Cam’Ron Fletcher was overlooked in Kentucky’s incoming class, the lowest-ranked of six new freshmen on John Calipari’s new team. Throw in three new transfers, including Olivier Sarr with his summertime soap opera, and it’s easy to see how Fletcher’s name wasn’t at the front of the preseason conversations surrounding this brand new team.
But we are talking about him right now.
Maybe the star of the entire game for how he outplayed expectations, the 6-6 freshman came off the bench to score nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, plus five rebounds, three assists and a steal, all in only 17 minutes played.
Surprised as anyone, Calipari said in his postgame comments he hadn’t seen anything like that from Fletcher, but used him as an example of someone making the most of an opportunity Cal gives everyone on the team.
“Cam has not done what he did today in the game,” Cal said. “That’s why he didn’t go in earlier. But now, what he just did today, you gotta push him in there… I love what I saw from Cam today because he just… plays… hard.”
Terrence Clarke loved what he saw from Fletcher too.
“Cam is that guy, he’s that guy,” said Clarke, UK’s starting shooting guard and one of Fletcher’s freshman classmates. “He plays as hard as he can every time he’s out there, and he gives it his all and that’s why I love him to death. That’s one of my main guys on the team right now. When I talk to him, the main thing he wants to do is just let everybody know that he’s here for everybody else, and he went out there today and surprised a lot of people because he plays hard and does what he has to do all the time on the court. It showed today.”
Clarke had a nice debut of his own, which is why he and Fletcher shared the honor of speaking on behalf of the players in the first postgame press conference of the year.
Fletcher was last to speak. A man of few words, he told reporters, “It was game time so my adrenaline was running and I knew I had to play hard and everything would fall in place.”
And all this attention?
“I don’t really care about attention, for real. I just go hard, play dirty. That’s just me.”