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UK’s Calipari: We Played Better Without Teague

John Calipari knows a thing or two about point guards.  First, he knows how to sign the top ones.  Second, he knows how to get them ready for the NBA (though the first point could play more than a small role in the second one).

Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Brandon Knight.  All stars.  Now enter Marquis Teague.  He’s not among the SEC’s 30 best scorers.  And while he is third in the league in assists (4.5 pg), his assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4 to 1) ranks just 10th best in the conference.

When you’re playing at Kentucky and following in the footsteps of former Calipari greats like Rose, Evans, Wall and Knight, those numbers just aren’t good enough.  And the coach clearly wants more from his freshman.

After Kentucky came from behind to pass and eventually rout Arkansas State last night, the Cats’ coach made it clear that the team got better when Teague left the floor:

“Obviously, without him on the court we played a lot better, there is no argument there.  But he also has to play better for us to win, I know that.”

True, but an ouch just the same.

As Jerry Tipton of The Lexington Herald-Leader points out, Teague is just 3-for-16 shooting in the last two games and he’s just 5-for-27 from 3-point range in UK’s last 10 games.

With SEC play tipping off this weekend, it’s no secret that Kentucky will need Teague to be more careful with the basketball.

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NBA Scout Analyzes SEC Prospects

Seth Davis of teamed up with an unnamed NBA scout this week to breakdown 56 of the nation’s best players.  Of the 56, eight are current SEC stars.

Below are the anonymous scout’s take on each:

Scotty Hopson, Tennessee — “He’s all over the place.  He’s talented, but he worries me.  Which Scotty are you going to get?  He looks like an NBA wing, but too often his body language is poor and he just disappears.”

Terrence Jones, Kentucky — “He’s a lottery pick.  He scores inside and in transition.  His shot is low, but if he takes his time he can make shots.  Hee needs to be a little less selfish with the basketball, but he’s a talented kid.  He’s a poor man’s Michael Beasley.  I’m not sure I trust his shot yet, but man, he competes.  People ask, ‘What position is he?’  I say he’s a basketball player.”

Brandon Knight, Kentucky — “Mature personality, fantastic worker, can really shoot the basketball.  Winning matters to him.  He’s in the first round if he comes out, for sure.  People try to compare him to Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, but he’s not at their level.  The one thing I will say about him is he’s an absolute gym rat.  He loves being in the gym and working on his game.  He may not be a prototypical point guard, but with his work ethic, size, speed and ability to shoot, you have to take a chance on him.”

Travis Leslie, Georgia — “Man oh man, what an athlete.  He plays hard and he’s getting better.  Shooting is not his thing, but he’s a great slasher.  I’ve talked to some scouts who are crazy about him because the game is so wide open in the league.  Let him run the lane, throw it up and he’ll go get it.”

Chandler Parsons, Florida — “He’s good.  He’s big, he shoots it some, he has just never been really consistent.  He gets 18 points one game and the next he’s 2-for-7.  But we’re a league that wants to like him because of his size, and he’s a pretty good athlete, better than a lot of people think.  I feel like he’s starting to get it.  I think he can get drafted.”

Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State – “I have no interest in him.  He’s a fat kid.  The history on him is just not good.  If he had no baggage and it was just a weight issue, then he’d probably get more attention.  If you’re going to have a weight issue plus baggage, you better be Shaquille O’Neal off the charts.  Now some other tam might say he’s talented, we can deal with all this stuff, let’s take him.  But he’s not for me.”

Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt — “He could sneak his way into the middle of the first round.  He’s got a nice package.  He’s quiet, doesn’t cause a ruckus, but I don’t mind that.  Some people say they want more emotion, but I don’t think a kid has to be a thug to not be soft.”

Trey Thompkins, Georgia — “A little soft, but very skilled for his size.  He’s an NBA player for sure.  He’ll be a good pick-and-pop player.  You might even be able to drag him to the three-point line one day because his stroke is pretty good.  I think he’ll struggle defensively against the better athletes, but somebody will take him in the first round.  He can get you 10 or 12 points off the bench, and there’s a lot of value in that.”

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Derrick Rose spins Tyreke Evans around like a top

Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

In a one-on-one matchup of former John Calipari point guards, Derrick Rose got the better of Tyreke Evans on this play.

(Hat tip to Slam Online)


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Cal: I must do better job defining Knight’s role

Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

Freshman point guard Brandon Knight’s struggles at the EA Sports Maui Invitational led Kentucky Coach John Calipari to re-think how he’s directing the team’s floor leader.

“He’s got to get better,” Calipari said. ” . . . I have to do a better job of coaching him, to be honest.”

After noting that Tyreke Evans struggled early in his freshman season for Calipari at Memphis, the UK coach said it can take time to determine how to bring out the best in a player.

“I have to do a better job defining how he has to play and run this team,” Calipari said of Knight. “Obviously, I haven’t done as good a job as I need to because in the first half (against Connecticut) we were out of whack.”

Surely tougher competition had something to do with it. Yet, Knight had a noticably drop in efficiency.

In three games on Maui, Knight made 17 of 47 shots (36.1 percent) and just three of 22 three-point attempts (13.6 percent). He also committed 18 turnovers while getting credit for eight assists.


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