Tuesday night, Kentucky coach John Calipari hinted that star freshman Skal Labissiere might be out of the starting lineup moving forward.
This was after the 5-star recruit collected 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in a 20-point win over Boston.
“He’s got a long way to go,” Calipari said. “We’re looking for like 25 and 20 and 12 blocks.”
For his part, Labissiere hasn’t been fazed by Calipari’s constant criticism, saying, “I came here to get pushed. To get better.”
Later, he told Jerry Tipton: “If I wanted a pat on the back, I could have gone anywhere else.”
Calipari said the biggest issue thus far has been on-court communication.
“He doesn’t react like the other guys right now,” the coach said. “He’s got to start reacting quicker. React quicker to voices. When someone says something to you, you can’t look at them, ‘What? What? What?’ You got to react to it. ‘Switch. Help. Step up Skal, step up.’ You can’t be stepping back. And that’s kind of where he’s still figuring stuff out.”
Labissiere, a Haitian immigrant who’s projected to be a high lottery pick in next summer’s NBA Draft, said he’s working to improve his game in some way every day.
Calipari has been providing plenty of motivation (and brutally honest analysis).
“He’s always pushing me more and more,” Labissiere said. “I appreciate that from him. It shows how much confidence he has in me. I’m just going to have to listen to him and keep working.”