John Calipari offered up a few words in a short video posted on his website’s Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, less than an hour after his team’s first basketball practice of the summer.
The Cats’ first impression on their head coach was a positive one.
“I was so excited to get started. I’ve had teams here that went a full season and didn’t have one bad practice,” Calipari said. “And I know you think that’s hard to believe, but we’ve had teams that won 38 games — most in the history of college basketball. That were trying to win every game we played. Every game was a war, but you know what else was a war? Every practice was a war. This team today, it’s the beginning of learning how to practice. And I’ll tell you what, I’m feeling good.”
The late additions of reclassified recruit Ashton Hagans and all-conference graduate transfer Reid Travis have vaulted Kentucky to the top of several preseason rankings for the 2018-19 campaign, and the mixture of returning players and talented new faces should give Calipari several different lineup options for the coming season.
Wednesday’s practice was the first big step in figuring out how those pieces fit together.
The UK coach said his team went about one hour and 15 minutes in their first session — “They thought we went three hours,” he quipped — and will go about the same amount of time Thursday.
Calipari is also scheduled to take part in a teleconference with other Southeastern Conference coaches Thursday morning, and he’ll likely offer additional thoughts on his team’s first practice then.
“We got a long way to go, but you got an unbelievable group who’s receptive, who will compete, who, you know, we shoot the ball better than we have in a while,” he said in Wednesday’s video. “We got a lot of different weapons to come at you. And still have some size and have some strength.
“So, for our first practice, wow, really good.”