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Calipari on Keldon Johnson: “He’ll be fine.”

Keldon Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time this season, Keldon Johnson failed to score Tuesday when Kentucky still won at Georgia by 20 points.

Does that worry Kentucky coach John Calipari going into Saturday afternoon’s game at Auburn?

“He’ll be fine. He’ll be fine,” Calipari said Friday. “Teams are collapsing on him. So we’re saying, you gotta find people. Well, yeah, but you gotta score. That’s what you do for us. So, yeah, you’ve got to see people. ‘But Coach, you’re telling me to score and see people if they collapse?’ ‘Yeah. That’s how you play the game. You take what they give you.’

“He’s not quite there yet with that, but when he does he can pass. He can handle it. But we need him to score baskets. How about we win that game like we did and he didn’t score a basket? That’s what’s crazy. And it shows you, whoever it is, whether it’s PJ Washington, whether it’s EJ (Montgomery), Nick (Richards), whoever, Reid (Travis) – we can win without you, so don’t feel that. This is about how do I make sure I’m helping this team win?”

Teammates aren’t worried about Johnson, UK’s leading scorer who had scored 8 or more points in every game until not scoring at Georgia, either.

“It’s always tough for a guy that’s a scorer to have no points, but we all back him. We all support him. It didn’t bother us at all. We know that when the time comes he’s going to have big games,” redshirt freshman Jemarl Baker said. “Games go like that sometimes. Even the best stars have bad games sometimes. Just gotta keep working and it’ll all come.”
 
“He works and he’s a competitor, so I’m not worried about it all. I’m not all worried that he won’t bounce back, for sure.”

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