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Monday, June 2, 2014
Kentucky to Bahamas in August

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the likely preseason No. 1 Wildcats will jump-start their season with a mid-August trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas, but they will be without rising junior center Willie Cauley-Stein.

Cauley-Stein
Willie Cauley-Stein missed Kentucky's final three games of the NCAA tournament after injuring his ankle in the Sweet 16,

Calipari made his comments Monday on the ESPNU College basketball podcast.

"We'll have 10 days of practice and playing national teams that can beat us,'' Calipari said. "Normally you want to do this to get the 10 days of practice, but we're doing it the other way. We're going to get something out of it and go against national teams that we should not beat. We should go 0-6.''

Calipari said he was still finalizing the opposing teams but indicated they wouldn't be from the Caribbean. Exact dates of the trip are also being scheduled.

"They will have NBA players on them,'' Calipari said.

The Wildcats return guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison and big men Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee in addition to Cauley-Stein. The top-five recruiting class is led by big men Trey Lyles and Karl Towns Jr.

The 7-foot Cauley-Stein averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks last season but didn't play in Kentucky's final three games of the NCAA tournament -- against Michigan, Wisconsin and UConn -- after injuring his ankle in the Sweet 16 win over Louisville.

"It was going to be a couple of months,'' Calipari said. "He still has the boot on. He might be cleared to practice in late July, but he probably won't be cleared until Aug. 10 and why risk it for him or for us? It will be a chance for the young kids.''

Calipari said the team's defensive identity changed when Cauley-Stein went out.

"You can take more chances'' with Cauley-Stein on the court, Calipari said. "It's real simple. A shot blocker changes your whole team.''