Could BJ Boston return to Kentucky for a sophomore season? After Boston scored a team-high 21 points, including six threes, in Kentucky’s 92-64 romp of South Carolina, John Calipari said the freshman may be mentally ready for the next level, but physically, he’s not there yet.
“Let me tell you why I stick with him,” Calipari said of Boston. “Every day I look in that gym, whether it’s after practice or whether it’s morning and he’s in there, like some of the better players. Here’s the issue for him: it’s not mental. It’s physical. He’s physically not able to to do what his mind is telling him to do. And I’m trying to get him to make the easiest plays, catch and shoot, one-dribble pull ups. If you get to the rim, try to get fouled because it’s not anything mental, it is more physical. That, you know, holds him back a little bit at this point.”
Boston came into this season as a projected top three draft pick, but his stock has dropped considerably as the year has gone on. Right now, Boston is a late first round pick in most mock drafts, and earlier this week, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie predicted he will stay one more season in Lexington. Calipari referenced Immanuel Quickley and PJ Washington when talking about how beneficial a second year could be for Boston.
“He’s never lost the fight. This stuff has been hard for him. And it’s also eye-opening to know as an individual player, man, physically, this is — I’m not where I need to be physically and so, we’ve had other guys. It’s like Immanuel Quickley. Immanuel Quickley walked in my office and said, ‘Coach I know you said this would be hard.’ This is after his freshman year. ‘This is way harder than I thought and I didn’t have a good year. But I’m coming back and you watch. No one will outwork me.’ Those are the guys that should come back. That mentality. PJ Washington. That mentality. I’m not coming back to do showtime. I’m not coming back to say, ‘Hey, this is my team.’ I am coming back because I’m going to get better and I can accept that I didn’t play the way I needed to play. And this is way harder than I thought.”
Calipari said he will still encourage Boston — and all of his players — to test the waters and get feedback on where they are and how to improve their game. In Boston’s case, that might mean hearing another year in Lexington is what he needs.
“Every kid, I’ll spend three minutes with each of these kids. I don’t spend this much time on this. I’m not trying to — I like when kids go through the process because the teams aren’t going to lie to them. They’re going to tell them the truth. Going through the process is good. Whether it’s any of these guys. You can’t be delusional because if you are, it’ll catch you. You have to be real and you can’t blame anybody for your performance. You own it. And then you say, here’s what I can do and how I can get better.”