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From the Pressbox: UK gains inspiration from pregame movie

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On the road trip to Georgia last month, John Calipari took advantage of a bonding opportunity for his young team. Since the game didn't tip until 9pm on Tuesday night, Calipari kept his guys up later than usual the night before by taking them to see a movie--"Red Tails," the story of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.

"First of all, to let them understand what has been done before them to give them the opportunities that they now have as a team," Calipari said of the movie choice in his pregame radio interview.

The film tells the tale of the all-black corps that was finally given its chance (and they succeeded brilliantly) after being denied that opportunity because of bigotry.   

"I always say, if there is injustice for one, then at any point there could be discrimination for any of us.  And the other thing was how they were together," Calipari said. "That, that was a family.  They were a team. They had to look after each other.  They had to take bullets for each other.  They had to have each other's backs. They weren't expected (to succeed). They weren't in environments where people thought they could make it and they did. It was a good movie. I thought it would be good for them to see and it was."

Wiltjer developing

Freshman Kyle Wiltjer had five rebounds against Tennessee, his best SEC performance in that category, and his improved defense has allowed him to stay on the court for longer stretches in the past couple of weeks. Coach Calipari is pleased with how Wiltjer is coming along and ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep salutes Wiltjer for challenging himself by coming to play at UK.

"You never want to make a ridiculous decision if you are the fifth power forward where they only play three in the program," Telep said on "The Leach Report" radio show. "But I think Wiltjer stepped out of his comfort zone just enough where he feels he will be a better basketball player for playing against Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis and going up against guys like that. He knew he wouldn't be a one year guy and I think he is putting himself in a position to succeed long term."

ESPN's Andy Katz likes UK's road performances

Kentucky goes back out on the road to start the second half of the league schedule, at South Carolina Saturday night. ESPN national college basketball reporter Andy Katz was quite impressed with what the Cats showed in their last road win, at LSU.

"I think more than anything, it was their fight," Katz told "The Leach Repot" show earlier this week. "They haven't gone to three toughest places yet but the previous road games, they'd been closer than anyone projected. They really control at LSU. Anthony Davis got knocked around and yet these guys just showed a little more toughness than we'd seen and they continue to grow  and develop.

"As far as Terrence Jones, it's almost like sometimes you forgot he has that potential and then when it arrives, you realize he's one of the best players in the country when he's on like that."

Katz says UK, Ohio State, Syracuse and North Carolina are the four best teams right now and he'd been stunned if this season played out like last year and none of the top-rated teams make it to the Final Four. He also noted that all three of Calipari's teams at Kentucky have been different while still succeeding at a high level.

"This team has different advantages that the other teams didn't," Katz said. "They didn't have a shot-blocker like Anthony Davis. They have more scoring options. They don't have as much as strength as they had two years ago. They don't maybe have the same level of point guard play, but this is a year where there aren't a ton of elite point guards, so you can maybe get away with that and win the national championship."

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