- About Cal
- Book Club
- The Foundation
- Coaching Drills
I’m hearing all the accolades of an incoming recruiting class being the “best ever in the history of the game.” Come on, folks! Why would we do that to this new group of kids? You can’t say that next year’s class is the best ever before they’ve even gotten here.
Because we have very few returning veterans that our new guys can imitate or mimic, we haven’t gotten the level of work – conditioning, toughness, effort and exertion – that we need and expect. To do that, each player is now practicing and playing in games with a device that measures their exertion rate, sport zones, caloric expenditure and heart rate. The device gives us the ability to monitor and check how much effort players are giving in real time.
I was up early today just thinking to myself that this is about more than just winning and losing. I HATE losing, but it’s bigger than that being the coach at the University of Kentucky. My job is to help all these young people become the best versions of themselves on and off the court and get them to understand how much they need each other to truly do that. The last two weeks, we’ve moved in that direction.
People have asked me so many times, “How in the world do you get young players to play like they do?” And it’s not just the 18 freshmen that we’ve had the last four years; I was coaching Keith Van Horn and Kerry Kittles in their rookie years, and both ended up getting near-max contracts. Here’s what I tell them.
I’ve been on them about their conditioning, but part of the reason they’ve been so exhausted in practice and in games is their energy levels have been low. You can say that’s for a number of reasons, but one of them is they aren’t eating enough. Under the current rules, if a young man eats at our training table and wants to take some food for later, he can’t