On Saturday, Coach Cal put the Cats through two two-hour practices. In the first practice, the team focused on the dribble-drive offense, and in the second practice, they focused on defense.
Eric Lindsey at CoachCal.com has the exclusive practice reports, but here a few highlights:
Sophomore Stacey Poole is making strides. He looked much improved in Friday’s scrimmage and that carried over to Saturday morning. On one particular sequence, when Poole simply dumped the ball down to Kyle Wiltjer in the post for an easy basket, Coach Cal stopped practice and praised Poole. “I like what Stacey did,” Calipari said. “Stacey wants to win, so he said, ‘I’m going to do pick-and-roll’ and got it to his big.”
[Terrence Jones’] improvement was best illustrated during a two-on-two drill where Jones got the ball on the block with his back to the basket and the 6-foot-10, shot-blocking phenom of Anthony Davis in his way. Instead of fading out for a jumper or kicking it back out, Jones overpowered the longer Davis and somehow flipped a shot over his outstretched arms. It was an important basket, too, as the losers (Davis’ team) had to run. As Davis and Co. ran, Calipari walked over to Jones and essentially told him, “See what happens when you come in with a different intensity and body.”
It looks like Cal is really going to utilize Wiltjer’s skill set. He has such a unique combination of size and skills that he’s the perfect trailer. A lot of times Saturday, Teague would push the ball up the floor only to leave it for Wiltjer at the top of the key. Wiltjer has the option to shoot, drive to the basket and lay it in, or drive and kick it. A lot of times, as Wiltjer kicked it to the perimeter, he would head to the corner for a 3. Almost every time he got the ball back he knocked down the shot.
– When they started doing one-on-one defending, that’s when the defensive skills and competitive spirit of Kidd-Gilchrist that Calipari has talked so much about started to show. It’s still early, but he looks like he’s going to be the best option to fill the defensive void left by DeAndre Liggins. He has active hands and doesn’t allow the drive. Miller and Kidd-Gilchrist were easily the best matchup of the one-on-ones, but Kidd-Gilchrist was so defensively tough that he forced Miller into a few step-back fadeaways.
Go read the full reports here. It’s totally worth it.
If that doesn’t get excited, Cal just tweeted this out about today’s practice: