John Calipari wants more ‘random’ play, Sam Malone’s legend growing



Word of the Day: ‘Random’

John Calipari wants his team playing more organically, especially early in the shot clock, and running less set plays to take advantage of the team’s talent. Basically, Calipari wants his offense to be more free-flowing in transition, after both made and missed baskets.

Calipari gave three reasons why he thinks more random play can work.

One, he doesn’t have to hide any players on offense because they’re all capable.

“When you run plays, you’re trying to hide a guy or two,” Calipari said. “When you don’t have to hide one player on the court, the more random you can play, the better. It forces teams to take two defenders to stop a player. Now you have advantages.”

Two, his team does not play selfishly.

“If you have good players who respect each other, which this team is, then you can be more random,” Calipari said. “Because you can count on their decision making.”

Three, his players can simply play better than their defenders.

“You can guard plays,” Calipari said. “You cannot guard players that can play. … When players know how to play and create for each other, it’s hard to guard those teams.”

Calipari also discussed how he is

still tweaking his zone offense to make the court more open for his players.

“Because they can shoot and they can slash,” Calipari said.

He’s also trying to give Terrence Jones more freedom on offense. Calipari said he wants Jones to operate as a “rover.” Let the other players drive, Calipari said, and whenever Jones is open, “we’ll get it to you.”

Calipari also praised Jones for not feeling entitled after passing up a likely top-15 pick in the NBA Draft.

“If you’re him, aren’t you trying to shoot every ball?” Calipari said. “He’s not. It shows the kind of person he is. That’s who you want on your team.”

Malone brings the humor

Walk-on guard Sam Malone has already scored six points on the season and has displayed no hesitation to shoot it when he’s in games.

“I know I’m not going to get yelled at from Coach if I shoot it,” Malone said. “Might as well throw it up. … I didn’t think I’d really start scoring this quick. I’m sure it will go away if I stop scoring. Pressure’s on.”

Two of those points came on a drive against Radford that ended with his defender on the floor.

“I got the ball and, I don’t really know what happened. I just did a little in-and-out, and I guess he bit it. I wasn’t planning on doing it. It just happened.”

So what’s led to the scoring?

“When you’re a walk-on they don’t expect much of you. There’s no scouting report on you,” Malone said. “So when you go hard to the hoop they’re a little taken aback.”

Malone doesn’t see the court much in games, and barely sees it more often in practice. He said he rides the stationary bike about 30-45 minutes in practices. “The sideline is boring,” Malone said, and he wants to keep up his conditioning for when his opportunities do come.

“Coach O (Orlando Antigua) calls me Lance,” Malone said, referencing the 7-time Tour de France champion. “I don’t think it’s that funny.”

Malone does help the team plenty, whether that’s scoring late in games or helping in practices. He helps run the scout team. On the road, his job duties increase because Ryan Harrow and Twany Beckham don’t always travel. Malone said last week, when UK was up north playing in New York and Connecticut, he did “just about everything.”

After his recent scoring spree, he’s been getting more attention from his friends.

“When I first got here, my family knew how crazy Big Blue Nation was,” Malone said. “My friends were like, he’s going to play basketball at Kentucky, no big deal. Then they see I’m trending on Twitter and going, oh my God.”