Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Some Notes From Last Nights Win Over Arizona State

Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
Arizona State vs. Kentucky, Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Nov. 28, 2016

Final Score: No. 1/1 Kentucky 115, Arizona State 69
Team Records and Series Notes
·        Kentucky improved to 7-0. Arizona State is 4-3
·        Kentucky leads the all-time series 5-0 and is now 3-0 in neutral site games.
·        Kentucky is 2-0 in neutral site games this season
·        Kentucky returns to Rupp Arena to face another Pac-12 opponent, UCLA, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS

In the First Half
·        Kentucky started the lineup of Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel, and Bam Adebayo for the second time this season and first time since the Duquesne game. Kentucky is 2-0 with that lineup.

·        Briscoe made a 3-pointer at the 14:26 mark, extending Kentucky’s streak to 982 games with at least one 3-pointer, the longest streak in the nation.

·        Ahead 6-5 at the 17:49 mark, Kentucky went on an 18-5 run over the next 5:20 to stretch its lead to 26-10
·        Kentucky led by as much as 28 at the 1:31 mark in the first half

·        UK scored its most points in the first half of a game (58) since Dec. 22, 2008, vs. Tennessee State (59). The 58 points were the most first-half points in the Calipari era
·        This was the fourth straight game that UK scored at least 50 points in the first half

In the Second Half
·        Kentucky eclipsed the century mark on a Monk 3-pointer with 4:44 to play to make it 101-62

·        Kentucky built its largest lead at 48 points, with 22 seconds to play

Team Notes
·        This is the fifth time in eight seasons under Coach John Calipari that the Wildcats have opened with six straight wins

·        Kentucky has won all seven games this season by at least 21 points, the first time that has happened since the 1947-48 Wildcats initiated the campaign with six wins of at least a 24-point margin victory

·        Six Wildcats scored in double figures for the second game in a row

·        Kentucky’s 115 points is the most in the Calipari era and the most for the Wildcats since Dec. 30, 2002, when UK defeated Tennessee State 115-87
·        Kentucky has bettered the record for most points in the Calipari era in back-to-back outings. UK’s 111 points vs. UT Martin was the most, before UK topped it tonight

·        Kentucky scored 100 or more points in three straight games for the first time since Dec. 16, 17 and 23, 1977

·        UK’s 33 assists were the most in the Calipari era, eclipsing the 30 vs. Hartford on Jan. 29, 2009
·        The school record for team assists in a game is 35 vs. San Joes State on March 14, 1996

·        UK shot 52 percent from the field today, the fifth time this season the Wildcats have made at least half of their shots

·        Kentucky is 69-6 under Calipari as the Associated Press’ No. 1 team. Calipari is 110-11 all-time when his team has been ranked in the top spot

·        Coach John Calipari has a 669-187 (.782) on-court record, including a 225-47 (.827) mark at UK

Player Notes  
·        Freshman De’Aaron Fox posted the second triple-double in Kentucky history
·        Fox posted 14 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists
·        The 11 rebounds were a career high
·        The other triple-double in school history came from freshman Chris Mills, who posted 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Austin Peay on Dec. 27, 1988

·        Freshman Malik Monk had 23 points and has reached double figures in all seven games this season. He’s scored more than 20 in three straight and four games total this year
·        He made three 3-pointers and has made at least two 3’s in every game except the
opener when he made one

·        Freshman Bam Adebayo finished a rebound short of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds
·        He had a game-high three blocks, tying his career high

·        Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe also topped 20 points scoring with 20. He also contributed four rebounds and a career-high-tying seven assists
·        Briscoe has scored 20 or more points in three of five games played this season
·        He was 2 of 2 from 3-point range, the first time in his career he’s hit multiple 3-pointers
·        Briscoe also contributed three steals, a game-high mark.

·        Freshman Wenyen Gabriel scored in double figures for the third consecutive game with 10 points. He also added seven rebounds
·        Gabriel has hauled in six or more rebounds in five straight outings
·        He also dished out four assists. Gabriel has notched four or more assists in two of his last three games played

·        Senior Derek Willis posted 11 points and six rebounds. It marked the first game he topped double digits since a 15-point performance in the season opener
·        His six rebounds were the most this season
·        He has blocked at least one shot in every game this year

·        Senior Mychal Mulder knocked down two more 3-pointers. He’s drained multiple 3-pointers in four consecutive games

·        Freshman Brad Calipari hit his first-career 3-pointer and also added a rebound and an assist

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Kentucky vs. Cleveland State Post Game Notes

Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
Cleveland State at Kentucky, Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
November 23, 2016
Attendance: 22,341  

Final Score: No. 1/1 Kentucky 101, Cleveland State 70
Team Records and Series Notes
  • Kentucky is 5-0. Cleveland State is 1-3. 
  • Kentucky leads the series 3-0.  
  • Kentucky is now 2-0 in this year’s Bluegrass Showcase, with wins over Cleveland State and Duquesne.
  • Kentucky wraps up the Bluegrass Showcase Friday at 7 p.m. against UT Martin.  The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

In the First Half
  • Kentucky started the lineup of Dominique Hawkins, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Derek Willis and Bam Adebayo for the first time this season. 
    • It is the first time that two Kentuckians and two seniors started since March 4, 2014, when Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson opened on Senior Day. 
  • Kentucky began the game with a 7-0 run and never trailed.
  • Derek Willis made a 3-pointer at the 18:31 mark, extending Kentucky’s streak of 980 games with at least one 3-pointer, the longest streak in the nation. 
  • Kentucky steadily extended the advantage and led 56-35 at halftime.
  • It is the second straight game that UK hit the 50-point mark in the opening stanza.  The Wildcats tallied 50 vs. Duquesne.
  • 56 points are the most for Kentucky in a first half since tallying 57 – most in the first half in the John Calipari era – against Arkansas on Jan. 23, 2010.
  • It was a productive half for the Wildcat guards, as Monk led the first-half scoring parade with 19 points and four assists while Fox netted 12 points and six assists.
    • Monk’s 19 points is the third-most for a player in the first half during the Calipari era.

In the Second Half
  • Kentucky led by as many as 41 points at 95-54.
  • Tai Wynyard’s tip-in with 31 seconds left put UK over the century mark with 101 points. It is UK’s first triple-digit game since tallying 110 vs. Auburn on Feb. 21, 2015. 

Team Notes
  • This is the fifth time in eight seasons under Coach Calipari that the Wildcats have opened with five straight wins.
  • CSU shot 39.1 percent from the field (25 of 64), the third consecutive game that the opponent has been held under 40 percent.
  • The Vikings hit just six of 27 on 3-pointers. 22.2 percent.  For the season Wildcat opponents are making only 21.2 percent of their threes.
  • CSU had 19 turnovers today. UK opponents have committed at least 18 miscues in every game this season.
  • UK shot 52.1 percent from the field today, the third time this season the Wildcats have made at least half their shots. 
  • Kentucky shot 37.5 percent from long range, its best 3-point figure of the season.
  • UK had a season-high 25 assists.
  • The Wildcats won rebounding today 47-36 and dominated points in the paint, 52-20.
  • Kentucky had two players (Fox and Gabriel) post double-doubles, first time that happened since Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee did so vs. LSU on March 5, 2016.
  • Kentucky has a 37-game win streak at home against teams that are not ranked in The Associated Press poll.
  • Coach John Calipari has a 667-187 (.781) on-court record, including a 222-47 (.825) mark at UK.
  • Kentucky has an all-time mark of 550-64 (.896) in Rupp Arena.  
    • UK is 123-4 (.969) at Rupp Arena under Calipari.
    • Calipari broke the record held by Joe B. Hall for the most coaching victories in Rupp Arena. Hall was 122-14 (.897) in the building.
    • The current 41-game win streak is the second-longest in arena annals. 

Player Notes  
  • Freshman De’Aaron Fox notched 16 points and 11 assists, his second double-double of the season.
    • Fox has scored in double figures and led UK in assists in all five games this season. 
  • Freshman Malik Monk had 23 points, tying his season best (also vs. Michigan State) and has reached double figures in all five games this season.
    • Monk’s 19 points in the first half tied for the third-most in a first half in the Calipari era.
    • He also had four assists, his best as a Wildcat.
  • Freshman Wenyen Gabriel amassed 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, his first UK double-double, and season highs in all three categories.
  • Senior Mychal Mulder had a career-high 13 points, including three 3-pointers, for the second game in a row.
  • Freshman Bam Adebayo had 14 points, tying his Wildcat best, adding seven rebounds.
  • Sophomore Isaac Humphries contributed an efficient 11 minutes with nine points and nine rebounds, tying his career high for points.
  • Freshman Tai Wynyard played four productive minutes with four points and three rebounds.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Malik Monk Named SEC Freshman Of The Week

 After a breakout performance in historic Madison Square Garden, Kentucky freshman Malik Monk hauled in Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week honors on Monday. Monk was dynamic in UK’s victory over No. 13/13 Michigan State in the Champions Classic, draining seven 3-pointers en route to a career-high 23-point performance.

This marks the second consecutive week that a Wildcat has earned the league’s weekly honor for the top-performing freshman. De’Aaron Fox claimed the nod in the season’s opening week.

Monk averaged a team-high 18.5 points in the wins over the Spartans and Duquesne in Rupp Arena on Sunday.

Against the Spartans, Monk found his stroke and showcased his scoring ability in bunches. He scored a career-best 23 points, highlighted by a 7-of-11 (.636) showing from behind the arc. The seven made 3-pointers is the third-most in the John Calipari era. He’s also just one of three freshmen in program history to amass seven or more from long range in a regular-season, nonconference outing.

Monk didn’t just score against the Spartans; he was also a beast on the boards. The Lepanto, Arkansas, native hauled in a team-high six rebounds, the most of his young career.

It was more of the same for the freshman against Duquesne. Monk reached double-figures in scoring for the fourth time this season with 14 points, including two more 3-pointers. He also contributed a pair of rebounds and a block to the winning cause. 

With the duo of Fox and Monk winning the league’s Freshman of the Week award in consecutive weeks, UK has now achieved the feat of capturing the honor in consecutive weeks to open the season for the second time in the Calipari era. Eric Bledsoe and John Wall opened the 2009-10 season with five straight accolades.

Kentucky Ranked No. 1 For The Sixth Time Under Calipari

Following a 4-0 start, including a victory over then-No. 13/13 Michigan State on Tuesday in the Champions Classic, the Kentucky men’s basketball team has returned to the top of the polls. UK landed at No. 1 when the Associated Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll were released Monday.

It’s the sixth time in John Calipari’s eight seasons at Kentucky the Wildcats have appeared at No. 1 at some point during the season in both major polls.

UK picked up 42 of the 65 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 and 20 of the 31 first-place votes in the Coaches Poll.

UK is 66-6 as the AP No. 1 team since Calipari’s first year at the helm, the most wins in the country by a top-ranked team during that span. Calipari is 107-11 all-time as head coach of the AP’s top-ranked team, second among all active coaches.

The Wildcats own an all-time record of 218-29 (.883) at No. 1 in the AP Top 25, including victories in 63 of their last 67 contests as the AP’s top team.

It will mark the Wildcats’ 123rd week atop the AP Top 25 all-time, behind only UCLA (134) and Duke (129).

Kentucky has been ranked No. 1 in each of the last four seasons. Dating back to Memphis, Calipari has guided eight of his last 10 teams to a No. 1 ranking during the season.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Still Some Singe-game Tickets Available For Kentucky Mens Basketball

A number of single-game men’s basketball tickets remain for sale. Additionally, eRUPPtion Zone tickets will be available for the Duquesne, Cleveland State and UT Martin games, which fall during the Thanksgiving week.

Tickets for Kentucky's men's basketball games vs. Duquesne, Cleveland State, UT Martin, UCLA, Valparaiso, Texas A&M and Arkansas remain on sale. Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000, or can be purchased through the UK ticket office and the Rupp Arena box office in person.

Fans will be allowed to start lining up for eRUPPtion Zone ticket sales beginning five hours prior to tip-off for the Duquesne (Nov. 20), Cleveland State (Nov. 23) and UT Martin (Nov. 25) games outside of the Rupp Arena box office. Fans in line will receive a numbered wristband and must return to line, two hours prior to tip-off. Tickets will then go on sale 90 minutes prior to tip-off at the Rupp Arena box office and are available on a first-come/first-serve basis.

Tickets in the eRUPPtion Zone are $5 each (cash only) and are limited to one per person (must be present at time of purchase).

Including the tickets available now, there will be two more dates to purchase single-game tickets this season, based on availability:

·         Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. – Auburn (Jan. 14), South Carolina (Jan. 21), Kansas (Jan. 28), Georgia (Jan. 31)
·         Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. – LSU (Feb. 7), Tennessee (Feb. 14), Florida (Feb. 25), Vanderbilt (Feb. 28)

For a complete listing of on-sale dates, single-game ticket prices and other ticket information, visitUKAthletics.com/tickets-mens-basketball.

As always, UK Athletics encourages all fans to buy tickets to our athletics events through the UK ticket office, TicketmasterTicketExchange and the Rupp Arena box office. Tickets bought from anywhere other than those four sources may not be valid, and buyers should beware.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

OFFICIAL Final Kentucky vs. Michigan State Box-Score

Notes From Kentucky's Impressive Win Over Michigan State

Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
Kentucky vs. Michigan State, Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
November 15, 2016
Attendance: to be announced after second game of doubleheader  

Final Score: No. 2/2 Kentucky 69, No. 13/13 Michigan State 48
Team Records and Series Notes
·         Kentucky is 3-0. Michigan State is 0-2. 
·         Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Michigan State, 13-11.
·         Kentucky has a 4-2 record in the six-year history of the Champions Classic, 1-1 vs. Michigan State, 2-0 v. Kansas, 1-1 vs. Duke.
·         Kentucky’s future schedule in the Champion Classic features:
·         UK vs. Kansas, Nov. 14, 2017 (Chicago)
·         UK vs. Duke, Nov. 13, 2018 (Indianapolis)
·         UK vs. Michigan State, Nov. 12, 2019 (New York)
·         UK has an all-time record of 36-13 in Madison Square Garden, including 24-10 in the original building and 12-3 in the current arena. UK is 2-0 in Champions Classic games in MSG, also played here in the 2011 event.
·         Kentucky returns to action Sunday at home vs. Duquesne. Game time is 9 p.m. and it will be televised on ESPN.

In the First Half
·         Kentucky has started the lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk, Derek Willis and Bam Adebayo in all three games this season.
·         Malik Monk made a 3-pointer at the 16:04 mark, extending Kentucky’s streak of 978 games with at least one 3-pointer, the longest streak in the nation.
·         Monk’s first long ball was a harbinger of things to come.  Tied at 12, his third 3-pointer of the half ignited a 14-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 26-14 lead they did not relinquish.
·         Michigan State got as close as four but Kentucky lengthened the gap to 34-26 going into intermission. Monk led the Cats with 14 in the opening frame and Briscoe added 10.

In the Second Half
·         Michigan State opened the second half with a 3-pointer but the Spartans got no closer.
·         Kentucky steadily added to its advantage, leading by as many as 23 points at 67-44.
·         The Wildcats closed out with a 69-48 win.

Team Notes
·         Kentucky limited Michigan State to 48 points.  No Spartan reached double figures in scoring.
·         UK is 64-0 under Coach John Calipari when limiting the opponents to 55 points or fewer.
·         UK is 134-5 under Calipari when limiting the opponents to 63 points or fewer.
·         Kentucky blocked eight shots tonight. The Wildcats have at least seven rejections in all three games this season.
·         Kentucky forced 20 turnovers and won points off turnovers 24-12.
·         Kentucky made 16-of-20 at the foul line. The 80 percent mark is the Wildcats’ best of the young season.
·         This is the second-straight game that the Wildcats have had a pair of 20-point scorers.
·         Coach John Calipari has a 665-187 (.781) on-court record, including a 220-47 (.824) mark at UK.

Player Notes  
·         Freshman Malik Monk led all scorers with 23 points, sinking 7-of-11 on 3-point shots.
·         Monk is the third freshman in school history to make at least seven 3-pointers in a regular-season non-conference game, also Doron Lamb and Jamal Murray.
·         Monk also tied Wenyen Gabriel as the top Wildcat rebounder with six boards.
·         Monk has scored double figures in all three games this season.
·         Isaiah Briscoe totaled 21 points, including 5-of-5 at the foul line.
·         Briscoe has scored at least 17 points in all three games, featuring 21 the last two games.
·         Freshman De’Aaron Fox had 12 points, his third-straight game in double figures.
·         He made 6-of-6 foul shots and has made all 21 of his free throw attempts this season.
·         Fox had a game-high six assists and has led the Wildcats in assists all three games.

Monday, November 14, 2016

De'Aaron Fox Named SEC Freshman Of The Week

 Kentucky freshman De'Aaron Fox was tabbed the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Week following the league's opening weekend of play on Monday. Fox averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in helping lead UK to wins over Stephen F. Austin and Canisius.

Fox began his career with a 12-point, 12-assist outing vs. the Lumberjacks for his first career double-double. The 12 assists were the most for a UK player in a debut since assists began being kept in 1971-72. It's also the most assists for any UK player in a season opener. Furthermore, it tied for the fourth-most assists in a single game by any UK player in the John Calipari era.

He didn't stop there, however. In UK's second win of the season, Fox tied with sophomore Isaiah Briscoe with 21 points, the most in a game this season for a Wildcat. Fox's night was highlighted by a 9-for-9 day at the charity stripe. In his first two games, Fox is a perfect 15 of 15 from the line.

This marks the third consecutive season the Wildcats have begun the season with a Freshman of the Week honor. Skal Labissiere (2015) and Trey Lyles (2014) were the others. It also marks the sixth time in eight seasons under Calipari a freshman has been honored by the league office after the opening week of play. Fox joins Eric Bledsoe (2009), Terrence Jones (2010) and Anthony Davis (2011) as the others.

Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday in the sixth edition of the Champions Classic. UK takes on Michigan State at 7 p.m. in Madison Square Garden. The game will air live on ESPN.

Coach Cal's Pre-Michigan State Thoughts

Head Coach John Calipari

On the challenges Michigan State presents …
“Physical play. They fly up and down the court. They set great screens. Offensive rebound, they absolutely jam you in the back and they’re coming. There’s no, ‘Let me try to get around you.’ It’s mush mouth around that goal, and they go for balls. They play like his (Tom Izzo) teams play. I think they’ll probably go under pick-and-rolls. They’ll probably sag a little bit and get us to shoot jump shots and things like that. They dig in the post. They do a great job of digging in the post. They wait until you bounce and then they kind of converge. Sometimes they trap. Most times they don’t.”

On Tom Izzo saying he might call him about having a bunch of freshmen … “We talk all – we’ll talk throughout the year. Obviously we’re getting ready to play so neither one of us have talked, and we’ve both been busy. But he is one of the good guys in our profession. Like I said, he and I throughout the year will call each other throughout the year, and mainly we just start laughing (about), like, stuff that happened or what happened with me or what happened with him. He’s done it a long time and he’s done with all kinds of different teams. You know they’re going to play tough. They’re going to be physical. You know they’re going to rebound. You know they’re going to fly up and down the court. You know. And then he tries to figure out each team that he has how they have to play.”

On if he needles him now that he knows it’s not that easy to play with a bunch of freshmen … “There’s a lot of guys that – I don’t have to needle. They look at me when I walk in and I just wink. There’s more than just Tom. Everybody’s playing young guys and it’s difficult. It’s a process. You’ve got to be patient but you can’t be patient. There’s things you’ve got to do to challenge them to, like the (Stephen F. Austin) coach said, get old fast. And that’s hard. That’s hard. And you’re trying to win. You have a program that’s won and you want to win.”

On how the team will handle smash-mouth basketball …
“I have no idea. Like I said last night, they may pee down their leg. I just have no idea because there are some tough matchups. They have the (Miles) Bridges kid, the perimeter shooter and a couple other athletes that drive the ball. My guess after is that after watching us, they’re probably going to pass it three or four times, throw to a wing, cut away and try to beat the guy one-on-one. They’ll run the stuff that they run, but if you’ve watched us, you say, ‘When so-and-so is guarding you, you start dribbling. Go right at the rim.’ So, we’re going to do some stuff today. They’re currently watching tape with the assistant coaches of last night’s game and then we’ll go out and practice for about an hour or so and then walk through their stuff. They run good stuff, but us running good stuff doesn’t matter. It about will you rebound? Will you run up and down that court and fly because they’re going to fly? And, will you get screened or will you physically screen the same way they do? And that’s going to be just talking to each other, trusting each other, and other stuff that we’re just learning how to do.”

On if he’s going to be signing copies of his new book at halftime on Tuesday …
“Is there a book coming out? [Sarcasm.] No. The guys hit me this morning and I said, ‘I’m not worried about that book.’ But I had to put out that it is coming out. And I think it’s a great read. [Laughter.] But I’m worried about this game and I’ll worry about the other stuff next week sometime.”

On how he spent his time writing the book …
“I spent four days with Michael (Sokolove) down there (at my vacation house in Florida). The original version was titled, “The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent.” All the genius publishers added the other stuff. And the reason for this book was because everyone keeps asking, ‘How in the world are you doing this?’ So that’s what the book was, but the first version was not what I wanted so we went down (to Florida to edit it), and now we’ll see. But I’m not worried about it. It’s a chance for me to leave something and share something on what we do and how we do it here. And if other people chose to do it this way and it helps players, I’m happy. Then I come back to, they’re not going to do it better than we do it. But they can do it, and it’s good for players, that would be fine.”

On getting ready for the third cycle of the Champions Classic and what he likes and doesn’t like about it … 
“It’s a good event. The other (the CBS Sports Classic) is a good event too. I am not sure if that will keep going. Hopefully North Carolina will stay in. UCLA is coming back. They have those guards, and Ohio State is always good. With this thing, early in the year, it’s a hard deal. Last year we beat Duke, it made it a nice couple of weeks. Then we go back and lose to Ohio State or whoever we lost to. I mean, it’s an early game. It’s great for fans (but) it’s tough for coaches. But for us, what I am excited about is that the issues we have, if we don’t improve them in this game, you will see it glaring, and then we have the attention of this team – like, if you really want to win. We have good players, but that is not what wins. It’s the grind, the toughness, the grittiness and the offensive rebound attempts. I’m not going to get beat to a ball. He’s not going to beat me to a ball. All of those things you will see in this game right now. And the other thing you guys talked about is, OK, lights are at Madison Square Garden, it’s a nationally televised game, everybody is watching. It’s like the presidential debate. How do you do now? Can you make a shot? Can you make a free throw? Can you think? Great environment for that, to find out early.” 

On if this is the type of game where they may need to lean on Isaiah Briscoe …
“Yeah. He and I talked already. We have things to do with other guys, and I imagine – I already told him how I think they’ll play him because he’s just getting into the lane so easily – I would imagine they are putting a couple guys on him. Almost like having a linebacker (who spies the quarterback). You say you have two guys on him all the time. So they will probably do that, but he’s working so hard. When you invest like he did this year, then you like the coach – when you invest like this. When last year, it is pulling teeth and you’re going to the dentist every day. ‘I don’t want to do this.’ But when you do invest like he is you just don’t surrender. You just keep playing. You keep coming. And then you start dragging other guys with you. ‘We’re not giving up. All the work I put in this. Come on.’ And that’s where he is. It’s where do you try to get all your team. And then they become empowered and they’re doing this vs. coaching doing it.”

On competing against Tom Izzo for Miles Bridges, who Michigan State eventually got …
“We did. We did. Tom’s beaten us. He’s really good, but they’ve beaten us – Michigan State’s beaten us on a lot of players. I’m not meaning this because Tom and I are friends, but it’s like, ‘What happened there?’ They beat us on a lot of kids. Miles Bridges is legitimately one of the best players in the country – physically, skill wise. He’s a big body with guard skills. Not afraid. He’s Tom’s kind of player, too. He’s gritty. He’s tough. He’s good, but we’ve recruited the Cassius (Winston) kid. A couple of the wings. I mean, we recruited those guys, and I know how good they are. Good kids too, all good kids. It’s like, we don’t get every guy we recruit.”

On if the Champions Classic represents a reunion of all of the nation’s top recruits … 
“A bunch of the kids on every team – we recruited a bunch of these, we recruited a bunch of those, recruited a bunch of these and they recruited a bunch of ours. You don’t get everybody. That’s why I don’t go crazy over recruiting. Our fans do. They want to read everything and see everything. I could care less. We’re going to get the four or five guys we need to get that want to be here, both feet in. They’ve got no problem – they’re not afraid of this. They’re not afraid to share. They want to come here and be coached. They watch me coach in practice. I don’t cuss and swear. That’s not how I coach. But, the bar is raised high. Then the question is: Can you make it through this practice? If you can’t make it through this practice – this is every day – then don’t come here. If you think that eventually you can, then it’s probably a good place to come. If you walk in the gym and when you see no players, and that’s where you want to be, you’re not coming here. If you walk in the gym and see a bunch of talent and say, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ and you love it, you want to be here. We’ve got some guys (in the early signing period), we still may sign a couple more. We may not. Then if we don’t, we’ll sign a couple late, which is like we’ve done. And that will be fine. You get yours, I get mine. Then we eventually got to throw it up and see who’s who. Where they rank us – one year this team was ranked duh, duh, duh. I don’t think Karl-(Anthony) Towns’ team was ranked like the best recruiting class. What? Who ranked that? In other years there were other players that were ranked higher and we were ranked higher than them and we shouldn’t have been. So, the rankings don’t matter. I mean, it’s who did we get, how do they play and do they want this? This is not normal. It’s just not normal here.”

On if he can talk about any of the early signees … 
“I’m not going to do it until we get everybody and then I’ll go through the five or six.”

On Derek Willis … 
“Well, Derek Willis will probably start unless I’m not comfortable today. And if he defends he can stay in the game. If he can’t defend and he makes three shots, then he probably won’t play much in this game. You gotta guard, man. You gotta rebound. It’s real simple. So, it isn’t anything to do with what he does offensively. I know what he can do offensively. We all do. I’m proud of him. Again, he’s the last one to leave this gym every day so he’s building up his confidence in what he can do offensively. Now get in there and fight. Get in there and fight.”

On Willis’ defensive miscues and what they’re attributed to … 
“Some of its focus. Some of its moving your feet. Some of its retreating. Most of it is communication. If you don’t talk, we don’t know what you’re doing. It’s two of us together most times if you watch. He’s either getting beat on a bounce or he’s with another guy and he’s not communicating – or they’re not and that group is not doing the right thing. They’re both playing one man and now he’s trying his butt off. But, now results matter in this thing.” 

On if he can teach from either a loss or a win vs. Michigan State … 
“Yeah. I’d rather win and learn from a win than a loss. Sometimes I don’t think you learn much from a loss other than you lost a game, and you learn how to lose. This may be beyond us right now. We’ll find out. We’re going to walk in and – you’ll probably in the first five-seven minutes will go either, ‘Ah, they can play with these guys,’ or you’re going to go in there and say, ‘Those dudes are men. Our guys are going to be OK, but right now they’re not up to this.’ You’ll probably say that in the first five minutes. One or the other.”

UK Alumni Association Pre Michigan State Gathering in New York

New York City UK Alumni Club hosting Pre-game Gathering before Champions Classic

The New York City UK Alumni Club will host a Pre-game Gathering on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, beginning at 4 p.m. EST prior to the Michigan State vs. Kentucky matchup in the Champions Classic event.

The event will be held at Jack Demsey’s, located at 36 West 33rd St., New York, NY 10001. Jack Demsey’s will provide a Kentucky themed menu and drink specials will be available. The event will also feature a silent auction and raffle of autographed UK sports memorabilia. There is no cost to attend and the venue is located three blocks from Madison Square Garden.
For questions, please contact the New York City UK Alumni Club at nycukalumni@gmail.com. Details are also available on the UK Alumni Association website at www.ukalumni.net/championsclassic.

The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit www.ukalumni.net or call 1-800-269-2586.