LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Jun 2, 2014 5:24 PM by Alan Cutler

Expect Football Pads In Practice Next Year

Cal was terrific talking with Andy Katz and Seth Greenburg for an ESPN podcast. It was typical Cal. He was asking and answering a lot of his own questions.

Doesn't matter that he's walking with a cane after having his hip replaced. Cal's passion about basketball and his players was, as always, strong.

With the NBA draft on June 26, Cal admits that if Julius Randle played somewhere else, he might have put up better numbers, but "he wouldn't have been as prepared," Cal said on ESPN.

"He's physically ready for the league now," he said.

He calls Julius a 15-year NBA player.

"Let's try and be Karl Malone," says Cal as he talks about one of the greatest power forwards of all time, and what Randle needs to shoot for.

About James Young, Cal says "he might be the fastest player in the draft."

Young is in the same boat as Randle. Had he played somewhere else, his numbers might have been better. Cal believes Young, who took 11 shots a game, is being compared to others who took 17 a game.

There are three great advantages between this year's team and last season when UK made it to the NCAA Championship game.

One, not having the Harrison Twins and James Young for the summer workouts slowed down the development of the team more than many realized.

The second advantage is something called veterans. There are plenty of very talented players who know Cal, know what makes him tick, and can make it much easier for this great recruiting class coming in.

The third is very obvious - a deep roster.

"This year, we're going to have everyone here, and you're gonna talk about some leadership this year. The leadership being the Twins, being Willie, being Alex. We're gonna have guys who have been here now for a while. And they're gonna be able to lead the young guys. The young guys we have coming in are talented, all four of them. And they're going to be able to be led, and coached, and challenged by those guys," Cal said.

Now that Cal has a bench, if you aren't hustling, it's easy to have a player sitting next to him. The power of the bench could be exactly what Cal needs because he wants a faster tempo, better defense. And why can't UK be a great rebounding team with all of their size?

Don't look for Willie Cauley-Stein to play in the Bahamas with the team this summer.

"It was gonna be a couple of months. He probably still has the boot on," Cal said. "He may be able to practice with us in late July, but he wouldn't be cleared until the 10th of August. And, why would I risk it for him or for us?"

As far as practice, it's football pads from the beginning because Cal doesn't believe the refs are going to change how they call games.

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