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SEC Headlines – 7/20/11 Part Two

1.  The SEC has “We Are College Football” t-shirts available at Media Days.  (The shirt is part of an “SEC on ESPN” apparel collection launched by the network… which really needed yet another revenue stream.)

2.  Kentucky basketballer Jon Hood tore an ACL during a pickup game on Monday night.

3.  Hood could be back in time for the season.  Good.

4.  Here are three storylines for Arkansas at Media Days.

5.  Running back Knile Davis brings flexibility and balance to the Hog offense.

6.  DJ McCarthy and Akiem Hicks “kicked dirt on LSU’s good name.”

7.  Here’s the full list of LSU’s NCAA sanctions.

8.  From a Magnolia State perspective, here are five questions heading into SEC Media Days.

9.  Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones is showing support for embattled AD Pete Boone.

10.  Brandon Bolden and the Rebel football team are being snubbed.  (Can a team that went 4-8 last year really be “snubbed?”)

11.  Mississippi State has set a new record with $37.6 million in private funds donated in the last fiscal year.

12.  The only SEC West team that Dan Mullen has beaten is Ole Miss — the one that happens to matter most.

13.  MSU knows what it has in quarterback Chris Relf.

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Cal waiting for Hood for blossom

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

UK Coach John Calipari noted the progress made by Jon Hood.
“Really come on as our eighth man,” the UK coach said.
While saying Hood looked like Rex Chapman in a recent practice, Calipari hinted that the sophomore from Madisonville had to believe he could play that well in games.
“I just think he has that thing over top of him that he has to break through,” the UK coach said. “I told him, I’ve got a lot of confidence in you. . . . It’s just that thing. When they get over it, when they do it, they take it to another level.”

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When talking Dale Brown, Cal references a white suit

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

The quote of the night from John Calipari had to do with Dale Brown’s electric blue suit — and a reference to a certain white suit (Ricky P) and the reaction of “ooooooooo” from the media when Cal referenced Pitino’s Colonel Sanders’ look.

Without mentioning Pitino, of course.

Q. That blue suit Dale had on, you got plans for one of those maybe in the future?

COACH CALIPARI: There are three suit that’s I’ve seen that I say I don’t know if I want to say gag me, but there’s a white suit I saw. There was a gold suit that I saw. I don’t know if it was yellow or gold where the pants were too long. The guy at West Virginia wore it. Then that suit right there. Those three right there.

But, hey, look, he’s a great guy. A former player here, and it was so great that they walk in this building and get that kind of ovation. And it’s great for his team to see that the Big Blue Nation appreciates former players and still loves them.

Now they wanted to beat him, but prior to the game they gave him a great ovation, which was really neat.

Now here’s the full transcript of John Calipari’s post-game press conference, as provided by UK:

November 5, 2010

An interview with:

COACH CALIPARI

Q. How close did they come to giving you the fight and the effort and all of that teamwork that you wanted?

COACH CALIPARI: DeAndre (Liggind) and Darius (Miller) were way better. Terrence Jones was off the charts compared to the last one. Brandon (Knight) is Brandon; he gives you about the same every time out. Eloy (Vargas) and Doron (Lamb) were fine. You know, they’ve been there.

Like I looked at Terrence, obviously, it’s in there because he did it. So if you can do it once, it means you can do it. But we’re not deep enough to have a couple guys not give us some.

But we shot the ball. I mean, it’s kind of like you make open shots, it changes what everything looks like, and we did that today.

Happy for Jon Hood, you know. Happy how he played. Josh (Harrellson) in the first half, you know, played, which is why I started him in the second. Wasn’t as good in the second as he was in the first.

But the first half, again, those guys how many minutes are they going to have to give you? I don’t know.

But whatever it is, it’s got to be quality. It’s got to be tough. It’s got to be, you know so 28 assists. We had talked about it the last exhibition; pass the ball to each other. We even went a couple possessions when we passed it but we should have shot it, should have driven the ball.

But I’m okay. It’s kind of in between where we want to be, but, there are signs. Look, folks, we shot well, so we scored a whole lot of points. We defended fairly well, rebounded fairly well, but we’ve got a long way to go.

We’ve got two really important days this weekend. It’s been almost football practice. Short of us putting them in helmets and pads, that’s what it’s been. So we’ve got to do mornings of football practice, and then we’ll come back in the afternoon to play basketball. That’s what we’ll do this weekend. Then we’ll give them Monday off.

But we’ve got no choice. We’ve got to be a rougher team, a tougher team without fouling. We’ve got to have more pride to go after balls. Every ball has to be like, I have to get this ball. There is not an option. I’ve got to get it. We still don’t have a team full of guys, but they’re trying.

Q. What did you like best about Jones tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: He had a passion about playing. There was no coolness high school kid when it doesn’t go right, they try to be cool like I don’t really care. You know, this isn’t really me, but you can’t be that way. He even started the game a little bit that way.

But what you saw was when he got near that goal, the thing that he does, that not many in the country do at his size, his second, third and fourth jump. So go in there and do it. Just go in there and go rebound every offensive rebound. Go after it once, twice, three times. Don’t accept being blocked out. Then run that court.

You saw him run and say is he that fast? Well, if he’s that fast, run that fast, and these guys found him. Compared to the last game where he was crying in his soup after, this was a good one for him.

Q. When he reached back to get that ball, was that athleticism you saw right there?

COACH CALIPARI: You know, he had blocks too, ends up with six blocks, and again, understanding that we’re Pikeville and Dillard, we aren’t playing high school, so there are things that we’re doing in this game that we’re not going to do in a regular game.

Let me tell you a play that I love. I get so upset, one of our players comes down. He gets a guy ahead and instead of trying to shoot it to him, he gets a charge and it’s his third foul. I went ballistic.

Well, Jon Hood comes down, Terrence (Jones) makes a steal at half court and he could have driven in and shot it himself. He give it’s to Jon Hood who dunks it. Now all of a sudden Jon Hood’s shoulders are back, chin is up and he’s ready. So the very next play Jon Hood has the lay up, and throws the lob to Terrence who dunks it. That’s the kind of play.

The other thing I really loved was Brandon Knight going on a breakout. He could have shot it, he throw it back to Terrence, let’s Terrence dunk it and gets everybody going. We’re learning, we’re getting better.

Again, folks, I’m dealing with all freshmen again. So we’ve got to do it in a hurry, but we’re getting there. You saw there were some sloppy plays. We’ve got to play defense different than we did last year.

I talked to Jay Wright on the phone for a half hour, and got some ideas from his ‘96 or ‘97 team when he had Foy and all those guards. Remember that team he had? They went to the Elite Eight.

He and I talked about defense, and how to play with that kind of team. So there are some things I’m going to do different than I did last year. But the first thing is you’ve got to be tough. If you’re not tough enough, doesn’t matter what kind of defense you’re playing. And two, you’ve got to rebound the ball. If you don’t have a big beast, then you all have to rebound. Everything we do starts there.

Then when we’re talking, we rebound, we can scramble it, switch it, we can trap a little bit. We can do some things that will scramble up the game which is in our favor. A grind-it-out game with this team, we’re too young. If they grind it out with us, we’re going to have problems.

So if we’re to scramble though, we’ve got to be tough, we’ve got to rebound and really, really talk to each other.

Q. Talk about the differences from last year and on defense that you expect this year?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think we can switch a whole lot more than we did a year ago. And I think that we can also do some scrambling that I didn’t want to do last year because I didn’t think we needed to.

See, last year when you drove in on us, it was getting blocked. We led the nation in shot blocks or blocked shots that were right there. It was not just one guy, it was like three or four. This team’s going to be different.

So now it’s like, OK, in a grind it out game, it’s going to be a little harder for us. So I think a lot more switching we should be able to do. We’re all alike.

At one point we had Terrence (Jones) at 6′9″, and everybody else between 6′5″, and 6′7″. I mean, Denny Crum used to do it. Denny Crum did the greatest job of taking you out of your offense by playing a bunch of guys.

He never liked the small guard. He liked 6′5″ guards. I kind of like 6′5″ guards. So now everybody could switch every position, and that’s what he did. He took you out of what you wanted to do. The guy won national titles playing that way, national titles at Louisville.

Q. That blue suit Dale had on, you got plans for one of those maybe in the future?

COACH CALIPARI: There are three suit that’s I’ve seen that I say I don’t know if I want to say gag me, but there’s a white suit I saw. There was a gold suit that I saw. I don’t know if it was yellow or gold where the pants were too long. The guy at West Virginia wore it. Then that suit right there. Those three right there.

But, hey, look, he’s a great guy. A former player here, and it was so great that they walk in this building and get that kind of ovation. And it’s great for his team to see that the Big Blue Nation appreciates former players and still loves them.

Now they wanted to beat him, but prior to the game they gave him a great ovation, which was really neat.

Q. What do you maybe hope that team will do for (Jon) Hood’s confidence?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, what I hope it does well, let me tell you what Doron did which was the greatest thing. Remember the dive at half court because I was killing this kid. Come on, you’ve got to pick it up and play. You’re not doing what the other guys are doing. You’re not playing at the level, you don’t have the passion. Come on, baby, get into it. Come on, let’s go.

He dives on the floor for that ball, throws it ahead, we score. The very next play he’s in the corner and makes the three. When you play that aggressive, you’re aggressive offensively. When you play tentative on defense and you’re getting thrown into the cheerleaders and getting sparkles on your face, OK, when that stuff happens, offensively you’re playing timid, too.

You can’t just be timid on defense and aggressive on offense. No, be Aggressive. You’re aggressive (defensively) and it makes you aggressive on offense. And, again, that is a lesson. It’s just, you know, we’ll go to practice, and we’ve got some time next week and we’ll see.

I don’t know if I’m going to play the small lineup or the big lineup. Probably won’t know until game time what I want to do.

Got to still watch some tape on East Tennessee State. I’ve really watched nothing. Got to get in my mind what we’ll have to do to prepare for an NCAA Tournament team, our first game with this young team. Kind of scary.

Q. On trying to get Josh Harrellson easy shots at the rim ...

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, and he was struggling. I’ve seen him do it, but you’ve got to have an effort and say I’m going to dunk the ball. I’m going to go out and get this. Not that I’m going to wait, so. But he’ll be fine.

I’m just telling you, Josh (Harrellson) is in the best condition he’s been in his whole life. He’s playing better than he’s ever played in his life, and I’m asking for a little bit more. That’s what it is. I’m asking for a little bit more. He gives us a little bit more, I’m telling you.

But we need him. And Eloy (Vargas) got to make strides now. He’s got to make strides. So, thanks.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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Video: Jon Hood says “I’ve come a long way.”

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

You had to feel good for Jon Hood. The sophomore scored 18 points and dished four assists. He made seven of nine shots, including four of six from behind the three-point line.

Afterward, Hood said he felt pretty confident after the shoot-around, and that “We started to click” in the win over the Bleu Devils. Hood also said that Terrence Jones “is really good when he plays like he did tonight.”

As for himself, Hood said he has worked on his defense, and his ball-handling. “I’ve come a long way since last year as a player,” he said, also crediting the summer basketball he played in China as helping his development.

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Video: Calipari’s comments after destroying Dillard

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Here are first couple of minutes from John Calipari’s post-game presser after Kentucky’s 122-54 destruction of overmatched Dillard.

The head coach said he was happy with DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller, and Terrence Jones was “off the charts.” He said Brandon Knight is Brandon Knight, but Eloy Vargas and Doron Lamb have got to “find it.” He said the team isn’t deep enough to have sub-par efforts from two important players.

Calipari also complimented Jon Hood’s game, talked about the 28 assists, and said that the team looked good because it put the ball in the basket. He said practice has been very physical this week, and that the team has to treat every loose ball like, “I have got to get this ball.”

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Kentucky 97, Pikeville 66: Postmortem

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Darius Miller had the kind of consistent performance that Kentucky will need from him all year long.

James Crisp – AP

Darius Miller had the kind of consistent performance that Kentucky will need from him all year long.

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I think we all saw what we expected to see — a team full of skilled high school freshmen with a couple of juniors run around and play AAU ball.

It’s axiomatic that the team you see in November doesn’t bear much of a resemblance to the team you see in January, and that’s likely to be true for this team as well.  Tonight, the 2010-11 Wildcats got their first taste of real college basketball against some former Division I players, and although they were still much the best, they have to know that this sort of effort is going to put them in jeopardy more often than not in the SEC, or against North Carolina, or Washington, or Michigan State.

One thing’s for sure — this Kentucky team loves to run the floor, and they do it very well, even late in the game.  When they finally all get into game shape, it will be interesting to see what happens to opponents in the second half.  The other side of that coin is that this isn’t a deep team, and to play at this frenetic pace, the team needs a bit of depth.  Calipari is going to have to find more minutes for guys like Jon Hood.

There were a lot of things to like about tonight, and a lot of things to give the Big Blue Faithful doubts.  What I am not really worried about is free throw shooting, despite early struggles at the line.  Most of free throw shooting is keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind, and not leaning on the release.  Doron Lamb did just that his first couple of attempts, and predictably bricked them off the back.  You gotta go straight up for free throws, guys, and just remember that if you can’t hit a 15-foot shot, you shouldn’t even be thinking about shooting a 20’9″ attempt.

Observations:

  • Brandon Knight is going to give teams fits — much like John Wall did, but in a different way.  He’s a step slower and a bit smaller, but he has better body control on the floor and much better judgment with the ball in his hands than Wall did at this point.  They say we shouldn’t compare the two, which makes me just want to do it every single game.  And I will.  Deal with it.

    Knight had a great line, and a very good game.  22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 4 TO’s.  His turnovers might not be that high again all year.

  • Terrance Jones did not play well tonight.  He didn’t seem to be in the game from the start, and is clearly not comfortable playing inside the paint.  He is going to have to get more comfortable there somehow.
  • Darius Miller was steadily productive the whole game, although he vanished a bit in the early second half.  But 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers is a line that we need from him every game.
  • Both Knight and Miller were great from the line.  I expect they will be taking the lions share of the free throws, if tonight was any indication.
  • DeAndre Liggins.  Game Ball.  That kid has improved so much in every aspect of the game, I just can’t believe it.  Defensively, he is indispensable.  He is the heart and soul of this team in every way.

    Do you remember Las Vegas in 2007 when Liggins basically refused to go in for Billy Gillispie?  How far has he come?  How much has he matured?  It almost cannot be measured with current technology.

  • Eloy Vargas has been away from D-I competition for a long time, and it showed — against NAIA comp.  He is going to be a bit of a project for the foreseeable future.
  • Harrellson was just okay.  He had 7 rebounds, which tied him with Liggins for team high, but he is capable of more game than we saw tonight.
  • Stacey Poole gave a couple of good minutes.  Nice floater in the lane.  He will be a factor in a year or two.
  • Doron Lamb was just okay.  He gets beat a little too easily off the bounce, but he did a decent job on the boards.  He has to shoot the ball better from the perimeter.
  • Jon Hood did a few good things, but not enough.  He needs to step up his game.
  • Effort was excellent tonight, with Liggins leading the way.  Brandon Knight and Darius Miller were hard on his heels.

Overall, we cannot be happy about two things — rebounding and ballhandling.  Kentucky had 15 turnovers, and got outrebounded on the offensive glass (OR%) by a wide margin.  That’s going to give Calipari major heartburn.  I shudder to think about having to look at second-chance points in this game.

Pikeville is a very decent NAIA team, and it showed tonight.  The Wildcats didn’t exactly struggle, but they had issues that need to be addressed, and I’m sure none of them really surprised Coach Cal except for the lack of success on the glass against the smaller Bears.  Also, this Kentucky team is not really in game shape — they should be able to run others off the floor, and Kentucky was a little gassed at the end.  Speed and endurance are what will make this team dangerous, and tonight, they showed that they have not reached the level of stamina they will need for this season.

Overall, a good outing, particularly effort-wise.  Execution-wise, a bit of a disappointment — probably as we should expect.


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