Playing And Training With Pros Gives UK A Unique Edge

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Playing And Training With Pros Gives UK A Unique Edge

Post  Mikey on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:01 am

Every team holds open gyms in the offseason. But like almost all things to do with basketball - it's a little different in Kentucky.

With the NBA in the midst of a labor stoppage, professional players have filled the practice gyms at the Joe Craft Center on campus at Kentucky during the summer and fall. What started as an off-season spot to workout and play for former Wildcat players like Rajon Rondo and Nazr Mohammed has turned in to a stopover for some of the NBA's biggest stars. Lebron James, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant - along with the majority of his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates - have all visited UK to workout and play in pickup games.

The chance to train with and play against some of the best players in the world is a unique experience for current Kentucky players like freshman Kyle Wiltjer.

"We all look at the NBA like a pedestal. Every young player's dream is to play in the NBA and to get to play with those guys is pretty unbelievable. To get not only players that went to Kentucky but we're getting other players back like Lebron and Kevin Durant. It's just a great opportunity for our team because it really pushes us to get us better," he said.

By spending long days training and playing at Kentucky's facilities the pros serve as invaluable example to the younger players, according to John Calipari.

"You may say, 'You mean to tell me they go work in the weight room for an hour and a half then they do individual work for an hour, hour and a half, then they get a bite to eat and they come back and play for three hours. What?' That's their job. They're professional. They play basketball," Calipari said.

The long days are voluntary. NBA coaches are not allowed to have any contact with their players during the lockout. Calipari hopes his players will learn to do the same when he's not allowed to instruct them during the offseason.

"Understand, yeah, on your own, there's nobody looking over these guys, they're here working," he said.

Wilter is trying to take full advantage of what he knows is a unique opportunity.

"You get to play with them and then afterword they would always just sit around and we would get to talk to them. So it's great to ask them questions and they're great guys so they're willing to answer and help us out a lot," he said.

Topics: NBA Basketball, Kentucky Basketball, Kyle Wiltjer, John Calipari

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Re: Playing And Training With Pros Gives UK A Unique Edge

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:49 pm

Good post Mike.

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