Coach Cal had about a 10 minute phone interview today on Katz Corner, where he spoke to Andy Katz about the team. Cal talks about how young the team is, how their emotions get in the way of their effort, how Randle is getting defended, the recent Marcus Smart incident where he shoved a Texas Tech fan, the upcoming at against Florida, and more. I have written a brief summary of the interview below. Watch the video to hear all the details.
ANDY KATZ: How much have you discovered this team’s identity at this point in February?
Coach Cal says they’re still a work in progress and talks about coaching the youngest team in basketball and how this is his youngest team ever. He discusses how the guys’ emotions after mistakes affect the rest of their play.
ANDY KATZ: So at this point in February, as you’re hitting the stretch run in the SEC, how do you change that?
Coach Cal tells Andy that “We may not be able to!”
ANDY KATZ: We’re just running some highlights of Julius Randle… and I remember way back in November–it must seem like a lifetime ago–when you ran a number of plays in a row in the Champions Classic game for Julius Randle against Michigan State. You were telling me after that time that you ran almost like 16 straight for him. How many times this season have you looked to just create more of a dominate situation for Randle in the post?
Cal explains that you can’t because opposing teams play Randle like they played Shaq in college–they’re putting 3 guys on him. Cal goes on to explain the different things they’re doing with Julius.
ANDY KATZ: John, over the weekend, obviously the story in college basketball was Marcus Smart and his reaction to the fan at Texas Tech. At Kentucky, you guys deal with fans on the road worse than probably any other team in the SEC, maybe in the country, because everybody wants to beat Kentucky, they get amped up for that, it’s a sold out crowd… What do you tell your players about how to handle opposing crowds?
Cal discusses the recent Marcus Smart situation and then talks about how an Arkansas fan got up in Aaron Harrison’s face at their arena and how he was proud of the way Aaron responded (or didn’t respond).
ANDY KATZ: I do remember that incident you’re talk about with Aaron Harrison–there was video of that and still photos where that fan came really close to him, and he did hold back, which was great for Aaron Harrison in that example. I know you’re at Auburn first, but then you have Florida coming in to Rupp Arena on saturday. This has been a great rivalry over the years between Florida and Kentucky. This Florida team is playing its best basketball of the season. What has impressed you the most about the Gators?
Cal tells about how they’re such a great team with veteran leadership. He then goes back and talks about the upcoming Auburn game and explains how he’s mostly just worried about his own team and fixing the way the guys let their emotions impact their games.