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John Calipari likes team’s “will to win” but wants more players who can “go crazy” in NCAA game

John Calipari believes Immanuel Quickley could score 25 points if UK needed him to do so. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Kentucky suddenly has gone from being two games off the pace in the Southeastern Conference race to now having a two-game lead over both Auburn and LSU with five conference games left to play.

Kentucky hosts Florida (17-9, 9-4 SEC), which has helped salvage its season by winning four of its last five games, on Saturday night.

So what does John Calipari like about the Wildcats (21-5, 11-2))?

”Got a will to win. That means you’ve got a chance,” Calipari said after Tuesday’s win at LSU. ” I like that we’ve got a big guy. I like that we’re playing three point guards. But when you’re playing with a shortened rotation, EJ (Montgomery), Nate, Keion and Johnny got to add to the game.

“You’ve got to come in and add. You can’t ever take away. All you’re doing is stepping in and adding to the game. EJ had some foul trouble today and did some good stuff. He and Keion and Nate and Johnny are probably the key to where this thing goes.

“And they don’t have to be crazy out of their minds, but you’ve got to add to what’s going on.”

Calipari knows the more big-time scorers the team can have the better UK’s chances will be in postseason play.

”I like to have five and six guys have a game with 25 (points). And the reason is you get in the NCAA Tournament and you made need somebody to go crazy to win a game. So, Nick has had 25, EJ has had 25, Ashton has had 25, Tyrese has had 25,” Calipari said.

“Immanuel hasn’t, but he’s playing so steady that I think in his mind, ‘If I have to go get 25 I can, so I’m fine.’ So that means you’ve got five. I’d like one more guy, one of those other three to be able to step up and have a big game.

“You just want to be able to go into that tournament knowing that you have a team full of guys and you don’t know who can go for 25. It makes you more balanced and makes you even a better team.”


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