By LARRY VAUGHT
Senior walk-on Jonny David has been a “positive addition” for the Kentucky basketball program according to coach John Calipari.
David will make his final Rupp Arena appearance Saturday when the Cats host Florida.
“We’ve scholarshiped him, well deserved, earned scholarships. This guy’s been in great shape. He hasn’t had many opportunities to be on the floor, but it’s hard here. But you know what? He’s grown. He’s added to this program. He’s left his mark. Congratulations, Jonny,” Calipari said.
Assistant coach Kenny Payne says the senior, who has scored just seven points in limited appearances, has had a “major impact” through practice and the influence he’s had on teammates.
“He gets along with everybody. He’s supportive of everybody. He doesn’t get the credit, which none of these kids do when you’re in a role like he’s in, but the day-to-day stuff that he brings to the table keeping guys positive on the bench, working out in practices, playing every position on the floor,” Payne said.
“I’m sure you guys don’t know, but he’ll guard Reid, he’ll guard EJ (Montgomery), he’ll guard Ashton (Hagans) and then to see his work ethic to be prepared for that. Being on the treadmill, coming down on my end of the court working out with the bigs, just everything that he can do to help he does.”
Payne was asked it David ever gets to wear shoulder pads to guard the bigger Reid Travis.
“We do. We don’t want Reid to put him on his butt,” Payne said.
Calipari suggested once that David could take 7-foot center Nick Richards in a mud wrestling match. Payne wasn’t buying that.
“Nick would try and take his head off. He will battle,” Payne said. “He’ll do whatever it takes to help Nick and to help any player get better. That’s his role and he’s been great at it.”