CDR Gets, Then Gives CPR

By David Scott - December 22, 2007

MEMPHIS -- John Calipari is becoming fond of telling his charges to "play with amnesia," to forget prior plays - good or bad - and to focus on the next opportunity. For junior guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, Calipari had to induce the amnesia earlier this week with a grueling individual workout.

"It was a workout I did with my NBA guys," said Calipari after Memphis's convincing 85-71 win over No. 5 Georgetown before a frenzied FedEx Forum crowd of 18,864. "I used to do it with Kerry Kittles, Lucious Harris, Kendall Gill - a lot of guys. I did it for 30 minutes with CDR (on Thursday before practice) and he whined like he was exhausted. There was sounds coming out of him and I didn't know if they were female or male sounds."

"It was," said Douglas-Roberts, "the hardest drills I've done in my life. He didn't give me any slack. He just cared about me going hard. Coach really thinks highly of me and I appreciate that. I needed it. I needed it."

More to the point, the still-undefeated, No. 2 Tigers needed it. Douglas-Roberts, the team's leading scorer at 16.7 ppg, found himself in a three-game slump that saw him go 4 of 13 (10 points) against USC, 2 of 5 (five points) against Middle Tennessee and just 1 of 3 (four points) against Cincinnati this past Wednesday. Scuffling, struggling, sagging - he was doing them all - and the Tiger loyalists were getting restless with the Conference USA Pre-Season Player of the Year.

"I was playing lacksadaisical in the last two or three games," said Douglas-Roberts, who wound up 7 of 13 for a game-high 24 points on Saturday, to go with eight rebounds, two assists a block and a steal. "Those previous games I was out of it a little bit. I wasn't aggerssive, I wasn't me. I knew I had to come back in this game especially."

Calipari knew it too, so he and Director of Student-Athlete Development, Rod Strickland - himself a former pro - put the kid they call CDR through an SOS (Save Our Shooter) workout.

"I was doing anything I could to jar the kid out of what he was in, in order to get his motor going," said Calipari. "The way he was playing, he couldn't get by anybody. So Rod pounded and bumped him with the big pad."

(Calipari cautioned against thinking the NBA-style workout is a magic elixir, as he also put Shawn Taggart through a similar session and Taggart responded with his second straight disappointing outing with four points, one rebound and three fouls in eight woeful minutes.)

"Coach had CDR coming off screens, shooting and getting into the lane while I kind of pounded him alittle bit," said Strickland who confirmed the intensity of the session. "Coach had him going hard. He hadn't been going as hard as he possibly could and I think it probably reset his mind a little bit. He went hard during the workout though, he was huffing and puffing."

On Saturday, it was the Georgetown Hoyas who were out of breath.

"He's such a good player," said Hoya head man, John Thompson III. "You prepare for him to have a game like he did tonight. He can score a lot of different ways and he clearly got in a rhythm today and guys like that, who are that talented, when they get into a rhythm there's not much you can do."

"When he's on, just give him the ball and move out the way," said the flashy freshman, Derrick Rose (18 points, six assists).

"CDR is back," said Memphis's Joey Dorsey who was monstrous with 11 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes. "That's the first thing I said after the game was over. I went and hugged CDR and said, 'I'm glad you're out of that slump. Let's get it done now.'"

With a newfound case of amnesia for their socring leader, the Tigers could very well be able to get quite a bit done between now and April.

Posted by David Scott at 04:28 PM on December 22, 2007

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