By LARRY VAUGHT
Did getting a combined 10 points and 10 rebounds from EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards in a combined 43 minutes of play in Saturday’s win over Auburn satisfy Kentucky coach John Calipari?
Did they do enough to help offset the absence of Reid Travis, who was out with a sprained knee and could possibly miss the next three or four games?
“We probably need a few more rebounds by those two,” Calipari said.
He said during one huddle he asked how many coaches/ players were cheering for Richards, who had four points and three rebounds, and wanting him to do well.
“Me, everybody, the coaches, we all want him to do well but we can’t do it for him. Most of the stuff is just energy, like loosen up your mind. You have what you call ‘stinkin’ thinking.’ You just have to loosen up your mind and go play and that means with energy,” Calipari said.
“ He’s not blaming anybody. He doesn’t say, ‘The coach takes me out every time I make a mistake.’ He ain’t — he knows he’s got to get this. At some point, that light bulb is going to go off and we’re going to see a monster. ”
Calipari has been pleading for Richards to take a giant leap for two years. He is constantly encouraging him and giving him chances to prove he can be a consistent contributor. With Travis out, Kentucky needs him more than ever.
“I love Nick. Nick’s one of my favorite players of all-time, of all-time that I’ve ever coached,” Calipari said. “I want more for him. He frustrates me. I know he’s better than he’s playing. I’m trying everything I can to get it out of him. Takes longer with some kids than others. ”