Our buddy T.J. Beisner from CoachCal.com released his third edition of his “Meet the Wildcat” series on the Behind Kentucky Basketball series. The purpose of the podcast was meeting and interviewing freshman Keldon Johnson, but Beisner started the podcast discussing Washington’s return to practice. The sophomore forward finished the season with a broken pinky and played a few months with the injury.
Here are the P.J. Washington highlights:
- P.J. Washington has been a leader, even when sidelined after his surgery. “P.J. has shown at this point he is a leader.” Beisner said he was always engaged during practices and would point out mistakes and give advice. That’s pretty cool to hear.
- Beisner said the team was having great practices but when things were starting to possibly get stale Reid Travis was added to the mix. Then once things may have started slowing down P.J. Washington is now back. Adding these experienced pieces have to be great for the younger guys.
- Don’t read into who’s wearing blue/white jerseys in practices, says Beisner. That’s smart advice because these guys switch jersey colors multiple times throughout a practice.
- P.J. stayed nearly two hours after practice on Tuesday night going through individual drills. “P.J.’s practice was only part of the work he put in last night.” Beisner said he’s embracing the process and the grind. “You need a leader to be the first one there and the last one to leave,” he said.
Great stuff regarding P.J. Washington. On the Soundcloud link you can listen to Beisner’s thoughts on Washington from the start to the 6:20 mark of the podcast.
- Beisner said he loves watching him practice. “He makes everyone better because if you don’t play better you’re going to get run into the ground.” He said that Johnson is having to guard every player on the team and putting him in uncomfortable situations and he’s thriving.
- Beisner notes that Calipari said last week on KSR that Johnson was UK’s most consistent shooter. “I like my job so I won’t disagree.” It sounds like there may have been a little Cal fluff on Johnson’s shooting, but Beisner said he’s been impressed with his outside shot.
- The interview starts at 8:48 in the podcast.
- Keldon Johnson said practices get a little chippy because everyone wants to compete.
- Keldon Johnson’s brother is a senior at Georgetown and he grew up with the mindset that he needed to be better than him. Johnson said he is better than his brother although his brother would disagree. Kaleb Johnson averaged 7.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and two assists per game during his junior season for the Hoyas.
- Johnson said every player is different on the team, so each player has to expand their game to be able to keep up with their teammates.
- “I’m a dog. I do whatever it takes to win. I’m the ultimate competitor. I score the basketball very well. I lock up on defense. My shot has improved a lot and I’m starting to knockdown more shots,” Keldon said when describing his game.
- Keldon said interacting with the Big Blue Nation is a once in a lifetime experience. He said he maybe signed 2k-3k autographs during the summer.
- Keldon said one of his first basketball memories was watching Jodie Meeks scoring 54 points against Tennessee. After that Keldon wanted to play with UK on video games and shoot threes with Jodie Meeks.
- The interview ends at the 16:30 mark.
- The teams in the Bahamas are better than the ones they played four years ago. Beisner was told by Calipari that UK may lose some games, maybe all the games, but no one should hit the panic button.
- Beisner said the last game in the Bahamas will feature UK squaring off against former Cat Kyle Wiltjer. I did not know that and that will be incredibly cool.
- Beisner said no one is really separating themselves, but he said Calipari is adamant there will not be any platoons, but Beisner said you just never know with Calipari, but the plan will be to not platoon.
- Beisner said UK is NOT switching from Nike to Jordan Brand. The practice jerseys were a one time deal and they were immediately available. Those are temporary practice jerseys and it was a “technical” issue.
You should listen to the entire interview. Beisner is informative and has been killing it on the CoachCal.com beat.