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Calipari says Skal earned the starting spot in practice

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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.”

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.

4 Comments for Calipari says Skal earned the starting spot in practice

  1. misterlicorice
    10:07 pm March 1, 2016 Permalink

    Proud of the big fella. He’s been over scrutinized and criticized to the point that you could see him shrinking in his performances thus far. Hopefully this play will boost his confidence heading into the most important time of the season. Just in time

  2. The Rest of the story
    10:30 pm March 1, 2016 Permalink

    There is likely no one on here that’s been more critical of Skal than myself. His play tonight was inspiring to watch and more so is what this team needs from him. I will gladly eat the crow I deserve if he continues to play this way and give the effort he did tonight. To you sir tonight I tip my hat and say well done and to this team well done in a very hostile environment. It is a shame that the SEC officiating keeps making an ass of themselves as they continue to do.

    • UK Big Board Update
      10:34 pm March 1, 2016 Permalink

      You better fix a little extra crow for yourself. 😉

      The Rest of the story February 28, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink | Reply
      Like It (0)
      Skal absolutly no improvement since day one. He is just awful. With Brisco on the floor the other team only has to guard 4 players at most.
      This team without Willis will lose every game he is not playing and you can write that down.

  3. Bluebloodtoo
    10:07 am March 2, 2016 Permalink

    Funny thing, the way boot camp works in the military is that they spend the first 2/3 of it tearing everyone down mentally and physically and pushing them to their breaking point. The last 1/3 is spent building them back up and getting them to recognize that they are all on the same team. Interesting how Cal manages to do this same thing every year but market it differently each time. The “tweak” (IMHO) is when he starts the building back up process by saying how good they are playing and encouraging them.