LEXINGTON, Ky. — So how is De’Aaron Fox’s right ankle, the one he turned last Saturday against South Carolina but didn’t keep him out of Tuesday night’s loss at Tennessee?
“I’m all right,” Kentucky’s freshman point guard said. But 100 percent? He grinned. “I don’t know what 100 percent is.”
Fox managed 17 points, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block in 25 minutes against the Volunteers, making 4-of-9 shots, both his 3-point tries and 7-of-8 free throws. But at time he didn’t look as turbocharged as normal.
“I feel like it’s always going to be like that coming off an injury,” Fox said Friday, “but just getting my rhythm back and just trying to get ready to play.”
The fourth-ranked Wildcats (17-3) need him up to speed for Saturday’s game against second-ranked Kansas (18-2) at Rupp Arena. That game will pit Fox and Malik Monk, the best freshman backcourt in the country, against the Jayhawks’ Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham, perhaps the best veteran guard pairing in America.
“You always look forward to playing good players and good teams,” Fox said, but not getting caught up in the hype of individual matchups is “extremely important. It’s not a one-on-one game, it’s not a two-on-two game.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari hopes he means that. It wasn’t Fox’s ankle Calipari worried about in Knoxville, rather his decision-making.
“Just horrendous,” the coach said. “He made some shots, which he hadn’t made, but there were five drives that: ‘Why did you do that?’ But it wasn’t just him. We had everybody catching the ball, holding it. … I keep telling you it’s January. Thank God it’s January. Tomorrow still January? Thank God tomorrow is still January.”