Monday, December 8, 2008

Increasing intensity in practice

After Rick Pitino's U of L team lost to WKU recently, Coach Pitino made some changes.

For one, he brought back two-a-days, scheduling practices in the morning (6:30) and afternoon that "focused more on teamwork than individual instruction."

He also had assistant Walter McCarty -- a 10-year NBA vet and former standout at UK under Coach Pitino -- suit up "in an effort to toughen the Cards' inside players and improve rebounding."

The 6-foot-10 McCarty (shown here from his days at UK), a member of Kentucky's 1996 NCAA title team, played in almost 600 NBA games with the Knicks, Boston, PHX, and the Clips.

According to Coach Pitino:

"We put in some things to make (practice) better. One of the reasons why (practice) has been poor is that the first unit is not working as hard because there's a tremendous disparity between first and second teams. So I started playing Walter McCarty to pick up competition. We have to do some things to shore up our rebounding and things to enhance our mental aspect of the game and also do some things to check our egos at the door. It has meant a big difference to our players having (McCarty) in there, and they see it."

According to this article, Coach McCarty "took three charges in the first practice of the week, two of which 'we didn't think he would get up from.'"

The Cardinals responded by winning their next two games, beating Indiana State by 40 and Ohio by 35.