by Kyle Tucker, USA TODAY Sports
LEXINGTON, KY. — University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari held court Tuesday at the Wildcats’ media day. He covered it all, including several revelations through the team’s first 10 practices. Here are a few:
- “Marcus Lee is better than I thought. Derek Willis is better than I thought. … Everybody that comes in our building, the guy that they’re saying is the standout is James Young. Every day. We’ve had NBA scouts in there every day and they’re saying it every day.”
- What makes Young so special? “He is really fast,” Calipari said. “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 … if he’s ahead, you throw him the ball and something good will happen. And he has a chance to be a terrific defender.”
- Sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein, who was out with a hand injury, returned to practice for the first time Monday and “changed the practice.” Sophomore forward Alex Poythress, who’s had a nagging hamstring injury, also had his first full-speed practice Monday. “Hard to lead, hard to make the club in the tub,” said Calipari, who also noted: “I don’t think it’s gonna happen, but we could start five freshmen.”
- The Cats haven’t put in much of their offense yet and aren’t even talking defense, but Calipari said, “what I like is the instincts of the players; their instincts are normally right. They’re not thinking. They’re instinctive, and that makes it fun.
- As for all that undefeated talk: “I’ve said before I retire, I would love to coach a team that goes 40-0. I’ve said it for 8-10 years. Will that happen? I don’t know. … We don’t talk about it as a team. It’s not like, ‘Oh, we’re going 40-0.’ We don’t. The way we do this is a process. … I’ve had three teams almost did it (and) you may not go 40-0, but you’re doing special things.”