Notes from UK Men’s Basketball Dec. 19 practice


Kentucky redshirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo gets the rebound during the game against Eastern Tennessee State University on Friday, November 17, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 78-61. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Chris Leach

As Kentucky prepares for its game against UCLA, media was invited to sit in on Tuesday’s practice and observe how the team is progressing. 

Here are some notes of what took place at Tuesday’s practice.

Calipari wants the team to focus on rebounding

One of the drills that took place during Tuesday’s practice was a five-on-five with lids on the rims. Head coach John Calipari made a little game out of it, giving two points per offensive rebound and one point for defensive rebounds.

It was the first unit versus the second unit, and the second unit won the drill. The Cats only spent about five minutes tallying points, but Sacha Killeya-Jones was a big reason why the second unit won the drill.

Calipari is worried about on-ball defense

Besides rebounding, on-ball defense was the second most practiced skill in Tuesday afternoon’s session. Calipari even said he was starting to get worried about their guarding the ball after some players struggled to switch defenders in a separate drill. 

Injury update

Jarred Vanderbilt and Jemarl Baker were not seen at practice today. The Cats also had another player missing from practice, as Tai Wynyard sat out due to general soreness. 

Wynyard worked out with the strength and conditioning staff and is considered day-to-day. Wynyard came out near the end of the practice and sat on the benches, rolling around on a tennis ball.

Hamidou Diallo’s shot is still hot

Much of the offense ran through Hamidou Diallo during Tuesday’s practice, and it felt like he was making baskets more than missing them.

Diallo struggled to knock down shots during the final five-on-five scrimmage at the end of practice, but was swishing shots once again during the end of practice shoot around.

Diallo is coming off a career-high four made three-pointers against Virginia Tech.

Nick Richards working to improve his game 

Three of the first four players on the court for Tuesday’s practice were walk-ons, except Nick Richards. Richards was there at least 15 minutes early working on his hook and jump shot. 

Richards was also the center of attention during the rebounding drills, as he’s shown the tendency to rebound with one hand, something Calipari doesn’t like. Richards did rebound with two hands for most of the practice, but there were still some slip-ups that Calipari called him out for.