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Calipari will stress fundamentals first no matter how long it takes for team to grasp them


Kentucky coach John Calipari says he really has no idea yet on just how much depth his team will have this year. However, he already knows one thing — his current players are not going to be prepared to play as many minutes when the season starts.

“There were guys that were more prepared to play longer minutes last year. They had the three returning guys (Darius Miller, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones).  Michael Kidd(-Gilchrist), and they were able to start and play. You knew they could play 23, 24 minutes,” said Calipari after Wednesday’s Blue-White scrimmage.

Calipari said the team’s conditioning could suffer as he continues to teach fundamentals to a team that will have four freshmen among its top seven players.

“How can you scrimmage if you don’t know how to play yet?  They don’t know how to stance, they don’t know how to close out yet. They don’t know how to rotate, their spacing and time something so bad, that if you let them just play, you’re telling them it’s okay to play that way in my opinion, how I coach,” Calipari said.

“Now whether that’s right or not, we’ll find out, but I think you’ve got to stop them. Make them play the right way, and then let them play more and more. And they figure out that you’re not moving. This is how we’re going to play. We’ll be fine. We lost a whole team. We’ve got a brand‑new team. We are where we are right now. I think it shows.”

Calipari hopes that will change soon.

“Hopefully in a month you’ll watch us and say, man, they really got better. And in another month you say, man, they’ve got a chance. And in another month, you say man, they’re right there. That’s our hope. That’s what we want to do with this crew,” Calipari said.

“And we have great kids that are listening, so it’s just that their habits — they were always the best player, they were always bigger and stronger, and they could take time off. Two possessions, three possessions. They don’t feel like playing. I’m going to take this quarter off. Can somebody get me a hot dog? Yeah, come on. Coach, I’ll eat this hot dog and I’ll go right in. It’s tough. It’s tough playing here. It’s a tough combo.”

The coach says he only knows one way to make his young team pay attention and improve.

“It’s a grind. Every day, and you don’t back up. You just don’t back up. This is where we are. This is where we’re going. And you just keep pointing it out, keep it real. We’re not playing games,” Calipari said.

“After I just said we went through a few guys and how they played, and I said, you know what?  You all want me to keep it real, but it’s hard when I’m talking about you. And there were some guys in the room that said you’re going to have to play better. You’re going to have to play more aggressive.”

Teaching young players to play fast and keep playing that way in all situations is something Calipari knows is not easy to do.

“I’m just trying to get everybody to play to your strengths, do what you do well. There’s a lot of stuff we’re doing right now to get them to play fast and get them in shape,” the UK coach said.

“What happens with young kids is they stop playing all the time. The game’s going on, and one time I looked over and Archie (Goodwin) as grabbing his shorts and the ball is in play. The ball is in play. That’s just freshmen. So we have a lot of freshmen issues right now that we’re going to have to deal with, but that’s part of what happens.”

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  1. Jim Boyers

    They will gel as a single unit. They will improve from month to month. They will be a Top 5 team by the end of the season. They will contend for the title.

    Cal has followed the same pattern for the previous 3 campaigns and he will do it again this season.

    Is it November 1st yet?

    1. Larry T Clemons

      They will have( TWO ), 5 man Teams, equally Talented…Nerlens @ center on one Team and Willie @ center on the other. Each Team will be put in the Games at 5 minute intervals. The last 7 minutes of the Game, will be played by the Top 5 players of the Two Squads on that specific night. This is how I would Coach Kentucky, ” this year “… Talented, compete for that last 7 minutes and ALL FRESH LEGS…I know it won’t happen, but it sure would be entertaining and in my opinion, ” Very Effective “.

  2. LindaS

    Every year Cal tells us they are not too good to wait until March. Well, I did and have been very happy every year. They are always young, not use to playing with each other, they do have to gel like Jim said, but more importantly they have to become family and brothers. I am so ready for this season, it has been a very long summer. It seemed like this season was never going to get here and it still is not here officially yet. I’m looking forward to all the fun and excitement. I know we will have a good season, I’m hope it will be perfect but it really doesn’t matter. I just want to watch this team evolve and come together. Basketball is fun again! Go Cats! Livin’ Blue and Lovin’ It.

    1. larryvaught

      wise woman to trust in Cal Linda. He’s not been wrong so far

  3. Larry T Clemons

    Long Summer, Yes, but still an exciting one, for Kentucky Wildcats and BBN.

  4. Russ

    Big Blue fan living in Gator Country (from Catucky originally). Cats are very athletic, long, and coachable. Coach Cal will get them where they need to be. Can’t wait for first game tip off. Representing Big Blue and ticking off all these Gator fans and Luvin’ It! Go Big Blue!!

    1. Larry T Clemons

      You can always remind those Gators, it took Kentucky Blue Blood linage ( Billy Donavon, Ky Coach), two bring them, their National Championships … I’m in Ft. Lauderdale and we have Leonard Hamilton, Ky Coach at Florida State…I was hoping John Pelphry would Coach The Miami Hurricane, that’s still possible…

      1. Russ

        hey I couldn’t agree with you more. waiting for the day that Pelfrey gets another chance. Really like to watch the Miles play and absolutely love it when they handle Duke and NC. An ex-Nole that played AAU for me, James Collins is from Jax. The Big Blue connections are alive and strong. Should be a fun and exciting year. I actually have tickets for the Morehead game since I am going up for Thanksgiving. Believe that Harrow could be the key for us especially early on.

        1. larryvaught

          Russ, make sure to come see me at the Morehead game.

          1. Russ

            Larry, thanks I will look for you at the game.

    2. Larry T Clemons

      Just got my Tickets for Wildcats & Gators 2/12/13 Sec J1, row 2…its either, behind Kentucky Bench (I Hope) or behind Florida….if Florida, I’ll try and trade with Gators, sitting behind Kentucky… should be a Great game…

      1. Russ

        Larry, I know you will have a great time. I expect you to be loud enough for both of us!

      2. larryvaught

        Larry Clemons got to have photos and full report from you on the Gators-Cats in Gainesville

  5. Larry T Clemons

    Done, Camera’s allowed, (just no flash ), I already checked…Thanks for asking ?

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