Kentucky nears end of first week in ‘Camp Cal’
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Ryan Harrow says that “Camp Cal” is working for him after just one week.
However, results may vary for his Kentucky teammates.
Wildcats coach John Calipari has warned against expecting an immediate return from two-a-day workouts implemented last week.
Like any exercise program, he expects to see progress over time and hopes his players develop patterns that reap long-term benefits.
For now, Calipari is observing the Wildcats’ dedication to his routine featuring early morning conditioning workouts and afternoon practices.
Finals week has provided plenty of time for Kentucky (6-3) to get in shape and learn the system, and more sessions are scheduled over the semester break.
In between is Saturday’s game against Lipscomb, which could determine if Kentucky is building the physical and mental toughness that Calipari seeks.
“We will see,” Calipari said Friday. “Demonstrated performance on the basketball court shows. What we’re forcing them to do is to be held accountable. We’re forcing them to get up early and work, which is mental toughness, and that they’re held responsible for each other. That’s what I’m doing. We’re getting better, but you’ve got to go and perform on the basketball court.”
Harrow believes his embrace of Camp Cal has helped increase his role in the Wildcats’ game plan.
The sophomore point guard missed four games and two weeks of practice in November because of an undisclosed illness and a family matter that forced him to return home to Georgia during Thanksgiving.
Since returning, the North Carolina State transfer has seen his minutes increase in each of his four games.
Harrow seems eager to see what will happen with more workouts to come.
“We’ll be practicing probably two or three times a day,” Harrow said. “I know there is a week until we get to go home on Dec. 22 and then coming back we’ll be getting prepared for the (Dec. 29) Louisville game, so we’ll just be together all day.
“Wake up, eat breakfast, practice, go to lunch, practice, eat dinner and then do a walkthrough.”
Harrow’s teammates believe the practices have helped his rhythm and confidence.
“He’s been knocking down a lot more shots lately and getting back into the groove of things,” Wildcats freshman guard Archie Goodwin said. “You know, it was going to take some time for him because he was out for a couple of weeks.
“It’s understandable. But now that he’s come back we’re happy for him and hopefully it translates to the game.”
Kentucky has just two more games before facing intrastate rival Louisville. The Wildcats are 4-0 against the Cardinals under Calipari.
This week, the barometer for measuring improvement is Lipscomb. Calipari has taken a wait-and-see approach with his team featuring four highly regarded freshmen and two sophomores among its top seven players.
At the same time, the coach has chided himself for some of Kentucky’s early issues.
“That’s why you play the kind of games (Kentucky has), so I can learn about my team,” Calipari said. “November, December is just all I’m trying to do is learn about my team so I know what I have to do.
“Obviously, whatever I guessed early was wrong, so now we’re trying to readjust and they’re trying to readjust. It’s been tougher on them, but they’ve responded.”