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Wildcats Open Home Schedule with Lafayette

  • Written by UK Athletics

After opening up with two games on the road for the first time since 2002-03, the Kentucky men's basketball team will return to the friendly confines of Rupp Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. ET against Lafayette.

Wildcats Open Home Schedule with Lafayette (Photo courtesy of UK Athletics)
Kentucky suffered a 75-68 loss to No. 9 Duke in its last outing. Freshman Alex Poythress exploded for 20 points and classmates Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin both contributed 16 points on the night. Goodwin became the eighth UK freshman under Calipari to begin his career with consecutive double-figure scoring efforts. Noel has posted two or more steals and at least three blocks in both of his first two career games.

Lafayette enters the matchup with a 1-1 record following a win over LIU-Brooklyn on Monday. The Leopards and Wildcats will meet for the first time in program history on Friday.


Head Coach John Calipari

On Ryan Harrow’s health…
“He’s doing better. He worked out yesterday, but he’s just not ready to go 100 percent. I just told him, ‘You are only going if you are 100 percent.’ He worked out with our strength coach in conditioning.  He said he did pretty good but not right yet.”

On if Ryan Harrow’s health is completely physical or if pressure is involved…
“We don’t think so but we are just telling him, ‘You’ve got to get energy. You’ve got to get your energy up; you’ve got to play at a higher level.’ He will be fine.

On if anything came back from Ryan Harrow’s blood tests…
“No, I just want him back you know we were a little bit short last game. But the same time you have to look at the kid’s health first and just get yourself right and let’s go.”

On if Ryan Harrow is being held out of practice…
“If he’s not in there today then he’s not going 100 percent. I just got off the treadmill so I don’t know. He knows unless he’s ready to go you know, and I’m happy he’s working out with the strength coach and we will go from there.”

On this year’s signing class…
“Well we put out a press release so I will let you guys take it from there if that’s alright. So I don’t have to rehash all that stuff. We’re excited about it don’t get me wrong, I’m jacked up about it.”

On how Archie Goodwin played…
“Not bad, just still plays too fast, gets himself out of control. There were easier plays he could have made a few times. I went through this with Tyreke (Evans), they have to see it on tape, they have to learn and he will be fine.”

On Nerlens Noel leaving his feet on defense…
“He’s leaving a little early but he was aggressive. What we’re not doing is when he goes to help somebody no one is helping him. That’s the issue, it’s not Nerlens. I was really happy with Nerlens and everyone can say well they are leaving their feet and that’s why the basket is open. No, we did the same thing last year, but when he left his feet someone got his back. Now we got guys when he leaves his feet they are running the wrong way. You got to go that way and go get that ball. And if you are a big guy it should be easier, if you are a small guy just make sure his guy doesn’t get it. If you watched, it was his man that got that offensive rebound probably four times that were critical. We’re just learning, we’re not to the point; we are trying to figure out how to be a helper. The next step is to be the helper’s helper, then you can be the helper’s, helper’s, helper. We’re not quite there yet.”

On Nerlens Noel doing the right thing by leaving his feet…
“He didn’t do it that often. He did it a couple of times. How many blocks did he have? Ok, he had three blocks and probably left three or four other times where he didn’t get it, and they know he’s not getting any help, so they didn’t even try to make baskets because there is no one helping him. So that’s not Nerlens, he and Willie (Cauley-Stein) are both doing the same thing. That’s the rest of our defense but again we are so far behind, there are things that they exploited, there were things we were able to see, it was two good games for me to learn about my team.”

On what he learned from the two games…
“We are a post-up team, we are a pick-and-roll team. Kyle (Wiltjer) cannot get the shots on his own. We are going to have to help him. He did not play as hard as he needed to play and he saw it on the tape. If he’s not getting shots off then he won’t be on the court as much. I’m not mad, I love him. But he better figure out how to get shots off. If he can’t, then he won’t be on the court as much.”

On what they can learn from tomorrow’s game…
“(Lafayette) plays great stuff. They go a lot of pick-and-roll; they slip pick-in-roll, so if you get lazy its baskets. They can shoot the 3, a lot of back doors; they run our stuff, but they do it higher, instead of the dead corners, they are doing it on the wings doing exactly that so if you get lazy you are going to pay the price. They are going to hold the ball a little bit, yet they score 80 points a game, but they will run the clock down if they have to. It’s what we need right now, we need a team that plays well together offensively, really plays off the defense, not running as many quote plays, doing a few actions to try to get shots off. They will shoot the 3, big men will shoot the 3, their four and five, probably two of their better 3-point shooters. They area well coached team, they are going to play some zone, we need to face zone. They will play man-to-man, but they will switch a lot and do stuff that we need to see. They are going to double team the post; we need to see it to see how we play. It will be a good game and a hard game for us.”

On putting focus on a certain player …
“Well, Kyle has got to step up. The Maryland staff is like, what happened to him? Well he didn’t play as hard; he didn’t compete like he did against Maryland. Part of it is, we can’t expect our team to find him shots. We’re freshmen, we’re not going to do that so now it becomes he has got to get his or I’ve got to call some stuff to get some shots for him but it’s got to be a combination. We had some breakdowns defensively, but look, we rebounded with them, shot 49 percent from the floor, shot a fairly high percentage from the line. They made some 3s I wish we would have guarded, we stopped playing them a couple possessions and in a minute and a half it went from three to 10 and now you’re fighting. They called a timeout down 14 and we come right back, after that timeout we score, we score; he’s got to get another timeout. We did some good things.”

On Kyle running the floor …
“It’s everybody else; we’re going to work on that today a little bit. If guys aren’t sprinting we are going to stop and do some running. We’ve just got to get in the mentality; we just think it’s OK to jog the court. My teams in the past, you know how good we’ve been from defense to offense. You have to go like you are being chased and then you run and then you make plays. We’re like, ‘man that’s too hard.’ Again, I played guys 37 minutes that deserved to play about 25, 27 minutes maybe. So those extra 10 minutes, you saw it. Alex played about 60 percent of that game like he should play, he just didn’t, couldn’t sustain it, didn’t have the energy to sustain it, not the mental will power to sustain it and he shouldn’t, he really shouldn’t. We’re asking a lot of these guys.”

On Alex’s playing style …
“My choice is, am I going to dive on the floor, run or I’m going to jog, those are my choices. I’m going to really work to get this offensive rebound and go above the rim or I’m going to stand here and go back on defense. What choice would you make? Depends on how good you want to be. You’ve got choices in this game, how you’re going to play, are you going to dive on the floor or are you going to stand there and watch. He’s got to change some habits that he has, but that’s why we do what we do. Same with Archie (Goodwin) playing too fast, that’s a habit that he has, just taking it and going, putting my head down and going. Well you can’t now, you can’t play that way, yet we need you to attack and be aggressive. He’s got to learn, it’s hard, it’s hard for Alex. This stuff is hard. That’s why they said, the one thing is, they’re being challenged like they’ll never be challenged again. They’re being pushed; they’re in a situation where every game is someone’s Super Bowl. There were celebrations; we lose that’s what happens. This is all new, they’ll be fine. The greatest thing is, you saw them from Maryland to here, they got better. Now this one will be a hard game because it’s totally different in how they’ll play. Yesterday was a film day, we didn’t practice. We practice today, play tomorrow.”

On Julius Mays…
“I played him too many minutes. He couldn’t play that many minutes so now he goes under ball screens, he went under some screens, he stopped off of getting picked or handoffs, didn’t try to square the guy up. (Seth) Curry had his way with him. That’s why I tried to get him off of Curry; he was not supposed to be on Curry with a minute and half to go. That was not his man. One of the guys said, ‘you guard him.’ I think that’s my choice to make that call.  When I looked out, he’s on Curry. Curry made the last basket, ball game was over. What happened? Again, that’s all learning about who we are.”

(Photo courtesy of UK Athletics)

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