By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari said there was one hidden blessing from his recent hip surgery after he hobbled through much of last season.
“I’ll tell you what it did: It made me slow down,” Calipari told ESPN’s Andy Katz. “I rested for the first time in like seven years where I had to sleep some. It made me slow down.”
Calipari also told Katz that his next team, which will have 10 days of extra practice this summer plus a trip to the Bahamas to play several exhibition games against national teams, should be better prepared starting the season than last year’s team was.
“We didn’t get the (Harrison) twins and James Young (on campus) until September (because of academics), so that meant two months of conditioning and development they didn’t go through,” Calipari said. “They weren’t able to. So now all those kids, it took them half a year before conditioning and all that other stuff kicked in. And then playing the way we needed to play – we couldn’t train them, we couldn’t do anything.
“We’re gonna have guys who have been here now for a while. And they’re gonna be able to lead the young guys. The young guys we have coming in are talented, all four of them. And they’re going to be able to be led and coached and challenged by those guys.”
Calipari said his next team will play faster.
“We want to be an even better defensive team than we were. We should be the best rebounding team in the country, on offense and defense. There are certain non-negotiables we’ll have with this team, real simple. The first three steps on offense and defense, we should be flying. If you’re not, you’re not in,” Calipari told Katz.