Terrence Jones is not expected to start in Tuesday’s game because he couldn’t practice Monday. “It’s still swollen and black and blue,” Calipari said. “But that stuff’s all right. He’ll be fine. The doctor said he thought he may be able to practice today. Looked at it and said, ah, keep him out another day.”
Four players have started a “Breakfast Club,” Calipari said, and they get up early in the morning to lift and eat breakfast together. “You start building a bond that, we’re not caving in, we’re doing this together,” said Calipari, who didn’t name the players but said it’s “the guys you would expect. It means you’re totally sold it, bought in.”
Darius Miller said the Herald-Leader’s picture of Jones’ finger at a near 90-degree angle has made the rounds on the team. “It’s pretty nasty,” Miller said. I didn’t know it was that bad.”
With school out for winter break, here’s what Calipari has on the schedule: “I told them, between now and Jan. 9, you’re playing basketball, you’re eating or you’re sleeping. That’s it.” Miller said he is looking forward to it because of the improvement the team can make with such an increased focus on basketball. “All the kinks we need to get worked out, this is the time to do it.”
One of Miller’s personal kinks is that he’s shooting 24.2 percent on 3-pointers through 10 games, well below last season’s average of 44.3. “I always feel comfortable, it’s just not going in,” Miller said. “I just got to get up extra shots to get in the same routine of shooting the ball every time.”
Another kink? Listening in timeouts and executing the designed play. “We walk out of a timeout and there’s no telling what they’re going to do. But they probably never listened in a timeout before. They probably said, ‘all right. Now give me the ball and I’m shooting.’”
Calipari on his team’s progress: “Where they are right now is probably farther along than they deserve to be. Especially defensively. To get freshmen to defend the way we are is not normal. Yet offensively, we’re just not there. The biggest thing is we don’t talk.”
With no one else on campus (seriously. I swear I’m the only person here, and that’s only because the basketball players are here), players have more time to bond. “It’s as much of getting them together all the time,” Calipari said. “You’re not on the phone at dinner. Talk to one another. You’re not on the phone. You’re with these people. … If I see a guy on the phone, I’m like, what are you doing? You want to talk to the phone more than you want to talk to your teammate?”
Calipari complimented Doron Lamb’s improved efforts, saying he comes in 30-45 minutes before practice for extra conditioning and shooting. “I’ve been in the gym working hard on my game, and it’s paying off on the court,” Lamb said.
Samford, Tuesday’s opponent, wasn’t mentioned a single time today. I’ll have a ’3 things to watch for’ up tomorrow.
UK remained No. 3 in the AP poll. Out of 65 votes, Cats got four first-place votes. Others receiving top-ranked votes: No. 1 Syracuse (53), No. 2 Ohio State (5) and No. 4 Louisville (2).