SEC Teleconference Tidbits

CALIPARI: DeAndre (Liggins) could be the key. He could be that defensive stopper to go in and do things.

Here are a few leftovers from the recent Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference that I thought you might enjoy:

Kentucky coach John Calipari on UK's defense.

"Last year we were right there (among the conference leaders) in field goal defense, rebounding margin, blocked shots and 3-point defense became a strength. Can we get this team, which will be just as young, to defend? We had pit bulls in John (Wall) and Eric (Bledsoe) on defense. DeAndre (Liggins) could be the key. He could be that defensive stopper to go in and do things.

"I remember going into the office during the season and shaking my head at how our guys were playing. I remember going to Knoxville and not playing well and we fought and had a chance to win the game. Mississippi State in the championship of the SEC Tournament? How do you do that? We had a unique group that bought in on defense."

LSU coach Trent Johnson on team chemistry with a young, talented team and having back-to-back top recruiting classes like Calipari had. "John is a little different than I am. Having been in this situation before, the sooner the players get the understanding that this is team and no one individual is bigger than the team and you are only as strong as the weakest link whether it is the head coach or janitor or manager. So much of what is done is based on trust and commitment.

"And how hard is it to have back-to-back No. 1 recruiting classes? I don't know. It's hard getting good players anywhere. I can't really speak to that. I have never been there. Hopefully I will get there one day."

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings on not being able to offer players scholarships until July 1 of their junior year.

"I thought when we put in the rule that guys had to go to college for a year that would be a good thing and I have reversed my field on that. I don't think it is necessarily a good move any more.

"Relative to recruiting rules, I don't know can you stop a kid from making a commitment before that time. Does it become illegal for a kid to make a verbal commitment? On the surface I would be in favor of that because anything that brings sanity into the recruiting process, I would be in favor of. On the surface, I think I would be for it."

Florida coach Billy Donovan on center Alex Tyus returning and not going to the NBA.

"I have never had a situation where a player put his name in the draft and came back. Every player I have had put his name in has stayed. Alex gathered information, worked out for a couple of teams and listened to what the NBA office had to say. There was no pressure placed to get him to come back, but anytime you bring a player back like Alex that is gifted and athletic that can only help your team."

South Carolina coach Darrin Horn on high expectations for his freshman class.

"We lose a dynamic player in Devan Downey and you don't replace a player like that. But at the same time our program a chance to take a step forward. We are expecting them (the freshmen) to have an impact and we recruited them to have an impact. It is a group we think has the opportunity to play right away. This is a foundational class in terms of size. We have a lot of expectations for them. Not necessarily somebody to come in and be a star, but just helping us win games. There are a lot of ways young people can lead in your program. We will be looking for collective leadership."

Georgia coach Mark Fox on recruit Marcus Thornton, a late target for UK last season.

"He really gives us a boost. He was a young man that we did not have a chance to recruit and then he was released (by Clemson) and we got a chance. He is a terrific player and student. We were excited to add him to our team. He give us a variety of skills on the floor and can play a couple of positions. We are excited to have him."


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