Kentucky’s John Calipari: Big lineup, rotation changes could be coming
The Kentucky rotation might look a lot different on Friday night against South Florida.
Coach John Calipari hinted that his starting lineup could undergo a frontcourt change between now and then, while two bench players will likely see increased action.
Senior Alex Poythress (16 points on 6-for-6 shooting Tuesday against Boston) appears to be a starting post option in place of Marcus Lee or Skal Labissiere.
“I think he should be starting, but we’ll figure that out,” Calipari said after the 20-point win. “He’s a starter, it’s just he or Marcus. Then I said maybe it’s Marcus and he together and let Skal come off the bench with Charles (Matthews) right now.
“So you got seven. There you go. Just figure it out. Is there an eighth man that sneaks in? I’m not seeing it right now, but maybe there is.”
Calipari later said freshman 7-footer Isaac Humphries, who’s been out with a foot injury, would also be a good fit against the Bulls.
“I’m thinking that he has a chance,” Calipari said. “They have a couple guys that I think he could guard that he can play with.”
Matthews, a freshman guard, was impressive enough Tuesday (seven rebounds in 18 minutes) to warrant some high praise from Cal.
“I thought Charles Matthews was outstanding,” the coach said. “I think he moved into the rotation now. If you ask me, he changed the whole game. It’s not what he just did offensively, it’s what he did defensively and coming up with balls and being active and trying. And I said, look, get in the gym and shoot free throws. If he makes free throws, he’s in that seven-man rotation and he pushes guys out.”
Kentucky shot 13-for-26 from the charity stripe against Boston, and freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe (3-for-7) came under fire afterward.
“He’s got to make a couple more free throws,” Calipari said. “Four or five out of seven, I can deal with; 3-for-7 is a hard deal. When you’re a guard I can’t have you in at the end. But here’s what he is. He’s just so disruptive defensively and rebounding the ball. And he really is smart and can see things.”
Here was the minutes breakdown against Boston:
- G Tyler Ulis [starter]: 34 minutes
- G Isaiah Briscoe [starter]: 35
- G Jamal Murray [starter]: 31
- F Skal Labissiere [starter]: 29
- F Marcus Lee [starter]: 18
- F Alex Poythress: 21
- G Charles Matthews: 18
- F Derek Willis: 9
- G Dominique Hawkins: 3
- G Mychal Mulder [late sub]: 1
- G Jonny David [late sub]: 1
The Wildcats’ first post-Thanksgiving game tips off at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN) on Friday in Miami.