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Calipari had to re-design offense to fit team’s rebounding skills

Jarred Vanderbilt (Vicky Graff Photo)


John Calipari knew Kentucky should be a dominant offensive rebounding team, especially when Jarred Vanderbilt finally got to start playing.

However, to get the rebounding team he now has, Calipari had to make certain changes in his team.

“You can’t stretch out all over the court because they can’t get to the rim. So you have to have more of an offense that’s designed to every shot that goes up there’s going to be two or three guys on the backboard, and that’s basically what we did,” Calipari said.

“We got away from some of the stuff we were doing and we put in some new stuff. (We) explained to the guys why we were doing it. They want to win.”

Sounds simple. Calipari said it wasn’t.

“The thing that they did not understand and hear is, if you don’t do this together you’re not going to have any fun. If you’re not going to do it together you cannot win against teams that are going to play like teams,” Calipari said.

“Then when you’re losing it’s no fun. And then when you’re not enjoying playing with each other you’re really miserable.”

Wait. There’s one more contributing factor to UK’s recent surge.

“The biggest thing, too, on the flipside is this team now is beginning to enjoy defense. And if you enjoy defense and you’re playing together, you basically can’t wait for the next game to come up,” Calipari said. “I’m happy with their progress and what they’re doing.”


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    In 7 of the last 11 games, and 5 of the last 7 games, this team has played defense at championship levels with game adjusted defensive efficiency of 0.9 ppp or less. Prior to that, this team’s defense was above 0.94 ppp in 12 of the 18 games. Game 18 btw is when Jarred Vanderbilt began to play, and the last 7 games coincide with the team growth that occurred subsequent to the season nadir in the Vanderbilt game at Rupp in game 22. This team was steadily improving through the 4 game losing streak, and has taken off like a rocket during the 3 game winning streak that has followed.

    I want to see that trend built upon tonight against Mississippi with a huge win, 25 points or more better than the cellar dwelling Ole Miss Rebels.

  2. Two or three guys blocking out for second chance points sounds pretty basic to me in dominating the boards near the paint, especially with Kentucky’s size . He was right about his players being stretched out all over the court many times in the past earlier games and unable to get to the rim. Don’t understand why it took Calipari so long to make that adjustment, even without Vando early on.

    1. The problem was the bigs were coming out to the top of the key hoping to get to touch the ball, lol. Cal should have stopped that sh_t immediately, but he has always let his guards run wild. Case in point…Isaac Humphries was named the rookie of the year in Australia’s NBL. He rarely got to play at UK much less have an offense run inside first…they would have been a final four team last year and a hard out at that.

  3. It is also unbelievable that it took Cal this long to figure out which 5 he really needed on the floor to be able to make a difference.

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