LEXINGTON, Ky. — So what was John Calipari’s response to several players looking exhausted and a handful cramping up during last week’s Blue-White scrimmage?
“We’re conditioning like crazy right now. Like, it’s nuts,” said Calipari, who admits that with eight freshmen he is stopping practice to teach so often it probably hurts in that area. “But that’s cured because we’re now conditioning at a high level, like I’ve conditioned no other team I’ve coached here.”
And what does that look like, exactly? Like 50 to 75 sprints per practice, according to freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
“It’s been really tough,” he said. “We’re challenging ourselves a lot. Coach is challenging us a lot. It’s looking a little rough early, but it’s a process and we just want to be good come March. We’re doing a lot of conditioning [but] to get where we want to be, we know we have to be in the best shape possible. We all understand that, so there’s no problem.”
Sophomore forward Sacha Killeya-Jones called the new conditioning regimen “another level” from what he experienced last season at Kentucky. The good news: so far no one has vomited.
“It’s something we’re all buying into and we all know we need right now,” Killeya-Jones said. “Just based on how we want to play — defense to offense in transition, rebounding everything — we know we’re going to need our legs.”
Just one week after Cramp Fest 2017, the Wildcats will get a chance to redeem themselves during the team’s first exhibition game against Division III Thomas More on Friday at 7 p.m. ET at Rupp Arena (SEC Network).
If you were thinking of wagering on cramps, “I wouldn’t put my money on it,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I don’t think anyone is going to cramp.”