened, it’s not a dream, it’s real, now I’ve got to deal with it. He looked like was at ease with what was going forward.”

On if his hip is still bothering him ...
“I’m fine. The biggest thing is I’m sleeping at night. I’m working out every day. I still need to lose 20 pounds, which I gained – very happily – when I couldn’t do anything last year. But it’s a little harder getting it off. But like I told my team, I’m not supposed to have a six-pack. I’m 55. You’re supposed to have a little belly when you’re 65. Now I don’t want to have a big belly, but a little one.”

On if he was a “root for UCLA” kid when he was growing up a “root against UCLA” kid growing up ...
“I liked North Carolina growing up. I liked UCLA. I watched more basketball that way. I didn’t have a (team). Pitt, because Pitt wasn’t when I was younger the Pitt is now, but we had some guys from our
high-school team play on that team so you followed Pitt and some of that stuff. West Virginia and all that because of where I grew up. UCLA, they were like faraway lands. I mean, I didn’t even go on vacation until I was 19, and that was to Maryland. Maryland. We drove to the Maryland shore. I was not on an airplane until I was 20. So when you start talking UCLA, ‘Where in the world? Is that in our country?’ Yeah. ‘Like, near Youngstown? Where is it?’ It’s just different than it was. So I wasn’t (a huge fan), but I liked them, respected them.”

Freshman forward Trey Lyles

On playing against a historic team like UCLA ...
“It’s going to be a great experience to play against them, and being able to play at a neutral site is going to be fun. Hopefully we go out there and get the win.”

On if he followed UCLA’s title run as a kid ...
“Definitely. All the years with John Wooden as a coach, Bill Walton and all the great players they had.”

On what changes for him with Poythress out ...
“Definitely hurts, but we have to approach practice the same way and try to get better every day.”

On if there’s more pressure on him now ...
“I don’t see it as pressure. I see it as just got to step up and continue to do what I’m doing to help the team.”

On if he’s in a better spot as a starter ...
“I feel comfortable in both ways I was playing. Coach (Cal) believes in me and he’s putting me out there, so I’m definitely comfortable on the first platoon.”

On if it changes anything defensively for him ...
“No, not really. Defensively, coming in, was my main thing I wanted to work on and I believe I’m getting better at it, but I still have a ways to go.”

On if staying on the floor with the second platoon against North Carolina was a reward ...
“I just had to go out there and continue to play hard. Coach (Cal) kept me in there for a reason, and I just had to keep trying to play hard.”

On Cal saying he’s going to keep whoever is playing better between him and the Harrison twins ...
“Yeah, he told us that at halftime during the game last Saturday. He’s doing it, so he’s going to keep it up I guess.”

On if that’s added incentive ...
“I just think we’ve got to continue to go out there and play hard no matter what it’s for, and just go out and play hard. If he keeps us in, he keeps us in.”

On if he knows any of the guys for UCLA ...
“I played against a couple of them, Kevon Looney, the main one I played against, and then their big center, (Tony) Parker, I played with him. There’s another guy they have, I played with him at the McDonald’s All-American game. A few people.”

On what type of player Looney is ...
“He’s just a very versatile player – rebounder, he can score and stuff like that. He’s very talented.”

On what he’s getting used to with a chunk of the season over with ...
“It goes by fast and you’ve got to take advantage of all of it as much as you can. Don’t take it for granted, and just continue to go out there and play hard.”

On how he’s changed ...
“(I’m) just trying to become a better player, trying to play hard all the time and live up to the expectation coaches want from us.”

On how easy or difficult that is ...
“It’s both. You have to push yourself and be confident in who you are, and just go out there and work hard.”

On his experience playing at the United Center ...
“I played there for the McDonald’s All-American Game, so I’m used to it a little bit. It’ll be fun to go back there and play again. Hopefully we can come out with another win.”

On if he likes the rims there ...
“They’re alright. Hopefully they treat me better than Indiana’s did.”

On going through finals week and preparing for a game ...
“It just comes along with it. You’ve got to take everything head on and you have to neutralize time so you can study, and then neutralize time for practice and individual workouts. Academics comes first for us. Coach (Cal) understands that. So if we tell him we have to study he understands that.”

On if he’s helping out Tyler Ulis with tickets ...
“It’s pretty close to home, so I have my family coming to that one. I wasn’t able to help him out, but I’m pretty sure a lot of the other guys were.”

On if Ulis is excited to play back in his hometown ...
“He definitely is. We’ve talked about it from the beginning of the year. I know him. He’s going to go out there and play hard and play to the best of his ability and do what he always does, which is lead the team as a point guard and really step up into that leadership.”

On if he uses Poythress being out as an opportunity to prove that he should play more minutes ...
“I think everybody just has to go out there and continue doing what they’re doing, which is playing hard and doing what Coach (Cal) asks of them, and whoever he wants to keep in the game he’ll keep in the game.”

On how he processes the praise from other coaches ...
“I think all of us let it go in one ear and out the other, because it really doesn’t matter if we don’t go out there and perform, so we need to go out there and play to the best of our abilities, and play as a team and continue to win. So once the season is said and done, they can say that then.”

On if he sees this team as a potentially historic team ...
“If we continue to play the way that we have been, and guys keep stepping up and stepping into leadership roles, and playing to the best of their abilities, I definitely think so.”

On UCLA lacking depth ...
“That may be true, but they have guys who can make plays and score the ball and do other things. We’re not going to look down on them because of that. We’re going to accept the challenge and go out there and play to the best of our ability and play as a team.”

On if Poythress has said anything to him, since he’s taken the starting spot ...
“He just tells me to continue playing hard. Seeing him go down was really tough for all of us, so we want to continue to play for him.”

On what he’s said to Poythress ...
“Anytime he needs anything from any of us, just we’re going to be there for him. For him to stay strong because he’s going to be all right. God has a plan for him.”

Freshman guard Tyler Ulis

On the wrap around his right leg ...
“Just precautionary. I’m trying to get warm before practice so I put a heat pack on before so I don’t go out there tight.”

On going back to Chicago ...
“I can’t wait to get back home, play in front of the home crowd. Everybody’s there. My family is going to be there watching, lots of my hometown friends and stuff like that. It’s going to be exciting.”

On if there is added pressure playing in his hometown of Chicago ...
“Not really because I’ve been playing around them my whole life. It’s just another game.”

On if he’ll go to the Michael Jordan statue on this trip ...
“I probably won’t go to the statue. I’ve seen it enough.”

On if the McDonald’s All-America game was the only other time he has played in this gym ...
“Yeah, this will be my second time playing there. It’s going to be a great atmosphere and I can’t wait to get there.”

On if it will be hard to not do too much to try to impress his family and friends ...
“No, it won’t be because I’m just going to come out and play like any other game, try to do what I have to do, and get the win.”

On if he could use some more tickets for this game ...
“Yeah, I could. I think a couple teammates are going to help me out on the tickets and try to make sure I can get people who want to be there in the stands.”

On UCLA’s lack of depth and what that means to them ...
“I don’t know anything about UCLA yet. We haven’t watched anything on them so I can’t comment on that.”

On if they sort of “smell blood in the water” when facing a team that is only five or six deep ...
“That’s the whole idea of the platoon system is to try to bring in fresh bodies and wear the other team down. I feel like every game we’re coming in with the same attitude to try to attack them and get after it.”

On if they can tell if the opposing team is getting tired in the second half ...
“Yeah, most of the teams we play with the platooning coming in and out, they get worn down by the time the second half comes around, or even earlier in the first half, because we’re bringing in fresh bodies every time and everyone is playing as hard as they can.”

On what he sees in an opponent that indicates they are getting tired ...
“I just see as a team that we’re doing our job and we’re coming out playing like how Cal wants us to play. We’re just giving it our all out there.”

On if he enjoys seeing the opposition get tired being a guy who likes to pester opposing offenses ...
“Yeah, when guys get tired that will give me my opportunities to create steals and make defensive plays.”

On if he considers himself a Chicago player ...
“Well, I consider myself a Chicago player, an Ohio player. I’m from both. I just grew up playing with a lot of guys out of Chicago and in Ohio and it made me who I am today. Growing up, playing on the playgrounds, having to play against older guys, just having to be tough.”

On what the reputation of a Chicago player is ...
“Tough, will do anything to get the job done and wants to win.”