By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari says it is obvious that Wofford senior Fletcher Magee has the “green light” to shoot the 3-pointer any time — and he has made over 500 to become the all-time NCAA leader going into Saturday’s game against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament second round.
“I heard that he is absolutely in the gym hours on end shooting those shots that you’re talking about, that he’s in that gym, which is why the coach says, all the time you’re in there, and that’s the shots you’re taking, you deserve to be able to do it in a game,” Calipari said.
“You try to tell a young team like mine, this isn’t football. It’s not a touchdown, so don’t foul. Make it hard. He’s still going to make some of them. Make it difficult for 40 minutes. When I watched the tape last night (of Wofford’s win over Seton Hall), the tapes, and this morning, just a well-coached — offensively they do what they need to do to win and they play in a way that they have to play, their dribble hand-offs.”
Calipari did have a comparison for Magee.
“The closest I could get to him is how I used to play, which is I just used to shoot every ball like that. And I thought, you know, I saw myself doing those kind of things, and I know I was rated 41st — there were 40 college coaches better than me as — I’ll go one-on-one right now; let’s go,” Calipari said in a jovial mood. “You’ve got guys older than me that said they were better — come on. I’m just kidding. Come on.”
Magee says he does practice a lot — similar to what Kentucky freshman Tyler Herro also does on his own.
“I think that you try to practice shots that you know you’re going to shoot in games, so if I know that I’m going to shoot an off-balance shot going this way or off-balance shot going that way, I’m going to practice those type of shots so I can get a feel for it, and I feel like that’s kind of what’s enabled me to shoot those kind of shots,” Magee said.
Kentucky freshman guard Immanuel Quickley has seen enough of Magee to be impressed,
“I think what makes him such a good shooter is he has a lot of confidence,” Quickley said. “He also has a really green light, so when you’ve got that green light, you know you’re going to make some and you’re going to miss some. He lives with it, he’s a really good player, and we’ve just got to be ready for all that.”
Calipari certainly is ready for that.
“I know how good Wofford is. I know. I’ve watched them, and I know their league — their top 4 teams in that league, I hate to tell you, all four should have been in the NCAA Tournament when you think about who was in their league,” Calipari said.