The Southeastern Conference basketball coaches' teleconference on Monday opened with a fairly generic question: What does John Calipari think of the Kentucky team for the upcoming 2015-16 season?
"Well, I'm excited about our team," Calipari said in a tone that suggested there was no other plausible opinion.
Then he elaborated.
"I think our backcourt should be one of the stronger backcourts in the country even though we'll be very young," the UK coach said.
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Calipari described the latest UK player-to-be, Jamal Murray, as "a playmaking guard who can play 'one' or 'two' and can really score the ball."
UK could play a three-guard lineup, Calipari said.
Then again, the frontcourt will be well-stocked with height, length, athleticism and depth, he added.
"I hate to say it," Calipari said, "but it could be crazy again."
Calipari suggested that Alex Poythress is on schedule in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in mid-December. Poythress will need another two or three months to complete the rehab, "And we'll see from there," Calipari said.
Doctors "were amazed" at Poythress' physical strength, Calipari said. Now, Poythress must strengthen the non-injured leg to get it at the same level of fitness as the injured leg.
SEC coaches welcomed the possibility of the NBA inviting college players to a Combine, which would help players decide to enter or withdraw from a NBA Draft.
Calipari supported the idea, which led Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy to say, "If John Calipari says it's good, I believe him because he's had more experience with it than anybody in the country."
South Carolina Coach Frank Martin qualified his support for reducing the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds.
"The problem is the more you shorten the shot clock, the more you eliminate styles of play." he said.
More patient styles — designed in part to produce fewer possessions in a game and thus give underdogs a better chance to upset favorites — will be less likely. More possessions favor the more talented teams.
"College basketball was not meant to showcase players," Martin said. "College basketball is meant to be part of the (college) experience ... preparing young people for the next stage of their life."
New Tennessee coach Rick Barnes seems to understand the order of things in the SEC, if not all of college basketball.
"I think every team in college basketball is chasing the University of Kentucky and John Calipari in terms of what he's done ... ," Barnes said. "If you want to compete for a championship in this league, that's who you're chasing."