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Humphries says reboot has re-ignited Cats

Isaac Humphries defends a shot in a win over Alabama Saturday in Tuscaloosa. (Keith Taylor Photo)

After Kentucky lost three games in a four-game span recently, John Calipari hit the reboot button in an effort to inspire the Wildcats. The team’s restart included a renewed emphasis on offense and defense.

“We’ve been working on, obviously, scoring through our offense and not just rushing a shot and stuff like that,” Kentucky sophomore forward Isaac Humphries said Monday. “So I think that was a big thing in the Tennessee game a couple weeks ago. We were just kind of taking shots and not running our offense and not getting shots through the offense. We’ve obviously been practicing that so it should be a lot better.”

Humphries said the 82-80 loss to the Vols on Knoxville on Jan. 24 in Knoxville was a learning experience.

“Defensively, we’ve changed up a couple things and we know exactly what we’re doing and that sort of thing,” he said. “And in this league everyone’s so good, it’s definitely game plan to game plan. It changes for everyone.”

Humphries added the reboot remains a work in progress going into the final stretch of the regular season.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, and we’ve been—two weeks now I think we’ve been working on it,” Humphries said. “I’ve seen a big improvement and we’ve all seen a big improvement – or a big change, at least – on the court and stuff. But like I said, it’s not going to happen overnight. We take it game by game and hopefully by when it counts in March we’re at that stage where we can sustain that for the whole game and not just parts of the game. That’s what we’re working on.”

On Isaiah Briscoe’s role in the reboot …
“For Zay, it’s creating shots for other people. He’s so good at that. With him, he can create shots for everyone else and still get his points. He doesn’t have to force it. That’s the biggest thing for Isaiah in the reboot. Cal’s just had him trying to create shots and in practice been statting how many shots he’s created for other people and that’s obviously fueling us and getting us into a better position offensively.”

On a personal note, Humphries added the reboot has proved to be beneficial during the past two weeks.

“For me, honestly, it’s just coming out and playing with confidence and aggression and fighting,” he said. “But for the bigs as a whole, we’ve all—pick-and-roll defense is something that we have to figure out and we’ve been working on that a lot over the past week. And rebounding. Offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding. And honestly, the biggest thing for me in the reboot is pick-and-roll defense.”

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