Monday, February 29, 2016

2016 All-American Candidate One Man Wrecking Crew Jamal Murray

We are getting ready to take off for Florida. What's Jamal Murray have in store for us tomorrow?

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Kentucky vs @Florida...RD.2....A Preview

Kentucky vs Florida 3/1/16 
Tuesday 7PM (ESPN)
Game is at Florida

Kentucky leads series over Florida 97-37

Florida Gators (SEC)

Location: Ganesville, Fla.
Enrollment: 49,042
Arena: 12,000 (Average Home Attendance 9,620)

Head Coach: Michael White
Career Record: 101-40 (71.6%) 4 Seasons
At Florida: First Season

2014-15 Record: 16-17
2014-15 SEC Record: 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: None

2015-16 Record: 17-12
2015-16 SEC Record: 8-8

Florida 59 Navy 41
Florida 104 North Carolina A&T 54
Florida 74 Saint Joseph 63
Purdue 85 Florida 70
Florida 86 Vermont 62
Florida 70 Florida Gulf Coast 50
Florida 76 Richmond 56
Miami 66 Florida 55
Michigan State 58 Florida 52
Florida 72 Oklahoma State 70
Florida 89 Jacksonville 65
Florida State 73 Florida 71
Florida 77 Georgia 63 
Tennessee 83 Florida 69
Florida 68 LSU 62
Texas A&M 71 Florida 68
Florida 80 Ole Miss 71
Florida 81 Mississippi State 78
Florida 95 Auburn 63
Vanderbilt 60 Florida 59
Florida 88 West Virginia 71
Florida 87 Arkansas 83
Kentucky 80 Florida 61
Florida 77 Ole Miss 72
Alabama 61 Florida 55
Florida 57 Georgia 53
South Carolina 73 Florida 69 (OT)
Vanderbilt 87 Florida 74 
LSU 96 Florida 91

Florida Stats:
3 PT%-31.6% (7.0 PG)
RPG-40.2 (+2.9)

Probable Starting Lineup:

Dorian-Finney Smith-F 6’8” Sr…………..……15.2 PPG
KeVaughn Allen-G 6’2” Fr……………………12.1 PPG
Chris Chiozza-G 6’0” Soph……………………7.9 PPG
John Egbunu-C 6’11” Soph……………………11.4 PPG
Kasey Hill-G 6’1” Soph………………………..7.9 PPG

Other Key Players:

B. Francis-Ramirez-G 6’5” Fr………………….1.4 PPG
Devin Robinson-F 6’8” Soph…………………...8.1 PPG
Kevarrius Hayes-F 6’9” Fr……………………...1.3 PPG

Michael White has now replaced long time Gator coach Billy Donovan who left for the NBA. Coach White did an excellent job at Louisiana Tech in his 4 years with a 71.6% winning percentage. White, who is only 38, has been tabbed by many analysts as a terrific young coach….certainly, he will have a big challenge replacing Billy Donovan who had a great career at Florida winning 2 NCAA championships. 

The Gators got off to a decent start this season winning 9 of their first 13 games which included losses to highly ranked Purdue and Michigan State. However, they are only 8-8 in the SEC having lost 4 of their last 5….and 5 of their last 7 SEC games. This is a young Florida team aside from senior Dorian-Finney Smith….as their 8 man rotation includes 3 freshmen and 4 sophomores. There is talent on this young Gator team, but overall they have not been a good shooting team from the field or from the charity line.

Dorian-Finney Smith is enjoying a very good senior year as he leads the team in scoring and rebounds plus being the best perimeter shooter hitting 59-150 for a very good 39.3%.

Sophomore John Egbunu leads the team in blocks with 44 and Kasey Hill leads in steals with 38. 

Florida is 12-3 at home and will be sky high to payback UK for the 81-60 loss at Rupp arena. That game was essentially over at halftime with UK leading 50-32 and the Cats shooting lights out with Murray scoring 35 points. Coach White knows the Gators are NIT bound unless they can end their regular SEC schedule on a positive note and win the SEC tourney….so look for a jammed arena and a fired up Gator team when UK arrives in Gainesville!

Kentucky Stats:

3 PT %-35.1% (6.6 PG)
RPG-42.1 (+5.2)

Kentucky lost a winnable game 72-64 against Vandy as they had a terrible shooting day….except for Murray who continues to shoot lights out from the perimeter. UK got absolutely nothing from their frontline except for Lee who did score 9 points. However, Poythress scored zero points in 16 minutes and Skal along with Humphries contributed nothing. Ulis had his worst shooting game at UK going 5-20…0-7 from the perimeter…and even missing 2 of his 4 free throws. Briscoe is arguably the worst shooter in the history of UK basketball as he is has hit only 5-36 perimeter shots for 13.9% and is hitting an embarrassing 39.6% on 40-101 from the charity line. Yet, in the Vandy game, Briscoe shot 3 perimeter shots…and the question is why allow Briscoe to ever shoot a long range shot? Frankly, Briscoe has become a huge liability on the offensive end when he can’t make jump shots and when fouled going to the basket he can’t make free throws. 

All year long, we have known that our frontline was weak on the offensive end….and we hoped to see Skal make significant improvement, but he hasn’t. Unfortunately, this is UK’s weakest frontline since Cal has been at UK and unless the Cats start getting some offensive support for easy baskets in the paint….it will place great pressure on UK’s guards to score against NCAA opponents. Certainly, getting Willis back will help a lot, but Skal’s disappointing season has hurt the Cats a lot. No one dreamed that Skal would be placed on the bench and getting 7-10 minutes a game….no one dreamed that he would be weak in the paint and poor in garnering rebounds. 

Hopefully, Cal can work his magic and perhaps tweak the lineup and or rotation….and make some changes that will help the Cats to improve their overall play and consistency.
One change I would like to see is give Hawkins and maybe Mulder more minutes and cut back Briscoe’s minutes. 

Florida will be a tough game for this UK team that has been very poor on the road this season. I’ll be happy with even a win of 1 point….it’s time for UK to start winning away from Rupp Arena. 


Video: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-@Florida Press Conference Comments

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-@Florida Press Conference Comments


On what he can do or say to help the team’s confidence …
“Well, this is probably a week early for me, but we tweaked a few things. Scary word. So we tweaked a few things and it’s not a wholesale change from what we do, but you Basketball Bennies will have an idea of what I did. Most of you in this room have no idea what I tweaked, but the people who really follow it and study it will say, ‘Wel,l this is what he just did.’ ”

On if the changes include when Derek Willis is in the lineup or for when he isn’t …
“It’s not in the lineup. He won’t be Tuesday. Let’s hope that he can play Saturday, but he’s not playing Tuesday. What I’m doing is something that’s going to help us whether Derek’s there or not. It’s something I probably should’ve done a long time ago, but you kind of get blinded. You start winning games and guys are doing certain things and other guys are not so you just leave it alone. But we’ll see.”

On if he’s sandbagging because two years ago he said he should’ve tweaked things sooner …
“No. I’m saying the same thing. These guys that we have, in most cases – what I said on the (SEC coaches’ teleconference) call – I’m not the kind of guy that says, ‘OK, we’re going to run a bunch of plays for this kind of score.’ We didn’t run plays for Karl (Towns). We didn’t run plays for Julius (Randle) or any guys. We play basketball, we create actions and then you’ve got to insert yourself. We’re an unselfish team. It’s not like guys are selfish, but we’re creating space for you to go do what you do. So with these guys we’re just, like I said, it’s not just our bigs. There are some other things we’re going to tweak to get some other guys a little more confident in what they’re doing.”

On if he’s been considering this tweak or if it came up on Sunday …
“A friend of mine had called me before and said, ‘You know you need to think about doing da da da da da.’ I listened, but I didn’t listen. And then the last game you start looking at guys and guys have got to play more confident. And it isn’t what you say to a guy. ‘Well, you yell at them.’ What? OK. I yell at Jamal (Murray) – he really lacks confidence. It’s how you’re playing. Demonstrated performance builds your confidence. So if they’re struggling to insert themselves, you’ve got to help them and say, ‘This is how you do this. Within what we’re doing, let’s think about this.’ That’s what tweaking is. ‘OK, guys, here’s how we’re playing. Let’s focus a little bit more on this. Or let’s focus more on this.’ It’s too late to change how we play, but there’s no reason that we can’t have a confident basketball team. That’s what we should have.”

On if the tweak is a mental reboot for guys …
“Some of it is mental, but the other part is you’re changing how they think about playing. You’re changing the mentality of how they’re doing this. That gets them, especially the guys that need it. But I’m anxious to go see. Last time we had time, if you remember, I had three or four games before and we did it over time and I said you’re going to see. This is yesterday, we walked some stuff and then today we’re going to practice. We only have an hour and a half or less. We’re off Wednesday so we’ll have Thursday, Friday. It’s the beginnings of it. You know, it’s like anything else. The guys, we just need to go out, play defense, which in the second half against Vandy we had so many slipups, so much slippage in the game. And then offensively just be confident in what you’re doing. We just can’t play through one and two guys. You can’t in a game a guy gets going just let him go. But you can’t every game. That’s not how I coach and it’s not how you win at the highest level.”

On guards involving the bigs more …
“Again, when you throw it to them they fumble. You try to get it to them and they miss. You want to win. So now it’s like, ‘Look, I’m shooting it and you go rebound it.’ I mean, you want to win, so we have to – they have to build the guards’ confidence in them. And again, it’s through demonstrative performance. It’s not saying, ‘I’ll do this and this and I’ll do that.’ You’ve gotta go do it in the game. The great thing about this team is they’re all cheering for each other. They want the other guys to do well. I mean if a guy gets it going they’re really happy.”

On who can be the complement to Ulis and Murray …
“All of them. Every one of them. Marcus Lee. Alex (Poythress). Derek has proven it when he was healthy. Isaac (Humphries) can do it. Skal (Labissiere) can do it. They can all do it. ‘Where do I insert myself? How do I make myself available?’ Some of it is you just have to work harder. That one is – they don’t want to hear that one. ‘What else can I do?’ You’ve gotta make yourself more available. You’ve gotta beat the other guy to spots. How about this? Outrun the guy. Sprint. I mean, that’s stuff that you know, again, that’s part of tweaking – to get them to think different.”

On the defensive lapses in the second half vs. Vanderbilt …
“We just had some – like, we gave them layups and dunks. Like, there were four of them, five of them. We just don’t do that. When you give up – that’s five for five. And we’re a defensive team. We’re a team that holds you to 40 percent or less. In the second half, you know, aside from all of that, if Tyler makes a couple of shots – he missed them all. Just make a couple and it’s a different ballgame. We have our chances. And we had our chance with that being the case. Layups and one-footers and a missed 3, missed 3 and a missed 3. Oh my gosh! And you still have a chance and they weren’t scoring either. Those four or five dunk-layup-layup that was the gap in the game.”

On playing at Florida …

“Yeah, it is going to be loud. It will be packed. It’s going to be a game that’s going to be a hard game for us. I’m, again, just trying to focus on my team. I know how good they are. I know how good they are in that building. It’s just I’m focused on my team. Let’s just try to get better. Let’s get this thing – we gotta build a couple more guys out of this. You gotta go into tournament play. And if you think of us historically, we never went into tournament play with one or two guys playing well. We go into tournament play with five and six guys playing well. And then you’re hoping seven gets in and does something too. We’ve gotta get to that and we have time. Again, working on that earlier than normal, but let’s see if we can begin that process, that climb to get our team like that.”

On if he wants Isaiah Briscoe taking jump shots …
“Yeah. We just have to – again, there are things we can do to help him too, and we will.”

On if playing Tai Wynyard is still an option …
“Not at this point. I would say no. No. We’ve seen our big guys play pretty well and then we’ve seen them struggling. It’s almost like, OK, how do we get this more consistent? How do you build your mentality? You all know that comes from within. If you’re relying on someone else to do that for you, what if he’s not feeling good that day? The guy you’re counting on to pick you up? I mean, you gotta do that yourself. You gotta get yourself in a frame of mind – and then if it doesn’t go well. Look, Alex did not walk. You saw it. He did not walk, and he didn’t trip the guy. It was like two ridiculous calls. But, that kind of caved him in. You can’t be that way. Relax. We’ve had it all year. All year we’ve had that. So? Just play. So, we’re trying to talk to him about that. He can’t let a call or a play cave you in. Just play through it. At this point, we’re just trying to see – the question becomes how good can we be? We know if we don’t have everybody playing confident we’re not going to be very good. So the question becomes how good can this team be? Now, we’ve got this week and next week and the tournament to get this thing to where we are steering up. You know, playing on the road’s not a good place to try and do it. The road in our league is the toughest place to win, of any conference in the country on the road in this league. But, it’s our next game, so let’s go.”

Video/Transcript: UK Player Tyler Ulis Pre-@Florida Press Conference Interview

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Transcript: UK Player Tyler Ulis Pre-@Florida Press Conference Interviews


On if he suspected he would have an off day at Vanderbilt …
“No I didn’t suspect it, but it happened and I just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Stay in the gym and keep playing.”

On if he was worn down against Vanderbilt …
“No I was fine, my legs were good. I just had an off-shooting night. I wish I would have shot the ball better, maybe it would have been a different type of game. But it happens.”

On if it was a contributing factor not having Derek Willis on the court to spread the defense …
“That’s a big part of our team, but we’ve played without him and we’ve played well. So we can’t blame it on that. It’s just a fact – honestly, I feel like if I shot the ball a lot better, we would have been able to win that game, been in a better position to win or something. Without Derek, it is hard to space the floor, but hopefully he gets back soon.”

On if there’s more pressure on him to not have an off night …
“No not really. It doesn’t really bother me.”

On what he remembers about Florida from the first game …
“I’ve played Florida for the last two years, so I know a lot about them. I know their guards, guys like (Dorian) Finney-Smith, can shoot the ball, stretch the floor for them, something Derek did for us. We just have to make sure we come ready to play.”

On what he says to the struggling forwards on the team …
“Just try to pump them up to fight and just play hard. Everything is not going to go right all the time with the fouls. They got a couple of fouls early in the game and they had to sit. But offensively we need them to insert themselves and rebound for us. But I feel like they’re going to do their jobs. Once everybody does it, we’re going to be pretty good.”

On Vanderbilt 7-foot forward Damian Jones guarding him …
“I noticed they were switching and I wanted to get the switch so I could take him off the dribble, but I wasn’t finishing shots. Everything wasn’t falling, so they did a good job switching.”

On if he likes when a big guy guards him …
“Yeah, that creates a mismatch, either post it or go by the big man. I tried to space the floor and get by him, but nothing would fall.”

On what they want Isaiah Briscoe to do when he gets open …
“I want him to shoot it. I tell him, ‘You catch it, shoot the ball.’ He’s here for a reason. He used to score the ball a lot in high school, so he can make those shots, he just has to think he can make it. He keeps shooting they’re going to fall.”

On his missed layup at Vanderbilt …
“I just went to shoot the layup and it didn’t go in like everything else in the game. Something I usually make didn’t go in, and that’s one of the main reasons we didn’t come up with the win.”

On if Saturday’s loss was harder on him than other losses …
“Yeah, it was pretty hard on me because of the way I played, but I’m over it now. I gotta move on to the next game.”

On if games against these bubble teams feel like NCAA Tournament games …
“Yeah, they’re always tournament games because everybody wants to come out and beat us. We have to prepare like it is, and just go out there and refuse to lose, just try to play as hard as we can for 40 minutes.”

On what the guards can do to help the bigs …
“Just spacing the floor out for them more. They tried to trap Alex last game. They trapped Skal and it was because of our spacing so we have to do a better job of that.”

On whether Marcus Lee’s game was encouraging …
“Yeah. He did a good job blocking shots late, rebounding for us and that’s something he does for us–he has to do for us in order for us to win. That was a good sign from the bigs.”

On what he looks for when he’s pressuring the ball …
“Just their tendencies, which way they like to go, what type of moves they-their counter-moves and stuff like that so I can maybe get a steal late and stuff like that. A guard who likes to shoot the ball more, I’ll press up more, make him go to the basket and finish over our bigs.”

On the environment at Florida …
“It will probably be hard to hear (Coach) Cal with all the fans yelling and stuff like that. Kind of like the Kansas game. But we’re prepared for it, we’ve been there before and we’re just ready to play.”

On whether he tries harder to get the ball to Jamal Murray when he is this hot …
“When he gets hot, I try to get him the ball. I ask him what he wants to run, what type of plays he wants to get the ball in. We make sure we feed him.”

On how hard Murray was running off screens at Vandy …
“Yeah, he was running hard and he was just catching and shooting. Wasn’t worrying about getting his feet set or anything. He was just letting the ball go. When he’s hot, it’s hard to stop him.”

On whether he pays attention to bracket projections …
“No. I don’t know anything about the brackets and the seeding and stuff like that. I’m just trying to go out there and play, take it a game at a time and make sure we get wins.”

UK Player Jamal Murray Named Finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award

Wayman Tisdale Finalists

Jaylen Brown, California
Henry Ellenson, Marquette
Brandon Ingram, Duke
Jamal Murray, Kentucky
Ben Simmons, LSU

UK Player Tyler Ulis Name Finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy

Oscar Robertson Trophy Finalists
  • Grayson Allen, Duke
  • Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
  • Kris Dunn, Providence
  • Buddy Hield, Oklahoma 
  • Brice Johnson, North Carolina
  • Georges Niang, Iowa State
  • Jakob Poeltl, Utah
  • Ben Simmons, LSU
  • Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
  • Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
  • Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

UK Hoops Ranked #13 in Latest Women's AP Poll

UK Basketball Player Tyler Ulis Pre-@Florida Twitter Comments

Video: Florida vs. Kentucky Hype 2016 - #1 More Time UF

Updated NCAA Women's Basketball RPI 2/29/16

AP/USA Today/ESPN Top 25 BB Polls 2/29/16


1. Kansas
2. Michigan State
3. Villanova
4. Virginia
5. Xavier
6. Oklahoma
7. Miami (Fla.)
8. North Carolina
9. Oregon
10. West Virginia
11. Louisville
12. Indiana
13. Utah
14. Maryland
15. Purdue
16. Iowa
17. Duke
18. Arizona
19. Baylor
20. Texas A&M
21. Iowa State
22. Kentucky
23. Texas
24. SMU
25. California

Others Receiving Votes: Wisconsin (19-10) 93; Seton Hall (21-7) 60; Wichita State (23-7) 43; Saint Joseph's (24-5) 29; Notre Dame (19-9) 14; Texas Tech (18-10) 12; Cincinnati (21-8) 4; St. Mary's (24-4) 3; Vanderbilt (18-11) 3; Valparaiso (26-5) 2; Little Rock (26-3) 2; Stephen F. Austin (22-5) 1; Dayton (22-6) 1


1. Kansas
2. Villanova
3. Michigan State
4. Virginia
5. Xavier
6. Oklahoma
7. Miami (Fla.)
8. North Carolina
9. West Virginia
10. Oregon
11. Indiana
12. Maryland
13. Purdue
13. Utah
15. Iowa
16. Arizona
17. Baylor
18. Texas A&M
19. Kentucky
20. Iowa State
21. Duke
22. Texas
23. Wichita State
24. St. Mary's
25. California

Others Receiving Votes: Wisconsin (19-10) 52; Notre Dame (19-9) 42; Seton Hall (21-7) 39; Texas Tech (18-10) 36; Providence (20-9) 28; Saint Joseph's (24-5) 17; Pittsburgh (20-8) 17; South Carolina (23-6) 16; Dayton (22-6) 14; Valparaiso (26-5) 6; St. Bonaventure (20-7) 4; Colorado (21-9) 2; Little Rock (26-3) 1