Now tagged with a 1-3 record following the 79-62 loss to Georgia Tech on Sunday, Kentucky is not playing at a level suited for arguably the best program in college basketball history. Many statistics brought forth as evidence against UK as a perennial power so far, 75 turnovers in four games or 25.4% shooting from the 3-point line (last in the SEC) for example, can be used for such an analysis.
Since their last outing on Sunday that ended in a disappointing defeat, UK Head Coach John Calipari has started his famous “Camp Cal” in hopes of improving the second-least experienced team in America right now. His overall goal for their next battle on Saturday against Notre Dame? To just look different.
“I just want it to look different,” Calipari said. “If it looks different, we’ve set the stage for where we’re going.”
A big part of looking different as a team hoping to flourish is maturity. Part of the problem for UK in their attempt to become mature quickly is that the only player on this squad with previous experience in a UK uniform is sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr., who is still out due to a left leg injury. The UK coach said in today’s press conference that Brooks has been leading the team off the court, as they posed a 3.1 overall GPA last semester, and hopes to see that growth translate on the floor.
“They know now what’s unacceptable and what’s not. If you watch us and they’re immature, than they’re not getting what we’re trying to do,” Calipari said.
What have the players done basketball wise to grow in maturity? Freshman forward B.J. Boston Jr. said today that he has gotten into the gym every morning this week at 6 a.m. to get up shots, and has extended an invite to his teammates in hopes of beginning another “breakfast club.” So far, Boston said fellow freshman Cam’Ron Fletcher is the only one to join him.
So, will this week’s practice be enough to put a “W” in the win/loss column on Saturday for Kentucky against an experienced Notre Dame squad that is ranked 2nd in the ACC in 3-pt percentage (44.1%) and has the conference’s leading scorer (Prentiss Hubb – 22.3 ppg)? We shall see.