By LARRY VAUGHT
How often has Kentucky coach John Calipari say he won’t take a player out of a game if he’s missing shots as long as he’s doing other things to contribute to the team?
I’ve lost track because he says it over and over and over. However, if you tend not to believe him, then just go back to Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech and take a look at Tyrese Maxey’s statistics.
The freshman guard was 0-for-9 from the field. Yet he played 38 minutes compared to 20 for EJ Montgomery, who was 0-for-4.
What was the difference? That’s easy — Maxey got the foul line six times and went 6-for-6, pulled off a career-high seven rebounds and tied his career-high with six assists. He was also solid on defense just like he has been most of the season.
“Again, he’s just learning and, again, I keep telling him, you cannot avoid contact and try to flip balls. You’re not playing St. Aloysius anymore. These dudes, when you go like that, they block it. And if you go like that, the official’s not going to call a foul. He’s not,” Calipari said.
“ If you go into him like he did the two times he went into them, they will call that a foul. He’s never played that way. Everything is a throw and a flip. They give him no call. So, we’ve been all over it, and he’s responded.
“He’ll text me, keep coaching me, man. Keep coaching me. And believe me, I’m, like, people that have watched us in practice know I’m just holding him to a high standard and holding him accountable. ”
Yet he also stuck to what he’s said because Calipari didn’t like the flip shots or any misses bring Maxey to the bench because of everything else he was doing in the win over Georgia Tech.