Just minutes after arriving in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening, the Kentucky basketball team drove to Coronado High School in Henderson, NV to practice for the final time prior to their game against Utah on Wednesday.
And KSR was on hand to get some of the footage and key notes from the team’s final tune-up.
We’ll start with a few notes of substance from the hour-long practice session:
- Nate Sestina was a full participant, shooting and dunking with his injured left wrist.
- After Kenny Payne said on John Calipari’s call-in show on Monday that Sestina could be back “in the next week or two,” there have been some rumblings that he’s going to try and give it a go at some point in Las Vegas. He certainly practiced like someone gearing up to play.
- Even when he’s not participating in a drill, Sestina is relentless when it comes to talking and coaching from the sideline. The coaches have raved about his leadership skills, and they were evident in practice.
- Dontaie Allen was a non-participant, with the extent of his work coming in individual shooting drills. Calipari once called over to ask if he was planning on participating in drills, and Allen declined. Calipari and Payne have both said they are not going to rush him back to action.
- Ben Jordan, who has been out with a head injury, was participating in light contact drills.
- Ashton Hagans continued to shoot well in live drills, knocking down shots from the perimeter at ease. He hasn’t had this much confidence in his all-around abilities since he arrived on campus, and it’s translating into success in actual games.
- Calipari continued to stress staying aggressive on defense. Emphasized Kentucky’s status as the team with the lowest steal rate in the SEC, wanting the team to push for more forced turnovers moving forward.
- Kentucky was practicing at Coronado High School, the home of 2021 top-ten prospect and major UK target Jaden Hardy. After finishing up his own practice in a side gym, Hardy stayed after with his father and head coach to watch the Wildcats practice. I’ll get more into the specifics later both in an insider notes post and on the Sources Say Podcast, but UK is seen as a major favorite early in this recruitment.
Take a look at some of KSR’s practice footage:
Looking for more pre-Utah practice footage? The UK Sports Network has you covered, as well:
The Cats are in Vegas.
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) December 18, 2019
Kentucky tips off tonight against Utah at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT).