pic by Dana Nolan
We solicited students to write about the practice. This is #2, Taylor Mayer. Here were this thoughts:
Before I start, I just want to say it’s an honor to write a piece for KSR. It’s been a huge part of my college life, and I know many other students could say the same. No matter where I go and who I run into in Lexington, there is almost always the question “Did you read KSR today?” It’s a truly special website for the Commonwealth.
— Anyway, Coach started practice at about 2:00, and insisted that every student in attendance (Memorial was about 60% full) hold up their cell phone, and turn it to silent mode. He also emphasized that this was a practice, so cheers were to be discouraged during the drills.
—- They began with a few fast break drills, running up and down the court working on speed and handling the ball. One of the first things I noticed was how big DeMarcus Cousins really is. In pictures on KSR, he looks borderline thin, but in person he is huge. It seemed Cal had to emphasize hustle to him more so than any other player, but his attitude definitely was not a glaring issue by any means.
— Coach Cal also mentioned in passing that someone or another (he didn’t seem to point anyone out in particular) was playing differently because he was being watched by thousands of students. It’s hard to determine how much (if at all) the players and coaches were playing and acting differently because there were students there.
—- The players seemed to all have a business-like manner, and there was little joking or cutting up it seemed. I don’t know if that is just their own nature or if Coach discourages any light-heartedness, but it was clear that they were there to get some work done.
— Liggins looked fairly comfortable with the ball this afternoon. He took the ball down the court in fast break drills with a lot of power, which may pay huge dividends in the DDO. John Wall’s speed is almost incredible; when he dunks, it’s almost as if he’s floating in the air. Even though Cal discouraged any cheers from the students, it was hard not to “ooh” and “awe” out loud at least a little bit. He’ll be really fun to watch.
— During a fast break drill in which Cal was pressing them to run full speed, the students got a small laugh at P. Steve’s awkward run/hilarious facial expression dribbling down the court the fastest he could.
— Jon Hood looks solid fundamentally, but didn’t seem to have the quickness and strength that the other guards had. In my opinion, he may have some serious room for improvement at this point in his UK career
— Darnell Dodson looks like a shorter Ramel Bradley. He’s quick with the ball.
— Towards the end of practice, Orton (who looked good today) dove for a ball out of bounds near the sideline, and the entire team, even though they were all standing underneath the basket went over to help him up. It was pretty clear that Cal had taught them to do this in some effort to encourage a strong sense of team. It was pretty cool to watch.
— During one of the fast break drills, Wall and a few others weren’t driving to the basket and were instead dishing it around the perimeter, prompting Coach Cal to say, “If you’re afraid to drive, then you can’t play here.”
-All in all, it was a great idea to open the practice up (if you ask me, anyway). It elicited a small sense of community in an otherwise huge nation of UK basketball fans, which I’m sure most of the students appreciated. Also, in a practical sense, it was probably good for the freshmen to get some work done in front of a few thousand people, something they’ll need to get used to fast.