UK Coach Upset Over Defense

Tubby Smith is not happy with the way the Wildcats have performed of late defensively and he made it a point to call out those that deserved to be criticized in Friday's press conference.

"The areas that are disturbing are defending people and rebounding," Tubby Smith said. "Those are the two areas that will definitely get you a loss when you don't play well and with the type of perimeter players that Kansas has in (Aaron) Miles, (J.R.) Giddens, and right on down the line, they are guys that will light it up the way South Carolina did if we don't guard people on the perimeter."

Those that did play well were far and few between. Only two Wildcats were given the benefit of the doubt on Wednesday's near home disaster against South Carolina.

"(Rajon) Rondo and Ravi (Moss) did a good job defensively and Chuck (Hayes) did well in the second half," Smith said, "but other than that, I wasn't pleased with anyone defensively. Outside of those three, I was about as disappointed with an entire group as any defensive effort we've had all year.

Tubby emphasized his substitution patterns as a possible reason for the defensive lapses experienced against South Carolina, Wednesday.

"I had far too many young people in the game," Smith said. "I should have substituted more and gotten different people in the game and we'll correct that from here on out."

One young person, whom has continued to gain praise from Kentucky's head coach, has been Rajon Rondo. The 'Cats young starting point guard has been everything and more for the eighth rated Wildcats, picking up the slack left defensively by departed senior Cliff Hawkins.

"He's a lot like Cliff Hawkins was on defense," Smith said of Rondo. "He can disrupt their play-making ability and throw timing off. Keeping that pressure at the point of attack is like rushing the quarterback in football and they can't see how to make the passes to start the offense."

"He is a pretty talented player and as good an athlete as we have on the team. Defensively, he's anticipating with the pass or if someone's out of position, he's in the right spot in my opinion. He's mature beyond his age in that regard and he's getting opportunities to play a lot at the point and he's making the most of it."

Tubby has been more then pleased with his progress, lauding Rondo for his receptive nature towards the older players and hoping he'll continue to learn from the more mature players.

"He still has a lot to learn but I'm happy with where he is," Smith said. "He's got good veteran players around him in Chuck (Hayes), Kelenna (Azubuike) and Patrick (Sparks). They're solid people who can help him with ball-handling and defense and when there is a mistake or a breakdown, people are rotating over to help out."

Still, the challenge continues to be how to get a complete effort out of his entire group of freshmen and experienced players, while also finding a suitable lineup for defensive stands.

"Any time we play poorly defensively, it's a disappointment," Smith said. "We've yet to play a perfect game or a complete game on the offense or defensive end and I'm going to be disappointed until we do that and until we get some consistency."

"Kansas is the best team we've played so far offensively. They have some guys who can shoot extremely well from the perimeter and coming off the type of defensive effort we had in our last game, that's a real concern."

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