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Apparently John Calipari expecting lot of “flops” at Auburn

John Calipari wants to keep Nick Richards, left, and Ashton Hagans out of early foul trouble at Auburn. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time in over a month, Kentucky junior center Nick Richards got in early foul trouble against Vanderbilt Wednesday and only played five minutes in the first half before dominating the second half to help UK wipe out a 10-point deficit.

Now with the Cats set to face Auburn Saturday on the road, Kentucky coach John Calipari knows what Auburn coach Bruce Pearl and his team will be trying to do against Richards.

“So, if you’re their coach, what do you think you’re trying to do? So, you guys (in the media) do understand this isn’t brain surgery I’m doing here? The other guy, ‘How do I get him out? How do I flop around? How do I tell my guy to flop, flop, flop? How do I get him to do that to draw fouls? What do we? Do we post him 12 straight times?’” Calipari said Friday before the Cats left for Auburn.

“We’ve got to be prepared as a staff. We’ve got to talk to him.”

However, it is not just Richards that has to be careful. It’s also guard Ashton Hagans who has had a propensity for offensive fouls as well as fouls a long way from the basket.

“He can’t have dumb fouls. You can’t foul 72 feet from the basket. You can’t foul. I keep telling these guys, ‘This isn’t football. It’s not a touchdown. It’s two points that we’ll score in eight seconds. Calm down. We’re fine,’” Calipari said.

“But they think … they take it personal and they get embarrassed. ‘I got beat and I got embarrassed, so I’m going to grab a guy.’ You can’t be in that moment. You have to learn, ‘OK, I got embarrassed. Let me not get embarrassed next time. I’m going to force him a different way.’ But it’s stuff we’ve got to talk about and address.”

Calipari said Richards has been “good” about avoiding foul trouble and he tells all his players that the best players (in the NBA) “don’t foul out” because they understand to stay alert and stay in the game.

“You’ve got to be aware and you’ve got to be focused,” the UK coach said.

Yet one got the impression that Calipari expects a lot of “flops” from the Tigers, especially early, to try and draw fouls on Richards and other Cats even though there was a point of emphasis with officiating not to do that this year.

“If you’re going to call it, call it. Or let it all go. When your post player gets it and he turns and that guy flops, let it go. If you’re going to let a guy come off a screen and throw his head back, let it all go. If you’re going to let a guy kick his foot out and fall down and you don’t call it, I’m fine. Just don’t call any. I really don’t care,” Calipari said.

“What the rules are, I don’t care. Whatever it is, just make it consistent. And you (an official) should never say, ‘I didn’t make the (last call).’ You’re a team too, the three of you. You saw what he’s doing. You do the same. You’re a team. It’s not one guy. ‘I didn’t call it. I was here.’ ‘Well, why did you call that one from 30 (feet away)?’ ‘I’m not in the position.’ That’s my whole thing.

“I don’t care what they do. There’s an effect on the game if there’s 15 fouls to one. Then you’ve kind of gotta say something, I think.”

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  1. I believe UK should beat Auburn ….if they get a fair shake by the men in “stripes.” I doubt that happens, as we have seen way to often for UK, especially on the road. The stupid “flop” rule is ruining college basketball. They just more than likely will simply call a foul on UK when it was obvious the defender flops and bowls over like he was in a 1 act play. We’ll see. Come on Cats, beat Pearl and the Tigers.

    1. Will take a gutty effort Pup and got to keep Richards in the game

  2. We will be playing 5 on 8 for sure. Knowing that, it is imperative for us to play smart. Don’t initiate the pick & roll until the pick is set, meaning stopped. No hip checking by the pick man. Pull up for 10 ft. jumpers instead of driving tear drops. Come to a stop before passing. Don’t jump over someone’s back. Keep in front of your man so you don’t have to reach out and grab. Don’t force the action. Beat the defense with passing not dribbling. These are solid fundamentals for good HIGH SCHOOL teams. They should be second nature for us. If we play smart, play through Nick, rebound rebound rebound, and value the ball, we will win a tough game by 8 – 10 points. We are that much better than Auburn, even at their place..

    1. Actually I see this as two evenly matched teams with us being the road team. I will defer to professor for analysis. You are right about a big key being Nick’s fouls. If they call them like the last game when he breathes on someone with his hands straight up, we could be in trouble. Would like to see a well officiated game for a change.

  3. These teams have almost identical ANE and schedule strength through 20 games. Home court advantage will be the primary difference Kentucky must overcome to get an important road win over a contender.

    For Auburn, a home loss to a contender could be fatal to their regular season title hopes, and for Kentucky a road win over a contender can boost their title hopes.

    As for the flops, I wish the powers that be could stop flopping in the game the way they have at least managed hand and body checking by defenses in recent years. So far, their effort to do so has been a lot of words and no action or results.

  4. On the flopping, the officials must be willing to make the call during the game. I am not sure penalizing the player provides a long term solution however because the flopping technique is a product of coaching. I think that when a flop occurs, the head coach should be assessed the foul, and as with any foul called on the coach, 2 an he is gone.

    I would add that if the coach is ejected for technical fouls more than once in a season, the coach should pay hefty fines. Only this way will the coaches not have an incentive to stop teaching the flop.

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