MATAS | Calipari ready for some time away with UK hoops
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The work has started in Lexington.
"I asked, 'Are we really going to be a good execution team when we go down to the Bahamas?' They said no," John Calipari said.
The University of Kentucky men's basketball coach is getting ready to take his Wildcats to the Bahamas for four games against international and professional competition. UK isn't necessarily looking for wins on the trip.
"If we lose a couple, if we lose three, it's more about what do we learn about this team," Calipari said.
Early games, and maybe more importantly, early practices, are huge for a team that, as usual, will get a lot of contribution from freshman. The youngsters say this team is bonding quickly.
"Going out of the country won't be a problem," freshman Keldon Johnson said. "It's just another step in coming together as a team and doing what we do best."
The players aren't the only ones getting an early start. Calipari is in the swing of things after spending more time on campus during the break than he's used to.
"You guys know in the summers I like to get out of here," Calipari said. "This summer, I wasn't gone that much."
Calipari thought this group needed the head start, and he's enjoyed his time in the gym.
"How about this: A couple of days I was by myself ... old school," he said. "I had no assistants. I coached the team with no assistants. I can remember my UMass days when I had the team by myself. I didn't know. That's not how it's supposed to be."
Running practice solo is like riding a bike ... an old, rickety bike.
"I'm not as bouncy as I used to be," Calipari said. "I can't get in a stance like I used to. I could really get low. My butt would almost hit the floor."
That was a good thing.
"Now my butt almost hits the floor," he added.
That's not a good thing.
"Who is laughing?" Calipari joked after making the rear-end comment.
He may take a break from coaching and let his assistants lead overseas. That gives him a chance to watch more of the exhibition games.
"I want to see you play hard," Calipari said. "I want to see you compete and see things that went wrong and fix it."
If nothing else, the trip finally gives Calipari the chance to get out of town for a few days.
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