Why only 12 minutes for Isaiah Jackson? Calipari explains.

On3 imageby:Drew Franklin02/07/21


In tonight's edition of trying to understand John Calipari's substitution methods, we look to Isaiah Jackson's 12 minutes played and wonder why that was the case. Jackson is going to be a first-round draft pick and Calipari trusted him enough to start and play 34 minutes at Mizzou only five days ago, but Jackson, who is also one of the nation's best shot blockers, still isn't getting much clock on a regular basis. After the game Calipari told the Basketball Bennies it was because Keion Brooks was playing better. "He seemed a little bit behind in the first half," Calipari said of Jackson, "so I went with Keion in the second because of how he played. We were at +8 with Keion and Olivier in together. We just have to keep Olivier on the court." Calipari is correct in saying Jackson wasn't playing well in the first half and, yes, Keion Brooks was great. That being said, does Calipari know he can play Brooks and Jackson together? It's not an either/or situation. We've seen it work on the rare occasion they're out there together, yet Calipari is committed to sticking Olivier Sarr inside and when he does opposing teams attack the rim. Jackson and Brooks got a few minutes together in the second half against the Vols and it seemed to be working. Jackson checked in around the 15:00 mark, made a quick reverse layup that'll look good on his NBA film, then he was pulled for Sarr minutes later. In the span Jackson was in Kentucky went from up 48-41 to up 58-50, and it became 58-58 soon after he checked out. Of all the gripes from the pathetic performance we watched, Jackson's playing time is pretty low on the list and this isn't meant to be an anti-Sarr post. But every game we have a, "Does Cal have a clue what he's doing with his rotations?" moment, and Jackson playing only 12 minutes is it. And for the record, Jackson, who will be an NBA draft pick and is one of college basketball's best shot blockers, averages 18 minutes per game in SEC play and only once, last Saturday at Alabama, has he had more than three fouls in those games.

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