In the week leading to the trip to the Bahamas, Kentucky Coach John Calipari invited the Kentucky media corps to attend this week’s practices. UK asked reporters not to cite specifics from the workouts. But opinions were fine.
Here are some first impressions from Monday’s practice, which took up more than two hours:
— As eight McDonald’s All-Americans suggest, UK will be good.
— It’s no big deal that Willie Cauley-Stein and freshman Trey Lyles did not practice.
— Freshman Tyler Ulis is not tall (5-foot-9), but he could have a big impact. He’s quick physically and mentally. He thinks ahead on offense (touch passes) and on defense (As Carly Simon once sang, anticipation). He looks ideal for Calipari’s drive-drive-drive offense.
— I like Marcus Lee’s mohawk haircut.
— Never mind the so-called “new rules” about hand checks on the perimeter and the block/charge. If the NCAA bans the dunk or raises the basket, Kentucky faces a major adjustment. But . . .
— Freshman 7-footer Karl-Anthony Towns can face up and shoot jump shots.
— It’s way to early to draw any conclusions. The first game is three months and 10 days away (Grand Canyon on Nov. 14). The first day of classes is three weeks away (Aug. 27).
— If you didn’t know better, you would not think Calipari is coming off hip replacement surgery. His pale legs took him all over the court. His was the lone coaching voice heard.