LEXINGTON, Ky. — What does a good pregame shoot-around look like to John Calipari? How does Kentucky’s coach deal with players coming back from injury? How bad have most of Cal’s pregame half-court shot attempts been in eight-plus years with the Wildcats?
We have the scoop on all of these important questions and much more on the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily Kentucky podcast presented by SEC Country. Host Curtis Burch was joined by former UK player Jon Hood — whose career started with John Wall’s team and ended in the 2014 NCAA title game — who dished on those and other topics.
What do the current Cats need to fix? What does Hood think of his old anti-zone coach going to lots of zone this season? How does Coach Cal typically get a team ready for the NCAA Tournament? We break it down for you, and then beat writer Kyle Tucker hops on the podcast to talk about Tuesday night’s bizarro game in Columbia, S.C.
That portion of the episode includes:
- Hey, so, about Jarred Vanderbilt never playing a minute for Kentucky? He made his debut and played 14 surprise minutes in the Wildcats’ 18th game Tuesday at South Carolina. And it looked for a long while like he was going to be the savior of a team that was still without starting point guard Quade Green and racked up foul trouble fast and furious.
- Vanderbilt had 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in his short time off the bench. After a shaky first minute or so, he was something close to brilliant the rest of the way, a 6-foot-9 forward playing point guard in a pinch, showing off great speed and ball handling and beautiful passing ability. He skied for rebounds and showed no signs of trouble in that thrice-injured left foot. It had to be highly encouraging for Calipari.
- But what do we make of the collapse? Up 14 with under 12 minutes to go and then outscored 33-11 the rest of the way? Brutal. There were some obvious mistakes and freshmen melting down — no made field goals the final six minutes, 3 of 8 free throws the last 3:46, a lot of selfish play — but it was also an oddball game that featured an SEC season high of 59 combined fouls. The entire roster was in foul trouble. So maybe it isn’t reason to panic?