By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s kind of nice to have a coach be refreshingly honest — and that’s what John Calipari was Sunday.
Of course, he did say after last week’s loss to Evansville that he got “outcoached” by Walter McCarty and the preparation he did with his Aces. Remember Kentucky was coming off a win over Michigan State and was ranked No. 1 when the Aces beat the Cats.
Kentucky returns to action tonight when it hosts Utah Valley State hoping to put the Evansville loss out of everyone’s minds.
“I’ve done this so long that we go from Michigan State thinking we can beat the world to obviously not in the right frame of mind, not the right kind of preparation,” Calipari said Sunday when asked about the loss.
However, what Calipari said next put the loss into perspective a little more as he attempted to explain why his players might not have been mentally focused — as the play looked the whole game from the Cats.
“What these teams do every year I coach, they’re going to follow my lead. Well, they probably followed my lead. I thought we were going to win the game, too. I didn’t think we would have that much of a struggle with those guys,” Calipari said. “And so they followed my lead, and it woke me up more than it woke them up.
“But I think they know now that every game, we have a chance to beat anybody –- and lose to anybody if we don’t compete. If we play great defense, we’ll have a chance in every game. We’re still trying to figure out the offense. It’s just going to take time.”
However, one thing is bothering Calipari even more — rebounding. He said Sunday that UK was last among Power Five teams in offensive rebounding. That’s a category Calipari’s teams normally rank among the nation’s leaders annually.
“I’ve never heard of that (being last). Basically it means you’re not even trying because it’s not important that I rebound because I’m trying to score,” Calipari said. “Well, we talked about it, we showed them, we worked on it, so hopefully that will begin to change.
“Where we are in learning offense, you have to get offensive rebounds on some possessions –- free baskets –- or it’s going to be hard to win.”
Center Nick Richards said the Cats have been working on basic rebounding drills the last week.
“If the ball goes up, he (Calipari) wants four guys going to the rim. If four guys don’t touch the paint, he basically is going to make us run. Just basic drills like that,” Richards said