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Calipari on why Dontaie Allen didn't play vs. Louisville

Dontaie Allen. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics
<small>Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics</small>

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

On Monday, John Calipari vowed to play Dontaie Allen when the time was right, but as the minutes dragged on and Kentucky’s offense continued to struggle vs. Louisville, the former Pendleton County star and Mr. Basketball stayed on the bench. Why?

“Here’s what I will tell you,” Calipari said afterwards. “I told Dontaie today, ‘Be ready for your chance. Terrence [Clarke], if I don’t he think he can go, then I’m going with you and it’s going to be your opportunity.'”

Clarke has been nursing an ankle injury since the North Carolina game, wearing a walking boot most of the week. He didn’t start, but played 16 minutes, 12 in the first half. Calipari said that because he didn’t play Allen in the first half, he didn’t want to throw him in during the second.

“There were two times I thought about putting him in, once in the first half, which, I wish I would have because I would have been able to play him in the second half. If I don’t play a guy in the first half, and it goes on, you know. But he’s gonna have a chance; it just wasn’t tonight. And I coached the game to win. That’s all I did.”

Kentucky shot a chilly 29.4% from three today, connecting on only five of 17 attempts. For eight minutes in the second half, Kentucky did not hit a field goal. As a senior at Pendleton County, Allen averaged 42.9 points and 14.2 rebounds per game. He shot nearly 40% from three during his high school career. The Cats came into this game 1-5 and desperately needed a win to get some momentum going into conference play. Practically nothing is working right now, but it’s not the right time to give Allen a shot?

Let’s take a look at those quotes from Cal’s call-in show on Monday again.

“What I’m saying to Dontaie, “Be ready for your opportunity. He’s had an unbelievable attitude. I want to see him go in the game, know the game plan defensively, know what he’s doing, and then let some balls fly.”

“He just can’t break down in two or three other areas, let balls fly when you get in there and get your chance. And he will. I don’t know when it is, it may be this game, it may not. He will get an opportunity.”

“Let me just tell everyone out there, I’m rooting for Dontaie when he gets his chance. I want him to do so well. The Kentucky kids that we’ve recruited here have done so well. It’s been a longer run for them, Dominique (Hawkins), Derek (Willis), think about it, they’re playing professionally. It took them longer, but so what?

“I’m rooting for this kid to go in, and you all just want him to shoot. To stay on the floor, defensive game plan, lock in. Make really easy plays, and when you get a shot, you launch that thing. If you don’t shoot an open shot, I will take you out. Now, it’s hard because it’s now on you because you’ve got to take responsibility for those shots. I’m rooting for him.”

The wait continues.

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