a lot of weight, and I feel good,” he said. “It’s not like I feel light or I feel weak. I feel the best I’ve ever felt, and I played college basketball for four years, and I haven’t felt this good, so I’m feeling pretty confident.”
Sestina has noticed a difference since recovering from the injury and eating better, especially on the court.
“I’m able to stay with guys that are smaller than me,” he said. “I’m not able to stay in front of them by any means, but I’m able to stay with quicker guards and contest shots instead of letting them go in for layups and things like that. In July, they were blowing by me and now I am able to stay with them a little bit and I’m continuing to work on that.”
Although a veteran, the move to Kentucky has required a few adjustments when it comes to practice and getting used to the speed of the game.
“You have to be ready to go every day,” Sestina said. “We have practice on the weekends and they’re hard. You fight in every minute of practice and for me, I mentally prepare myself a week in advance, they’re going to be hard, they’re going to be long and that’s something I have carried over into what I have been doing.
“You have to be ready to go at all times. Even when you’re on the sideline catching a break. You never know what could happen. A guy gets tired, you have to be ready to go.”
Calipari said Sestina “can play some 5, but if you play him at 5 you’re going to stretch the court with him as a 5” and said the Kentucky coach has been pleased with Sestina during preseason workouts.”
“He’s good in the post,” Calipari said. “Reid (Travis) was just a physical (presence) — Nate lost 25 pounds. So he’s at, what, 235 right now and physically in great shape and running and he’s really been a great addition to this group.”
Because of his size and versatility, Sestina said he’s “able to stretch the floor out and see stuff before it happens.”
“I feel like as a big man, I am a pretty good passer and I’m an unselfish teammate,” he said. “I’ll catch it on a pick-and-roll and may not have an open shot but I will see someone (open) and find the open guy.”
Sestina added he has been impressed with his teammates and he’s part of a squad that he said is capable of doing “something really, really special.”
“We have a group of guys that are hard-working and diligent in what they do,” he said. “We have guys that are laser-focused every day and I had that at Bucknell and two years in a row we won back-to-back championships and I am really hoping we can do the same thing here.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.