John Calipari not concerned with SEC perfection
Monday’s rankings/awards/SEC teleconference update:
- UK will likely remain No. 1 in both polls — we’ll update you with the exact vote totals as soon as they come out. (UPDATE: UK remained a unanimous No. 1 in the coaches poll, receiving all 31 first-place votes, and collected 63 of 65 first-place votes in the AP poll.)
- Marquis Teague was named SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 12.5 points, 9.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds in wins over Florida and at Vanderbilt. “He’s running the team, he’s defending, he’s making good decisions,” coach John Calipari said Saturday after Teague had eight assists and one turnover.
- In the SEC teleconference, Calipari said he wasn’t concerned about SEC perfection, just about improvement: “We’re not talking in those terms. It might happen, it might not happen. My concern is, are we improving as a team. What I’m seeing right now is, we are.”
- He may not be talking about it, but plenty of people are. The Cats sit five games away from a 16-0 SEC record, with road games at Mississippi State and at Florida posing the biggest tests. “It’s not about running the table,” Calipari said. “It’s about putting us in the best position we can be in to make a run [in March].”
- That stuff is in the future. What’s now is UK’s bye week of sorts, as the Cats go without a game until Saturday. Because of the extended break, Calipari is planning a televised practice or scrimmage on Wednesday. WKYT’s programming guide has it listed for Wednesday at 3 p.m., and Calipari said it would most likely be held in Memorial Coliseum and include students. He said the final details are being hashed out but should be released later Monday.
- Calipari noted Kyle Wiltjer’s improvement on the defensive and rebounding fronts, two areas that will allow him to play more minuets. Offensively, he remains a threat to “stretch the defense.” When paired with Terrence Jones, Darius Miller and Doron Lamb, the lineup would have four players who shoot at least 35 percent on 3-pointers. “His ability to score the ball makes us a totally different team on the floor,” Calipari said.
- That being said, Wiltjer still has to get stronger. Calipari noted he wasn’t “physically advanced” when he got to college, but that as he gets stronger, he will develop into a better post player because he can hold his ground against big men.
- Calipari said Darius Miller made strides against Vanderbilt because, despite playing poorly through 30 minutes of the game, he came up with big shots and rebounds down the stretch. “In a way, he is as important as anybody we have on this team,” Calipari said.