The Kentucky basketball team returned to practice tonight following Christmas break. Instead of keeping them up late, John Calipari’s show was pre-recorded earlier today so he could have practice at 6:00 p.m. Without any callers, there were fewer fireworks but still a few things worth sharing.
A Much-Needed Break
“It was a good break, for all of us. You gotta be able to get away and come back.” Calipari said his players usually return with a different perspective after a long semester in Lexington. “They see how proud everybody is of them and they’ll come back with a little different view.”
More Situational Work
Over the next few days, Cal will use the extra practice time for more situational work. They’ll start with a defensive practice in the morning. At night they’ll scrimmage. “Let’s go.” Cal believes scrimmaging will help them improve in shot selection, pick and roll defense and help him decide who sees the floor.
During the early defensive practices, he will beat discipline into their heads. “We had some unbelievable breakdowns defensively,” Calipari said. “It’s easier doing it that way than doing what we’re telling them to do.”
What Ole Miss Does
Calipari knows it’ll be a tough road challenge to start league play with a sold-out new arena. Defensively, Ole Miss plays a 1-3-1 that turns into a 2-3 zone. On offense, they shoot a ton of threes. Expect to see them fall in the basket. “They’re playing us. That’s what teams do.”
Instead of doing anything fancy, Cal is sticking to what he knows to help his team improve. “Anytime you try to get tricky as a coach you trick yourself.” That’s why he is keeping it simple. The best thing for his team is to let them play through their midseason struggles.
Giving Bam the Ball, and a Break
John Calipari knows Bam Adebayo needs to get more touches in the post. That can be easily fixed. What is a more difficult problem is who replaces Bam when he needs a breather.
He took a shot at one unnamed player. “You can’t give up five points in 22 seconds and think you deserve to be on the floor.” Calipari said Tai Wynyard might get a chance, but not if Isaac starts doing in games what he’s showing in practice. Whoever gets the nod will likely be who is the best defensive rebounder.