Young play­ers mean UK, Vandy bat­tle could be a wild ride

Lexington Herald-Leader - - Front Page - BY JERRY TIP­TON jtip­[email protected]­ald-leader.com

As a pre­cau­tion, Sat­ur­day night’s Ken­tucky-Van­der­bilt game should re­mind fans with weak stom­achs to take their anti-nau­sea medicine. Be­cause youth will be served.

Youth­ful im­pulse (served with a side of inat­ten­tion to game plans) could be all over the menu, er, Rupp Arena floor. Ken Pomeroy’s rat­ing of No. 304 in terms of ex­pe­ri­ence makes Vandy the grey­beard in the game. He has Ken­tucky rated No. 350

PJ Wash­ing­ton, a rel­a­tive old-timer as a sopho­more, put into per­spec­tive the “process” that UK coaches talk about each year, about mesh­ing a group of her­alded re­cruits into an ef­fec­tive team.

“As young play­ers com­ing to a school like this, you only think of your­self and what you can do in the fu­ture,” he said Fri­day. “But you’ve got to think about ev­ery­body else be­cause ev­ery­body else has the same goals as you. And ev­ery­body else is go­ing through ev­ery­thing you’re go­ing through.

“You’ve got to come out as one, and ev­ery­thing el­e­vates from there.”

To put it mildly, UK’s victory over Texas A&M on Tues­day was not up­lift­ing. Af­ter­ward, UK Coach John Cali­pari of­fered a list of laments. A player not do­ing his job in a play called mo­ments ear­lier dur­ing a time­out. Play­ers go­ing un­der screens, thus giv­ing a three-point shooter the com­fort to launch.

Maybe most damn­ing, Cali­pari said he saw UK play­ers think­ing it was all right to be out­worked by an op­po­nent. “Like ‘What’s the big deal?’” he said in his postgame news con­fer­ence. “‘You know who I am?’

“We’re break­ing down ex­e­cu­tion right now and it’s driv­ing me crazy . . . . That’s the kind of stuff that we’ve got to clean up, and it’s just not ac­cept­able if we are go­ing to be any good.”

A re­porter asked as­sis­tant coach Joel Jus­tus, who sub­sti­tuted for Cali­pari at Fri­day’s news con­fer­ence, if youth­ful in­dis­cre­tion ex­plained UK’s stum­bles.

“I think a ton of it is youth,” Jus­tus said.

Van­der­bilt 9-5 over­all and 0-2 in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence, strains un­der the weight of sim­i­lar ton­nage.

“The eight-minute mark

ALEX SLITZ [email protected]­ald-leader.com

John Cali­pari has lamented his team’s youth­ful on-court mis­takes and inat­ten­tion to game plans. “It’s just not ac­cept­able if we are go­ing to be any good,” the UK coach said.

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