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Calipari wanted to practice after game until players “were puking”

Wenyen Gabriel (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For 32 minutes against LSU, Kentucky coach John Calipari mainly liked what he saw from his team. Then he wasn’t sure if the team reverted to old habits or just got tired and let LSU cut a 25-point lead to 92-85 by the time the game ended.

“If I could practice tonight, we would have gone three hours. I would have had them meet me at the gym at 10 o’clock, and I would have gone three hours until one in the morning until people were puking,” said Calipari after the game. “That’s what I would have done. That’s the old days. I can’t do that.

“But we will practice three hours tomorrow. I told them, If anybody says they can’t go, you won’t make the trip to Alabama (for Saturday’s game). So don’t go, or you’ll go.

We’re going to get after this and continue to build what you saw for three quarters of the game.
”

Kentucky had lost three of its last four games but was a 23-point favorite over LSU, which has won just one SEC game this season.

Kentucky freshman Bam Adebayo, who had eight points and nine rebounds, said Calipari did not tell the players about a potential postgame practice.

“He (Calipari) was just upset about the last eight minutes, how we let them come back. We should have buried them, but we live to see another day. So tomorrow we’ll get better at it,” Adebayo said after the game.”

Bam Adebayo (Jeff Houchin Photo)

Adebayo said UK did not communicate well the last eight minutes — LSU made five straight 3-pointers — and Calipari agree because he kept yelling for players to communicate.

“Should have closed out on some dudes that we didn’t, but we won the game so enjoy this win and we’re going to move on,” Adebayo said.

Calipari felt the team had a good practice Monday. So did Adebayo.

“When everybody’s out there laughing, having fun, it brings a different air to our team. So there in practice, it’s not dull anymore. We’re all smiling, joking, having fun, going at each other,” Adebayo said.

Freshman Wenyen Gabriel had a career-high 23 points, including 16 in the first half, and eight rebounds. He felt UK definitely reverted late in the game.

“Just kind of allowing people to score and letting them beat us. We kind of feel like we’re beating ourselves,” Gabriel said. “We just gotta keep our composure. That’s one thing we’ve been struggling with lately. And keep playing the way we started out the game. That’s one of the things that we need to change before March comes around.

“It’s frustrating that we let that happen, but we’re trying to get to the point where we can play 40 minutes like that in a good way. So, to see those last eight minutes go out like that, I mean, I’d say it’s a step – it’s a little different from what happened the last few games. We’re trying to make it so we can play 40 minutes the right way.”

 

2 comments

  1. TheProfessor

    well, better them than me, and after the last 9 games, I have responded in this manner more times than is pleasant.

    As much as Calipari wants to deny the reality, the BBN pays his salary, and the success of the program is JOB 1. Take care of Job 1, and the salary checks will continue and grow AND the players with realize their personal dreams as a direct consequence.

    The Program goals are NOT secondary, or ancillary to the players’ personal individual wants.

  2. TheProfessor

    As for the first 32 minutes last night, they were clearly better than any other 32 minute segment in quite a long while, BUT even those 32 minutes were nothing to write home to mother about. But for Gabriel in the first half, this team would been in a cat fight with LSU at the half, and could have lost this “sure win” game against an LSU team that has only defeated a very bad Missouri team since December 16, 2016.

    Disgraceful for a UK basketball team.

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