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Want to play more for John Calipari? Grab offensive rebounds

Nick Richards had four of UK’s six offensive rebounds Friday. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky missed 25 shots in Friday’s 82-62 victory over Mount St. Mary’s but got only six offensive rebounds — and four of them were by Nick Richards.

Kentucky coach John Calipari has been pleading for team to hit the boards harder all season and was even more passionate about that after Friday’s win.

“We only get six offensive rebounds. C’mon. It’s not like we made every shot. We shot over 50 percent but there’s still 25 rebounds and you get six. That’s not acceptable,” Calipari said.  “It’s just not.

“

I’m telling them, Whoever in this room wants to play more, offensive rebound. I’m going to leave you in the game.

Well, that’s rough. It’s hard. Can I just shoot some 3’s?
”

Calipari made the same proclamation on his postgame radio show in Rupp Arena with fans watching and listening.

Before that he explained why offensive rebounding can be hard for some players.

“Here is what happens. Your mentality has to be every shot that we take, the three, four and the five, sometimes the two, off guard, this is a miss. You got to train yourself every shot we take offensively is a miss, I’m going to go get it,” the Kentucky coach said.

“When you go get it, that’s three more steps you got to run to go back on defense, so it’s a little easier just to, I can’t get that, I’ll be at the top of the key and start running so I got a five-step lead on this guy. If he’s right next to me and he runs, I got to sprint. If they get it, I turn and fly.

“We’re working on it. We’re doing stuff. Obviously, it’s not taking hold.”

Maybe it won’t by the time UK hosts Lamar Sunday night but after that UK starts playing basically one game per week and rebounding will become an even bigger point of emphasis.

“If I get a guy that will offensive rebound, he’s staying in the game. If anybody wants so-and-so to play more, he’s given you the answers. He’s giving you an A, go rebound offensively,” Calipari said. “That means do not accept being blocked out, fight for every ball, and if you don’t get it sprint back.

“How about if we had three guys doing that, which some of my teams were that way? We were getting 17, 18, 19 offensive rebounds, which gives you four or five or six easy baskets. Which means if you play how we play, it’s hard to beat us. That’s tough, mentally stronger, experienced kids.
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5 comments

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  1. Coach is right.

  2. Looked for Allen on bench after every time out and never once saw him…what gives?

    1. He was sick Friday night

  3. Thanks for reply Larry.

  4. Through 5 games, UK’s offensive rebounding rate is 28.1% (#175). This is just below the national average. This needs to improve, and it is clearly below the standards established by Calipari over the last 10 seasons that saw UK’s offensive rebounding rate among the strongest in the nation, even exceeding 40% a couple of those seasons.

    The good news on this front has been the opponents’ offensive rebounding rate, which is currently 20.7% (#18). This in outstanding result for any team. This shows the team’s rebounding issues are not occurring at both ends of the floor, but only on the Cats’ offensive end.

    Overall, the Cats are getting about 54% of all available rebounds. That is not too shabby, actually, and improvement at the offensive end will increase this as well.

    Yes, this team needs to get more offensive rebounds, but I think just as important, and perhaps more important, is when they do get an offensive rebound, they need to score. This team’s second chance point production has been lower that past teams.

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