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Calipari believes in bench

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Calipari believes in bench

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:02 am

Calipari believes in bench

Terrence Jones came off the bench in spectacular fashion against Auburn, scoring 35 points in UK’s victory.

But the rest of the bench turned in another uninspiring performance. Jon Hood, Eloy Vargas and Stacey Poole combined for zero points in 19 minutes of play.

Head coach John Calipari has been personally working them out before practice.

“It’s not working right now,” Calipari said. “But it’s early.”

The workouts are a mixture of defining their games and conditioning.

“One of them, I won’t tell you which one, after 15 minutes threw up,” Calipari said. “So that’s where they are right now. They’re far behind.”

The workouts may be tough, but not any tougher than conference and postseason games will be.

“If you can’t take me, how are you going to go on a high-level game that’s on national television and make a tough play?” Calipari asked.

While UK has an established sixth man – usually Doron Lamb, although Jones proved quite capable as a substitute against Auburn – Calipari is looking for the rest of the bench to make an impact. While the question of how effective a short bench can be has persisted all year long, Calipari isn’t conceding he can’t expand his rotation.

“My whole mindset is Stacey and Jon Hood and Eloy are going to help us before this season’s over,” Calipari said.

UK fans may recognize the need for a bench player to emerge as a consistent presence. When Vargas grabbed a rebound, the crowd audibly reacted. Calipari noted the weirdness of that happening – his player grabs one rebound and the crowd applauds. But he liked it.

“That’s our crowd trying to help coach this kid,” Calipari said. “That’s our crowd knowing, Eloy, you got to get balls. Those were our 25,000 coaches that sit up in the stands behind me.”

Josh Harrellson had zero rebounds in the first half, something Calipari made a point of. The coach said Harrellson reverted to his play as a freshman, and that’s why Harrellson started the second half on the bench.

“I had a couple in my hands and they kept slipping out,” Harrellson said on not getting rebounds. “I don’t know. I had some buttery hands.”

Harrellson went into the game as the SEC’s leading rebounder, at 9.5 per game. He finished with four rebounds. Calipari said all the stories about his recent success may have gone to his head.

“Nah, I don’t read,” Harrellson said jokingly. “I’m more of a picture guy.”

Doron Lamb felt fine as a starter. Usually the supersub, Lamb scored eight points and had a season-high seven assists. He said there wasn’t much of an adjustment playing at the start of the game, and as long as he was getting crunch-time minutes he was good.

Calipari said Lamb reminded him of Chris Douglas-Roberts in terms of a slightly less-than-full motor.

“You got to come off screens hard,” Calipari said. “You got to be shooting balls before you catch it. All those things. It’s typical of younger kids.”
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