An Update from Today’s Practice
They went less than two hours as the players prepare for finals. Tomorrow they’ll bump it back up to two hours. Alex Poythress will sit out both practices as a precaution after Saturday’s leg hyperextension. Dominique Hawkins stood out during today’s practice, playing aggressive with some physicality. Coach Cal likes that Dom can take some hits and bang with the best of the best.
Working with Skal
Skal has been getting some extra attention from Coach Cal. After the game on Saturday, he and Ellen had him stay the night at their house. After taking care of him this weekend, he got his ass kicked today. He spent 30 minutes conditioning before practice began.
“He had his hands full, but he did not let go of the rope. There were times he wanted to, but he did not let go of the rope.”
He knows Skal can play offense. He only wants Skal to focus on fighting at the other end. “Just focus on defense, rebounding, blocking shots and getting in great shape.” He added, “It’s much easier to go in a pick and roll, pop and shoot a jumper.”
One caller asked if Cal had worked with Skal on the pick-and-pop, similar to what UCLA did against UK with Welsh, but there’s a problem: the way teams are guarding the pick-and-roll isn’t opening up that opportunity. Defenders are going under the screen, daring Tyler to shoot, keeping Skal from getting open looks on the high ball screen.
Allen in Danville has a Solution for Skal’s Haters
I knew I wasn’t the only tired hearing it. One of Danville’s finest offered to volunteer his time to silence Skal’s haters. “These people want to criticize Skal have got under my skin. I want to help you take the next one and stick their head in the closest toilet and let em take a big drink of their stuff.”
Calipari’s UMass Memories
Calipari will be honored by UMass Wednesday night, with the school hanging a banner to honor the Hall of Famer. Cal had a lot of funny stories from back in the day, some I can’t believe he shared, but his humility sums up his experience best.
“What they’re doing is not about me, not about Ellen and I, this is about an era. It’s not about a coach, it’s not about a player. It’s not about one team, we had a bunch of really good teams. It’s about that era when basketball was revived, when it was fun to be a part of what we were doing.”
Muder and Willis Fighting for the Eight Spot
A caller applauded Willis’ effort in recent games, leading to increased production. What’s most encouraging is that Calipari is seeing Derek build on the work he’s put in previously.
“I’m so proud of Derek, but you’re right. He’s gotta get in better shape, he’s gotta defend better, he’s gotta rebound better, he’s gotta be a little more focused on what we’re doing. But he is so much better, and that’s what you wanna see year-to-year from guys.”
Mychal Mulder didn’t have too many opportunities before last week. The Cats needed some 3-point shooting and looked to Mulder to fill the void. Even his shot wasn’t falling, but he did other things well.
“Mychal did good I thought, and Mychal’s done good in practice. He’s gotta defend better, he’s gotta rebound better, his energy, flying up and down the court, was good. (He) Hasn’t been shooting particularly well and that’s a big part. If you’re not great defensively just make shots. He had that wide open and I was hoping he’d make it.”
Philosopher Calipari’s Quote of the Week
“Our fatigue is often not caused by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie