Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings (pictured) says he's no expert on the makeup of Kentucky's team this year, but he has sensed one noticeable difference in this year's UK team compared to the Elight Eight team two years ago.
"John (Calipari) would be a lot better to ask than me (about the makeup), but it does not seem like he has to fight the team like he did two years ago," said Stallings. "There are fewer, or maybe no, cantankerous personalities. I felt like a couple of years ago there were guys he was fighting and guys fighting him. This team has bought in and is getting unbelievable results. It seems like they have great team chemistry and buy-in, but John would have to answer that. I am not an expert on their team."
Florida coach Billy Donovan had terrific team chemistry on his back-to-back national championship teams and praised UK's "disposition" earlier this season after the Wildcats beat his team by 20 points. He credited Calipari's coaching presence for having a lot to do with how the Cats play.
"I think they play the game the right way. They defend you and are very focused on making winning plays whether it is an offensive rebound, loose ball or (defensive) stop," the Florida coach said Monday on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference. "They are very focused."
Calipari has noted how it's easier to have good team chemistry with "good guys" on the team and Donovan agreed. He also said coaches have to get young, talented players to understand winning and playing together impresses NBA personnel more than scoring.
"If guys focus on winning, a lot of things that the NBA guys look at help your team win in the end," Donovan said. "One thing that never has a lot to do with getting drafted high is points.That's one of the big misconceptions. Eighty percent of the NBA players fill a role. The least concerning statistic to a lot of people is points."