LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky will play for the first time without freshman big man Nerlens Noel. John Calipari said Friday he still thinks his team can be good. "We just got a couple that aren't competing at all, and your looking for excuses and they've just got to stop and go play."
Calipari said points and rebounds can be made up, the blocked shots Noel provided can't. He said everybody will have to do more. A much bigger role will now fall on the shoulders of 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein. "Getting more rebounding plays and just got to make up for his hustle, everybody's got to make up for his hustle."
Cauley-Stein will now play more minutes than he ever has before but Callipari didn't express any concern about stamina. "All I told him is just be you. You know what you do well, sub yourself, tell me when you're ready to go, you'll play every minute you can play."
Cauley-Stein said hes not talked to Noel and neither has Jon Hood, who sat out last season with a knee injury. Hood said when he went through it, he didn't want to talk to anyone. "I think it was you don't want that pitty. The biggest thing is yeah, it happened, now lets not remember it. Don't make me remember it again because it hurts."
With Noel lost, Calipari said a big opportunity is presented for every player on the team. "They have their own picture they want to paint, lets paint. Can we be better? We'll lets see, why not chase it, we've got seven games left."
Coverage of Kentucky-Tennessee will begin at 12:30 p.m. with WIldcat Warmup on WKYT. The game will immediatley follow at 1:00 p.m.