In a game plagued by turnovers, missed box outs and Jodie Meeks continuing his Herculean efforts (now 3rd in the country in scoring), the story leaving the game is DeAndre Liggins. For reasons that arent yet clear, Liggins refused entry into the game in the second half last night, when Gillispie attempted to substitute him for Jodie Meeks just prior to the under 12 timeout. Liggins did not get on the court again and after the game, Gillispie confirmed that Liggins refused entry. Gillispie seemed to write it off as a Freshman mistake, but the damage obviously had been done. Thankfully for DeAndre, the Cats still won the game and his replacement, Michael Porter, threw a key entry pass late to Patrick Patterson to help solidify the victory. But the question still rings throughout the Commonwealth today…..what was DeAndre thinking?
Now lets get this out of the way initially….many of us, heck all of us, question some of the playing time right now. Specifically at point guard, the combination of Porter playing with all of his mistakes, Liggins seeing only spot minutes and Galloway not leaving the bench, has many fans perplexed. The same thing must be true of the players as well. If you are Liggins or Galloway, you have to wonder why you havent seen more time and the combination of Porter at PG or Harris/Meeks running the point, has to make you wonder. Having said that, YOU SIMPLY CANT NOT ENTER THE GAME, when your coach tells you to. It is a cardinal rule of being a player that you have to do what the coach says, especially during a game….period. No argument, no debate, do it. And when it involves entering a game, there simply is no excuse for refusal to play, none.
I know that it has to be beyond maddening for some of these guys to sit on the bench and see what is happening on the floor. But I dont care. The team is greater than the individual in sports….and if you dont believe that, fake it. Liggins is a good kid. He is not a Rashard Carruth “I’m Gonna Shoot the Three Dawg” guy. He works hard and is trying to become a better player. There are many around the program who wonder how he and the other young players are being used and the effect on their confidence. But none of that excuses refusal to enter the game. Lets hope this is an aberration. If Gillispie can get over it, then we certainly can as well. But you do have to wonder…..what the hell was he thinking?