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From the Pressbox: Work is the solution

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When things aren't going well for an athlete, coaches know there's only way to get back on track: work longer and harder. When golfers are struggling, they spend extra time on the practice range. When hitters are in a slump, they take extra batting practice. And John Calipari wants his young team to come to grips with the notion that all the guys that came before and got where they wanted to be did it by putting in that time, by "falling in love with that gym," as Calipari tells them.

"Are we more committed to what we're doing? If we are, we'll be fine. If not, it'll be a prolonged pain," Calipari said on his pregame radio interview Tuesday night. "None of this fazes me because I've been doing this so long. I wish we were winning but I know who we are. Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to you is you get the shakeup - 'What do you want to do now, do you really want this?' "

Calipari got a great teaching tool earlier this week when an NBA general manager showed up almost an hour before a UK practice session. About 20 minutes into the practice, Calipari called the GM over to talk to the team about why he arrived so early.

"He told them 'I wanted to know who was on the court early,' " Calipari noted. "Every NBA team will come early to see who works on their game."

DeCourcy expects Wiltjer to bounce back

Sporting News college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy is a big Kyle Wiltjer fan. And he has no doubt Wiltjer will rediscover his shooting eye. For now, DeCourcy says Wiltjer has to regain his confidence.

"When a player like Kyle struggles with his shot, there's only one reason and that's confidence. It's a different role for him to be a prominent player at this level. A year ago, it was, 'Come in and if you make a basket, great - UK wins by more - and if you don't, we'll probably sit you back down.' Now, they need him and he's got to embrace that. He's got to believe," DeCourcy observed. "There's no reason Kyle Wiltjer should not be making open shots with the stroke he has. It's all about believing. There's no reason he should not be confident in his stroke, other than it's different to be the man. But you came to Kentucky. You came to be the man - or one of the men."

Tony Barnhart likes Stoops hire

"Just a matter of time."

CBS college football reporter Tony Barnhart says that was the prevailing option of media members when it came to the topic of Mark Stoops as a head coaching candidate. Barnhart says it was clear Stoops was ready to make the move up.

"I think the Kentucky fans ought to be excited. It's all about recruiting and I look back at the good teams that coach Brooks had and there were some very good players on those teams. They've got to go back and get some of those players again," Barnhart said. "I would look down the interstate at Louisville and see what Charlie Strong has done in getting Florida kids to come to the state of Kentucky. I think kids just want to play and there are so many players in the state of Florida that you can convince someone like a Teddy Bridgewater to come to the SEC and play. But you've got to roll up your sleeves and put in a lot of work but it's absolutely doable."

Barnhart also believes Stoops is on the right track in looking for an offensive coordinator who thinks outside the proverbial box.

"There's no question that in this league, you really need to have some components of the spread because you're not going to out-Alabama Alabama. You're not going to recruit enough players to dominate the better teams in this league, so you better find a way for smaller, quicker people to beat big people," he said.

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