Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Three takeaways from John Calipari's pre-exhibition press conference

Kentucky opens exhibition play on Sunday against Clarion, where UK head coach John Calipari graduated in 1982. In this All Wildcats feature, we take a closer look at three of the major talking points from Calipari's press conference on Thursday at the Craft Center.

1. No Starting Lineup Yet

Although the press notes for UK's first exhibition game listed sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe alongside four freshmen -- guards De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, forwards Bam Adebayo and Wenyen Gabriel -- as the Cats' projected starters against Clarion, Calipari was not ready to name his lineup three days before the matchup. The three guards have only been grouped on the same team in practice for about a week, so Calipari said it remains "a work in progress, but it's gonna be good."  Briscoe, Fox and Monk are thought to be a lock to start going into the season. The bigger question is who emerges at the two frontcourt positions. Adebayo is almost a certainty with his 6-foot-10, 260-pound frame and hype as a McDonald's All-American, but Calipari has options at the other spot with senior Derek Willis, newcomer Gabriel and perhaps even sophomore center Isaac Humphries if he elects to go big. 

2. 'Shooting The Pee Out of The Ball'

Calipari's one-liner of the day involved senior wing Mychal Mulder, who the UK boss said was "shooting the pee out of the ball in practice."  Asked to expound upon that comment, Calipari added: "He is making every shot right now. If you leave him open, it drives me crazy because we don’t like to give up 3s, but he’s making them." Mulder played only 90 minutes total (3.8 per game) during his first season with the Cats, primarily due to a loaded backcourt that included NBA Draft picks Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray alongside Briscoe. But this season could provide him with more opportunity. It's a natural progression for many players coming out of the junior college ranks, according to Calipari. “It’s usually what happens. That year is big. Part of it is playing here. The lights and all the stuff that goes with here kind of gets you on your heels. Then you’re everybody’s Super Bowl, which puts you on your heels. Then you start questioning them. It usually takes those kids a year. He’s doing well.”

3. Cats at Full Strength, Health-Wise

Humphries and redshirt freshman forward Tai Wynyard both resumed practice on Wednesday, Calipari said. Both missed the Blue-White Scrimmage last Friday with minor leg injuries. "My guess is they'll both play," Calipari said. It will be fans' first opportunity to see the new-and-improved Humphries in game action after the Australian 7-footer shed many pounds during the off-season. Likewise, it could be the first extended look at Wynyard, the 6-foot-10 New Zealand product who enrolled last January but did not see game action.


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