Tonight was Skal Labissiere’s first start since the Ohio State game back on December 19, and he responded, putting up 11 points and 8 rebounds in 15 minutes. That’s a career-high in rebounding for Skal and the most he’s scored since the Missouri blowout over a month ago. John Calipari was pleased.
“Skal was terrific today,” Cal said. “And again, he only played 15 minutes, but if he can give us 15-20 minutes like that, we’re pretty good.”
Cal said he made the decision to start Skal yesterday after the freshman big man put in an impressive performance at practice. Of course, he had to consult with Tyler Ulis, his floor general, before anything became official.
“He practiced great yesterday and I looked at Tyler and I said, ‘I’m thinking of starting him tomorrow’ and he said, ‘Do it.'”
Calipari wasn’t totally satisfied with Skal’s performance — he was 1-4 from the free throw line — but when Skal’s playing like that, Kentucky is a much more balanced squad.
While the players refused to give away “the tweak,” Calipari has been focusing on building his players’ confidence this week in practice. Tonight’s performance is definitely a big step for Skal.
“It’s a huge game and I just have to build on it,” Skal said. “We don’t have a long season left, so hopefully I can do this in tournament time.”