John Calipari

There’s a bigger point to Kentucky monitoring the heart rate of its players than work ethic

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Kentucky head coach John Calipari tends to write about interesting topics on his website in regards to his basketball team, which beat Eastern Michigan 90-38 last night and begins SEC play next Thursday at Vanderbilt.

The most recent entry focuses on how hard his players are working in practice and what’s being done to keep track of it. Kentucky’s using heart monitors, which reveal the amount of energy that each player is expending during team and individual workouts.

According to Calipari the heart rates of the players will be at a level of 90% (or higher) during games, and the goal is to make sure they’re working out at a similar rate. And if not, there’s running to be done to get them to the desired heart rate.

Judging by the reactions on Twitter it seems as if some have a problem with this, but frankly I don’t. And it’s because this is about more than simply making sure that the guys are working hard.

According to the school’s estimates players use between 5,500 and 6,000 calories per day, which makes nutrition (not just taking in calories but making sure those calories are good for the body) even more important.

One, it allows us to measure their caloric expenditure. Through this device, we now know our guys burn between 5,500 and 6,000 calories a day that they must replenish. I’m seeing numbers that are proving that you have to feed these kids more. If we’re the ones burning up these calories, then we should be responsible for feeding them and replacing those calories.

Back in October Steve Eder of the New York Times wrote a story on college athletes being underfed, as the requirements placed on them in regards to competition aren’t necessarily being combined with the nourishment needed to play at a high level.

“The perception, for the general public, is that the day they get to school and get their tennis shoes, they are getting this entry into a world where the horn of plenty is always there for them,” said Dave Ellis, a sports dietitian for 30 years, who has fed teams at Nebraska and Wisconsin.

This, it seems, is not the case. NCAA regulations limit colleges to one formal “training meal” a day for their scholarship athletes, whether the athletes are playing tennis, football or any other sport. A few snacks — nuts, fruit and bagels — may also be provided, as well as some nutritional supplements like energy bars.

Now of course this will open the door for those who argue that “regular students don’t get those perks” but are these truly “regular” students? Given the revenue that collegiate athletics has generated in recent years due to escalating television contracts (which we can thank for conference realignment), would making sure that the athletes are receiving proper nutrition really be that big of a problem?

Feel free to get agitated about Calipari wanting to make sure his players are “working hard” through the use of heart monitors if you wish, but this is about far more than making guys run suicides if they aren’t.

Hopefully more studies like this lead to better nutritional allowances for student-athletes across the board.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.