By LARRY VAUGHT
If Kentucky is totally focused when it plays Eastern Kentucky on Friday night it will surprise me. Coming off an impressive victory over No. 1 Michigan State in New York, it’s almost a given that the Cats won’t have quite the same intensity and focus tonight.
Even coach John Calipari said Thursday that he didn’t know if his team would be focused for game two or not.
“I have no idea. When you’re coaching young guys, you don’t know,” Calipari said.
The coach does know, though, that his team still has a lot to figure out in the weeks ahead despite the impressive win to begin the year.
“One of the things that we have to do is we have to continue to figure out offensively how do we play. How do we get everybody involved in how we play? Like when someone wants to do more – ‘I can do more’ – my comment to them is, ‘We didn’t score one basket on an offensive rebound. How about do more of that? Go get a couple of those,'” Calipari said.
“Doing more for some of these guys means that we’re gonna have to create a little bit for them because they’re not used to playing random. When you’re a freshman, everything was run to you. You took every shot. Every play was to you in high school. Now you’re here and we’re trying to play random.
“Why am I trying to teach them random basketball? It’s where the game’s going, where it’s position-less, drive the basketball. The game is random now. Well, when you have 17- and 18-year olds, they’re not used to playing random. And you watch them and you say, ‘He’s a little lost out there.’ And that’s because he is.
“He’s not used to being ready to make a play before he catches the ball. He’s not seeing what’s there before he catches it. A high school player catches the ball, and then says, ‘What do I have?’ It is too late. So, it’s gonna be till January or February till we can play as random as we want to play.”
So maybe if the Cats don’t look focused tonight it could just be that the Cats are not quite ready to play random basketball the way Calipari wants.