More practice time around the corner as UK heads into December


Freshman guards Quade Green (0) and Hamidou Diallo (3) talk during a foul shot during the game against UIC on Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the game 107-73. Photo by Hunter Mitchell

Chris Leach

Fans have watched UK basketball play seven times in the last 16 days, but all of that is about to change as the calendar flips from November to December.

The Cats will only play one game a week until the end of December, meaning Kentucky will get the chance to log some much-needed practice time as the competition starts to pick up. 

“So we basically have seven days of practice, finally, to where we can try to get better and I can try to focus on some areas that I know we got to get better at,” head coach John Calipari said. 

Recap: UK defeats UIC by 38 points

Before their next game against Harvard, the Cats will have two off days before practicing for three days straight before Saturday’s game. Kentucky hasn’t had a string of three straight practices, or two consecutive recovery days, since the beginning of the season. 

The extra time spent practicing will give the Cats the chance to improve in weaker areas before a tougher slate of games presents itself in December.

“There’s so many things we got to figure out, a lot of scrimmaging to, again, build these players into more a more efficient team and more efficient individually and better with the ball, limiting turnovers,” Calipari said.

However, the players aren’t entirely looking forward to the practices themselves, as they are more difficult for them compared to games.

“Our practices are way harder, if you come to our practice, you can definitely see we have one of the toughest practices probably in the country,” freshman Kevin Knox said.

Watch: Kevin Knox full postgame interview

Deep down though, Knox said he and the players don’t mind the tough practices because it’s what they need to get better. Decisively beating opponents, like they did against UIC, can only get the Cats so far, and working on team’s efficiency in practice is what Kentucky needs to get better.

As for the extra off days, Calipari and the Cats plan to take full advantage of those also, as the team has been working basically all of November and likely needs some down days.

“We all need a break, I need a break,” Calipari said. “I’ll probably do a little recruiting here in the next couple of days, they don’t need to see me and I’m kind of happy I’m not seeing them.”

The break will come at a good time, as the Cats will play a couple of NCAA Tournament-caliber teams in December before starting SEC play on Dec. 31. Hamidou Diallo said after Sunday’s game that he’s ready for a short break, but ready to get to work before playing better teams.

“It’s right around the corner, we got a couple tournaments coming up that we’re going to play in against some good teams,” Diallo said.