Camp Cal has become an infamous time of the year for the Wildcat basketball team. Fans see it as an essential part of the maturation process, as Calipari’s one-and-dones grow out of their youthful mistakes. The players see it much differently.
The three weeks of practice, practice, and then more practice are unlike anything freshman Charles Matthews has ever been through before. The strong and silent type, the physical toll Matthews takes matters less than the mental challenge at hand.
“It’s alright. Of course there are going to be times when your body will feel like it can’t go, but that’s when your mind has to step in and say, ‘We’re ready to go.’ It’s been difficult, but we’re basketball players, so we can get to work and there’s nothing too hard.”
But what exactly is it like?
“I can’t even say, honestly,” Matthews said. “It’s all what the boss wants to do. Whatever Coach wants, that’s what goes.”
Calipari has preached consistency. He’s wanted them to come ready to play everyday with a workman’s attitude, and the rest will take care of itself. “We have to come out with intensity. Can’t be complacent,” Matthews said.
Camp hasn’t all been about the practice. They’ve spent so much time together that it’s producing some off-the-court benefits.
“I feel the closest with this team now,” Matthews said. “I feel like we’re making strides, but we have to take everything one day at a time, one game at a time.”
We’ll see on Saturday night exactly what the extra practices have produced for this year’s team.