Kentucky coach John Calipari continues to show patience and understanding with sophomore Stacey Poole as the player contemplates whether he wants to stay on the team or transfer when the semester ends.
Other coaches might see it as a huge distraction, but Calipari has given Poole time to make a huge decision about his future.
“Because I was out of town I didn’t get to spend any time with him and I haven’t seen him yet today but I’ll sit down and talk with him in the next day or two," Calipari said Thursday. "I wanted him to take time. You want every player to stay and fight through it, but if the young man doesn’t think his opportunity is here, they all want to play, and I will support him.
"I am disappointed if he chooses to leave, but he is a great kid that I think is a terrific basketball player.”
No Kansas yet: Kentucky figures to get its first test Tuesday when it plays Kansas in New York’s Madison Square Garden. However, Calipari wanted no part of speculating about that game Thursday condisering his team hosts Marist tonight.
“I’m not worried about Kansas; I’m just worried about my team,” Calipari said. “All I want to see (tomorrow) is us play with great intensity, continue to play unselfish and if they do those things that’s all I can worry about. I’m not getting ahead of myself and worrying about other teams. Our schedule is very demanding We know that and each game will be hard.”
Sophomore Terrence Jones took the same stance as his coach.
“Well for me, I'm just excited to play one game at a time. I'm just ready to play tomorrow,”?Jones said. “The next game will be Tuesday, so that's when I will be excited for that, after the Friday game.”
Teague comparison: Freshman point guard Marquis Teague played well in UK’s two exhibition games, but Calipari is not ready to even think about comparing him to other recent point guards he’s had who have become first round NBA draft picks.
“Until we are in a big time game and he gets the ball with the game on the line and we see how he reacts, it is too early to tell,” the Kentucky coach said. “I said to him last game that he was really unselfish, he didn’t take a shot for the longest time and then the shots he took were wide open jumpers or he just attacked the rim. Again, seven assists with only two turnovers and I only played him 17 minutes.
“He’s doing fine. He, Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist), Anthony (Davis) and Kyle Wiltjer (are doing fine). We just need him to be unselfish. He is more of a classic point guard coming in. He scored a lot of points in high school and that was before he had a jump shot.”
Teague says he’s understanding more and more about what Calipari wants.
“I feel like I’m doing good. I’m just trying to get everyone involved. I need to keep up high energy, and just keep control of things on the floor,” Teague said. “I need to keep making sure I am knocking down open shots. I need to keep pushing the ball in transition, and sometimes I need to slow it down. I need to pick and choose when to speed up and slow down.”
Cover boy: Jones is featured on a regional cover of Sports Illustrated this week and joins a long list of UK basketball players who have been on the SI?cover.
“It feels real good to be able to represent the school and the team on something that big. I just makes me proud to be able to be that person,” Jones said Thursday.