By LARRY VAUGHT
Wednesday’s 11 p.m. EST start for Kentucky’s game against Utah in Las Vegas might be a problem for a lot of UK fans to stay awake that light — or maybe even some UK coaches.
However, Kentucky coach John Calipari is not worried about the impact the late start will have on his team which will have a practice tonight once it arrives in Las Vegas.
“The only good news I know is that it will be 11 o’clock my players’ time and they will be happy-go-lucky. It’s 11 o’clock, they’re just getting up, ready to go,” Calipari said today.
Freshman guard Tyrese Maxey agreed.
“Up all night. We’re teenagers. What are we doing, playing a game or something? We’re up doing something, so the time’s not going to do anything to us,” Maxey joked. “We’re just ready to play, have a lot of fun with each other.”
Redshirt freshman Zan Payne said today said UK players “should be excited” for the game.
“I think it should be fun for everybody going to Las Vegas, too,” Payne said. “We’ve just been going over the plays, getting ready, going over the other team’s plays. Just getting five on five in, getting some aggressive play, going at it, going against each other.”
Now for Calipari, the late night start could be an issue.
“If you’re a coach, it’s a little bit harder. We’ll get out there tonight. We’re going to practice, try to get them to sleep tonight, hopefully keep them up on the plane,” Calipari said. “I don’t know how many (media members) will be (in Las Vegas) already, but you’re welcome to come to our practice there. We weren’t planning on doing as much as we did today, but we did.
“We’re just telling whoever (media) wants to come to come to the practice. I think it’s at 6:30 at Coronado High School. Local time is 5. So maybe 5, 5:30 at Coronado High School.”
Well, I am already in Vegas and I will take a pass on the practice invitation because I already have tickets to see David Copperfield tonight at the MGM. However, while the practice will be good for the players, it’s also interesting that Coronado High School is where one of the nation’s top juniors, Jaden Hardy, plays.
He’s already a UK recruiting priority in the 2021 class and this practice tonight just might give him an extra chance to see Calipari and how he connects with his players. Would not surprise me to see UK have a few more practices there on Thursday and Friday, too, before it plays Ohio State on Saturday.