John Calipari has visions of a strong Wildcats team by the season’s end, he said on his radio show Monday night.
Namely, Calipari said that he sees this team being a strong defensive unit as well as excelling on the boards and blocking shots.
"We should be a great defensive team, we should be a great rebounding team, we should be a shot-blocking team. A team that can switch or play zone," Calipari said.
Calipari has been adamant that he doesn’t want to play zone with this squad, but seems to be leaning toward using it on occasion due to the success the team has had defensively when going into a zone.
It will be interesting to see how Calipari plays that going forward. He has often said playing zone doesn’t prepare his players for the NBA (certainly a valid point) but it’s hard to deny that this team can cause trouble by zoning with their quickness and length.
And according to Calipari, there isn’t much need to worry about offense because if the team is doing the right things defensively, they’ll be successful on the opposite end.
"If you're doing all those defensive things, you're getting half your offense off of that," Calipari said.
This team is obviously at its best in transition, so being able to force turnovers and block shots can lead to transition opportunities on the offensive end, where guys like Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo shine the brightest right now.
Still being early in the season, the players are still trying to find and carve out their roles and the coaching staff is trying to figure out how this team needs to play in order to maximize their potential. This adjustment has become a commonality in the Calipari era, as teams have typically gone through some growing pains early in the season as they come together.
"I've just got to make sure I'm putting guys in the right positions so they can do what they do best," Calipari said. "If that happens, I think you're going to see less turnovers, you'll see to see better shot selection, you'll see more shots going down. And that's on me to figure this out and it just takes time."
That’s the key. It just takes time. There has been some fan unrest with this team early as the play has been somewhat sloppy and not super appealing at times, but this team is loaded with potential and has the ability to be a true contender in March. It just takes time for them to grow, develop, and find their roles.