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Sights and sounds from Kentucky's first basketball practices of '22-23

Article written by:On3 imageZack Geoghegan

ZGeogheganKSR

On3 image
Photo via Instagram: @ukcoachcalipari

The first official day of Kentucky men’s and women’s basketball practice for the 2022-23 season took place on Tuesday. With Media Day and the beginning of the regular season right around the corner, both programs enter the year in vastly different — yet equally enticing — situations.

Starting with Kentucky MBB, head coach John Calipari is about to embark on his 14th season in charge, loaded with a deep roster that features an unusual amount of veterans along with the typical superstar freshmen. The reigning unanimous National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe, headlines a Kentucky squad with championship aspirations and the desire to move past the nagging Saint Peter’s loss. There is top-tier talent at nearly every position.

But not only are these Wildcats ultra-talented, they’re also jacked. If you were wondering whether or not the new strength and conditioning coach Brady Welsh is earning his paycheck, don’t bother. Calipari posted a couple of pictures to social media after Tuesday’s practice to show off his players’ hard work in the weight room.

left to right: Lance Ware, Jacob Toppin, CJ Fredrick, Antonio Reeves, and HC John Calipari
left to right: Daimion Collins, Chris Livingston, Oscar Tshiebwe, Sahvir Wheeler, HC John Calipari, and Cason Wallace

Took a pic with Lance, Jacob, CJ and Antonio to show off their body transformations and the hard work they’ve put in this summer…and then the other guys came up and said they need to show off their hard work too. LOL!

This team has committed to the training and each other, and everyone is making major progress physically. Some losing weight, some gaining weight, but all are WORKING!! Great job @bradenwelsh!

John Calipari via Instagram

Those are some big dudes.

We also were treated to a brief highlight video of Tuesday’s practice thanks to the Kentucky MBB Twitter account. It’s not much, but we do see some smooth-looking jumpers from Tshiebwe, CJ Fredrick (his catch-and-release timing is unreal), and Daimion Collins, along with a pretty finish in the lane from Cason Wallace and a transition slam from Chris Livingston.

The new practice uniforms are pretty slick, too.

As for Kentucky WBB, third-year head coach Kyra Elzy is facing a likely rebuild year after the departure of Rhyne Howard, who recently finished up a record-setting rookie season in the WNBA after being the No. 1 pick in the draft, and four transfer departures. Only five players from the 2021-22 SEC Tournament champion squad return for Elzy as six freshmen and four new transfers enter the fold. That being said, there is plenty of experience coming back in those five returners, but how Elzy incorporates so many new faces will be her first test.

The WBB social media team went a bit more in-depth with the first day of practice videos than the MBB side. The team’s Instagram includes plenty of clips from Tuesday, most notably Blair Green participating in drills and looking fully healthy after tearing her Achilles not long before the 2021-22 season was set to begin.

The hype video gave us our first look at the likes of transfers Eniya Russell (South Carolina) and Ajae Petty (LSU). Elzy even gifted the first “Built Different” honor of the season to freshman Cassidy Rowe.

Below are a few photos taken during the two-hour practice, courtesy of UK Athletics photographer Eddie Justice.

Elzy will have plenty of options to work with when it comes to lineups and rotations this season.

Tuesday wasn’t all about basketball, though. Rookie point guard Saniah Tyler is celebrating a birthday, so her teammates made sure to give her the hype she deserves after a solid day’s work.

Season-long expectations will vary from the men’s team to the women’s team, but know this for a fact: both teams will be wildly entertaining to watch on the court.

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2023-02-01