By LARRY VAUGHT
Long, versatile athletes who could play “positionless” basketball have been a recruiting priority for Kentucky coach John Calipari.
However, he’s making a philosophical shift.
“I want to have everyone on the court that can shoot the ball,” Calipari during a break at UK’s satellite camp at Ryle High School Thursday. “You’ve got to be honest, you’ve got to play them.
“Anytime you’re playing against a team where they’re playing off of one person it’s hard. How about two? And we’ve had sometimes when they played off three.”
Inconsistent 3-point shooting cost UK a national title in 2010, Calipari’s first season, when UK went 4-for-32 from long range in a NCAA East Region final loss to West Virginia.
Kentucky was one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the nation last year. Out of 351 teams, Kentucky ranked 344th in percentage of points from 3-point range at 20 percent. For only the second time in Calipari’s nine years at UK, the Cats failed to make 200 3-pointers and also failed to make a 3 in a NCAA Tournament game.
“We’re not a team that relies on 3s,” Calipari said after the game. “We’d like to make five, six, seven, maybe eight 3’s (per game). There’s teams that need to make 12, 13, 14 to win. We’re not one of them.”
However, he says the NBA proves the importance of perimeter shooting.
“Offensive rebounding plays no part in the pro game anymore. You shoot the ball and you run back. They’re not sending three and four guys to the glass. They’re running back. And what they’re saying is we shoot it well enough, we’re giving up something this end that we don’t like the percentages,” Calipari said.