By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky might be playing at rival Louisville on Saturday, but that didn’t stop Kentucky coach John Calipari from coming to Marshall County Friday morning to watch signee Tyrese Maxey play.
Maxey led South Garland (Texas) to a 76-67 victory over Hillcrest Prep North (Arizona) with that UK assistant coach Tony Barbee called a typical “stat-stuffing” game.
The UK coaches flew into Marshall County about an hour before the game started. Barbee visited with Maxey’s mother, Denise, before the game and Calipari did the same at halftime. Maxey’s father, Tyrone, spoke to Calipari before the game but is an assistant coach for the team.
Calipari said it was not a big deal for him to come watch the guard play.
“He is in our state and it gives me a chance to watch him. I am not going to miss practice. I will get back for practice and then we will drive to Louisville. It’s not that big a deal. I will be ready for practice. I am not missing anything,” the UK coach said.
Maxey had 28 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three assists while making 10 of 17 shots from the field, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range. He had an assist, steal and 3-point goal in the game’s first 90 seconds.
“It was a normal game. We started off defensively kind of slow and then picked it up but we didn’t finish very well. We have to do better than,” Maxey said. “I just do whatever it takes to win. Rebounding, sometimes shots are not falling so you have to get your other teammates involved, sometimes just play defense. Whatever it takes to win, that is what I am going to do.”
Having Calipari at the game did not bother him like it used to.
“My sophomore year he came to one of my games and that what all I could focus on because I have always wanted to go to Kentucky. But now I see him a lot and talk to him all the time, so it really doesn’t bother me. It’s just another day,” Maxey said.
The Texas guard was not surprised Calipari came even with UK playing Louisville Saturday.
““I wouldn’t say it surprised me because we are close. He doesn’t get to see me often because I live all the way in Texas. I am glad he took the time out to come. It shows the interest he has in me and is one reason why I chose to go to Kentucky,” Maxey said.