(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — When casting aspersions on this year’s Kentucky basketball team, there’s plenty of blame to go around. After all, you can’t go 8 – 14 and be on track for one of the worst seasons in program history…and NOT expect some finger pointing.
Is it the lack of pure shooters or the absence of a strong post presence that did this team in? Or how about the propensity for turnovers, or a low basketball IQ, or the lack of team chemistry? Was it the entry of Covid or the exit of Kenny Payne that started the slide downhill? Perhaps it was something as innocuous as the missing fans in the stands? It’s gotta be the lack of experienced upperclassmen, right?
Despite all those implications, Coach John Calipari all but acknowledged that one particular deficiency stood out head and shoulders above the rest. There was one critical error, one overlooked piece of the puzzle, one FATAL FLAW that caused his team to crash and burn in spectacular fashion.
When asked about the poor point guard play—and how the team can compensate for not having anyone who can beat someone off the dribble—Calipari let out a lament worthy of Jeremiah the weeping prophet.
“You hope you have another guy that can do it, that can go,” he finally answered after a lengthy, awkward, and uncomfortable pause. “You can give it to him, and he can create some offense.”
In other words, Coach Cal has no answers. Neither Davion Mintz nor Devin Askew are capable of those blow by moves we’ve come to expect from five-star point guards of the past.
“Especially here, you can get spoiled when you have guys like De’Aaron Fox and John Wall and stuff like that,” assistant coach Jai Lucas told reporters at the media conference earlier today. “Those guys don’t come around a lot. Trust me because I’ve been at schools that haven’t had them.”
Kentucky’s offensive scheme from the get-go was dependent on the guards just getting the ball to either Brandon Boston or Terrence Clarke on the wings, and watching them either hitting threes or taking it to the hoop. We all know how well that turned out. Boston has taken most of the year to find his stride while Clarke has been missing in action with an ankle injury since the middle of December.
So, where do we go from here? Is the lack of a true break-you-down point guard fatal to this team’s hopes of making a successful SEC tournament run? Do we all just throw up our hands and say, “Wait ‘til next year?”
According to Coach Lucas, there’s still hope. There are ways to compensate. And no, Ashton Hagans is not walking back through that door.
“You can play through the post a little more,” he explained. “You have to get a little bit more off-ball action and kind of create some gaps to get them a downhill run towards the rim and stuff like that to generate it for them. So you just kind of have to work with what you have.”
Here’s hoping John Calipari has one more tweak left in him—one final stroke of genius that’ll forever wipe this nightmare of a season out of our frazzled and frenzied minds.
“This is a real big benefit of Coach Cal,” Lucas added. “He says that everything is in pencil. So, just trying things until we find something that works and then keep going with that, and then just having to adjust.”
Hey BBN, we’re running out of runway. Fatal flaw or not, I’m in it until the end. Are you?