LEXINGTON, Ky. (10/16/13) – It's almost time, BBN.
What many are calling a season that will end with University of Kentucky basketball's ninth national championship is less than a month away. Coach John Calipari addressed the media Tuesday during a news conference at UK men's basketball media day.
“No revelations, but Marcus Lee is better than I thought, Derek Willis is better than I thought. I just got done watching our practice tape from yesterday. Jarrod Polson and Dominique (Hawkins) played well,” said Calipari in reply to a question about the revelations or surprises he has had about his team since beginning practices. “Guys are learning a new way of playing and are making strides.”
Calipari added he has seen improvements from Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson. Willie Cauley-Stein practiced for the first time on Monday. But, Calipari said many feel James Young is the standout with NBA scouts in the gym speaking about him daily.
“He is really fast. He’s now not settling for jump shots. So you’re seeing a young man get his head and shoulders by people, take contact, and make baskets, which a month ago he was not going in there,” said Calipari. “If he's out ahead, you throw him the ball. Something good will happen. And he has a chance of being a terrific defender.”
Calipari said he's not sure if this UK team should be the number one team in the country, because he has not watched any other team. He admitted to having number one teams in the past, but he added those were veteran teams.
“You're talking about an inexperienced team. We'll be the most inexperienced team in the country, but we're talented,” said Calipari. “We've got great size and speed and skill. Will we be a great defensive team and rebounding team, and will we share the ball? If we do that, we have a chance to be one of the best teams in the country.”
Calipari said he'd like to coach a team that went 40-0 before he retires. He's not sure if this team will be the one, but he added they can do special things.
“Every game we play, we play to win. We’re not playing any game not to win,” said Calipari. “The reason I like the mentality of every game matters is you don’t want to get upset by people that you shouldn’t be beat by. That game matters as much as a North Carolina or Michigan State or whoever else. Those games matter too.”
The Cats will have their first game against Transylvania on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. They'll also have their annual Big Blue Madness this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and the Blue-White Scrimmage on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
For a full video of Coach Cal's press conference, click here.
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