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Sweet, not tweet describes Harrellson’s contributions

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Josh Harrellson arguably had his best game as a Kentucky player in Tuesday night’s 74-67 gut-check victory over Washington in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

He scored nine points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory. He even attempted and made his first three-pointer of the season, and it came at a timely moment in a nip-and-tuck game full of timely moments.

“He came close to a double-double — let me say this — against a top 10 team,” UK Coach John Calipari said in a mild exaggeration. Washington came into the game ranked No. 13. “. . . That’s a big deal.”

But not big enough to allow Harrellson to resume tweetings his thoughts. A ill-conceived tweet complaining about not being appreciated by Calipari led the UK coach to shut down the Twitter account and rev up the running Harrellson had to do as punishment.

If Harrellson tweets again, “He’ll be running an hour before practice,” the UK coach joked (?).

Harrellson has given the extra conditioning credit for his belated renaissance as a player. His performance against Washington improved his season total to 19 points and 36 rebounds. He had onlyh 28 points and 27 rebounds all of last season.

But another career-high number meant the most to Harrellson.

“The thing I’m more happy about is 34 minutes playing,” he said. “Last year, I couldn’t play 10 minutes a game without (getting tired). Playing 34 minuts and coming through for my team when they needed me most, that means more.”

It wasn’t an easy game for Harrellson or any player on either team.

“I battled as hard as I could,” Harrellson said, “and gave my heart.”

Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar noted Harrellson’s contributions, especially the game-high seven offensive erebounds.

“He tookadvantage of the opportunity of not being boxed out,” Romar said in handing out a left-handed compliment. “Some don’t. Some don’t know how to take advantage.”

Washington’s defense would cut off a penetrating drive by a UK player. Then the Huskies were late rotating over to stop Harrellson from cleaning up with putbacks.

“It was not a situation where they were throwing him it to him on the block and we couldn’t stop him,” Romar said. “He put himself in the right place at the right time and took advantage of some of our miscues.”

But that didn’t detract from the sense of accomplishment that Harrellson enjoyed.

“I’m a totally different person all around,” he said. “I’m more confident. I know I can be there for my teammates. I don’t have to come out every two trips down the floor.”

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Cal to centers: defend pick-and-roll or sit

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari issued a challenge to centers Josh Harrellson and Eloy Vargas: defend the pick-and-roll play properly or sit on the bench.

In talking to reporters before Tuesday morning’s shootaround, Calipari again noted how well — and often — Oklahoma ran pick-and-roll plays against Kentucky on Monday. A big man picked for a guard, and then rolled to the basket.

Calipari repeated replaced Harrellson and Vargas — and vice versa — against Oklahoma in search of better defense.

“Do we go small?” Calipari said of the possible options.

It seemed clear the UK coach sees good defense by the centers as the best option.

“If you can’t help us on the pick-and-roll, you can’t be on the floor,” Calipari said. “It’s not that hard.”

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UK basketball notes and stats after three games

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Some notes and stats for 3-0 Kentucky:

  • Kentucky has made 28 of 64 three-point attempts thus far for a percentage of 43.8. Before you are convinced this is a better shooting team than last year, the 2009-10 Cats made 21 of 52 threes in its first three games for a percentage of 40.4.
  • Free throws are a definite problem. Through three games, Kentucky has made just 35 of 65 from the stripe for 53.8 percent.
  • Surprising free throw stat: Jon Hood is just three of seven at the line.
  • Rebounding has not been a problem, or was not against Oklahoma. The Cats got 35.3 percent of the available offensive rebounds. Oklahoma snared 28.2 percent of its available offensive boards.
  • Josh Harrellson grabbed a season-low three rebounds against the Sooners.
  • DeAndre Liggins has played 103 minutes and is still looking for his first offensive rebound.
  • Liggins did have three steals against the Sooners.

  • Terrence Jones has two double-doubles in his first three games. Patrick Patterson also had two double-doubles in his first three games. Patterson had 12 points and 12 rebounds against Gardner-Webb in his second game as a Cat. He scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Liberty in his third game.
  • The Cats were outscored 36-34 in second half of the 76-64 win over Oklahoma. That’s the first half in six so far this year that John Calipari’s team has been outscored.
  • In its first three games, Kentucky has led at the half by 15, 14 and 14.
  • UK shot 54.9 percent vs. Portland and 50.0 vs Oklahoma. UK shot 50 percent or better in back-to-back seven times last season.
  • Oklahoma managed just six assists, the lowest total against UK since South Carolina was credited with just six assists in the Gamecocks’ upset of Kentucky last year in Columbia.
  • After making 13 of 26 shots in his first two games, Brandon Knight was just 4-of-15 vs. Oklahoma.
  • Knight also had five turnovers.
  • Doron Lamb has scored in double figures in all three games, and has hit eight of 12 three-pointers.
  • Neither Jarrod Polson or Stacy Poole played against OU.
  • UK’s offense has been pretty efficient so far, posting a 1.26 points per possession average against East Tennessee, a 1.31 vs. Portland and 1.13 versus Oklahoma. Not bad considering the Cats’ woeful free throw shooting thus far.

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Harrellson gets Twitter ban

Kentucky
Content provided by Kentucky Wildcat sports beat.

On Tuesday, Josh Harrellson grabbed 26 rebounds in the Kentucky basketball team’s Blue-White…

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Cal calls for combined double-double from centers

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

With Enes Kanter’s eligibility in serious doubt, Kentucky Coach John Calipari set a modest expectation for his team’s other centers.
“We have to get a double-double out of our center position, Josh (Harrellson) and Eloy (Vargas),” Calipari said Sunday. “Just combine, points and rebounds. You do that, and the rest of us do our thing. Then Jon Hood gives us something. We have a solid eight.”
Through two games, Harrellson and Vargas are averaging a combined 6.0 points and 13.5 rebounds.
Calpari traced the greater contributions from Harrellson so far this season to better conditioning. Harrellson grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds at Portland. He had only 27 rebounds all of last season.
“The conditioning he’s doing is making all the difference in the world,” Calipari said. “What you see it in is his own self esteem.”
With a healthier self-image, Harrellson sees himself making greater contributions. Calipari spoke in make-or-break terms when discussing the senior from St. Charles, Mo.
“You can B.S. only so long,” Caliparis said. “Then everybody starts calling you out. (You say) ‘I  am what I am.’ Or you change. You change your body which changes your mind.
“Then all of a sudden he has a different self-esteem (and) a different approach to what he’s doing.”
Harrellson reverts to a person to looks to avoid responsibility or total effort, the UK coach said. But he’s bringing that approach more consistently.
“It’s also a challenge for Eloy,” Calipari said. “Now Eloy has to step it up.”

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Kentucky 79 @ Portland 48: Postmortem

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Defense was the key to Kentucky's win tonight.

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Greg Wahl-Stephens – AP

Defense was the key to Kentucky’s win tonight.

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Some people, like my wife, don’t like blowouts.  I love them.

Thanks to the Portland Pilots for the invitation out west, and the hard and gutsy game they played against us.  They will not be happy when they look at this tape, because they will find that they allowed Kentucky to mentally dominate them in the early going.  The K E N T U C K Y across the chest of the boys in Blue and White is well recognized, and the Portland Pilots were far too “up” for this game.  They exhausted themselves early, and Kentucky cruised to an easy victory.

I don’t want to minimize the great game that UK played.  It was, unquestionably, one of the best early-season games that any Kentucky team has played in many years.  Despite the lopsided outcome, Portland is a very good basketball team that just ran up against a UK team that did everything right — from sticky, almost impermeable defense on the perimeter, to an impressive victory on the glass.  Portland was 3-0 coming in to this game, and none of them were even close. 

Portland is a skilled and impressive program for its size, and if anyone thinks this was just another UK pounding of an inferior opponent, you know nothing about college basketball.  Portland is not in danger of cracking the top 25, but they are a quality program playing in a near-home arena against a team that had to travel 3,000 miles to play them.

For me, this was an impressive victory for a team full of mid and upperclassmen, let alone mostly freshmen.  Here are my observations:

  • Game ball — DeAndre Liggins.  He didn’t score much, but he completely invalidated Portland’s best shooter, rendering him utterly impotent.  Liggins did it with class, ease, and effort.  It was impressive in the extreme.
  • Josh Harrellson had a terrific game.  He had at least 11 rebounds, and was always involved in the middle.  He made a mistake or two, but overall, played like a senior.
  • Love me some Brandon Knight.  He managed to both score and deliver the ball this game, and his defense was excellent.
  • Doron Lamb is the silent assassin of this team.  Twice, Portland came down and made a three, and both times, Lamb answered with one of his own.  This kid has a feel for the dramatic, and has a knack for making huge plays look effortless.
  • Darius Miller was just exactly what the Wildcats needed him to be tonight — terrific.
  • Terrance Jones did not have one of his best shooting games, but he was always in the play, he rebounded, and generally played hard.  And well.
  • Eloy Vargas had some good moments.  I was pretty happy with what he did.
  • Jon Hood hustled, but could have done more.  He was strong with the ball, and that is something.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with Kentucky this game.  There just isn’t a lot to criticize, and not having seen the stats, my impression is that this team played their best game of the year tonight, particularly defensively.  This was far and away the best defensive performance we have seen from this team in any game, including Canada.  Offensively, it was very good, but the defense is what has been lacking.  Tonight, it lacked little.

I’m not a fan of the long trip to Portland, but it will do this team good to know they can handle a talented team this far away from home.  In Maui, the teams will be far more talented, and the distance even farther.

But for now, a great victory.

Go, ‘Cats!


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Video: Josh Harrellson and tale of two punishments

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Here, Josh Harrellson talks about being punished by John Calipari (Twitter trouble) as compared to being punished by Billy Gillispie (bathroom stall trouble).

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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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Dillard Bleu Devils @ Kentucky Wildcats: Open Game Thread

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana is the home of the Bleu Devils (as in Bleu Cheese, or “Sacré bleu!”), who travel north to chilly Lexington and Rupp Arena tonight for a tilt with the Kentucky Wildcats.  As you no doubt know by now, former Wildcat Dale Brown, from nearby Pascagoula Mississippi, is in his third season has head basketball coach at DU.

Game particulars as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com:

Dillard @ Kentucky
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Fri., Nov. 5, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South/BBSN
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio
Text Updates
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

This is the final game of the exhibition season for Kentucky, and should be an interesting test.  The Bleu Devils play Dale Brown’s riff on the fast-paced, pressing style of the 1993 Kentucky Wildcats that he played when he was at his best.  It is a style sure to test the ballhandling of these young Wildcats, and since “toughness” has been the watchword around here since the Wildcats were out-gritted by Pikeville earlier in the week, we’ll see if John Calipari’s less tolerant approach to practice will pay dividends early.

Some of the things I’ll be watching for tonight:

  • Brandon Knight doing a better job of getting his teammates involved, and turn the ball over less;
  • Terrance Jones getting on the boards, and being more physical and less grabby;
  • Darius Miller being more assertive, more consistently;
  • Doron Lamb looking to get the ball to open teammates, and attacking the rim;
  • DeAndre Liggins keeping the intensity high all the time, not just after Calipari calls him out;
  • Eloy Vargas just playing better, and acting like he’s 6’10″ instead of 6’5″.
  • Josh Harrellson getting better position inside, and finishing plays;
  • Jon Hood and Stacey Poole stepping up and acting like they want to get some minutes;
  • Gang rebounding;
  • The whole team shooting the basketball better.

The ‘Cats didn’t distinguish themselves in their first game.  Now is the time for them to make up for it with a solid performance in their second and final exhibition outing.  Next Friday, the season begins officially, and Kentucky needs to place themselves on a trajectory of improvement that can be sustained, and get them where they need to be before the really big games come along.

Go, ‘Cats!


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Calipari, players talk about Monday’s exhibition

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Provided by UK Athletics:2010-11 Kentucky Basketball

Pre-Pikeville Quotes
Oct. 29, 2010

UK Head Coach John Calipari

“It’s funny, I went with (UK) President (Lee) Todd to speak in Pikeville a couple of weeks ago and we walked into the convention center and in the arena, Pikeville was practicing! So I tried to do a little scouting, but they were just wrapping up. (Pikeville) Coach (Kelly) Wells does a great job with his team and it will be a good test for our young squad. I like that we are able to play other Kentucky schools and help them prepare for their season as well.

“We just need to continue to get better in all areas and I know our guys are looking forward to playing some other competition.”

UK Players

#55 Josh Harrellson, Sr., F

“Playing Pikeville is going to be a great challenge for us to see how far our team and our team chemistry have come. It’s going to be a good opportunity to see how far along we are and a chance to see our friend, Landon Slone.”

#34 DeAndre Liggins, Jr., G

“I’m excited. The freshmen are going to be a little bit nervous but they’re going to get over it. I just want to come out and play hard. It’s the first game of the season; everyone’s going to be excited. We’re just trying to get the first game and take it one game at a time.”

#1 Darius Miller, Jr., G

“We’re looking forward to getting out to Rupp Arena and playing against some competition other than each other. I’m also looking forward to playing against my one of my high school teammates, Trevor (Setty), and my old high school coach Kelly Wells.”

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