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How John Calipari is Addressing Kentucky's Turnover Problem

Nick Roush12/11/20


Article written by:On3 imageNick Roush


Chet White | UK Athletics

The Kentucky Wildcats have been a turnover machine.

They’ve only played four games this season and in two of those games they’ve committed 21 turnovers. Opponents score on average 20.5 points per game off of 18.3 UK turnovers. Kentucky ranks 325th out of 357 Division I basketball teams in turnovers per game.

Of all the problems with this Kentucky basketball team, none looms larger than ball security. To change that trend John Calipari has altered the way the Wildcats practice.

“In coaching in all my years, if it’s important to me, it’ll be important to them and now they know this is important to me,” Calipari said.

“I’ve held them accountable in practice. We’re doing some different things to let them know what’s accepted. And I’m trying to do it in a way where they hit a certain point in practice, if you get X amount of turnovers anywhere in practice — a drill, you fumble you lose it, it’s a turnover. If you get to this point, we all run every turnover after that to make them accountable to each other.”

Once the team reaches their turnover limit in practice, a mistake by one player forces the entire team to run. The goal is to deter individuals from trying to be a hero.

“It’s something we talk about at practice all the time: making the easy play,” said Olivier Sarr, “not trying to make the best play or the hero play, just taking care of the ball and making sure we get through our offense.”

Will the emphasis on accountability work against Notre Dame? We’ll find out Saturday at noon.

“We’re in this together,” said Sarr. “We have to compete and we have to fight each and every game. The rest will take care of itself.”

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