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By TINA COX
Sunday night I attended my fourth Calipari Women’s clinic. It is one of my favorite days of the year and last night did not disappoint. I am one of the hundred women who have attended all of Calipari’s Womens Clinic and each year it is different and this year was no exception.
I do enjoy the “hoopla” of the clinic as much as anyone. The antics of Coach Robic, the questions the attendees ask and the rock star treatment of Coach Calipari are entertaining. However, my agenda is different than most participants. I focus on the players, how they are responding to the coaching staff, fans and how they tend to “mesh” with each other. A few years ago a certain player’s interaction with some of the women really bothered me. My opionion about him totally changed and to this day I think of him as one of my least favorite players in the modern era.
I am blessed to have a close relationship with someone close to the men’s basketball program . I value his opinion and have learned through the years to take to heart what he says whether it be good or bad. I always wait until after the clinic to discuss the current year’s team with him and I have to give him credit he has been on spot each year. I haven’t made the call yet but it will be soon. I just hope his opinion is the same as mine. This team is going to be good…really good….really, really good.
So here is what I saw…..
Julius Randle is a “beast.” His personality is somewhat like Jekyll and Hyde. On the court he is intense, physical and determined. Off the court, shy with the prettiest smile on the team. He seemed to always be near James Young and Marcus Lee. It reminded me of Cousins, Wall and Bledsoe. This is a good sign.
Alex Poythress concerns me. At the beginning of the two hour practice he had the exact same body language as he showed on the court last year. His head was hanging, shoulders shrugging. He just did not seem interested at all. There were signs of the “Alex that could be” towards the end of the practice. He was battling for rebounds and dunking the ball with confidence. He does however look a lot more comfortable with his teammates than he was last year.
The Harrison twins are twins. They have mental connections that players have that have played together for years. Top that with the connection that twins have and you have something special. My concern is that they share that connection with the rest of the team. They were friendly, willing to sign autographs but somewhat aloof. They are twins, they are brothers they protect each other. Is this a positive or a negative….I am sure it will be answered by the end of the season.
Marcus Lee….Marcus Lee, the BBN will fall in love with him. He is the outgoing, outspoken heartbeat of the team. Always clowning around making his teammates smile. Mark this down…he will be the player raising his hands in RUPP to ignite the crowd.
James Young the unspoken hero. The recruit no-one really looked for. This is the player that has gained the respect from his teammates. This is the player that will ignite the crowd with his three pointers and quickness.
Dakari Johnson (who I have nicknamed Skeeter) is going to be good. He reminds me of my hound dog Skeeter. It took Skeeter a while to figure out what the rest of his body was going to do with his long legs. This will come for Dakari.
This team likes each other. I left Lexington with a good feeling Sunday night. Last year not so much. Calipari likes this team. The assistant coaches like this team. This team is going to be special. Get on board, it’s going to be a fun ride.