Kentucky Wildcats head basketball Coach John Calipari wants to see just one thing from his team during Tuesday’s annual Blue-White Game.
"I just want them get out in front of people. See who plays well in front of people", said Calipari during a press conference Monday afternoon.
Calipari added that live scrimmages are good for the players because it gives them an early chance to see themselves on film. In comparison to last year’s veteran squad, these Wildcats are inexperienced. Calipari said that showed during preseason practice, so he's thankful for the extra practice time his previous teams were not afforded.
"Thank goodness we started on October 2nd. Could you imagine if we would have started on the 13th, 14th or 15th like we normally do?", said Calipari, "That meant we would have had four days before we play on national television."
The extra practice time has been put to good use to correct flaws in the Cats’ offense.
"I didn’t like how we were playing offensively and then trying the three guards, threw that in and threw some dribble-drive stuff in. I keep telling them we want to be random, yet organized. Basically saying, know how to play not run plays. Now there is pick-and-rolls, there’s handoffs, down screens, back screens, but we’re trying to teach them."
A productive offense is not the only thing that Coach Calipari wants to see from his team. Calipari said that he hopes his team will learn to go the extra mile in games and make hustle plays. He also wants his team to exert maximum effort on both ends of the court and show more fight.
"It doesn't matter what we run. Just value the possession. It doesn't matter how we're defending. Just fight," Calipari said. "Fight on both ends of the ball and let's value possessions and then we'll be OK. That's all we're working on right now."
The off-season had resulted in a bevy of injuries to a number of players, a rarity during Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky. Thankfully, a number of those injuries have "all been flukes", according to Calipari.
Whenever injuries are mentioned, the subject of Alex Poythress’ recovery from his ACL tear is brought up. Cal gave an update on the senior forward’s prognosis and also explained what he needs to do on the court.
"He’s doing fine. He’s got to get back in there, and demonstrated performance is going to build his confidence and self-esteem and all that stuff. But he’s got to get out on the court and do it."
As for what Cal expects from Poythress this season:
"Lead the nation in rebounding," was Cal’s message to Poythress. "Be a beast."