Coach Cal met with the media this morning to bask in the glory of the Louisville game a bit more and discuss the Penn game coming up on Tuesday. During the talk, he spoke about the rebirth of two UK players, Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins, and their impact on this season’s game and the difference they made against Louisville. We’ll discuss it more later this evening and talk about the changes in Josh’ game again, but Coach Cal had a cool quote about DeAndre Liggins, who you might remember, seemed to have at least one foot out the door last at the start of last season:
“They asked me to get rid of him. It wasn’t that he would leave, it was ‘get rid of him.’” (Then asked why he decided to keep Liggins…) “Because I knew him from high school, I knew some of his issues and I thought I could get through to him. See look, I’m not worried — and I knew there’d be ups and downs — I don’t do things publicly. So when I punish a kid, usually you don’t even know about it. I’m not trying to make myself look better by punishing a young kid. I’m not doing that. And I also am not afraid to take chances and have people say things about me, because it’s not about me. It’s about this young man. And I thought we could get him to play the way we wanted him to play, that we could win him over, that he had the things that I like to see in a player, but he had to change. He wouldn’t go in a game…I’ve had many players argue with me. I’ve had players not want to go in the game. You ready for this? If there’s a minute to go, and the young man hasn’t been in and we’re up 25 and I go to stick him in, I’ll say, ‘Do you want to go in?’ If the young man says, ‘No, I don’t want to go in,’ I’m alright with that. You know why? Because I was that guy. I know how that one feels. ‘No, please don’t put me in with a minute.’ Other guys, they could care less if it’s 12 seconds, I got that Kentucky uniform on girls are watching, I’m in. I am in. So, I don’t worry about all that, I don’t worry about give and take. This is an emotional game; we play with a lot of passion. And it’s not over yet with DeAndre. It’s never over. When guys totally start changing habits and learn to trust — sometimes one thing can shoot you in the wrong way, ‘Oh well I knew it.’ We don’t know. The guys last year, same deal. We all thought it was over the hump, we come in to practice, oh my gosh he’s back to where he was day one. So, it’s a daily grind in this, but you know what? It’s worth it. It’s worth it for me.”
Amen. Go Cats. Go DeAndre.