The House of Blue

The home for all discussion on UK athletics


Has Cal lost this team?

  • I wasn't apologizing because I really didn't mean it as a knock on Cal. However I do agree with you, and I believe I've stated it before. Cal is not the best X's and O's coach around. He is a good coach, and a phenomenal recruiter; but I do believe in some fundamental aspects of the game he is definitely not the best coach out there.

  • No,Cal has not lost this team...This team is very limited because we have very few good players..There is basically no depth to speak of. Wiltjer is so limited athletically,it is
    not even funny..We have no depth at the forward position. No depth at point guard..Polson is not the answer there either..If Cal could have landed Harrell,and Oriaki and a wing forward who could score like Shabazz or whomever,we might not be having this discussion..By having no depth there is no one to push these guys in practice..And when you play 35-38 minutes per game you get tired,and your play falls off toward the end of the game...

    Cal needs to change the offense some and use more picks to free Wiltjer and Mays up. Our guys need to learn how to run their man into a pick when it is set. I cannot believe Cal has not
    corrected that yet..Overall we need depth and juniors and seniors on this team..A&M had big strong muscular looking guys and our guys are freshmen. It truly makes a difference..I hate the one and done rule..

  • You have hit the nail on the head. I would add WCS to Noel and Harrow. He did not have that great of a game yesterday but he does have talent and plays with effort. Lack of outside shooting and quality depth is also killing us. When a player gets in foul trouble or Cal gets pissed at their lack of effort, who is there to put in? Poythress not being the type player everybody hoped/thought he would be has really hurt our scoring, rebounding, defense and player rotation.

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  • The perfect example of what you said about the shooters running their man into a pick is Rotnei Clark of Butler(transfer from Ark. I think). He is 1 of the best to do this and get a shot off. He releases the ball as fast and in perfect form as any player that I have ever seen. He rubs his defender off into the pick set for him by his teammate and has that very quick look at the basket and usually hits them. The Cats did that a lot in previous years a lot more than they have this year and I agree it would be a more effective offensive set if they pick up the frequency of doing that to get Mays and Wiltjer quick and open looks at the hoop.

  • Our twin towers would be extremely effective (and may still be that) if our guards fed them in positions to score. Both Archie and Ryan are savvy and fast enough to do it but usually prefer to try to score themselves,. The more the two bigs score, the better the entire team is going to look.

  • No OP....they are extremely well coached IMO. The truth of the matter is they are simply not that good.

    This post was edited by JROCK1966 18 months ago

  • Again when you can start naming those guys who will sit the bench but still be good enough to play 10 to 15 minutes for a team like we recruited for next year, I will believe when you produce, but until then you are dreaming because I don't think they make a full bench of guys like that.

  • You are right about Archie, he needs to understand WHEN to create his shot and its not when we are on a run and he and Alex gets a charge that should have been a short jumper. Talentwise, does anybody have that talent like last year's team had? I don't think so. Harrow whether you want to or not, has played alot better. And fi Alex and Kyle, along with Archie, had improved as much as Ryan, we would be looking at a different team. And if you think our offense is bad, I don't want to ask you about our defense, lol. If it wasn't for Noel, this team could be giving up 80 plus points a game. But saying all of this, I still believe Cal will finally get this team to where he feels good about them. I know its looks impossible now but he has a pretty good record doing this.

  • You are correct that there arent many players with talent that will be interested in sitting the bench and come in and play 10-15 minutes over a 3-4 year period. The ones that will do that dont have enough talent to help in the ways Miller,Liggins did. There were unusual circumstances involved with both of those guys namely coaching changes. Cal likes to play 7 maybe 8 players at the max in his rotation. Next year may be 1 of those years that UK will have some talent that can come off the bench depending on who goes or stays. Wiltjer will be back for sure if he doesnt take another route with his college carreer b/c he wont put his name in the draft b/c he just isnt good enough yet to make an NBA team.

  • I don't know them by name cause I am not a recruiting guru, however there is no doubt in my mind that there are three star players out there, possibly even a four star, who would be willing to play behind a star player for awhile. The problem is not so much if they are there and if Cal can get them but that Cal won't get them because he refuses to play more than his 7-8 guys. Why not work your recruiting out to put together a team that can rotate 10 guys like the '96 squad and start running a fast pace, in your face pressing game. Seemed to work just fine as I remember. We have guys on our team now that if Cal would give them a chance could be some very valuable players to take some minutes up and let the stars rest. Laugh if you want but John Hood is one of them. I really think all a player like John needs is minutes on the floor to get in a groove and he could provide you with some very quality minutes. All players like him would be required to do is hold his own when he's in the game, and let the starter in front of him rest. And yes there are lots of players that come out of high school each year who could give those same quality minutes if given the chance. There is a reason some of the best teams around the country have 10+ usable players; and that is a reality not a dream.

  • oh and you don't need a full bench of those type players, and I never said you did. You just need two or three.

  • here is a great example of players with huge talent who were willing to come of the bench for a couple seasons or more.

    The Untouchables: The 1996 team was arguably the most talented team in UK basketball history, and quite possibly in NCAA history, with nine players who would eventually play in the NBA:
    Derek Anderson
    Tony Delk
    Walter McCarty
    Ron Mercer
    Nazr Mohammed
    Mark Pope
    Jeff Sheppard
    Wayne Turner
    Antoine Walker
    This team became the first SEC team in 40 years to go through SEC regular season undefeated. Kentucky would repeat this feat in 2003 and 2012. After losing in the SEC Tournament final against Mississippi State, Kentucky would make a dominating run to the Final Four. They avenged an early-season loss to UMass in the NCAA National Semifinals, and then defeated Syracuse in the NCAA Championship game. Many of the players on this great Kentucky team returned the following season.

  • You can't use the era of four year players with this one and done system, come on man. Its ain't even close when it comes to recruiting. Right now if we end up with 7 or 8 freshmen for next year who are the top players in the nation, you won't be able to buy players to sit on the bench and only watch the game. Now if they are like the walkons that we have now, yes but you said players that would play 10 to 15 minutes a game, ain't happening dude. Anybody with the talent to play 10 to 15 minutes will not be a 3 or4 start, he will probably be a 5 star and again he ain't coming. Plus to be lucky enough to be a 2 star that has potential to be better by his junior or senior year and be on this team would really be unusual. Willis will be as close of a player that you are thinking of and I would be shocked to see two more come but hey if they are Kentucky boys they might.

  • my point is you can still pick up your one and done guys just not an entire bench of them. It does not hurt to let one or two go elsewhere and fill those spots with other talented players. This does not HAVE to be a totally one and done system where you never have any upperclassmen. I truly believe that type of system will not work. Cal is a good enough recruiter to get the one and done guys he wants then let some of the others go to pick up what will be your upperclassmen. I personally would rather have a team that only had two - four one and done stars mixed in with some other talented players who will not necessarily be ready for the NBA for two or three years. Say what you will but if all we ever have is freshmen, without even just a couple of good upperclassmen, then we will not be winning very many National Titles. As I said earlier the FAB FIVE were not able to win it in two tries, and that is the greatest single group of freshman to hit the college basketball world up till possibly next year. I just do not believe all freshman teams are what you really want to see with our program, because seriously how many times to you get a group even remotely close to the FAB FIVE that might have what it takes to win it all (and that is a big might!)?

  • Agree with most of what you say-but would be curious to hear you explain your statement @ Noel-IMO, he and WCS have come much further than anyone else on the team-how much more, exactly can we expect him to improve off yesterday's performance??

  • I'm frankly beginning to wonder myself-when Cal himself says "they listen but I don't believe they hear" would seem to be the textbook definition of a bunch he's simply not connecting with...for whatever reason. No, I don't believe it's necessarily bad attitudes or lack of effort-but as I've maintained in earlier posts, several of these players seem to be lacking in instincts and basketball IQ-

  • When I talk about attitude and this years players Im not saying they have bad attitudes it is that they dont have what most great players have and that is "attitude" period, the kind you take into a game and know you are going to blister your opponent on the scoreboard and that doesnt mean your super cocky just that you have the belief that you and your teammates are good enough and will work hard enough to get the win every time out. Last year when they walked onto the court I knew they were going to win b/c they were great as a collective not great individual players. Put simply last years group of players were a great team and this year they are just a group of guys with talent not a team. I believe Cal is frustrated beyond belief b/c he just cant find a way to get them to play as a team. They are like a bunch of guys that choose up sides on the playground, good players but not good teammates.

  • 1. How do you define one-and-done? Bledsoe, Orton, Lamb, and WCS were DEFINITELY not considered one and done when they were recruited. Hell, WCS just most recently recruited, many people said give him time he will need at least 2 YEARS. What happened? Did coach cal lose this team, and now he is one-and-done? Makes no sense.

    2. Who has failed in our run for National Title? Wall and Cousin played great against WV. It's was our EXPERIENCED players that didn't show up. Same thing for next season. T jones were our BEST player that night when we lost to Uconn. Miller, Harrellson, Liggins, all didn't show up. Look at this year. What happened to Wiltjer? Couldn't we have won some games if Harrow was okay since the beginning? Our loss yesterday, NN was our best player. Again, our Freshmen was the best.

    3. Fab FIVE as a example is one of the worst example you can give. That's era when there was no one-and-done. You are talking about Teams with top NBA talent staying 4 years. Of course Fab Five wouldn't have won in freshmen and sophomore. What's funny, however, is that they still made it to Championship game. If you put fab five in this generation, yes they would have won the NT.

    Responding to the NACat
    It's matter of making defense change their strategies. For example, Goodwin statistically playing very good. If you compare him to Lamb, i am pretty confident that statistically there isn't that much difference. However, with Lamb you have major risk of him going off with 3 point shots. Which means defense has to really put pressure on him. In Goodwin's case, you would have major separation and opponent would pack inside.

    If Noel/WCS can shot respectably from FT range, then all the centers/pF would at least have to step out additional 2-3 steps. That gives you more spacing for players like Poythress, Goodwin, and Harrow for better driving lane. See Kevin Garnett is a great example of this. He never shoots 3, but boy he has the nastiest 18ft...people have to step out. Which results in Rondo's easy lay up.

    My point is, statistically no difference. However, you can control defense and have much better spacing. Which then can utilize your mismatches much better.

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  • The only thing wrong with this year's team is its youth & inexperience in college basketball. It's really that simple. And this team seriously lacks an upperclassman leader. There just isn't one.
    This team is good enough to & should make the NCAA, but they're going to have to work really hard. Aside from making the Tournament, don't expect much else from this team for this year.
    Not a knock on this team, but this group just doesn't have all of the "little things" they need to be more than a member of the field @ Tournament time.

  • Sometimes you get a group that just isn't capable of performing in the way you want. This isn't necessarily that you've "lost them", it's just a matter of talent.

  • Wow ... I'm kind of amazed at some of the opinions and comments on here with everyone trying to have things both ways. Well, we can't have it both ways.

    Five years ago, everyone's pulling their hair out because we aren't getting the top talent in the nation. The two previous coaches over the last 5-10 years or so weren't getting it done recruiting, UK wasn't anywhere near where it belonged, we missed the tourney for the first time in almost 20 years and no one was happy. All everyone screamed was 'Why can't we get top talent here?'

    Well, times have changed. We are getting top talent. We have an Elite 8, 2 Final Fours and a National Championship in three years. Recruiting is off the chain like never before at any school. Cal is 2 wins short of the most wins over a three-year period in the HISTORY OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL (second only to UK '96-'98 that went to three straight NC games). We tied the all-time record for the most wins in a season by any team.

    And now suddenly we don't want all the top talent? We don't want the one-and-dones? We don't want the best players? So ... we want to go back to the years of accepting a 2nd-round tourney exit as okay and praising a Sweet 16 run with a close loss in a regional final?

    Yes, things haven't been as we'd like this year so far. It's only half-way through the season. We've seen the way Cal's teams work right in front of our eyes for 3+ years now. We know they take a while to 'get it' and come together as a team when they start out this young. The '10-'11 Final Four team started the SEC schedule 5-5 and didn't 'get it' until late February. This team's taking a while too. Maybe it's a year when they just don't come together.

    We can't have it both ways. We can't complain about not having top talent when we don't have it and then complaining about too much of it when we do. We can't scrap the system, the coaches and the players in the middle of a season just because we have a couple more losses than we'd like.

  • 1. Bledsoe was underated to begin with and was overshadowed by Wall coming in with him. Orton, as we can see, made a stupid mistake trying to leave early, Lamb was not a one and done(was here two years) and was a great asset to the NC team as an upperclassman, and WCS will IMO make a huge mistake like Orton if he tries to go after this year because I really believe he is not ready.

    2. What about Bledsoe, Orton, Dodson? They all choked like freshmen will most of the time in tight games. Wall tried to take it on himself to win when himself, bledsoe, dodson, could not throw it in the ocean, and that includes the free throw line. If any of them could have hit just a couple shots and a few free throws down the stretch we would have beaten WV. Patterson was a big reason we even stayed in that game. Liggins played the best defensive game of anybody that next year, and kemba walker/jeremy lamb and UConn were just not gonna be stopped that year by anyone. As for this year and wiltjer, we all knew he would be exposed for his lack of defense and athleticism; everybody in the country knew he lacked that when he was recruited. Yes we could have won some games with Harrow healthy but he also had exprience playing college ball already, with also a year of practicing against the best point guard in the country last year. And as for yesterday NN was the best player because he is the only one who plays like a man and there are no good upperclassmen to depend on, which ironically has been the emphasis of my entire discussion to begin with.

    3. Why is the Fab Five a bad example, they would all have been one and done players in todays game and they never won a title. Why? Oh thats right they choked and were beaten by teams with experienced players on the roster. enough said.

    4. To further my point, how many more games do you honestly think we would have lost last year had it not been for our upperclassmen stepping up when things got tough? Do you honestly think last years team could have won a NC without Miller, Lamb, and Jones? In my opinion, absolutely not! You have got to have some good 2-4 year players!!

  • I dunno, man, but this seems like one of the least drama filled threads after a UK basketball loss (particularly in a bad season) that I've seen. We'll be fine. There are always ups and downs. Next year we'll be back (and there's a chance this team could pull it together and be scary in March).

  • I take it that most of that is directed to me since I started the thread and have been talking about getting more players who will stay longer. I love having top talent and I believe you need it to win titles, but you also need just a few good players who will stay around awhile. I don't see why that is such a hard thing to accomplish. My only question is this, and answer me honestly, what would be wrong with Cal picking up 2-4 superstar players each year and lining his bench with guys who will stay a couple years to help support the talented freshmen that comes in each year? I just really do not think that that type of team is an impossible task to achieve, especially for a coach with the recruiting talent of Cal. Again I love having the top players, just not without some upperclassmen supporting players.

  • I understand completely the value of upper-classmen with experience ... but I don't believe that you recruit with that goal in mind. You don't start out with your philosophy as 'Okay ... we're going to recruit 2 players who are true impact players that can help us win now and 4 guys who are so-so and will be role players three years from now.' If it happens in the normal course of things over the years, that's great, and can be a positive when it does, but you don't start out with that as your recruiting strategy.

    Show me any successful coach in any sport at any level who doesn't want the best available players every time. Cal himself (who I think has been fairly successful) says 'Give me the best players out there and I'll figure out what to do with them when I get them.' (I'm paraphrasing here.) What's the old saying? "Jimmys and Joes beat X's and O's."

    On top of that, every top-level recruit that doesn't come here because we have a roster full of 4-year mediocre talent ... will go to our competition. And, in basketball in particular, it only takes a couple of those somewhere else to give your competition an edge you can't overcome. If you pass up 2-4 one-and-dones a year to hang on to a part-time role player for 4 years ... that's 8-16 5-star players that end up at Carolina, Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, etc. that would have been on your roster.

    I just don't agree at all with your strategy as an overall recruiting philosophy. If it happens on its own ... that's fine ... but you don't intentionally change your recruiting to fit that model.