So far we've only seen the men's basketball team suit up for the Bahamas trip, Big Blue Madness, and the Blue-White game. Tonight, we'll see them playing in their first exhibition of the season against Missouri Western State.
While we haven't seen a whole lot of film on this team since the season is just now starting to kick off, John Calipari has, and after evaluating his team, he said his eyes are set on one thing to improve on before the first offical game of the season arrives.
Defense. "The biggest thing right now again is defense," said John Calipari in his Media Day presser. Not a player in particular sticks out to him that needs to improve, it's just his entire team as a whole. "Here's what I'm saying. We got guys, if they're playing the ball, they're good. The minute the ball is passed, they're want no part of helping, they're standing, they're back. And you would say part of it is they get tired, and they just let go of the rope. But you won't believe this. They don't let go of the rope on offense. They will still run and go get it and go. They just seem to let go of the thing on defense." He continues with, "But I'm not concerned because I know what I'll do. The guys that are really guarding will be in there. The guys that aren't guarding when they get beat a few times, they will know, their teammates will be on 'em. I remember the one year we said, ‘We won't sub if you hold them under six points. You hold them at six or less we won't sub.’ Well they fought and if someone gave up a basket they were, ‘Dude, guard your man. Help us here.’ And so that empowers them. We've got that kind of group."
It's not a worry to me at all that his team isn't up-to-par yet on defense, or in any specific part of their game. It's October, and we have a very long season ahead of us. These guys are fresh out of summer camp and are miles away from what they will become in the spring. This is why you schedule these exhibitions and easier non-conference opponents at your home arena for the first few weeks of the season. They're just simply not ready for the hard games yet - who is? This keeps them from getting too much thrown at them this early while they're trying to get adjusted to the pace of college basketball, learn the system, find their chemistry, and figure out just what it takes to play ball at Kentucky. They have many of things to work on as of now and plenty of time to get there is what I'm getting at. Don't panic. This is just John (Calipari) being honest with the media.
We'll have somewhat more tape to evaluate after their exhibition game tonight at 7 p.m. ET. While they'll beat up on this team, it will be great for them to get some runs up and down the hardwood against different faces than what they're used to. From that, we can take away a little bit of film and milk it by using it to improve until the second exhibition comes.