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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Latest Practice Report

John Calipari contnues to poke and prod his team in order to figure out what he has.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team was again hard at work and the fine folks over at have another splendid practice report for us basketball junkies.

Here are the highlights and some of my thoughts from the latest report:

  • Charles Matthews has been the forgotten man in the recruiting class, but his skill and athleticsim continues to wow his coaches and teammates. John Calipari wants him as a finisher around the rim, but Matthews is showcasing a nice little jumnp shot to compliment his game. The buzz around this kid continues to grow.
  • Marcus Lee has been a vocal leader at practice, encouraging his teammates and letting them know where to be during practice. I am happy to see Lee take this role. I woiuld love to see this kind of leadership transfer to his play as well.
  • Apparently Mychal Mulder has the green light to shoot whenever he is open. That's a great sign that he is as good of a shooter as advertised.
  • Jamal Murray is still learning, but he's doing it at a fast clip. Calipari wants him to see all of his options before making a final decision with the ball. His court vision is there but he needs to hone it.
  • Calipari is still trying to figure the team out. They aren't running set plays, rather, he wants to see their skills and their decision making. He continues to implore them to not to over-think and to make plays.
  • I thought this was pretty funny:

Funny exchange Friday: Calipari said Skal Labissiere was fouled so he had him step up to the line. As Labissiere dribbled Coach Cal blew his whistle. Labissiere stopped and turned around. He then dribbled again and Calipari blew his whistle again. Labissiere stopped and turned around confused thinking he was going to instruct him on something. After seeing Coach Cal stare back he realized Coach Cal just wanted to distract him. Labissiere then dribbled twice and shot while Calipari continued to blow his whistle over and over. Swish. Labissiere then turned around. "Alright, he wasn’t fouled," Calipari said.

  • Cal wants the team throwing lobs to Skal Labisierre, Marcus Lee, and Alex Poythress. They are three of the most athletic big men in the country and he wants his guards to use them appropriately. He focused an entire drill session on lobbing the ball correctly.
  • Like the previous report, it points out that Tyler Ulis is another coach on the floor and Cal is treating him as such. He is sharpening his point guard's mind in anticipation of letting him run the team during the season. Ulis continues to make "Wow" plays at practice.
  • Alex Poythress participated in all of the five on five drills on Saturday. Really great news.
  • Briscoe and Humphries are works in progress. Cal wants Briscoe to shoot the ball more, continuing his transition into more of a shooting guard role. Humphries has a ton to learn but his jump shot is a nice weapon for a seven footer to have.

Closing quote from Cal:

  • "We have a ways to go," Calipari said to the team as they huddled around him Saturday. "They say we’re the least experienced team in the country. You just have to worry about being the best version of yourself."