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Calipari believes P.J. Washington can be “separator”

P.J. Washington (Jeff Houchin Photo)


Sophomore P.J. Washington had a double-double in Wednesday’s win over Winthrop. That was good, but Kentucky coach John Calipari still wants more from the player he expects to be a special player for the Wildcats this season.

“I want him to — don’t ever let up ever or sub yourself. If you don’t feel like really, just go, man. And when he does it he’s as good as any player in the country. And when he doesn’t, he’s okay, but he doesn’t have an impact on the game,” Calipari said.

“The other way he absolutely impacts the game. And I’m just saying I’m not going to accept anything other than that. I told him at halftime (against Winthrop).  I told him after the game, if those 24 minutes are what you’re going to give, that’s what we’re striving for to get that to 40. And if it takes us time to get there, that’s fine. We’re still — we had 20 assists on 30 baskets. It’s pretty good stuff.”

Calipari has been asking for “separators” on the team, players that clearly raise their level of play above that of other teammates and make winning plays. He says Washington is one of them when he plays the way he can.

“We’re still searching. If he (Washington) will compete and battle with a high motor, like high motor cuts, high motor going off rebounds on both ends, flying down the court, defensively coming up with steals so we can — yeah, he becomes that guy,” Calipari said.

“He had three steals today. But there’s only one way to be that guy, and that is with an unbelievably high motor and then sub yourself and say, ‘Coach, I’m ready to go back.’ Go back in.”

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