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Cats have to learn to keep mental focus

Hamidou Diallo (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

One reason Kentucky blew a 14-point lead in the final 11 minutes of Tuesday’s loss at South Carolina was its inability to consistently make free throws.

“Free throws are all mental. You just gotta get to the line, just tell yourself you’re going to make it and, like I said, the first half was all quiet. They (South Carolina fans) weren’t really loud,” UK freshman Kevin Knox said.

“The next thing you know in the second half they kind of got into it. That kind of helped with them with the free throws because we started missing them.

“But free throws are all mental. I know we’ll work on it in practice and we’ll knock them down next game.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the issues started long before the South Carolina fans got loud.

“This started at shootaround today, where you got a bunch of guys that don’t know having a great shootaround doesn’t guarantee a great game, but going through the motions or not paying attention and not being focused guarantees what happens when the game is in the crunch,” Calipari said after the loss.

“There’s an unwarranted arrogance that we get up, we’re really good, or I’m really good and I’m going to do what I’m choosing to do, I’m not going to listen to what you’re saying. That’s what happened, and then it started rolling and all of a sudden we couldn’t stop the onslaught. They deserved to win. There was no – this wasn’t about us. This was about South Carolina.”

 

1 comment

  1. In another thread, Nick Richards was crystal clear that he knows what it takes to win, and Coach Calipari does not speak the truth on that matter. Here is Kevin Knox demonstrating the same arrogance.

    Yes, dear friends, the same Kevin Knox that has been the least efficient player on this team all season long. Yes, dear friends, the same Kevin Knox that has consumed 1/5 of all UK possessions this entire season despite his poorest efficiency on this entire team. But, he knows better than Coach.

    This team has not performed at a level accustomed to a Calipari led UK team from day 1 of this season. This team had the poorest start of any Calipari team. This team has consistently done one thing, refuse to follow the teaching/instruction of its coaches.

    Oh wait, what has come over me? I forgot, Jarred Vanderbilt has started to play. Is this like the cartoons of my youth, “Mighty Mouse Is On His Way!”? Oh wait, what has come over me? I forgot, this team now has to play without Green. But, the problems that this team had against South Carolina without Green and with Vanderbilt are the same problems this team has been languishing with since Day 1, when they had Green and did not have Mighty Mouse.

    Yes, my frustration is boiling over. Yes, I have felt similar frustrations with other Calipari teams and players. It serves no purpose here to revisit those earlier editions of these issues.

    By Thanksgiving, it was clear that this team’s ceiling is Sweet 16, and this team may not survive the first weekend of the tournament. That remains my belief, but I am beginning to sense an all out rebellion against Coach Calipari’s authority based on the two threads Larry has started here in the last 24 hours.

    If that is the case, we have come full circle to “Team Turmoil-Calipari Version”

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