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From the Pressbox: Chemistry and other notes

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John Calipari often talks about his team getting "empowered" to understand what needs to be done in a given situation rather than having to be coached through it. That comes with time but as has been the case with Cal's first three teams at UK, this one does not have any issues with chemistry.

"What stands out is once again they are all really hard workers and we are all really close off the court and that is key." Kyle Wiltjer said, "Last year, I thought we were so close, and this year, we are just as close and maybe closer at this point, so just continuing to move ahead and keep working hard. It's great because last summer we weren't able to practice and this summer we were so that is an advantage we had."

DeCourcy likes Oklahoma State freshman

Early returns on Coach Cal's latest class of freshmen at UK are overwhelming positive but Sporting News college basketball writer thinks the country's best rookie may be playing in Stillwater, Okla.

"They (Oklahoma State) have a guy who is challenging to be the best freshman in college basketball in Marcus Smart," DeCourcy said on "The Leach Report" radio show.  "He is just tremendous. An all-around winner. He just has a quality, in the way that Anthony Davis was a pure winner. He's 6-4, 6-5, can run a team, can play on the wing, struggles a little with his three-point shot but he understands the game so well."

Hall, Host make worthy Hall of Famers


Two Kentucky sports legends - Coach Joe B. Hall and Jim Host - were inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City earlier this month and I can't think of two more deserving honorees.

Success in sports requires toughness and both men demonstrated this trait as their careers with UK sports intersected in the early 70s. Host started his company in 1972 and soon thereafter, he landed the University of Kentucky broadcast rights at a time when the program was in transition from coaching legend Adolph Rupp to Cats' first new coach in almost four decades - Hall.

And after Hall's first season opened with a win at Michigan State in December '72, the Cats proceeded to drop their next three games. (You can bet Hall is grateful the Internet and talk show-age had not arrived).

Come early February, the Cats were a mediocre 5-4 in SEC play, but Hall then rallied his troops to a nine-game winning streak, culminating with an 86-81 win over Tennessee that clinched the SEC title - at a time when only the league champion made it to the NCAA Tournament.

Men of weaker spirit might have wilted under the intense pressure of those times but Hall and Host are cut from a special cloth. Kudos to both on this latest honor.

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