Calipari, Cats begin touring the state, returning to normalcy

Kentucky Today/Keith Taylor

University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari and the Wildcats will be touring the state for the next four weeks. 

LEXINGTON, KY. --John Calipari likes to stay busy in the summer and can't wait to get back to normalcy in the next couple of months.

"I'm excited about what we're doing and where it is, the kind of team we've pieced together," he said. "But you know, there's a lot of work to do. Now we've got to get this summer and … I (always) knew the summer was important to us. I never realized how important."

Kentucky began its month-long Satellite Camps Monday at Thomas Nelson High School and were scheduled to be an Ryle High School Wednesday, Boyd County Middle School on Thursday, Elizabethtown High School Friday and Covington Catholic High School on Saturday.

The camps continue next Monday at West Carter High School, followed by a stops at North Laurel High School on June 9 and South Oldham High School on June 10. Following a seven-day break, the final week begins at The Cross Center at Forks of Elkhorn in Midway on June 17 and at the finale will be at Henry County High School on June 24 in New Castle.

The camps will be the team's first first opportunity to tour the state in two years. Last year's satellite camps were canceled because of the global pandemic.

"I never realized how it gave our kids a chance to touch other young kids and have them see their importance, but also to be able to get into more different communities and see it," Calipari said. "The conditioning, the weight strength, making them uncomfortable, getting them to understand about team."

In addition to the camps, the in-state tour will give the Wildcats a chance to perform community services projects, with appearances at Kings Daughters Hospital and the Neighborhood in Ashland on June 3, followed by a visit to St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Covington on June 5. Also planned is a stop at Pillar Communities in Crestwood on June 8 and a visit to the Backpack Program of Laurel County on June 9.

"This summer we're getting back to getting involved in communities," Calipari said last week. "We're going to take the team in groups to different parts of the state for some community work just to touch people for both the state of Kentucky, but I want these players to realize the impact that they have in our state. You understand that this is important to our state and if it's about bringing people together, doing things to make a difference for people's lives, not trying to separate."

Once settled back on campus, Calipari plans to have more player and coach gatherings at his home in Lexington.

"How about this? Being at my house once a week. Cooking out, swimming -- we got rid of the trampoline -- but having things we didn't do any of that (last year) None. Well, guess what? We get back on campus first thing we're going to do is we're going to the house -- having them stay at my house on weekends.

"(Last year) we couldn't do anything. I never realized the importance, but this showed me the importance. There are a lot of things that we weren't able to do that we get back to which is a part of that process."

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