John Calipari, his coaching staff and the Kentucky basketball team exited a train and sat down at tables in downtown Midway, Ky. They then proceeded to sign autographs and take pictures with UK fans for over 90 minutes. This gathering of the Big Blue Nation happened on short notice. UK announced the event on Friday evening, but hundreds showed up on Sunday evening.
It seems odd to take a bunch of players in their late teens (and a few in their early 20’s) on a day long trip on a train, that included a stop for a basketball camp and two stops for autograph sessions. But John Calipari had his reasons. He wanted to have the chance to do some team building activities and he wanted to help the players, especially the new ones, understand the impact they have on the people across Kentucky.
Calipari already likes what he has seen from this new team, “I’m getting a great vibe from this group.” He told a tale of going into his office at 10pm, looking onto the practice courts below and seeing the new teammates sitting around and talking, building chemistry that is so important for a team full of new players.
One of those new guys is Stanford grad transfer Reid Travis. Calipari likes Travis for a lot of reasons but two that he mentioned were, Travis wants to be at Kentucky and he is a grad of Stanford. The Kentucky coach also thinks the addition of Travis will help improve PJ Washington, “He and PJ are really going to help each other get better.”
Calipari described his team as very versatile, with a lot of pieces, “We got a little bit of everything. We should be physically strong, we should be long, we got some quickness, we got a bunch of guys that can make shots, so it should be interesting.”
Kentucky fans would be interested in another Final Four and it appears all the parts are there to make a run.