Kentucky basketball: lack of any effort leads to bewilderment

Kentucky Wildcats forward Isaiah Jackson . Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats forward Isaiah Jackson . Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kentucky basketball team showed a lack of effort and turnovers in a bewildering loss.

To say Kentucky basketball fans were uneasy after the first three games of the season Sunday’s game against Georgia Tech looked to be the simplest way to rebound after losses to Kansas and Richmond.

Now they are in full panic mode after an unnerving 79-62 loss.

This team is just not good and clearly not the final four caliber ones people come to expect.

Georgia Tech (1-2) came into the game after suffering losses to Georgia State in four overtimes and Mercer, but the Yellow Jackets clearly solved concerns from those losses.

However, Kentucky did not and more glaring weaknesses are emerging. While they couldn’t shoot the past two games that improved only to see the defense fail to show up.

Still more alarming is the number of turnovers.

The Wildcats (1-3) turned it over 21 times that led to 33 Georgia Tech points while Kentucky had just four points off six Yellowjacket turnovers.

Calipari admitted after the game that he can excuse 10 to 12 turnovers but it’s the blatant ones that harm the team. That’s what he asks them “why did you do that or what were you trying to do?”

Kentucky has now turned it over 73 times this year while opponents just 47.

With the ball to open the second half Kentucky promptly turned the ball over and gave up a basket. In the past three games, the Wildcats are losing ground and have been outscored 129-94.

To make things worse Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner is now the first prior assistant coach to ever defeat Calipari.

This team also can ill afford to fall behind against teams as it doesn’t have the fire, understanding, or the ability to fight back.

Drawing within four points and rallying back in the second half they promptly turned it over 4 times and the lead was quickly back to 12 and ballooned to 20.

It appears that players on this team need to take a look in the mirror and decide just how they can help each other out on defense because that is where it all begins. Poor defense leads to easy buckets and they got whipped all night.

This is not high school and AAU

While it’s not entirely their fault that there isn’t a person on the team that has scored a point from a previous Calipari team until Keion Brooks returns, they must realize the college game is a bigger and faster than high school or AAU.

You can get away with a stretch of missed shots or turnovers, but in college, that will lead to points for opposing teams.

Devin Askew reclassified this year and rightfully should be playing his senior season, but instead choose to come to Kentucky and seems overmatched and totally lost about what to do running the point.

We are still not sure what Askew is going to contribute. At least when Ashton Hagans drove us crazy with his antics and shooting last year you could always count on his lockdown defense.

Successful Kentucky teams know how to share the ball and this team does none of that.

They have just 47 assists to 73 miscues. There are no fast-break points or second-chance points and just a lot of jacked up threes. No one crashes the boards or can post up.

Since very few high school or AAU teams face zone defense this team was also ill-prepared for 40 minutes of zone defense Georgia Tech threw at them.

Now the confidence has to be shot and what can Calipari do to get that back?

They don’t play until next Saturday when Notre Dame comes to Lexington.

Terrence Clarke finally shows up

Welcome, Terrence Clarke.

The lone bright sport and what we have been waiting for was the emergence of Clarke. The freshman was 9 of 14 from the field including 3 of 4 from behind the arc for 22 points and three assists and rebounds. However, he led the team with four turnovers.

He tallied 15 first-half points and kept his team in the game for much of the game but he also is a turnover liability. He and Askew lead the team with 13 turnovers on the season.