Between PJ Washington, Reid Travis, Nick Richards, and EJ Montgomery, Kentucky’s got a wide array of options in the frontcourt, but John Calipari is giving all of his post players the same message: train like a guard, finish like a big. Even seven-foot Nick Richards.
“As I watch where the game is going, positionless, I want him to train as though he’s a guard,” Cal said of Richards. “I want him to have those skills. At the end of the day, they all are being trained as though they’re guards, but I want them to finish like they’re bigs.”
Calipari is giving PJ Washington and Reid Travis the same advice they received from the NBA: expand your game outside…but not all the time.
“I said to PJ and Reid, you two are bulls. You two are so physical you don’t want to get away from that but undersized bullies don’t make it at that next level. You’ve got to have great movement. You’ve got to be able to fly up and down the court. You better be able to space the court out. You don’t have to make them all out there, you just can’t miss them all out there.”
For Travis, playing against seven-footers like Richards in practice will only help him prepare for the NBA.
“With him, you’ve got he and PJ and we’ve got a couple seven-footers — learn to play over these big guys. Also, learn to compete and play at the level every day and let’s see where this goes. I told him, movement. The league is going to movement. The league is going to stretching out the court. Don’t get away from who you are. You’re physically strong, active. That’s who you are, but let’s stretch this out.
“I think a lot of it is, you learn. In front of the team, I said, Reid, how are you going to be? You averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds last year. What if you average only 14 points this year? You gonna be all right with that? This thing is different. It’s about working and having competition every day. It’s about sacrificing. And the last thing is, you’ve gotta trust this process and trust what we’re trying to do.”
At one point, Calipari stumbled over the names of his bigs, one of many swaggy moments on the call.
“Just like Reid, just like PJ, and just like EJ — PJ and EJ, oh my gosh. I’m going to struggle. I’m going to have to change [their] names.”
Just embrace it, Cal. PJ and EJ (and TJ Beisner) gonna make ’em pay.