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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, 10/17, Practice Observations

Wednesday practice observations
Posted by Dan Wolken

Watching the Tigers practice today, it occured to me that Memphis’ bench might have more top-50 recruits than any in the country. Coach John Calipari broke up the team today into two units, with Derrick Rose, Antonio Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Robert Dozier and Joey Dorsey playing as the first team. That means Willie Kemp, Doneal Mack, Andre Allen, Jeff Robinson and Shawn Taggart was the second team. Of the latter five, only Allen was not a top-50 rated recruit in his senior year of high school.

More observations:
– Andre Allen was killing people Wednesday. He may be 5-8, but that is one very hard man to guard.

– Derrick Rose and Jeff Robinson both took some hard shots to the face, but they were OK. Antonio Anderson got the wind knocked out of him but came back. As Anderson was laying on the floor in pain, Calipari said, “Look at how much stronger he is. Two years ago, he would have been out for a month. Now, he’s fine.” Power of suggestion, perhaps?

– Jeff Robinson and Shawn Taggart both made some great offensive plays but missed layups. It’s very reminiscent of how Doneal Mack and Willie Kemp looked last year at the beginning of preseason practice. Now, those guys make virtually everything.

– Once again, Calipari was jazzed about how the team looked in practice. “I went live zone, live press, and live man from blockouts to see where we are. Man,” he said. “And then I did some out of bounds plays. Man. And you’re like, holy cow. And the greatest thing is, they’re just playing. They’re understanding, this offense doesn’t put restrictions. Just make sure you’re spaced, make hard cuts and be strong on drives.”

– The Tigers will take Thursday off. Calipari was headed out on the road to recruit.

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