By LARRY VAUGHT
Remember Kentucky’s opening game win over then No. 1 Michigan State when Tryese Maxey was the star for UK.
He was so good that one ESPN NBA draft analyst went on air after the game noting that Maxey might have played himself into a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
However, Maxey has not been the same player since then and after Monday’s 72-64 win over Utah Valley it wasn’t hard to tell that UK coach John Calipari was not happy with his freshman guard.
“There were things that happened in that game late that I look at, like, I got on Tyrese because I told him, don’t let that guy catch the ball,” Calipari said.
“Because he’s not playing well, he’s not engaged with us. So, he just let the guy catch it and the guy makes a 3. What? Did you understand what I said to you? ‘I was thinking the apple and my bike.’
“What? I told you exactly, do not let him catch the ball and you let him just run and catch it and throw it and then make a 3. That’s the stuff young kids, if they’re not playing well, they’re not locked into the team, they’re into themselves. It takes time here.”
With sophomores EJ Montgomery and Immanuel Quickley out of Monday’s game with injuries, Calipari knew he needed to stay positive … and he almost made it.
“I was trying to be as positive as I could be until the end,” Calipari said. “I couldn’t take it anymore.”