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Dodson will not play in 2010-11; Cats begin preparation for trip to Canada

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dodson hartford.jpgThe Kentucky men's basketball team will officially be without the services of Darnell Dodson for next season and possibly longer.

Head coach John Calipari posted a message on his Facebook fan page Sunday indicating that Dodson, a junior shooting guard, will not play for UK this season. According to the post, it appears Dodson, who is academically eligible, will have the opportunity to return to the team in the future and practice with the team this year, should he fall back into Calipari's good graces.

"Practice is underway as we prepare for our Canada trip and I'm pleased with the energy everyone brought," Calipari said in a post on his Facebook fan page. "I do want to let you all know that junior Darnell Dodson will not be playing for UK this season. If Darnell, who is academically eligible, decides to return, he could practice with the team if he meets our standards."

Dodson was UK's leading 3-pointer shooter last year, hitting a team-high 50 treys on 144 attempts (34.7 percent). The 6-foot-7 guard averaged 6.0 points in 14.5 minutes per game.

The loss of Dodson for the season means UK will return only 1,429 minutes of 7,675 minutes played last year and 403 points of 3,012 points scored. In other words, Kentucky will be without 81.4 percent of its minutes played from the 2009-10 season and 86.6 percent of its points.

Dodson was expected to play a key role on an inexperienced team. Fortunately for Kentucky, the Cats will welcome the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for the second year in a row to cushion the blow.

The Dodson announcement was made on the first day of practice for the preseason trip to Canada, a three-day, three-game international trip to Windsor, Ontario, on Aug. 15-17.

According to a blog post by David Scott on coachcal.com, the Cats will have two-a-day practices every other day and single practice sessions on the intervening days.

"We probably won't go much more than 90 minutes in any one session, but we're going to get a lot in," Calipari said in the post on coachcal.com. "We're going to try and learn about our players and what roles everyone will play. We've got to figure out the style that we'll play."

In the post, Calipari talks about his excitement to get underway with a young nucleus, but he made sure to reel in expectations about a team that is once again made up largely of freshmen.

"I told the team they don't need to live up to any other team or any other players," Calipari said on coachcal.com. "John Wall said it best about Brandon (Knight): 'Just be yourself.' "

Calipari later tweeted out his impressions from the first day of practice, giving positive reviews to his returning veterans, who will be counted on heavily for experience early in the season as the Cats make yet another major roster transition.

"I was really glad to get started today," Calipari said via Twitter. "There was an adjustment period with all the normal things that freshmen don't do, but they all had a skill level that I'm pleased with. Eloy (Vargas) is not here yet, but the returning players (all four of them) were so much better than a year ago. They responded great w/o me saying anything when they didn't do things right. They knew they needed to do it again.  It was a great lesson for the young guys, watching that.

"I'm seeing a vast improvement in DeAndre's (Liggins) shooting already this year and Darius (Miller) has really impressed with his athleticism. Jon Hood looks more comfortable on the floor and I think he's grown an inch. Josh (Harrellson) is lighter on his feet and with the way we are gonna play it was good to see him run the floor. We went about 1:40 in both sessions today.  Looking forward to seeing how they bounce back tomorrow."

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