John Calipari didn’t have a ton of newsworthy stuff to say before he and the team took off for Alabama. But he did say some things into a microphone and it would be bad form of us to ignore the man when he speaks to the media.
So here are some notes from his Friday afternoon press conference…
Thursday’s practice was a rough one.
Cal said he and his staff put the players through one of the toughest practices of the season yesterday, in hopes of improving rebounding. He called it a very physical practice with a lot of body-to-body contact, and everyone responded well.
They got back together this morning for free throws and “to work on some other stuff” before a light, late afternoon practice prior to wheels-up for Alabama.
Dominique Hawkins is still out.
Hawkins has not practiced since injuring his ankle against Ole Miss, therefore he will not play at Alabama.
Mychal Mulder moved up to the three-guard rotation.
With Hawkins out, Mulder made the most of his increased minutes at LSU, scoring a career-high five points and grabbing a career-high eight rebounds in a career-high 14 minutes played.
Mulder was rewarded with a spot in the three-guard rotation going into tomorrow’s game.
Cal said, “I thought he had great energy. He rebounded the ball, mixed it up. Did good stuff.”
He may “stick Wynyard in” tomorrow.
Tai Wynyard still has a long way to go before he’s anywhere near a legitimate option off the bench. Cal said Wynyard is not yet in shape and he will likely be exhausted after three or four trips up the floor.
That being said, Cal likes Wynyard’s mentality and may “stick him in” at Alabama.
Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee are always in a “then-and-now” position.
“They’ve always been in the now-and-then position; every now and then they give us a good game,” he said of his veteran bigs. “Now it’s like every day. That’s hard. Everybody wants to be in that position, but the responsibility to be ready, to be prepared, to be ready for a dog fight every single– not fouling out of games, not walking, not hiding.”
“But they’re doing fine. They’re making strides.”
Skal Labissiere still isn’t ready to step up.
Cal said Skal isn’t ready to be “in that vacuum,” to be the big man he can count on to get rebounds and block shots.
“A lot of it is he’s got to swim. We’re here for you but you’ve got to swim.”
They’re taking it day-to-day with Skal’s progression, doing different things to find what works. Some days are better than others.