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Alex Poythress’ workouts…and other notes from Cal’s presser

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Calipari was thirty minutes late to his press conference today. Why? He was working with Alex Poythress, the second private workout in two days for the struggling freshman. Cal said that he worked with Alex for 38 minutes yesterday and 27 today, and that while Alex was “way better” this morning, “he’s still not ready to play a game.”

What do these workouts entail? Cal said that they’re working on stuff that’s all relevant to Alex, including staying low, getting back on defense and “how about this novel idea: sprint the floor!“. In between drills, Alex has to shoot free throws and if he misses one, he has to run a 31-second suicide. Cal said that because Alex “hates to run,” he made every free throw this morning.

That’s a far cry from the player that almost airballed several shots against Louisville, which is more proof that Alex’s issues are mental, not physical. Sound familiar? Calipari’s workouts with Alex are similar to those he did with Ryan Harrow after he returned to the team, and the ones he does with Archie Goodwin. We’ve seen the impact those workouts had on Ryan Harrow, so when will we see a difference in Poythress? “Two weeks,” Cal told reporters. “When you see him in two weeks, you’ll say you’re slowly seeing the change.” That’s only if Alex commits to changing his habits, as Ryan Harrow did. Harrow told reporters he is watching game film on his own for the first time this season, something which helped him out against Louisville.

Before the press conference, Willie Cauley-Stein said he thinks Poythress is struggling because he has more pressure on him than any other player on the team. Calipari shot that notion down, telling reporters that every player on this team has pressure on them. He used Willie as an example, saying that because of his atrocious performance at the free throw line Saturday, Willie was in the gym at that exact moment, shooting free throws. In order for Willie to improve, Cal told him he has to shoot 100 to 200 free throws a day.

Other quick notes:

— It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a little bit of reflection. Cal said that 2012 may have been the most rewarding for him as a coach, but it could be rivaled by 2011 and maybe even 2013. “Where we are right now and where we could be at the end of this season…this could end up being my most rewarding year.” I’ll take that.

Jon Hood was not at the team’s lift this morning, which means he’s still suffering from that “upper respiratory infection.” Cal said that another player on the team (he couldn’t remember who) was “hacking” this morning and had to be sent home. Cal told the staff that if anyone coughs more than twice, to get them out. #TeamNoGerms

— Another player who will start having individual workouts with Cal: Kyle Wiltjer. Cal said they have to work on Kyle’s toughness: “Kyle has got to accept that he’s got to get rougher and tougher. He’s got to do it.”

— Cal ended with an interesting perspective on Alex’s struggles, saying they’re specific to a one-and-done player. Although he didn’t use that term directly, he said that if Alex was a “normal freshman” here for four years, this wouldn’t be an issue because fans would accept that he has time to develop. But, not at Kentucky. “This is on steroids. This is a process you have to accept coming in.”


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

37 Comments for Alex Poythress’ workouts…and other notes from Cal’s presser

  1. Blue Mist
    12:34 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    It’s up to Alex now. Our patience along with the coaches time spent with him is about to reach it’s limit heading shortly into SEC play. Get it together son. Get off the lazy man routine and play.

  2. Blue Mist
    12:35 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Never saw such an eeyore-like player. damn.

  3. Mike
    12:36 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Time for a little FB chatter…one of the bigger questions of 2013 will be…can Stoops do for UK what Franklin has done for Vandy??

  4. Blue Mist
    12:38 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    3- that’s like talking apples and oranges. Not the post for that. geeze. Rashawn Franklin will be by soon and you can get it going then. Hell, this is a Coach Cal presser-thread which makes it even worse for you. wake up

  5. Mark
    12:42 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    “Willie Cauley-Stein said he thinks Poythress is struggling because he has more pressure on him than any other player on the team”

    HUH? I mean Willie, really? really?

    Coach handled that better than I would have.

  6. Mark
    12:44 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Poythress feels pressure cause he sux right now. period.

  7. SamIAm
    12:46 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    I guess I’ll ask the question even though no one might not be able to answer it…if Alex needed additional work, Kyle and Ryan as well…why wait for 12 games to pass before starting? Is it the practice time rules that prevented the individual times or were the players expected to do it on their own and they didn’t, or something else?

    Plus Cal states that’s the process for one and done so why not work it for all they guys from the start, again, rather than waiting?

    I guess what I’m getting at is if this is all known which it seems to be and has been, then why wait or why not do this every year from the beginning with all incoming players. Just seems to me the staff was sitting back a bit and got caught off guard…nothing wrong with that after a fantastic year and the incoming guys seem to be talking the talk but why not do what works from the start rather than wait and see?

  8. Raazoul
    12:47 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    I want to commend Coach Calipari and staff for covering up the real issue with Poythress to try and keep NBA scouts interested. Because there is no chance that kid doesn’t have a health issue. He is winded after 3-4 minutes into the game. And he’s clearly in shape. That heart monitor issue was glossed over real quick by everyone but lets be honest here, the kid has health problems. I think he’s taking the bad press and bad rep for being lazy because if he comes out with a heart related issue then he’ll lose interest from the NBA.

  9. Disappoythress
    1:00 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    7, while we’re not at the practices we have to trust that Cal has been doing everything he can to get through to Alex this whole time. Maybe it took a total breakdown to finally get through to him? There’s only so much a coach can do — the player has to buy into the system/process/etc for any of the coaching to really stick. I really doubt Cal simply “waited” this whole time to realize he needs individual coaching.

    What I am concerned about is this whole “we might be sloppy now but we’re gonna be scary come March” — we could be having this conversation then, too. Nothing’s guaranteed. Weren’t we saying “we’ll be fine by the UL game”?

  10. Nkywildcat1987
    1:00 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    #8: Let me guess, you were also one of the consiracy theorists who thought Harrow was transferring?

  11. BobKYCats
    1:04 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Cal needs to call in Enes or something to kind of push Poythress and Wiltjer around a bit in practice. Sometimes those two play softer than butter left on top of the microwave.

  12. Rocket
    1:11 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    I coached basketball for 20 years in Eastern Kentucky. Here’s what I like about Cal. Everything he says about making players better is right on target. He is a players coach and a player would be crazy not to want to play for him. He understands the game, he is not just an X and O guy.

  13. Syrin
    1:12 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    You may want to change the “except” in Cal’s quote to “accept”.

    For those who doubted Cal’s ability as a coach, this year should remove all doubt. aside from recruiting issues, my biggest complaint with Tubby was that his players never improved individually. Can ANYONE deny the transformation we’ve seen with Harrow? Cal is a MASTER at coaching up players. Cousins was a train wreck when he came in and developed immensely, and now he’s doing the same with a physically gifted forward. There is no better coach in the country PERIOD !! He can adjust his style to the players he has (unlike a current Lakers head coach), he can improve ANY individual player playing ANY position, AND he can deal with all the different personality types be they divas like Wall, head cases like Cousins, timid players like Wiltjer and Poythress or nervous players like Harrow.

    Unbelievable. One of the most unappreciated coaches in basketball. I can’t think of ANY, literally, ANY other coach who do do ALL those things. Some can improve players, but they have to fit a style of play, some can’t deal with problem cases like Cousins, some can’t motivate. Cal can do it ALL, and he does it in a matter of months. Unreal.

  14. UK Freshmen
    1:14 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    What does LaSalle, McNeese State, and Stephan S. Austin all have in common? Answer: Each has a higher RPI than UK.

  15. UK Freshmen
    1:18 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Write something compelling like investigating why Cal has coached a preseason #3 team to falling out of sight into oblivion. Or why the school has totally diluted the basketball schedule with horrible teams while jacking up ticket prices. Or why UK may not make the tournament with their lack of key wins and their pending low RPI.

    Also investigate while Wiltjer hasn’t worked on his body in the off season this past year. Was he not given a key to the weight room over the summer?

  16. ThatsAShame
    1:23 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Really 14? You want to start the RPI talk already? RPI is for teams that are worried they will not make the tourney or like to whine about their seeding.

    Let me offer an alternate answer to your question.

    Answer: Teams that will be long forgotten (or maybe upset Duke) in March as we make our run.

  17. asdf
    1:34 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    This year’s team is surely making Cal earn his salary. Geez…

  18. Ryne
    1:35 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    FYI Penn St is beating us in the video game cover please keep voting…

  19. Mike
    1:38 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    2. Blue Mist…sorry for the intrusion into your space….apples to oranges…give me a break. Who gave u the authority to decide who can post and when??

  20. Syrin
    1:44 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    UK Freshmen – how many times a day did your dad rape you? The real question is whether you go to school WITH your Pitino figurine shoved up your ass or whether you prefer to wait until you go to bed and keep it there over night.

  21. Syrin
    1:46 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    #8 – I doubt that’s true. If it was a hypertrophic cardiomypathy, then he’d be at risk for a fatal arrhythmia, and there is no WAY he’d be cleared to play. I guess there’s the remote possibility he has undiagnosed diabetes or something like that as happened with Cutler, but I cannot see a scenario where all options weren’t investigated.

  22. Uk4life
    2:10 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Cal HAS had plenty of players with “issues”, but he doesn’t throw them under the bus. He merely makes comments that motivate them.

  23. Jughead
    2:15 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Poythress is an emotional infant.

  24. Syrin
    2:27 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    #23 – And you know that because….

  25. Please
    2:54 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Love how he talks about Kyle needing to get “tougher”, then defines “toughness” as not elbowing and biting…What the flip!?

  26. kingrex
    3:20 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    14 Do you not realize that is what happens in the beginning of the year in all of college basketball? The small or mid major/nothing programs play the big schools because they get paid by the big school to show up. They get money for their schools and some build an impressive resume in case they play well in conference and might make it to the tournament. Their RPI rankings will plunge when they begin playing their conference games. This is the norm. As for Kyle Wiltjer I think he is what he is. However, I do think they should not let him make anymore of those ridiculous videos.

  27. mudcreekmark
    3:31 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    13) You’re dead on. Coach Cal is the best coach in America, period. I have never seen a coach who could develop players as fast as this man does. Not only that, he has all these young kids that have been told all their lives that their poop don’t stink and who are used to being “The Man” on their teams. He brings all these different personalities and egos in for one year and get them to mesh and check their egos at the door. Amazing!!!

  28. Bigcat4453
    3:38 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    THere’s no possible way, with the battery of tests that these NBA teams run a player through during tryouts, that you’d be able to hide a physical ailment from the Doctors that give the examinations.

  29. Bigcat4453
    3:43 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    I told family members over the holidays that this team reminds me of the ’79 team. There was alot of pressure on that team to repeat what the previous team had done. There is ALOT of pressure on these guys to be JUST LIKE last years team. I sat and watched all of the FInal four game against UL last night. THANK GOD FOR DARIUS !!! He saved that team against UL last year! We don’t have a player with that kind of maturity this year. We might not find one all year either.

    Win or Lose, enjoy the ride. These boys have already improved since November! 🙂

  30. In Cal We Trust
    3:49 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Alex is a smart and good guy, he just needs to learn to push himself beyond his current comfort zone to become the player he can be. Welcome to Camp Cal Alex!

  31. W.W.B.B.N.D?
    3:55 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    The UK training staff should get a product sold at Walgreen’s called sinus rinse. It works like the neti pot, but you can push the water up in the sinus. It cleans the sinus and helps it heal.

  32. UK Fan
    4:16 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    This team if it’s lucky, will rise to mediocrity….no character…no heart.

  33. john4uk
    5:05 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    Poythress is playing to be one and none.Wonder what happens if none of this years team are’nt taken in the draft?which if the players continue as they are now,can very well happen.

  34. lonnieb
    6:27 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink


    Poythress, goodwin, and noel are lottery picks…. period……….they dont care what kind of season we have they are drafting talent

  35. fatcat
    6:55 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    A bus ticket back to clarksville would be best!

  36. coldspringmike
    10:16 pm December 31, 2012 Permalink

    #35- best for who or what ?

  37. don
    3:12 am January 1, 2013 Permalink

    I would say that sprinting the floor at a pace an athlete does on his own requires only the effort he puts into the drill. Putting him on a treadmill inclined and set at a high rate would require him to run at a faster speed and get him in better shape.