After Kentucky’s loss to Auburn — their fourth straight — John Calipari pulled his guys together and gave them the blueprint to turn things around: Be like Shai.
“I had a meeting with the team and said, who’s our best player? Shai [Gilegous-Alexander]. Really. So, let’s talk about how he’s gotten to this point. And I went through it, including in the weight room. If you go and ask Rob [Harris] who’s the best in the weight room, he’s going to say Shai.”
Like so many Calipari gym rats before him, Shai started getting up early to work out on his own back in December, a habit that’s finally trickling down to the rest of the squad.
“I just grabbed them and said if you want to know why he’s changed and why he’s elevated his game, this is why. Doesn’t miss a class. Never late for a tutor. I’ve never met a player undisciplined off the court that is disciplined on the court. It just doesn’t work that way. If you’re undisciplined, there’s a point in the game where you will just break down.”
Kentucky won three straight since that meeting, meaning Shai’s leadership by example is clearly working.
“I just wanted to be the best that I could possibly be for this team,” Shai told reporters. “To do that, I had to put in extra work. Those are the things I just do.”