KENNY WALKER: Semester break good for players

It is good and bad when finals are over and everybody is gone from campus except basically the basketball team. It is obviously bad from the standpoint that campus is empty, you have no class and your friends have gone home. Your social life is kind of bad because there is not a lot to do. But there is more time to focus on basketball.

There is more time to mentally get ready and more time to work on things that you are weak at. Individually, it is an opportunity to focus better and get better at things you need to improve on. I think coaches can teach and put more things in.

There is a lot of good if team approaches things in the right way, but obviously it is very difficult when everybody else is gone. It forces you to hang out more together. The teams I played on really hung out more together during this time than maybe any other time of the year. You get together and do things. You go shopping or just hang out at the mall.

Coach (Joe) Hall always wanted us to get up and get out and not lay around the Lodge all the time, which I thought was very good. We had lunch, dinner and even breakfast at different places. That forced us to get off campus together. I think you become more of a family with all that. Your teammates are all you have and you can grow closer as a team.

If everything is going well, it can even be a fun time to be out and be seen. Kentucky fans are always going to let you know how well you are playing. But that can be good or bad. If you start reading all the things in the newspaper and believe everything the fans patting you on the back say, you can get to be a Fat Cat and start to believe you are better than you really are.

I think you have to be humble when fans come up to you and understand there is a lot of work to be done. The non-conference games are always tough, but the SEC will be tougher because everybody is more familiar with you. So you basically can turn the semester break time into something good if you approach it the right way, which I am sure coach Smith always makes sure his team does.


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