Jordan Jones “just wired very different”

Jordan Jones (34) has a team-high 51 tackles. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

Jordan Jones (34) has a team-high 51 tackles. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Sophomore linebacker Jordan Jones has 51 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries in five games for Kentucky. All are team-high totals going into Saturday’s game with Vanderbilt.

“He’s one of those guys that’s just wired very different. He means so well. He brings unbelievable energy every day,” coach Mark Stoops said Monday. “He loves playing football, loves practicing, loves it all. It’s experience, reps, all those things.

How much will Willis show he can play?

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Going into the season Derek Willis is being counted on to be in John Calipari’s eight-man rotation. What Willis has to show is just how high he deserves to be in that rotation.

“The question is, ‘Are you a guy that we know we can count on every game for 25 minutes, 30 minutes or is it every once in a while you can do that?’ Well then what we’re doing is every once in a while we’ll play you 25 minutes. It’s just, ‘What are you? How consistent are you?’” Calipari said.

Guest post: UK offense not lot better now than at end of Joker Phillips’ era

UK's offense ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring. (Vicky Graff Photo)

UK’s offense ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL

Let me start by saying I was a big Mark Stoops fan when he was hired. It looked like a “home run” hire to me. I am also a big Eddie Gran fan.

That being said, facts always help to keep my emotions in check. Facts bring me back to the reality of the situation. After UK football’s third SEC game I thought I would check the facts.

Stoops: Vanderbilt loss will “bother me the rest of my life”

Mark Stoops has not forgot last year's loss to Vandy. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Mark Stoops has not forgot last year’s loss to Vandy. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s loss at Vanderbilt last season infuriated fans and cost Kentucky a likely bowl bid. It could have been the low point of the Mark Stoops’ era, even below this year’s loss to Southern Mississippi.

“Does last year’s Vanderbilt game hurt? Absolutely. It bothers me and will probably bother me the rest of my life. But this is a total new year,” Stoops said.

It is and UK hosts Vanderbilt Saturday with a chance to even its record at 3-3. But that loss should bother him because UK looked both unprepared and uninspired.

Calipari working on shot selection with guards

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari has had his staff charting every shot that players have taken in practice because his guards at times have been “too casual” with makes and misses.

He talked about how freshman Malik Monk made eight straight difficult shots in practice. He stopped practice and told his players that meant Monk should never miss seven in a row.

“If he misses seven straight, he’s not even thinking about making it, he’s singing a song, he’s not looking at the rim. How do you miss seven in a row if you can make eight in a row? So, the same with De’Aaron Fox. I mean, it’s just having them approach all this different and think different. This will be new to them,” Calipari said.

Stoops sees more defensive players in right spots

Mark Stoops at Alabama (Wade Upchurch Photo)

Mark Stoops at Alabama (Wade Upchurch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky didn’t win at Alabama Saturday, but it certainly fared better than it did in a road game at Florida three weeks early when it was thrashed.

“We go into a situation like that against the No. 1 team in the country and it’s extremely physical, extremely talented and very well coached. Our guys competed. I thought we did the right things, were in the right position, guys were executing for the most part,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “There was a drive or two that are not okay and we need to get some things fixed and play with greater urgency, but I thought overall we had guys in the right position, guys were straining to make plays.

Single-Game Tickets for First Four UK MBB Games on Sale Tuesday

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Tickets for Kentucky’s first four home men’s basketball games will go on sale Tuesday at 5 p.m. On Tuesday evening, tickets will only be available online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. Fans are encouraged to purchase on Tuesday evening to secure the best seat locations.

Based on availability after Tuesday’s sale, tickets will also be available on Wednesday morning through the UK ticket office and the Rupp Arena box office.

Tickets for Kentucky’s two exhibition games vs. Clarion (Oct. 30) and Asbury (Nov. 6) and the first two regular-season home games against Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 11) and Canisius (Nov. 13) will be available.

Briscoe embraces challenge to improve accuracy

Isaiah Briscoe knows he can be a more accurate shooter. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Isaiah Briscoe knows he can be a more accurate shooter. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky sophomore Isaiah Briscoe had trouble making 3-point shots and free throws last season. He did everything else well, but had problems with his shot.

“Give me some time,” said Briscoe.

He’s spent enormous hours in the gym during the offseason working to improve his accuracy. He also understands why he will keep getting asked about his shot until the season starts.

Cats have to cut turnovers against Vanderbilt

Mark Stoops wants quarterback Stephen Johnson to protect the football better. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Mark Stoops wants quarterback Stephen Johnson to protect the football better. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

In five games,  Kentucky has 14 turnovers — eight fumbles and six interceptions. Kentucky opponents have just seven turnovers, including only one lost fumble.

Kentucky faces a must-win game Saturday with visiting Vanderbilt if it has any chance to win six games and get bowl eligible. To beat Vanderbilt, Kentucky has to cut down on its turnovers. Just last week at Alabama, quarterback Stephen Johnson lost three fumbles and one was returned for a score.

Derek Willis knows he made a “huge mistake”

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Derek Willis knows the spotlight is going to be on him even more this season after his off-season alcohol-related arrest, and he’s ready for that.

“It has just really been a learning experience. I understand I made a huge mistake. It’s just one of those things. I talk to everyone the same way. When I am out in public, I am not Derek Willis the UK basketball player. It’s just more understanding who I am,” said Willis.

He was charged with alcohol intoxication during the summer.