Defense a determining factor in PT

Defense a determining factor in PT

Calipari, "I told Jon Hood and Stacey Poole yesterday, ‘We need you on this team and we need you to perform.' Why? There may be foul trouble. Someone may get hurt and you're going to be thrust into the position. Are you ready? Or are you just going to grab balls as you're falling down and throw them at the basket? You can't do that. I can't leave you on the floor."

Stacey Poole and Jon Hood did not see the playing time one might think during Kentucky's last game, a win over Mississippi Valley State.

How important is it to play solid defense at the college level?

Kentucky coach John Calipari said, "Well that's how they stay on the floor. Now I want you to understand, if a guy comes down and he'll rebound, and he'll (get a) stop, and he'll help his teammates, and he's talking, they're not going to score that many baskets. So even if we don't score it's even. I can leave him on the floor. But the minute he walks in and he doesn't rotate and they get a free layup, and then he gets a ball jerked from him – and it's anybody, not just Stacey – and they make another basket, it's one that we didn't get and they got. That's a four-point swing. You do that once or twice and all of a sudden you're an eight-point negative. You cannot be on the floor, freshman, senior, sophomore, you can't be out there. And so, ‘Wow I made a basket.' OK, that's two points for us, eight (points) against us. We're losing, so you can't be out there. That's what you're trying to tell them. Part of that is a will to win. Part of that is understanding that every possession is important, and most freshmen don't know it. What I'm happy about is we have three other freshmen who are slowly coming through. You may say well they're playing a lot more. Yeah, they deserve to be too. So now what happens is, just like in life, you get your opportunity, are you ready for it? If you're not ready for it you cannot blame anybody but yourself. Are you ready for your chance to play? I told Jon Hood and Stacey Poole yesterday, ‘We need you on this team and we need you to perform.' Why? There may be foul trouble. Someone may get hurt and you're going to be thrust into the position. Are you ready? Or are you just going to grab balls as you're falling down and throw them at the basket? You can't do that. I can't leave you on the floor. I think you hold the bar high and tell them exactly what they have to do and they either do it or don't do it. I mean, it's in their hands. The one thing with the way we play is we've always been a defensive oriented team. So is this team. We've been a team that gives you space offensively to do what you can do. Now, you try and do stuff you can't do, you can't be out there. Those are all things they've got to learn as they go. I'm still telling you Stacey and Jon will play a part in this season. They have to get themselves ready. I said this, ‘You know we're trying to condition a couple other guys other than just Josh (Harrellson), why aren't you two out early? You two tell me you want to play, why aren't you out here early? Why aren't you conditioning? Why aren't you weight training? You want me to give you a spot.' It's the same with Eloy (Vargas). ‘Eloy, have you not watched what Josh did? Now why wouldn't you chase that and do the same?' Because he's capable. Josh is like the success story, early season. Early season, but he's been the success story. And again, I told those guys he's changed his habits which may end up changing his life. It's a crazy statement but that's the truth."

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