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Calipari on Ashton Hagans and Nick Richards’ bad night

© John Reed | USATSI

© John Reed | USATSI

Winning on the road isn’t easy. It’s really hard when your two most important players turn in their worst performances of the season.

Both Ashton Hagans and Nick Richards struggled vs. Auburn, combining for only 12 of Kentucky’s 66 points. Hagans had a particularly rough night, finishing with five points, six turnovers, and three assists before fouling out after 21 minutes. His streak of games with five or more assists is snapped at 17.

“Struggled,” John Calipari said when asked about Hagans. “Struggled. I don’t know. You can ask him. Struggled. Struggled. It’s hard. Tyrese [Maxey] isn’t ready to lead a team yet. Possessions matter. They really do.”

For the first time since Kentucky’s doubleheader in Las Vegas, Nick Richards did not play well, finishing with seven points (3-8 FG, 1-2 FT) and seven rebounds in 38 minutes. As Calipari said, Austin Wiley owned the post, putting up 12 points (4-6 FG) and 10 rebounds in only 18 minutes due to foul trouble.

“[Austin] Wiley just had a field day on Nick [Richards] and not many people have done that to Nick, but he did,” Cal said.

Richards will face another physical big man in Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry on Tuesday night. Both he and Hagans need to forget this performance fast in order to regroup for a battle with the Bulldogs, who are coming off back-to-back wins over Florida and Tennessee.

“There’s nothing that I can do,” Cal said of Richards. “It’s him. Now, why did you not jump for balls? Why did you not hit first? Why did you get outworked to everything? Tell us why and whatever your answer is, fix it. Because that’s what happened. [Wiley] wanted it first and you wanted it — why? What was your mindset? Were you thinking wrong, do you have an arrogance to you? I don’t know. Whatever it is, you’ve got to change.”

“Ashton, why did you play that way? If you want to say it was their team and I got outworked, okay, that could be the answer.”

Kentucky led by five with just under nine minutes to go, but once again, allowed momentum to swing in the opposite direction.

“We just have guys that don’t know how to put — we get ten-point leads multiple times this year and we just gave it up and did it quickly,” Cal said. “Within a minute. We’ve got stuff to learn. All of a sudden, it’s a two-point game. So we’ve got stuff to learn.”

Of the many egregious stats tonight, Kentucky’s eight assists to twelve turnovers is up there. For a team that has three guards on the floor most of the time, the sloppy play is especially frustrating.

“I don’t know because we’ve got three point guards on the floor and I don’t understand when you have three point guards how you make bad decisions. And some of its on both ends.”

“Here’s what I said after: We all had a bad day,” Cal said. “Me included.”

On to the next one.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

19 Comments for Calipari on Ashton Hagans and Nick Richards’ bad night



  1. terwilliger
    9:54 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    Ashton just isn’t mentally strong enough to lead a program like Kentucky. He singlehandedly cost us a trip to the FF last season with his careless turnovers, and he has learned nothing. VALUE THE DAMN BALL.



    • sharpshooter81
      10:00 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

      I agree. Anyone, including Cal or NBA scouts who say he’s ready to play in the NBA are off their rockers.



    • Ez21
      10:14 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

      He has been 1 of the best pgs in the country and in the spotlight as a highly rated guy for years you say he isn’t mentally strong enough to get it done? Go on somewhere man. I bet you’ve never even played a sport on a real team but you’re an expert now.



    • catdaddyd
      12:12 pm February 3, 2020 Permalink

      And he never passes the ball up the floor. For a guy who is supposed to be a great defensive player he sure gets beat off the dribble a lot.



  2. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    9:59 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    Off topic, Hagans looks like Gummy from the movie Fletch with that haircut.



  3. Rob
    10:07 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    Most if not all of Hagans turnovers have been unforced. Trying to dribble between two or three guys. Why!? He needs to learn how to play fast, but not in a hurry. There is a difference. I know Cal thinks he’s the best PG in college basketball but he’s far from it. He’s had big games and plays great defense, but his turnover problems have been consistent. He leads the team and that has to change.



  4. Rob
    10:10 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    I just wish Hagans was as good as he thinks he is.



    • KYCat4EVER
      12:16 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Rob…SPOT ON!

      LOL this is one of Coach PROCESSES most idiotic post game rants I’ve ever heard: just listen to this over paid, underachieving head coach…

      “There’s nothing that I can do,” Cal said of Richards. “It’s him. Now, why did you not jump for balls? Why did you not hit first? Why did you get outworked to everything? Tell us why and whatever your answer is, fix it. Because that’s what happened. [Wiley] wanted it first and you wanted it — why? What was your mindset? Were you thinking wrong, do you have an arrogance to you? I don’t know. Whatever it is, you’ve got to change.”

      “Ashton, why did you play that way? If you want to say it was their team and I got outworked, okay, that could be the answer.”

      Hey COACH PROCESS? How about two suggestions:

      A) you are the coach at U.K… and are paid handsomely to win National s Championships. So take accountability for your job that your earn millions to do, and COACH your players and stop blaming them!

      B) or RETIRE and go sell AUTOMOBILES…

      GO BIG BLUE!



  5. MrFlip41129
    10:14 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    Not anyone of us commenting on this site is as good as Ashton is. So please stop. Let’s support these KIDS and Cats no matter what. Go Cats!



    • Rob
      10:40 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

      Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. I don’t think I said anything about being better than Ashton. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings though. So please accept my sincere apology. I am very ashamed of myself and will think long and hard about what I have done. If there is anything I can say or do to make right the wrong I have done to you please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am going to start by going to church in the morning and asking the Lord himself for forgiveness. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me as well. If not, I understand. Just don’t tell my parents. Thanks.



  6. FatDaddyCat
    10:22 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    When your coach consistently blows smoke up your a$$ and tells you how important you are, regardless of demonstrated behavior, this is what you get. Plus/minus of -11 when he was on the floor tonight. TEAM WAS BETTER with him on the bench tonight. That is not every night, bit it WAS tonight. Let him watch when he goes hero mode. Okoro ate him up, he got is pride hurt. Same thing as SC loss. Same as Elite 8 loss to Auburn last season.



  7. Wyman70
    11:39 pm February 1, 2020 Permalink

    Loved that Cal played the zone for much of the game. We did not win but I thought the zone was good. Auburn has a good team and they stepped up at the end. They made some threes toward the end and the Cats didn’t. Tuff road game. Go Cats…!!!



  8. Lip Man 1
    12:00 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

    “So we’ve got stuff to learn”.–Cal

    Agree with this somewhat, I also know they are past the halfway point of the season now and you’d think they wouldn’t necessarily be making the same silly mistakes would you?



  9. spincr4hire
    12:04 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

    We will be fine come March.



  10. makeitstop
    6:50 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

    Did u hear what Bruce Pearl said to his guys in a TO: “senior, senior, junior etc” he called on their experience and they executed. He knew Wiley would get in foul trouble and didn’t want to give up easy buckets to Richards so he limited possessions and forced the pressure way up front, taking Nick largely out of the offense. If u hv a 4 (we don’t yet) that shouldn’t happen – and it u hv 3 PG that shouldn’t happen but it did and it worked. Yea Maxey and IQ scored but he was willing to give us that for long possessions and no easy buckets inside. Bruce Pearl, I hate to say it, has out coached us twice in a row. His guys are listening. Not saying he’s better or anything like that just saying he’s out coaching us bc his guys are taking the coaching and we aren’t. I think Cal will get their attention and there’s always a stretch about now where they’re looking at draft boards more than game film and picking out green room coats not working on how they’re going to break down the guy they’re going to be guarding Tuesday. But then some years the result is a tear filled locker room of children come late March with who just realized they didn’t pay attention and it’s over. The other team was more disciplined not more talented and they’re moving on. Always one or two guys like IQ who figured it out and u feel for, but if u aren’t listening now ur just not real smart. 6 seed is a tough place to play from and we are 2-3 more losses from landing there and deservedly so.



    • kybirdieman
      9:29 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Our guards can’t cover annyone, open the foor and drive to basket just like tournament game last year. Tired of hearing about refs, we are getting beat off dribble and fouling. Even forced Cal to zone which he hates lol. Hagans defensive player of year a joke. Back to Nick setting picks 30 feet from basket also. Got beat by team that shoots 33% a joke.



    • catdaddyd
      12:09 pm February 3, 2020 Permalink

      Spot on Kybirdieman.



  11. sprtphan
    7:14 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

    Richards was timid because he didn’t want to foul out like the others. Got to play somewhere in the middle but these officials make it very difficult.



    • Ez21
      10:23 am February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Something has to be done about CBB officials. They are determining outcomes every single night games are played. I call it like I see it too. I used to always say refs are going to make bad calls, but when adversity comes teams must overcome it. The last 2-3 yrs tho, I just can’t believe how bad it’s gotten. I’be watched, played, and coached basketball my whole life and never made excuses like oh it was the refs but these games are turning out to be unwatchable to the regular fan who isn’t watching because they bleed a particular color. Officials across college basketball are a joke. I’m not just speaking on the one’s reffing UK games either most all of them are terrible. If the NCAA or these conferences don’t do something, then the fans are going to lose faith and turn their backs on CBB.