What Kentucky’s John Calipari said on his weekly radio show

John Calipari’s weekly radio show returned for another Kentucky men’s basketball season on Monday night, and there was plenty for the UK head coach to discuss with Tom Leach.

“The UK HealthCare John Calipari Show” began its 14th season just one day after Kentucky was handily defeated in a marquee non-conference matchup against Gonzaga in Spokane, Washington, and following a week in which the Cats lost to both Gonzaga and Michigan State.

During the hourlong show, Calipari touched on a variety of topics, from star freshman guard Cason Wallace and veteran big man Lance Ware, to scrimmaging more in practice and what UK can learn from losses against its only two quality opponents so far this season.

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Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) and Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) struggle for a loose ball during a game at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash., on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. Ryan C. Hermens rhermens@herald-leader.com

Cal addresses the statistical disparity in UK’s games

So far this season, there’s been a stark contrast in the way UK has played against overmatched teams at home and quality opponents away from Rupp Arena.

The Cats are 3-0 in Lexington and 0-2 outside of the commonwealth.

Underscoring this disparity has been Kentucky’s performance from behind the three-point line.

In home wins over Howard, Duquesne and South Carolina State, the Wildcats are 32-of-67 (47.8%) when shooting three-pointers.

In losses to Michigan State and Gonzaga, Kentucky is 13-of-50 (26%) from behind the arc.

“This is not a computer game, they will miss shots,” Calipari said, specifically about UK’s leading three-point shooters, CJ Fredrick and Antonio Reeves. “Now it becomes, all of us. … You’ve got other guys out there that can make shots.”

UK to begin scrimmaging more in practice

In the aftermath of defeats to Michigan State and Gonzaga, Calipari has stressed that Kentucky is still learning how to play together as a team, with limited practice opportunities since star big man Oscar Tshiebwe has returned after a preseason knee procedure.

“Yes we have veterans, but we just haven’t been in there together,” Calipari said again Monday night.

The solution?

Calipari said UK players have asked to scrimmage more in five-on-five situations during practices. Calipari added that he will probably now spend more than half of UK practices scrimmaging.

Among the items Calipari said the increased scrimmage time could help are floor spacing, passing to Tshiebwe in the post and building self-confidence and defensive discipline for players.

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Kentucky’s Lance Ware competes against Missouri Western State in an exhibition game at Rupp Arena in Lexington on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. Silas Walker swalker@herald-leader.com

Calipari praises Lance Ware

While junior forward Lance Ware played only 10 minutes in the loss to Gonzaga on Sunday night, he received praise from Calipari on Monday night.

“He’s doing everything he can within what he has, and he’s playing for the team,” Calipari said. “He’s screening. He’s spacing. He’s doing good stuff.”

Calipari added that he’s considering playing Ware at the “4” with Tshiebwe at the “5” in a potential two-big lineup for UK.

Other two-big lineup tandems mentioned by Calipari were sophomore forward Daimion Collins and Tshiebwe, and Collins with freshman Ugonna Onyenso.

Wallace leading the way for Kentucky as a freshman

The standout player of the season so far for Kentucky has been freshman guard Cason Wallace, who is leading the Cats at both ends of the court.

On offense, Wallace is Kentucky’s most efficient backcourt shooter (58.1% from the field and 53.3% from three-point range).

On defense, Wallace’s 17 steals are tied for third nationally.

Through five games, Kentucky has 50 steals as a team, the most through five games during Calipari’s time as UK coach.

How to access and when to tune in to Calipari’s radio show

The show — which will air weekly on the UK Sports Network — will last throughout the basketball season, with Calipari taking questions from fans via phone at 1-800-606-GAME (4263) or (859) 280-2287, as well as through Twitter (@UKSportsNetwork).

The show can be accessed in Lexington on WLAP-AM 630, online at UKathletics.com, on UK Sports Network affiliates, on the Kentucky men’s basketball Facebook page, and through the UK Athletics app.

Fans can also download the show as a podcast through iTunes, Google Play and Spotify by searching “UK Sports Network Radio.” Additionally, the podcast can be located at UKAthletics.com/audio.

Here are the remaining scheduled show dates and times for the 2022-23 season.

Monday, Nov. 28

7-8pm

Monday, Dec. 5

6-7pm

Monday, Dec. 12

6-7pm

Monday, Dec. 19

6-7pm

Monday, Dec. 26

6-7pm

Monday, Jan. 2

6-7pm

Monday, Jan. 9

6-7pm

Monday, Jan. 16

6-7pm

Wednesday, Jan. 25

6-7pm

Wednesday, Feb. 1

6-7pm

Monday, Feb. 6

6-7pm

Monday, Feb. 13

6-7pm

Monday, Feb. 20

6-7pm

Monday, Feb. 27

6-7pm

Monday, March 6

6-7pm

Monday, March 13

6-7pm

Monday, March 20

6-7pm

Monday, March 27

6-7pm

Profile Image of Cameron Drummond

Cameron Drummond works as a sports reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader with a focus on Kentucky men’s basketball recruiting and the UK men’s basketball team, horse racing, soccer and other sports in Central Kentucky. Drummond is a first-generation American who was born and raised in Texas, before graduating from Indiana University. He is a fluent Spanish speaker who previously worked as a community news reporter in Austin, Texas.

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