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Calipari says Kentucky is limited at point guard position, trying out BJ Boston in practice

Jack Pilgrim02/03/21

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Article written by:On3 imageJack Pilgrim
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<small>Chet White | UK Athletics</small>
[caption id="attachment_336840" align="alignnone" width="2560"] Chet White | UK Athletics[/caption] Kentucky's point guard situation is a mess. Devin Askew has lost the confidence he once built up following his early-season struggles, Davion Mintz turns the ball over and plays out of control far too often, and Terrence Clarke hasn't played since the Louisville game, nor does anyone have a clue when (or if) he's going to play again. Outside of the core trio, who else can run the point? If you have any bright ideas, UK head coach John Calipari would love to hear them. "First of all, we don't have a whole lot of point guards right now," Calipari said following Kentucky's 75-70 loss at Missouri. "I can play Devin and Davion (Mintz) at point." The point guard situation is such an issue that Calipari said he began working in Brandon Boston Jr. at the position when Askew injured himself in practice leading up to the team's trip to Columbia. Had Askew not been able to play, Boston would have gotten run at the one. "Matter of fact, Devin got hurt in practice before we left, we thought he wasn't going to play in this game. I was trying to put - are you ready? - BJ (Boston) at point guard," Calipari said. "We practiced with BJ at point guard. We only have so many guys. These are who we have and we've got to figure out how we're doing this." As for Askew specifically, who finished with seven points on 2-8 shooting, four assists, three rebounds and two turnovers in 32 minutes, Calipari acknowledged that the freshman guard isn't playing great basketball right now. "With him, he did some good stuff, decision making not always great, but he plays hard," the UK head coach said. "What was the change we did for him that made it a little bit easy in the second half? We didn't put him on number one (Xavier Pinson), we put Davion on number one. I just said, "Let's put Davion on him, he'll give him more trouble." And Davion did." And this isn't the first time he has highlighted Askew's struggles. Following Kentucky's loss at Georgia back in January, Calipari said the freshman guard needed to dribble the ball less and find spot-up shooting opportunities as an off-ball player. “Here’s how I want Devin to play so you all know: I don’t want him to have a lot of dribbles,” Calipari said at the time. “I want him to get it up and get away from the ball. The reason I like that is because away from the ball, he can make plays and he can make shots. On the ball where everyone is watching him, he’s not effective. He’s just not. "... Less dribbles, get rid of the ball, go away from the ball and when it comes to you, make plays. Again, he’s a respectful kid, I just don’t know if he’s hearing what we’re trying to get him to do. He will.” As for the big-picture issues, Calipari isn't certain what to do with this team or how to get that light bulb to finally flicker on for the collective unit. What he does know, however, is that he's trying everything he can to make that happen. "Everybody can say what this team is, but I'm with them every day. "Let's open it up and drive it!" How did that look? I'm with them every day, we're trying a lot of different things," Calipari said. "Playing faster was really good, we just didn't make any baskets. Now, we settle to who we are, and that's, "Throw the ball to the post and play off of that." We can't play a whole game like that, but basically, that's what it came down to. If you'll remember, when we had Julius Randle, for half a season that's all we did. We just said, "We're giving it to him and playing off of him" till the other guys caught up." Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Julius Randle isn't walking through that door.

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2022-12-01