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What Does It Take, Cal Pleading?

Photo by Jeff Houchin


Kentucky missed 25 shots in Friday’s 82-62 victory over Mount St. Mary’s but got only six offensive rebounds — and four of them were by Nick Richards.

Kentucky coach John Calipari has been pleading for team to hit the boards harder all season and was even more passionate about that after Friday’s win.

“We only get six offensive rebounds. C’mon. It’s not like we made every shot. We shot over 50 percent but there’s still 25 rebounds and you get six. That’s not acceptable,” Calipari said.  “It’s just not.


I’m telling them, Whoever in this room wants to play more, offensive rebound. I’m going to leave you in the game.

Well, that’s rough. It’s hard. Can I just shoot some 3’s?

Calipari made the same proclamation on his postgame radio show in Rupp Arena with fans watching and listening.

Before that he explained why offensive rebounding can be hard for some players.

“Here is what happens. Your mentality has to be every shot that we take, the three, four and the five, sometimes the two, off guard, this is a miss. You got to train yourself every shot we take offensively is a miss, I’m going to go get it,” the Kentucky coach said.

“When you go get it, that’s three more steps you got to run to go back on defense, so it’s a little easier just to, I can’t get that, I’ll be at the top of the key and start running so I got a five-step lead on this guy. If he’s right next to me and he runs, I got to sprint. If they get it, I turn and fly.

“We’re working on it. We’re doing stuff. Obviously, it’s not taking hold.”

Maybe it won’t by the time UK hosts Lamar Sunday night but after that UK starts playing basically one game per week and rebounding will become an even bigger point of emphasis.

“If I get a guy that will offensive rebound, he’s staying in the game. If anybody wants so-and-so to play more, he’s given you the answers. He’s giving you an A, go rebound offensively,” Calipari said. “That means do not accept being blocked out, fight for every ball, and if you don’t get it sprint back.

“How about if we had three guys doing that, which some of my teams were that way? We were getting 17, 18, 19 offensive rebounds, which gives you four or five or six easy baskets. Which means if you play how we play, it’s hard to beat us. That’s tough, mentally stronger, experienced kids.

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as, and Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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