In lower than two weeks, we’ll get our first glimpse of the 2022-23 Kentucky Wildcats in the Bahamas. Today, assistant coaches Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman sat down with reporters to share their early impressions of the brand new squad. Even although it is simply the summer, each are happy with how the staff is coming collectively, precedence quantity one in every of this bonus head begin to the season.
“[Fans are] going to see — what’s shocking would be the chemistry,” Antigua mentioned. “The chemistry, particularly with the brand new guys, how the veterans have actually embraced them.”
“Having loads of that have again has been optimistic for us,” Coleman mentioned. “Our guys all know what it’s, know what to anticipate so it is sort of been cool in that sense to teach a veteran group with actually good newcomers. These guys are all adapting effectively [to] one another.”
Oscar Tshiebwe, Sahvir Wheeler, Jacob Toppin, Lance Ware, and Daimion Collins return from final 12 months’s staff that went 26-8, together with CJ Fredrick, who missed the season attributable to damage. Coming in are Illinois State switch Antonio Reeves and freshmen Cason Wallace, Chris Livingston, and Adou Thiero. The staff is allotted ten practices to arrange for the 4 exhibition video games in the Bahamas. With a staff projected to be probably the greatest in school basketball this season, Antigua and Coleman know that each second issues.
“We’ve received a gaggle of men which can be skilled, older, mature with an inflow of actually proficient younger guys and clearly with Antonio [Reeves] and even with CJ [Fredrick] coming again now and having to get that every one to mesh and gel this early goes to be vital,” Antigua mentioned. “These journeys assist with that. These journeys assist hold the massive image in thoughts, long run, which is to be feeling and enjoying nice as you get into January, February, going into March.”
“Just having extra time in the summer,” Coleman mentioned of the advantages of the Bahamas journey. “Having performed 4 video games earlier than you play an precise sport. It’s 4 exhibition video games. The factor about it’s, exhibition video games through the season are big…Those are actually good costume rehearsals for you earlier than you play that first sport so we are going to already have 4 video games underneath our belt till we play.”
Chemistry is clearly vital, however in relation to enjoying fashion, what ought to followers anticipate from the Cats this 12 months? Antigua mentioned that Kentucky’s capability to play so many various types might be its greatest power.
“I like how briskly we play. I like how now we have a number of guys that may play totally different positions. We can go actually large, we are able to go actually small, we are able to go actually athletic, we are able to go actually bodily. I believe that versatility is one thing that is very distinctive. I’m excited to see how we are able to mess around with these toys.”
The Bahamas will present the proper alternative for the teaching employees to tinker with totally different lineups.
“This journey is large for constructing chemistry, staff bonding, and to permit us as a employees to attempt some issues that we wish to attempt to tweak after we get again in the autumn,” Antigua added. “Cal is a grasp at understanding and getting a really feel for his groups in phrases of when we have to push or we have to again off to carry them alongside. We’ll clearly make some changes in the autumn and never begin off as early as we usually would in a 12 months we’re not touring.”
A “Breakfast Club” is already forming
In the 2011-12 season, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist famously began “The Breakfast Club” by recruiting teammates to hitch him in the health club for early workouts. Add this staff to the listing of others which have adopted go well with.
“There’s a gaggle that goes at 7 am in the morning,” Coleman mentioned. “We name them the Breakfast Club. We have about 4 or 5 which have been in that group.”
“Our guys are profiting from the tradition and dealing extraordinarily arduous to the purpose the place some guys must dial again a bit bit as a result of some guys are understanding 3 times a day, 4 occasions a day.”
Coleman attributed a part of that work ethic to gamers attending satellite tv for pc camps with NBA gamers earlier than returning to campus.
“They sort of introduced again that hustle to our spring coaching, our summer coaching, so it has been nice. It’s been nice to see guys compete, who’s the primary in the health club, who’s the final out of the health club. There’s an internal locker room competitors.”
File this underneath “Things you’re keen on to listen to in July.”