Quick observations from Kentucky’s Tuesday’s practice at the Joe Craft Center, which UK invited media members to watch:
▪ Jarred Vanderbilt, Jemarl Baker and Tai Wynyard did not participate. UK said “general soreness” sidelined Wynyard. There were no updates on Vanderbilt (foot/ankle) and Baker (knee), each of whom have not yet played this season.
▪ Before practice, Nick Richards worked on up-and-under moves. He alternated from post to post with associate coach Kenny Payne feeding him passes from the foul-line area.
▪ During a full-court transition-offense drill, Hamidou Diallo missed a three-pointer, prompting Coach John Calipari to advise him to follow through on the shot. On his radio show Monday night, Calipari stressed the importance of Diallo following through on his shot.
▪ Quade Green wore the protective glasses with tinted lenses he used in the Virginia Tech game. No other player nor coach wore similar glasses.
▪ Perhaps in a nod to Calipari’s request to make the easy play rather than add degree of difficulty, UK players laid the ball in rather than dunked. On a clear breakaway, Diallo used both hands to softly set the ball through the rim. He did not emphatically dunk nor add a jazzy flourish to the score.
▪ Five-on-five drills had PJ Washington, Kevin Knox, Richards, Diallo and Green going against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jonny David, Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Brad Calipari.
▪ About a half-hour into practice, portable rims were set over the baskets. The rims, which resembled a child’s drawing of the sun (smaller circumference with spokes reaching to the “real” rims) meant that every shot resulted in players contesting for a rebound. After about 15 minutes, the portable rims were removed.
▪ There were more than 30 UK logos within sight, including one at center court, one over each of the eight national championship banners on the far wall and at least 13 decorating trash cans in each corner of the gym.
▪ Calipari’s corrections had a ring of familiarity. For instance, he advised Green to pass the ball ahead more and dribble it forward less.
▪ The Cats rehearsed the 2-2-1 press, which UK used in beating Virginia Tech. Both starters and reserves took turns in the 2-2-1.
▪ In addition to UK’s video crew, an independent cameraman shot practice. His footage would be used if a proposed all-access feature is approved, UK said.
▪ As he called an end to practice, Calipari said to the players, “Great job today.” As Calipari went over the schedule of activities for the evening and the next day or two, several UK players stood closely together with arms over each other’s shoulders. The players were Dillon Pulliam, Wenyen Gabriel, Richards, Green, Washington and Gilgeous-Alexander.
Kentucky vs. UCLA
What: CBS Sports Classic
Where: Smoothie King Center in New Orleans
When: 4 p.m. Saturday