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View from Basketball Practice

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A basketball coach in Louisville who attended the UK Coaches’ Clinic this weekend filed this report on the proceedings to me via email. I thank him for his very interesting observations:

The practices were the most intense practices I’ve ever seen on a basketball court. The players hustled and ran for 2 straight hours stopping only once every 45 minutes for water. They didn’t run just to run but the hustle was always incorporated into a basketball skill related drill or scrimmage (which was very physical and defensive oriented). The players were constantly on the floor and everything was extremely physical (to the point where I was afraid somebody was going to get hurt, which already happened with Razor and Perry’s broken noes). Even when an individual was not actively participating in a drill they were clapping and encouraging their teammates. There wereat least 6 walkons who actively participated in drills and constantly cheered on the others.

Ramel Bradley– Obviously the vocal and emotional leader of this team. He shot very well and was very physical defensively. Coach seemed to love his enthusiasm but corrected him when he was talking just to talk(ex, “I GOT BALL” but he didn’t pick up ball)

Jodie Meeks– Probably the most impressive player in my eyes. He consistently knocked down jumpers and was a beast defensively man to man. There were times when he really frustrated Joe Crawford defensively to the point where Crawford really couldn’t bring the ball up the court against him. Coach was on him about his rebounding, and that is an area he’s needed to work on since he got here.

Crawford– Crawford wore a knee brace but seemed to be close to a hundred percent and participated in all drills and scrimmages. Gillispie was constantly on Crawford the first day. Crawford wasn’t giving the effort that Coach required on both ends of the court and Coach let him know it. He even said once that the underclassmen should take advantage of this opportunity to take Crawford’s minutes. Joe didmuch better the second day, especially in his defensive intensity.

Patrick Patterson– Patterson’s athleticism was on full display and he was always intense and hard working. He runs the court very well and he was also pretty vocal and should develop into a leader on the team. He’s a tremendous rebounder and Coach said he is among the most coachable guys he’s ever had, Patterson doesn’t ask questions when told what to do but just wants to please the coach. Patterson is a good screener as well but has a tendency to set moving screens.

Mark Coury– Coury was impressive once again with an consistent midrange shot and also finished well around the basket. He plays good position defense and sets good screens. He will get some PT and very well may start at the beginning of the season.

Perry Stevenson– He was blocking shots left and right and was the best post position defender on the team. He is also a great high-low post entry passer and that will be vital to Gillispie’s offense. Stevenson still needs to work on his ball handling and passing. He also needs to catch the ball more consistently. I think he will start to begin the season along with Patterson, although Harris or Coury may also start.

Razor Ramon– Wore a mask during practice but that didn’t slow him down any and he was very physical and is a very good rebounder and defender. His shot is also pretty consistent although he needs to be a better passer and ball-handler as well. Ramon is very long and has bulked up but still runs the floor well and is a great finisher. Hewill definitely see some PT this year. Harris’ play could be the difference between a good and a great season.

Alex Legion– His shot is pure and he finishes well around the basket. However, he needs to become a better passer and definitely needs to improve defensively before he sees major minutes. He is a decent rebounder for his position as well.

Derrick Jasper– Jasper was not 100% and did not participate in the more physical aspects of practice (although he was still very physical and was often on the floor and in contact with others, which constantly scared me). His ballhandling seemed to be significantly better and will only improve due to the intense pressure the ball-handler is constantly under in Gillispie’s practices. I think it will be hard to keep Jasper off the floor once he is fully healed due to his great passing ability and tremendous help defense and rebounding.

Jared Carter– Still wearing a brace on his shoulder and has not been cleared for contact until today (Sunday, the 21st). I don’t know how many minutes he will be able to play since he’s been out for so long but he does run the floor well and isn’t afraid to be physical in the drills he did participate in despite his injury.

A.J. Stewart– He is extremely athletic and is a good finisher. He runs the floor among the best on the team and also is a decent shot blocker and good rebounder. Gillispie had to stop and teach him more than he had to stop and teach any other player. He needs to learn how to play position defense and needs to better understand the game before he sees major minutes but he definitely has a lot of potential.

Mike Williams– Still slow but he’s getting a little quicker and seems to work hard and understands the game pretty well. He finishes well around the basket but doesn’t have much hops so the hook shot is his best option (although Patterson was still able to block one of his hook shots with his tremendous timing and athletic ability).

Michael Porter– Didn’t participate in contact drills due to a concussion but the form on his shot looked great and he didn’t miss many. His handle is also improving but still needs work.

Article written by Matt Jones