John Calipari’s right-hand man, John Robic, broke bread with the press earlier this afternoon to share his thoughts on last Saturday’s win over Alabama, tomorrow’s game against Mississippi State and more.
Rolling the Tide
Kentucky’s return to form a few days ago in Tuscaloosa was music to the fan base’s collective ears and Coach Robic credited two things for the victory: effort and the pick and roll.
"I would say that it was pretty strong", Robic said on the team’s effort,"Something that we emphasized quite a bit: energy. We’ve had that in practice, but they focused on it. We got off to a good start, which I think was important as well, and you could sense that they understood what they had to do to start the game to win on the road."
The success to Kentucky’s pick and roll was due to team setting better screens, said Robic who also stated that it will help the Cats’ offense.
"Obviously it benefited us a lot. It freed up our guards and it freed up our big guys. They’re starting to understand the better screen they set the more chance they’re going to be open because their man has to help with the ball."
Ben Howland and the Bulldogs
Kentucky fans should expect another gritty game when the Mississippi State Bulldogs come to down tomorrow night.
Robic said that the Bulldogs "are going to grind and hang their hat defensively", the calling card of their head coach Ben Howland.
To win, the Cats will need to zero in on two MSU players, Gavin Ware and Malik Newman.
On Ware, Robic said: "He goes and gets the ball offensively off the glass. He’s developed a 15- to 17-foot jump shot that you have to play him out. He creates great angles at the rim."
The Kentucky coaching staff knows Malik Newman all too well, the Bulldogs star guard spurned Calipari and crew to play at home in his native Mississippi.
Robic described Newman as "a terrific scoring guard that we recruited that can put the ball in the basket and can play the combination."
Isaiah Briscoe vs. Free Throws
Isaiah Briscoe’s neverending struggle to hit free throws hit a temporary reprieve against the Crimson Tide.
Coach Robic weighed in on the subject and gave an honest assessment of Briscoe’s plight at the line.
"It is what it is. It’s not like (Briscoe) doesn’t want to make them. They’re just not falling for him. He knows that he has to work on it."
Robic also stated that he has faith that the talented guard will "make them when it really matters."
Another Tai Wynyard Update
The New Zealand product has yet to make his debut. Coach Robic indicated that the staff will stick to there wait and see approach in regard to Wynyard receiving court time.
"I think more it’s when we have a comfort level that he can go in and do the things we need to him do without minimizing what we’re trying to do within the flow of the game."
Just because he has not played does mean that Wynyard has not impacted the team already.
"He’s a physical presence that’s helping us in practice a lot. He’s been able to push our other big guys to a physical limit", Robic said.
Wynyard has also helped with the aforementioned screens.
"He sets terrific screens. Our players like it because he’s getting them open", added Robic.