Tiger basketball camp report
November 2, 2006
Another look With all due respect to LeMoyne-Owen and Christian Brothers -- the Tigers' opponents in their exhibition games tonight and Monday -- John Calipari would rather be playing Alabama.
Calipari said Wednesday that next season he'll look at dropping one of the two exhibition games allowed by the NCAA and instead schedule a closed scrimmage against a high-level Division 1 opponent, something other top programs have already done this year (Kansas State and Marquette scrimmaged last week, as did Georgia Tech and UAB). In fact, Calipari said he and Alabama coach Mark Gottfried wanted to set up a scrimmage, but the Tigers' two exhibition games had already been scheduled.
Though Calipari said "There's no question" his team would get more out of scrimmaging Alabama, dropping an exhibition game would cost the athletic department roughly $200,000 worth of ticket revenue.
"The issue becomes, where do we come up with the $200,000 we're going to lose?" Calipari said. "But next year, I think we're going to have one or two more home games than (this year), so we won't lose any revenue."
With center Pierre Niles (knee surgery) still a handful of days away from returning to practice and Kareem Cooper suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules, the Tigers will have a smaller look tonight.
A three-guard lineup, however, is something the Tigers might use a lot of this season given the return of senior Jeremy Hunt and the addition of freshmen Doneal Mack, Tre'Von Willis and Willie Kemp.
Sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said the team has gotten comfortable playing with a three-guard look.
"There will be some teams with big players that we'll need to match up with," Douglas-Roberts said. "But if it's a small team we can match up fine with them. We're in great shape."
Calipari said he plans on substituting five-man units throughout the first half tonight. In other words, as soon as one of his starters begins to tire, the whole first team will be replaced.
"They'll play between three and five minutes," Calipari said. "If anyone on the team gets winded, the whole team comes out. Maybe it's two minutes, then boom, 'Next group let's go,' and let's see how hard we can push and how long they can go."
Calipari didn't name starters, but indicated Kemp might run the point with a more veteran unit and junior Andre Allen might play with rookies.
Doors to the FedExForum will open an hour before tipoff tonight and for every home game this season. ... Former Tigers players John Wilfong and Duane Erwin watched Wednesday's practice.
-- Dan Wolken