CBS Sports Jon Rothstein wasn’t the only national media member to get some semi-exclusive access to the Kentucky basketball team on Monday. John Calipari’s old friend Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News also got some face time with the UK coach.
DeCourcy writes that Calipari intends to “install a list of several ‘non-negotiables’ – actions that will lead to a player being automatically removed from the game. If a player does not dive for a loose ball, or sprint while changing ends, or slid down into proper position if defending the weak side . . . ‘Thank you. You’re out. He’s in,’ Calipari explained.”
We know that as the Calipari thumb.
It seems obvious that Calipari wants to avoid some of the problems encountered by last year’s team in terms of bad body language, lack of hustle in the transition game, etc.
Talking to the media this morning at the Calipari Pro Camp, James Young, now of the Boston Celtics, admitted that all the 40-0 talk of last year did distract the team in a negative way. Young’s advice to this year’s squad was simple: Don’t listen.
Meanwhile, with Calipari’s cup runneth over with talent, DeCourcy writes that the coach has “pondered whether to open the season with two platoons, essentially subbing out one group of five for another.”
Dean Smith often did the same thing at North Carolina, and on paper at least Kentucky does look to have that kind of depth.
One more thing from Cal: “The 40-year-old model of program, program, there’s the system, no names on the back of jersey — we flipped it. Now it’s about the player.”
Next season, Kentucky will have plenty of players.
By the way, we local media types are expected to get Calipari for a press update next week to preview the team’s upcoming trip to the Bahamas.
Related: Latest UK basketball links