Skip to content

Kentucky’s ‘Camp Cal’ could turn the season around

Dec 7, 2012, 11:29 PM EDT

John Calipari

John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats lost two straight, one at home snapping a 55-game home winning streak and marking the first time Calipari has lost inside Rupp Arena while on the UK sideline and if that wasn’t enough, Kentucky went from being No. 8 in the nation to be unranked…in a week.

Safe to say Coach Cal is not happy and so the emergence of ‘Camp Cal’ has occurred.

For the past two days, the Kentucky roster has gotten up at 7 a.m. for workouts, followed by an afternoon practice. This will continue until Calipari is satisfied with his team, that started entered the season ranked No. 3.

Camp Cal started after Calipari was unhappy with his team’s efforts in an 88-56 win over Samford, a game in which the Wildcats only outscored the Bulldogs by one in the second half. Calipari certainly wasn’t happy with Saturday’s loss to Baylor.

This lack of effort, especially in Tuesday’s second half against Samford, sparked Coach Cal to use a “forced breakfast club” to get players to begin their days together with training. Classes have already ended at UK, meaning more time has opened up for extra workouts. However this could all be over soon – or extended through Christmas break – depending on the Wildcats performance against 3-5 Portland on Saturday

“We’ve got a good group of guys, we really do,” said Calipari. “They just don’t know how hard you’ve got to work or what kind of investment you have to make in this sport. I’ve always had a couple of guys on the team that could drag others. We’re still trying to find that mix.”

One of the main issues with the team thus far is the uncertainty at the point guard position. Junior point guard Jarrod Polson was great for the season-opener against Maryland in Brooklyn. But in a John Calipari team, the point guard has always been critical, whether it be Derrick Rose, John Wall, Brandon Knight, or Marquise Teague. That floor general was suppose to be Ryan Harrow, who has been unable to find a role after battling illness and dealing with a family matter the first few weeks of the season.

Since then, Archie Goodwin, making the transition from the two guard has filled into that role.

“I worked out like three times on Thursday,” said Harrow. “I was just trying to get a workout in and I’ll work out tonight. … We want to be in shape. We need something.”

At 5-3, this isn’t where Kentucky was expecting to be, but Camp Cal – whether it ends on Saturday or continues through the holiday season – this could make or break the Wildcat’s season.

“It may be a month and half before you really see,” said Calipari. “It won’t change overnight.”

Kentucky has three games remaining on this current home stand – Portland, Lipscomb, and Marshall – before a Dec. 29 road game against rival, Louisville.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

  1. cranespy - Dec 8, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    We all know of Coach Cal’s ability to recruit and provide the path to the Association but what about his ability to actually coach?

    We have all grown accustomed to seeing the list of Blue Chippers that make their way to Lexington, but how many times has Coach Cal taken the best to the dance and brought home an NCAA Championship?? ONCE!

    Hmmmm…..will BBN be patient through the obvious growing pains of this crop??

    If you recall….John Wall and his batch of future NBA ers were knocked out by Bob Huggins and his overachieving Mountaineers!

    Thus far the youngsters are just not getting it. Perhaps Camp Cal will solve the problem and the group will respond. Hopefully it will, if not the Cats are on track for an early exit come March.

    This is worth watching….particularly with conference match ups against Missouri and Florida on the horizon.

  2. wildcatvikingsguy - Dec 8, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I point to the train wreck of UCLA and the thus far under achieving Baylor as examples of a team with incredible talent, but no coach to tie it all together. Coach Cal really gets undersold in this regard, because all these guys are really selfish and me first players and turns them into a team.

  3. florida727 - Dec 8, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Kentucky will be just fine. As much as I’d like to see my Gators beat them out for the SEC title this year (and hopefully more), I still think Kentucky is an extremely dangerous team that can get on a roll and win… a lot. Cal is a great coach, not just a recruiter, and he’ll prove it. I say you underestimate Kentucky at your own peril. They’ll be there at the end.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!