Early in Kentucky’s season, there was an anomaly against Arizona State.
“Did you see the box score?” fans might have asked. “Skal Labissiere fouled out with zero points!”
The supposed anomalies quickly became routine for Labissiere, and now here we are: mid-January and the five-star freshman has only played an average of 8.67 minutes over the past three contests.
Compare that to the first 11 games, all of which he started and played an average of 21.55 minutes.
Saturday at Auburn, Labissiere collected four points and two rebounds in an upset loss to the Tigers. But coach John Calipari sensed new energy from his 7-foot wunderkind.
“He’s finally getting the pressure off of him,” Calipari said Monday morning. “So just play now.”
How much will Labissiere play, exactly?
“I don’t want it to be 30 to 40-minute games because he’s not ready for that,” Calipari said. “But if he can go 15 to 20 minutes and really help our team, it’s gonna change his mentality, and it’s gonna help us immensely.”
Kentucky (13-4, 3-2 SEC) travels to Arkansas for a 7 p.m. ET tipoff on Thursday (ESPN).