Diary of a Scrimmage – Includes Coach Cal’s Thoughts on Blue/White Game

CoachCal.com editor, David Scott, kept a running diary during Tuesday night’s annual Blue/White game. Interspersed throughout the diary are some of Coach Cal’s post-game comments (in italics), as they pertain to some of the diary observations taken during the 101-74 win by Team Blue.

All times ET and P.M.

5:30 – My arrival at Rupp. Rainy. Windy. Cold. But basketball is played inside so I’m all good.

Coach Cal: I got a call about 5, 5:30 telling me we couldn’t play the three former players. I’m not going to argue; if that’s what they say it is what it is. At first thought we were saying, maybe let’s go with some running time. And the other thing was, maybe we can do some drills and other things. But our fans wanted to see us go up-and-down.  And to be honest with you, we have a day off tomorrow. It was a good 40 minutes of conditioning, and I told them that –  “Make this a conditioning day.”

6:03 – My first media room box o’ popcorn of the season. Salty. Fresh. As delicious as I remember from last season, my first in the Bluegrass.

6:17 – I resist the urge for my first media room hot dog of the year. My tummy thanks me. I can’t promise it that my self-control will last all evening.

6:40 – The media room TV is showing pre-game from Boston Garden. I remember that I miss my hometown and remember further how cool it would be to see Celts-Heat. I settle for Blue-White. Gladly.

6:41 – My first media room cookie of the season. Oatmeal raisin. As delicious as I remember from last season

6:45 – The Cats take the floor. The lower bowl of Rupp is about 30 percent full. Most fans probably coming over with Noah on the Ark.

6:57 – National anthem (Made me miss the Canadian anthem we were treated to during the International Trip this past summer.

7:01 – Fire alarms begin going off. No one flinches. Most probably thought it was part of the music. Media row neighbor Pete Camagna says there is no need to fear unless the Fire Marshall gets on the PA. I’m not re-assured but I type on.

7:02 – Cats take the floor and begin lay-up line.

7:03 – It’s a sea of blue but there is one green-shirted fellow behind the visitor’s bench. Rondo’s No. 8 and a green Celtics cap turned backwards. I miss Boston again. Two to one the guys name was Sully. Or Murph.

7:04 – The three ex-Cats (Wayne Turner, Perry Stevenson and Mark Krebs) who were scheduled to play – but then rejected at the last minute by the NCAA – sit at the end of the bench looking glum. Perry especially has a hang dog look. nice to have those guys back on the bench.

Coach Cal: I asked that when they told me of the decision: ‘What happens if a guy gets hurt, what are we going to play, four on four, play the zone?’ We had no backup plan. That’s why ?? I think it was Doron that hit the floor hard, I said, “Get up, kid, you’ve got to finish this one out.”  We started cramping up at the end.  I had a couple guys with cramps.

7:05 – Coach Cal takes floor and does a radio interview on the sideline with Dick Gabriel. Coach is in a blue pull-over and black sweats. I make a mental note that we will be getting several emails wondering where to purchase the pullover. The guy sets fashion trends. His Louisville football game button-down resulted in at least ten requests of where to purchase the shirt.

7:06 – White squad will be coached by John Robic and assisted by Rod Strickland and (fellow Bostonian) Wayne Turner. Coach Cal gets the Blue side and is joined by Orlando Antigua, Kenny Payne and Tony Delk.

7:07 – Blue starters are Darius, Eloy, DeAndre, Terrence and Brandon. White starters are Doron, Jon, Jarrod, Josh and Stacey. By the end of the night, white will be blue, blue will be white and the stat sheet will be a mess.

7:10 – Lower bowl pretty much filled in – still some water-logged folks paddling in.

7:11 – Josh tries to bring up the ball after a miss by DeAndre. It doesn’t end well.

7:12 – Sloppy, haphazard start and crowd gets into it to urge on their hardcourt heroes.

Coach Cal: The beginning of the game, we had a lot of anxiety.  But that’s to be expected.  That’s why you do these things.  That’s why it’s important that you do them.

7:13 – Doron with the game’s first bucket and its second on a fastbreak led by Hoodie. 4-0 Whie and a timeout by Coach Cal of the White.

7:14 – Coach Calipari goes waaaaaaay out of the Coach’s box to bark instructions at the other end of the floor.

7:15 – Coach Cal has been emphasizing communication between his players throughout the early practice sessions and again he asks his young guard, Brandon Knight, to relay calls and make sure everyone is on the same page.

7:21 – Coach Cal out on the court again during a free throw. Good thing Lenny Wirtz isn’t officiating. (Google it if you don’t know what I’m referring to young’un.)

7:22 – Celtics start in 8 minutes. I miss Boston.

7:23 – Coach Robic with a timeout as his squad has fallen behind 11-7. Having had a couple of rough seasons at Youngstown State as the head man, he could be having flashbacks.

7:25 – Block by Eloy. Exactly what Coach has been asking for in practice form the big Dominican.

7:26 – Brandon coast to coast on something that will become quite familiar to BBN this season. And then an alley-oop to Terrence that is the early highlight of the contest. (Besides the media room oatmeal raisin cookie.)

Coach Cal: Brandon, I grabbed him after and I said, ‘Brandon, we have to just define your game a little bit.  I haven’t had a point guard shoot like you.’   So we have to define a little more of how we play.

7:29 – As if to make my homesickness even greater, Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping up to Boston “ is the timeout song. Have you no compassion Rupp Arena?

7:31 – I like seeing Enes Kanter sitting next to Kenny Payne on the bench. A good tutor for him.

7:33Dave Baker, seated two down from me says, “Little Jarrod Polson with the block.” A nickname is born.

7:36 – Free throw shooting a bit weak to start. Probably adjusting to the background here at Rupp.

(TEAMS FINISHED 20 of 34 combined from the line)

Coach Cal: And you know, we miss free throws.  I mean, come on.  20 for 34, you know, we should be ?? we are a good shooting team.  We should be 27, 28 for 34; 25 for 34. Shouldn’t happen.

7:38 – DeAndre Liggins plays with such a high motor. Impressive.

Coach Cal: You know, that’s who he is.  DeAndre really picks it up.  He missed some layups today, missed a couple shots

7:43 – Terrence Jones with 12 points in 13 minutes. If he keeps that up through the season. . . well, that would be quite a thing!

Coach Cal: One of the things you’ve got to have is you’ve got to score the ball, and that kid right there can score the ball.  But we are still ?? if you watch, we are still trying to figure out how we are going to have to play. Look, I’m not the kind of guy that recruits players and says, you must play like this and if you can’t, you’re not going to be a player.  I try to look at a kid and say, how does he play, what’s the best style for him to play. Even

7:49 – Celts up 11-6 on Heat. 82-0 a distinct possibility for the Shaqtics.

7:54 – We’ve had our first mid-game trade as Liggins goes to the White and Vargas to the Blue. Future draft picks not included.

7:55 – Hoodie with a dunk on the break. Coach Cal calls timeout and lets Eloy know of his displeasure with his (lack of) defense.

7:57 – The DeAndre factor brings White to within 5 points.

7:58 – Halftime – 43-38 Blue and the crowd seems to like what they have seen. Not sure Coach will be so enthusiastic.

Coach Cal: We had not worked on switching.  We had not worked on any trapping.  We had not worked on any ball screens.  So when it looked like we didn’t know what we were doing ?? that’s right, we didn’t.  We had no idea.  I was trying to talk them through it and scramble it up a little bit just to see what we would look like, but got a ways to go.

8:14 – Resisted the (dried, shriveled, sitting in juices) hot dogs again. Went with the baked Lays snack bag. Halftime over.

8:15 – Halftime trades make it Brandon, Darius, DeAndre, Terrence and Josh on Blue; Jon, Jarrod, Eloy, Stacey and Doron for the White.

8:16 – Celts up 10 in 2nd quarter. They should give them the trophy now.

8:18 – Interesting to see the Knight-Lamb match-up. They usually play on the same side in practice so a good test for both.

8:25 – Celtics up by 11; Blue up by 10. All seems right in the world.

8:27 – A chant goes up that rhymes with Spree Genus.

8:31 – Like John Wall before him, Brandon Knight is going to lead the nation in times-hitting-the-deck-after-a-ridiculous shot.

8:36 – Tip in from under the hoop by Knight. He is so active everywhere on the floor.

8:40 – Nice baseline jumper from Vargas – if he can hit that consistently, good things will come for Cats.

8:47 – Terrence Jones will be the biggest personality on this team, I’m calling it now. He may also be the most ready for the next level at this point but we don’t discuss such things here.

8:54 – Jon Hood continues to do some nice things at the offensive end, especially around the hoop.

8:55 – Very happy I didn’t do the Media Room hotdog. But also very hungry.

8:57 – The chant that rhymes with Cree Zenus goes up again.

8:58 – A fan yells out, “Put in Perry,” to which Perry, sitting on the Blue bench, raises his fist endorsing the idea. The NCAA disagrees.

8:59 – Brandon Knight with 37 points, 14 of 20 from field and 3 of 5 from 3-point land. Knight Time in the Bluegrass, folks!

9:00 – Halftime over in Boston. What are the chances Knight outscores LeBron tonight?

9:04 – Brandon Knight has cramped up a bit. He’s playing on one leg, stretching his right leg.

9:05 – Coach Cal waves good night to the crowd and the final score is Blue 101, White 74.

Coach Cal: I think when you look at us, you know we are going to be better against zone.  Because you know, now you put Terrence  (Jones) in the middle of a zone and you put shooters around him, we are a little different team than we were a year ago versus the zone. But again, some of these guys, they are going to have to step up and do some stuff.  I like the fact that the blue team, again, never played together, how many days of practice?  Nine?  Eight?  We just had 18 assists and seven turns. Now, you can say what you want.  We played fast.  We ran the ball up the court.  We drove the ball.  We attacked.  We didn’t pass it 20 times and then try to take a shot.  That’s not how we play.  We had seven turns.  That is good.  And we are not playing like we did a year ago where every ball must go through Brandon Knight. Whoever rebounds the ball brings it up now.  We are playing a little different than we did.  Last year whoever rebounded gave it to John Wall.  So now we are saying, Brandon shoots it so well, if someone else brings it up, bring it up.  Let him shoot the ball.

So you know, we’ll get something out of it, and I hope the fans enjoyed it, and saw that this is going to be a process.  Thanks.