Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.
Kentucky Coach John Calipari counseled patience as his team — more Justin Bieber than grizzled veteran — prepares to open the season Friday against East Tennessee State.
“I’d tell everyone to be patient,” he said on Thursday. “I’ll be as patient as I can be. It may not look that way.”
In ETSU, the freshman-oriented Cats play a team that has four fifth-year seniors and a fourth-year junior on its roster. The Bucs received a NCAA Tournament bid last season and lost to Kentucky 100-71 in the first round.
Calipari suggested that blowout had no relevance to Friday night’s game.
“This was a bad first game to the schedule,” he said. “(ETSU) is well coached, play hard (and) play aggressive.”
Aggressiveness was a theme Calipari hit on with Kentucky during last week’s exhibitions.
A team like ETSU can help Kentucky learn about itself, the coach suggested. “You can’t learn about a team against Popcorn State,” he said.
Besides making aggressiveness a staple of its play, Kentucky must learn to execute better, adjust to the pace of games and make good decisions in shot selection.
“So important,” Calipari said of shot selection. “Freshmen are playing like it’s just a pick-up game. . . .I don’t expect them to play like it’s January or February. It’s (mid-November) and it looks like it.”