UK Men's Basketball

Switch to point guard improved Brad Calipari's play, coach says

UK Coach John Calipari wanted his son, Brad, to work on point guard skills. The switch from shooting guard to point guard on a tour of Europe improved Brad's play
UK Coach John Calipari wanted his son, Brad, to work on point guard skills. The switch from shooting guard to point guard on a tour of Europe improved Brad's play cbertram@herald-leader.com

On a just-completed tour of three European countries, a move from shooting guard to point guard agreed with Kentucky player Brad Calipari. That probably met with the approval of UK Coach John Calipari.

That was the impression conveyed in talking to the coach of the team, Bucknell assistant Joe Meehan. He coached the Global Sports Academy teams that Brad Calipari played for on last year’s tour of Croatia and this year’s trip to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

“I remember Coach Cal last year wanted him to progress in his game a little bit,” Meehan said Friday. “Work on getting to the basket. Work on ball-screen stuff. So that’s why we moved him over to point guard. He actually did better in that role.”

The team did better, too. The Global Sports Academy team lost its first two games, in which Brad Calipari played shooting guard. “To try to get him shots,” Meehan said. “For whatever reason, we weren’t getting him enough shots.” He totaled 18 points in the first two games.

Kentucky basketball guard Brad Calipari talks about his made three-pointer against Missouri and playing for his father.

With the switch to point guard, the younger Calipari had a double-double in the third game (17 points and 11 assists). In the fourth game, he made four of five three-point shots en route to 14 points. In the last game, he had 17 points and six assists.

The Global Sports Academy team won the last three games.

The younger Calipari, who will be a junior for UK next season, was one of three Division I players on the team. There was one Division II player and six players from Division III, Meehan said.

Overall, Brad Calipari averaged 13.2 points and 7.0 assists. On the tour last year, he averaged 14.3 points and 6.5 assists.

As for the caliber of the competition, Meehan likened the first two opponents to low- to mid-level Division I teams. He compared the third opponent to “probably a Division III team” and the final two opponents to low Division I or maybe high Division II.

In his two-season UK career, Brad Calipari has scored 11 points while averaging 2.7 minutes in 27 games. He may play again on the Global Sports Academy team next offseason.

“We’re planning on it,” Meehan said. “I’ve already talked to Brad about it. We’re going to start working on what countries we’re going to. Probably be August next year.”

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