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Calipari credits growth of Richards and Quickley to conditioning, feels Montgomery is right on the cusp for same reason

If you think of the top two players on the Kentucky roster that have shown the most individual development from last season to the current one, it’s nearly impossible not to single out both Nick Richards and Immanuel Quickley right away.

Since last season, Richards has more than tripled his scoring average (4.0 PPG to 13.4 PPG), doubled his rebounding totals (3.3 RPG to 7.8 RPG), doubled his block totals (1.3 BPG to 2.4 BPG), and is managing a career-high in overall shooting at 68.2%. Meanwhile, Quickley has also nearly tripled his scoring average (5.2 PPG to 13.7 PPG), doubled his rebounding totals (1.8 RPG to 4.2 RPG), and he has seen his shooting averages raise across the board (42/41/93 splits from 37/35/83 last season).

While both players have worked hard in the gym from a skill standpoint, John Calipari credits the majority of their success to getting their bodies right.

“What do y’all think the number one thing with Nick that got him over the hump? … What do you think was the reason he got over the hump? He’s in shape,” Calipari said. “He put himself in great shape, so now he doesn’t surrender. It makes you a coward. You just surrender. He is in great shape.”

Right on par with Richards from a conditioning standpoint? Quickley.

“Who is the other guy in supreme condition? Immanuel,” he said.

Calipari is using those two success stories for EJ Montgomery, who the Kentucky head coach feels is right on the cusp of reaching that level of development.

“You know who is now doing extra conditioning? E.J. Is it showing? Yes,” he said of Montgomery, who finished with ten points on 4-6 shooting, six rebounds, two blocks, and one steal in 19 minutes of action. “It’s not going to happen overnight, though. Took Nick three years. … So look at him. [He asks], “Can I just get more shots? Can you just not say anything and leave me in the game?” How about you do the hardest thing, which is get in great condition, and then see where it takes you. Then all of a sudden you do stuff that you didn’t even know you can do, which builds your confidence and yourself esteem. It’s not what I say.”

According to Montgomery, UK associate head coach Kenny Payne has been putting in extra work outside of practice helping him get where he wants to be.

“Every chance I can, [Kenny Payne] grabs me and helps me with conditioning,” he said. “Trying to get me in better shape so I can play my hardest the whole game.”

And how do they train? The old fashioned way, of course.

“Line it up, foot on the line, and start running,” he said.

Now, he feels the confidence is allowing him to take the next step forward as a player.

“I feel like I’m getting better,” he added. “I feel like I’m going out there [each night] doing what it takes to help my team win.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

5 Comments for Calipari credits growth of Richards and Quickley to conditioning, feels Montgomery is right on the cusp for same reason

  1. CJKAssassin123
    11:40 pm January 21, 2020 Permalink

    If we can just get Whitney there we should be fine. it looks like keion Brooks is starting to come around, and Montgomery is just about at Nick Richards level. But if we can just get Whitney going this is team is going to be extremely dangerous in March.

    • ColoradoCatFan88
      11:54 pm January 21, 2020 Permalink

      Montgomery is nowhere near Richard’s level. But he is making progress in the right direction. I was impressed with both Brooks & Juzang tonight. Sestina seems like he has fallen off from where he was at the beginning of the season. May have something to do with the wrist, but I’m just not sure Whitney is going to be a contributor this season. He’s not getting better & his playing time is becoming less & less with other guys stepping up their games. Also, what’s up with Dontaie Allen? Didn’t his mom say he was close to being ready like 6 weeks ago?

    • ClutchCargo
      10:07 am January 22, 2020 Permalink

      I think Sestina is what he is, and he looked better early in the season because he had a lot of experience and knew how to play college ball. The other guys are getting up to speed now and he just doesn’t have the athleticism.

      Allen’s injury just came at a bad time. There is no way he is working into the rotation at this point in the season, even if healthy. Cal is going to be trying to use fewer players, not more. Hopefully he’s good to go for next year.

  2. Dustin Rumbaugh
    1:21 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    Reminds me of a baseball coach I had that said “its not the big plays….its those small moments, in the gym or in practice, when no one is watching and you push just a little bit harder….those are the big plays.”

    • Cheli4UK
      3:20 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

      Reminds me of this:
      The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.

      Muhammad Ali