Starting today, John Calipari can finally be with his team. July 20 marks the beginning of the NCAA’s “required summer activities” for basketball, meaning that for four hours per week, Calipari and his staff can lead players in skill instruction on the court along with four more hours per week of weight training and conditioning.
As Calipari told us last week, today is the day he’s been waiting for all summer.
“You guys have no idea how excited I am to get in the gym with my guys,” Calipari said on KSR. “Even though you’re going to be working with one or two and it’s not all five, it doesn’t matter. I just want to get in the gym. We got nine new players, the kids are excited, they want to be coached, they want to be around us. My concern is them being safe.”
That being said, due to the coronavirus, the team will be taking baby steps. At the start, it will only be individual work in the gym with a coach under each basket. Calipari hopes that in a week or so, they’ll be able to progress to 3-on-3 and then 5-on-5 if players continue to test negative.
“I’m excited but again, let me say what happens. I’ve got one player at one basket. Either I’m going 12 hours where I’ve got each kid an hour four days a week and then this beard would be about down to here and the ponytail would be down there too in the back but if we got 2 in a gym or 3 in a gym with three coaches, I’m being one, now we’re talking four hours and I would love it, just to be able to be back.”
Add in the fact that Isaiah Jackson has finally arrived on campus and it’s a big day over at the Kentucky Basketball bubble. Celebrate by listening to Calipari’s appearance on KSR last week.
Here’s what else is happening in the world of UK Sports and beyond…
It’s a pivotal week for college football
As coronavirus cases surge nationwide and August nears, the time is nigh to make a decision on whether or not there will be college football this fall. The SEC is still planning to make its call in “late July,” making this a pivotal week for case numbers, deaths, transmission rates, and hospital capacities. Unfortunately, what we’ll hear this week actually happened two to three weeks ago, so, around July 4 before many mask mandates were in place. Yesterday, Kentucky reported 979 new positive cases, by the far the highest number of the pandemic. Typically, Sundays are the slowest days for reporting. Sigh.
In further alarming news, yesterday we got a bad sign about the NFL. A large group of high-profile players, including Randall Cobb, sent tweets calling out the league for not having a clear player health and family safety plan. Reporting day for training camp for most teams is July 28, although rookies for the Texans and Chiefs, who will open the season on September 10, are set to report today.
If you need me, I’ll be crossing my fingers, lighting candles, and throwing pennies into fountains in hopes that we’ll be able to see Terry Wilson and the Cats take the field this fall. Or, I’ll just be curled up under my desk with anxiety. Fun times!
Walk-throughs with a ball can begin Friday
It’ll be up to the conferences whether or not college football returns, but on Friday, the NCAA’s calendar calls for summer activities to transition from eight-hour weeks of strength training and film study to two 20-hour weeks of enhanced training, including walk-through practices with a ball.
The football team is ready:
ICYMI, Wenyen Gabriel made some headlines this weekend
The talk of the weekend around these parts were Wenyen Gabriel’s comments about John Calipari on Instagram. In short, Wenyen posted several comments about his time in Lexington and his relationship (or lack thereof) with Calipari, who he claims cut him off after his DMs with Jaden McDaniels went public. Further, Wenyen said he didn’t like playing for Cal in college and seemed bitter over the fact that he came to Kentucky as a top 15 recruit and left undrafted.
The story blew up on Saturday in Big Blue Nation, but is starting to make the rounds nationally, with a Duke website picking it up yesterday. To catch up, check out Jack’s post below.
Canada bars Toronto Blue Jays from home stadium
Major League Baseball restarts this week, but the Toronto Blue Jays are still looking for a place to play. The Canadian government is barring the Blue Jays from their home stadium over concerns about the club traveling back and forth to the United States, where coronavirus cases are soaring. Toronto is scheduled to begin the season at Tampa Bay on Friday, with the first home game taking place on July 29 vs. the Washington Nationals. The team is considering playing home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, home of their Triple-A affiliate, or Florida.
If you’re like me and so desperate for sports you’re actually considering watching baseball, check out Wynn McDonald’s post from yesterday detailing why now’s the perfect time:
KSR Dog of the Day
Meet Libby, who is ready to tear into that Kentucky Fried Chicken squeaky toy. Let’s all attack Monday with her attitude.