Last season was easily the most challenging year for John Calipari since his arrival in Lexington, perhaps even the most difficult of his entire coaching career.
After all, COVID-19 had a dramatic effect on everyday life for everyone, and Kentucky basketball was far from immune to it.
In fact, Kentucky appeared to suffer more than most programs because of the many ways COVID restricted how players trained, practiced, and even bonded. Those three things are pivotal to establishing any semblance of a ‘team,’ especially when you’re routinely replacing most of the roster as Calipari does most years.
One example of how college basketball teams were affected last year was being unable to have summer workouts and practices with every player taking part.
Thankfully, that won’t be an issue this year, as we now have COVID-19 vaccines that are allowing everyone to get back to their normal everyday lives.
That includes the basketball Cats, who just held their first official summer workout today (with a cameo from Tyler Ulis), according to Calipari.
On-court coaching didn't begin until late July last year, and that was "one ball, one player, one coach, one goal" as Jai Lucas described it. Full-contact not until August.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) June 14, 2021
UK had its first official practice of the year today, June 14. And they had Tyler Ulis there to help. https://t.co/XfoOdK3p0J
In the background, you can see TyTy Washington, Sahvir Wheeler, Dontaie Allen and Keion Brooks Jr. who look like they just finished a sweaty workout.
You love to see it.