Tiger basketball camp report
October 28, 2006
Tigers ranked 14th The University of Memphis is ranked 14th in the USA Today/ESPN college basketball preseason coaches' poll, released Friday.
Given the Tigers' considerable personnel losses from last season's 33-4 team, the ranking at the very least validates coach John Calipari's contention that the Tigers are a national program with national aspirations. Connecticut, Texas, Syracuse and Kentucky were all ranked behind Memphis in the poll.
"We don't pay attention to rankings," sophomore forward Robert Dozier said. "It's just a number. We've got to go out on the court and do like we did last year and prove to everybody else we might be a better team than everybody thinks."
Defending national champion Florida was No. 1 in the poll with 30 of 31 first-place votes.
Cooper out again
Though freshman center Hashim Bailey returned to practice Friday after sitting out Thursday to take care of some "personal business," sophomore center Kareem Cooper was absent for a second straight day.
"He's dealing with some personal issues right now," Calipari said. "We'll have to see where that goes."
Calipari declined to elaborate on the situation. "He's dealing with some personal things he has to deal with," Calipari said.
For the last few years, Calipari has broken up the team into two groups during practice and kept score of certain drills to raise the level of competitiveness.
But Calipari said he's doing it more with this year's team than he has with any other.
Usually, losing a game or a drill means extra running.
"Every drill we do, there are consequences to winning and losing," Calipari said. "I've zeroed in on it more with this team than any other. Because I'm looking at it saying, of all the teams I've had, this has to be one of those teams that their desire to win is off the chain. If we have that, we're going to be all right."
-- Dan Wolken