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Tyrese Maxey has to be more “engaged”

Tyrese Maxey (Jeff Houchin Photo)


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.”


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  1. There is a chemistry issue between Ashton and Tyrese. Ashton got upstaged by Tyrese against MSU and he didn’t like it. You can see that Ashton has come back with a grit to be tougher and more productive but he seems to be shutting Tyrese out and it is bringing Tyrese’s game down. They don’t talk on the floor in game, in practice, or outside of the gym. Its a lot to ask of a sophomore to help make his competition for his starting spot better , but these two are going to have to learn to play together for us to be SEC contenders. Ashton is still developing his game and maybe that is all he can do for now. It will be interesting to see whose side Immanuel takes on this, my guess will be Ashton’s. If that’s the case, Tyrese will have to be ok with not being liked by everyone, something that he has never had to do before, and develop his game by pushing Ashton for PT. Juzang needs to do the same thing by pushing Immanuel. As the season goes on, hopefully these 4 kids will come to see each other as teammates and not competition for PT. If that doesn’t happen, my future on this site is pretty secure.

  2. I think Tyrese has the skills to be a great player.
    However, he appears to be star-struck…on himself.
    He has some maturing to do.

  3. Last year, we saw what happened with a certain great shooter. The coaches broke him and his shot down and rebuilt it. Early in the season, I among others complained that Calipari should leave his shot alone, it was plenty good enough as is for high level D1 basketball, and I still believe it was. I accept that by the end, and certainly this year in the NBA, there are no questions about that player’s shooting.

    My frustration is the one year each of these kids were the Kentucky uniform, and I do not care one bit about anything NBA related. I don’t care about the draft, I don’t care about the big contracts, I do not watch those games, and never have. That is why I do not name the player in the first paragraph!!!!

    I want UK to win. If players move on to the NBA and enjoy great success, good for them, but I want UK to win. I believe if UK wins, these players will realize their dreams in a direct cause effect relationship. But, it is clear that Calipari’s emphasis remains pushing these kids through to realize their dreams, UK fans be damned.

    1. Professor, you seem to be lobbying against Calipari based on this and your other recent posts of late. That is your right, but in all honesty we all want to win, none more so than John Calipari IMO. Also your apparent frustration over players leaving after one year is sort of overstated of late since several players have returned to UK for more than one season, i. e. Washington, Nick, Montgomery, Hagans, etc. true? Also, last I checked UK stands at 3-1, a winning record thus far right, albeit shaky?

      Take a deep breath, the season is in it’s infancy. UK is dealing with a short bench right now due to injuries, and several new freshmen elites. You say John Calipari is damming us UK fans, how? That is a remarkable comment. No coach in the entire USA works harder than Calipari IMO, especially on the recruiting trail. It is his teams and his system that has resulted in a remarkable period of accomplishment in UK’s modern basketball era the past ten plus years. You would agree with that I hope? As for the NBA comments, I agree with you completely.

      1. We have some posters on this forum who are suffering from acute CDS.

  4. My view of the one and done, players first philosophy has not changed. I do not like it as a fan, and I believe it discounts the importance of this fan base.

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