A few notes on a rainy Tampa day (because I know you were wondering what the weather was like here)….
– During his time on this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Coach Cal talked about all of the things asked of him and quite a bit about things that were not. One of those subjects was Kentucky’s roster this season, which Calipari said should finally have some depth. He said last season they were forced to go with only six players in nearly every game (I’m sure you know that) and he’s hoping that this season he finally has the right mix of returning and incoming players to have more dependable bodies on the floor. Right now, that deep roster is “forming good bonds” and he’s very happy with who they are and what they can be. Understatement?
– In talking about that depth, Calipari listed Jon Hood, Stacey Poole and Eloy Vargas as guys who can find their way into the rotation this season. Poole was essentially duct taped to the bench last season, but Hood and Vargas got some shots at making an impact and sticking in the rotation. Vargas played well at times, but Hood never really found a way to get things clicking. For them, it has to be refreshing to hear that despite a loaded roster and guys who essentially appear to pass them on the depth chart simply by showing up, there’s still a chance. We sometimes forget that all were four-star prospects and Hood was a five-star prospect before breaking his wrist his senior season. Now is the time to make a push for those minutes.
– Not surprisingly, the hot topic was the conference schedule and what the coaches would prefer. Calipari said his goal was to raise the profile of the entire conference and that is done through non-conference scheduling too. He said that if you win 12-13 game against teams that have about a 63% winning percentage, you’ll be #1 in strengthof scheduling, you’ll be the best in the country. If you win 12-13 games against teams with a 53% winning percentage, you fall to 40-50 in that category. That seems to follow his theory of scheduling the best small and mid-major schools that he can find. Those little details are the difference in being a top seed in March and a #2 or #3.
– In news that surprised me, Terrence Jones measured in with a 7’2″ wingspan at the Kevin Durant camp. I can’t be the only one that is shocked by that, right? Too often, Jones was cited as a player that didn’t seem to play bigger than he was last season and despite some good numbers in terms of blocks, didn’t appear to be an imposing force around the rim. Maybe his arms grew or maybe Cal was onto something last season when he challenged Jones to be more of a presence inside. I think we can assume the second part is true.
– Finally, if you want to watch Enes Kanter’s press conference with the Jazz, it will be streamed here at 5pm Eastern time. Don’t miss it.
If you missed Kentucky Sports Radio this morning, Matt was joined by Mark Krebs and they talked about Cal’s contract, football projections and Alex Legion’s sandal fetish. Give the podcast a listen below. (Side note: They’re working to fix the iTunes problem as we speak)