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Video: To Phillips, basketball title a boon for football

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Throughout the basketball season, John Calipari cited the unselfish example of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Darius Miller, the freshman and senior that played the very same position. In practice, the two were as competitive as could be, but when it came time to take the floor, they were all about the team.

Kidd-Gilchrist earned a starting spot, while Miller came off the bench in his final season. On multiple occasions, Kidd-Gilchrist offered up his starting spot, including once in the SEC Tournament. Miller responded by getting his game going and playing a crucial role in UK's NCAA Tournament run, which culminated in the program's eighth national championship.

Basketball season may now be over, but the lesson imparted by the two swingmen isn't lost on Joker Phillips as he coaches his team through spring football.

"I think that was a good teaching point for us to teach our kids to understand how unselfish you have to be in this," Phillips said. "It's a team sport. Everybody has to be on the same page, everybody has to be pulling in the same direction for the same goal and that's the reason why you win with the type of talent they have."

The instructive power of watching a team from his own school dominate for entire season with six future NBA players playing with and for each other is something Phillips hopes to capitalize on, but it's not the only boost he expects to get out of the title. After the start of another week of practice on Wednesday, Phillips said having Kentucky blue all over television and the Internet can only help.

"Our logo is out there," Phillips said. "The kids got to see our brand; I think that's important. Our baseball team's No. 1 in the country right now. Our brand is being seen all across the country right now and I think that's important.

"One thing (Athletics Director) Mitch Barnhart has done is he's brought a family atmosphere here. Everybody's rooting for everybody because we know we want our brand to be out there and I think it only helps every program in this department."

Phillips and his team celebrated the championship with the rest of the Big Blue Nation, but it's now time to get down to business. This spring period is a crucial building block for next season, and with the spring game just 17 days away, the Wildcats can't afford to be "sluggish" as they were on Wednesday.

"(We)did some good things but not enough," Phillips said. "We only get 15 opportunities. You can't miss any opportunities and I felt like, at times, we were missing an opportunity to get better."

Here is video of all of Phillips' comments following Wednesday's practice.



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