Where was Rob Dillingham When UK Needed a Score to Tie or Win Game


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If I remember correctly freshman Rob Dillingham had 35 points in Kentucky’s loss to Tennessee when UK desperately needed his offense. He came back with not only 20 points at Vanderbilt but also nine assists when he concentrated on sharing the ball after scoring 13 points by the midway point of the first half.

Going into Saturday’s marquee matchup with Gonzaga, Dillingham’s offense figured to be a huge plus for UK again. Instead, he had only six points on 2-for-6 shooting but UK coach John Calipari did a better job limiting his scoring than Gonzaga did.

Dillingham played 14 minutes in the first half when UK trailed 42-32 at halftime. In the second half, Dillingham played FOUR MINUTES.

A player being mentioned as a possible top-10 pick in the NBA draft mainly watched from the bench. How could that be?

“The team that was out there was playing so well together that I left it alone. And I told he (Dillingham) and D.J. (Wagner), that’s the only reason I left it alone,” Calipari said. “And if we finish the game – you would have said (you didn’t need him), but – now you look at it and say why didn’t you have him in?

“You’re right. We could have. But that group was playing so well that I didn’t go to the rotation.”

In fairness to Calipari, UK did score 53 points in the second half and was 18-for-30 from the field and 14-for-18 at the foul line. That’s a potent half offensively and Dillingham is not exactly a defensive stopper but UK’s defensive woes were mainly on the inside.

However, down two late in the game and desperately needing a basket or a 3-pointer to win the game, Dillingham was watching from the bench when Reed Sheppard underthrew a lob pass to a well-defended Adou Thiero that turned into a Gonzaga steal.

It’s hard to understand not having your most dynamic offensive player in the game in the final seconds and Calipari is right that Kentucky fans should wonder why he was not in the game.

35 Responses

    1. One can only pray that u are right. If tonight was another step closer to the end of an era, then that’s the best possible thing for the program long-term. This program needs stability in the worst possible way–and it needs someone who wants to come in and provide that for us. And alot of people say "well we fear another Billy Clyde"—his two years weren’t as bad as each of CAL’s seasons since 2019. CAL has set new program record-lows that drunkard BILLY CLYDE didn’t come close to. For all the people who still want CAL here and believe he is the best option for KY going fwd, then they deserve Joker Phillips back as their head fb coach. I was glad to see somebody else finally call out CAL for being the CANCER that he is to this program and to the fans and to this state. Who wouldn’t want a change of ANY kind at this point? What is it u are so afraid of if a change is made? They think NOBODY else in the country is capable of coming in here and recruiting good players and assembling good teams? That is just such a child’s way of thinking and living in complete and total fear of picturing an era of "anybody but CAL"—thats the Barnhart way of thinking. I understand he didn’t want to let him get away to UCLA, but CAL wasn’t interestd in going out there anyway! Even if he was, nothing justified a lifetime contract. How is a coach’s performance evaluated and judged at that point, and what happens to the accountability? A lifetime contract Is a chicken-sh** desperation move by an A.D. who is a weak man and operates his entire athletic program out of fear of having his own legacy ruined. I would give anything to see both of them walk out the door right now. UK needs a complete overhaul and makeover in the worst way. And yes, I’m an old time fan who constantly lives in our history and tradition because that’s what makes BBN and the program that RUPP built what it is–and I know those old days are not coming back–but UK doesn’t need a makeover for its PAST–it needs a makeover for its future. It’s funny how during this decline of the CAL era at UK, the other blue-blood name programs in college bball have still continued to do well and succeed more often than not, and are still getting good players–and alot of them have had coaching changes these past 4 or 5 yrs, but it hasn’t stopped them from moving on and succeeding and winning. They all have experienced a reboot of some kind during this time, and that’s what KY needs now is a reboot. CAL’s time at KY is now all about the PAST rather than the future. His best days here have lost since passed–and people who still believe it will get better under him can plan on seeing the same kind of results we have seen with him the past 5 yrs. But I guess some "fans" are ok with that–they would rather have CAL here making kids millionaires and "changing lives", rather than seeing UK bball succeed. They would sacrifice the latter to see the former. Those are not "true UK fans", those are "CAL fans"—and believe me, there is a big difference. They would sit back and be satisfied with losses to St Peters and being borderline NCAA tournament-eligible, and not even being in the top half of the SEC, not even winning the SEC reg season or tournament title, if it means putting 5 one-and-dones in the first round and seeing 15 players in the NBA ALL-STAR game…..its the CAL way, man–the CAL effect, the CAL CANCER……and If u fall into the category of a "CAL FAN" then u have been infected with the CAL CANCER and have no clue of what being a true blue KY bball fan is all about.

  1. It have to be either Càl decides to step down or UK president and trustees say it’s enough, because I don’t think Mitchell has the nerve to pulled the plug on Cal.

  2. The lob to lose the game was as dumb of a play call I’ve ever seen.. too many things had to go right , to many variables low percentage bull crap. They didn’t need it. If you wanna lob it you gotta drive the ball and suck the defense to you.

  3. 9 million a year to draw up that play out of a timeout? Terrible. I’ve these players. They gave it all they had. They were let down by Cal.

  4. So we’re to the point we’re saying" if it would’ve worked you would of love it" statement. That happened in football once, the guy was fired shortly after.

  5. Playing well or not, the Coach has the responsibility to MANAGE the game. Which would you want? A team with no talent so that it doesn’t matter who you play, or a team that has so much talent that you have to work guys in?? You can’t flip a switch and see the game run itself.

  6. I am surprised that Reeves only shot 2 from behind the line.
    They defended him well, but maybe some good screens would
    have gotten him free for a few more.

  7. No one can F up a weekend or a season any better than Califraudi. The coaching staff, to a man, has got to be as impotent as Cal. What do these guys do during the week in practice. This team has some great scorers and athletes but no Dog whatsoever. Any opposing team can enter the post, at any time, and score at will or get fouled by our bigs. Ony had his 1 breakout game which could have been a fluke, Bradshaw only wants to run and jump around and act like he wants to do something, and Z, as good as he is on offense, is totally timid and lost on D. Shep had a great offense 2nd half but 0 points at the half and has turned into a turnover machine last few games. Has there ever been a UK team that has missed so many shots or given up so many points at the rim as this one has. Good luck to both Ole Miss and Auburn.

  8. I am tell you right now.. that lob was passive not aggressive. 3 top notch guards ..any of them can drive .. that was a coward play. Drive the ball crash the boards. THAT WAS WEAK!!!!!!

  9. What I don’t understand is why did he have Edwards in so much and Dillingham in so little. Why not play Reeves Shephard and Dillingham at the same time we’re we have a 3 headed monster of scorers then rotate the bigs? Calapari is a moron. Worst coach at calling plays and substituting I have ever seen. He loves Edwards more than any other player. I think he played 30 minutes and had 8 points and 5 rebounds?????? Dillingham played 14 minutes and had 6 points and some assists and is cleary the most talented player on the team. I think Dillingham is the best player followed by Shephard then Reeves you have to think about it Reeves is in his 5th year of college. How good would Shephard and Dillingham be if they were 5th year seniors. Plus why not continue to sub the bigs in a rotation and play the best 3 players together. He’s so worried about bringing Dillingham off the bench but he always has played the best players as starters. Let me say this as well we have the worst assistant coaches in all college basketball all they do is repeat what calapari says like good dogs. Basketball used to be my pleasure for the week. Now I don’t care as much about the games. I love the players on this year’s team it’s just sad we don’t have a coach that understands the game of basketball. Gonzaga clearly didn’t have the athletic ability and wasn’t as deep as we are but even there role players know there role. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of calapair. If we had mark few like I said time and time again we would have won 4 or 5 championships with the players calapari has. This year would be a 38-2 type of team with Mark Few at the helm.

    1. It doesn’t matter what Edwards does. He’s going to play. Calipari is going to ride that horse and there’s not going to be a "breakout" game. 17 points against Vanderbilt was not a breakout.

  10. Calipari picks his NBA PETS. They play. The fraud is also a con man, ripping off the BBN to the tune of $9 mil/year.

    Barhart is ultimately responsible for this disaster.

    Both need to go.

  11. Call doesn’t call plays. Sheppard made a bad play he should have shot it. Hes a freshman.One and done doesn’t work. I would rather have 3 and 4 stars that will stay a few years and build a program and get better as they grow. The reason we won in 12 was because of Darius Miller Kentucky born senior clutch when you need a basket.

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