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Kenny Payne on why Calipari’s so hard on PJ Washington

PJ Washington is playing the best basketball of his life right now; however, John Calipari isn’t willing to give his star any slack. All season, Cal’s been hard on PJ, and as the sophomore’s play has improved, his coach’s critiques have just gotten louder, which associate head coach Kenny Payne says of Cal’s way of pushing PJ to new heights.

“So proud of PJ and what he’s done,” Payne told reporters today. “Love the way that he’s approaching the game. And you’re right, Coach has been really, really focused on him playing to a certain standard. Last six games, he was unbelievable to finish games and Coach said, ‘You’re going to get rebounds — attempts — 60 percent of the time. That’s not who you are. You have to be a 90 percent attempt rebounder. Don’t mean you get them, but you attempt 90 percent of the time.’ So, as the world is giving him all this praise, Coach Cal is saying, ‘I need more.’ And that’s what this is about. You can see it in his play.”

After PJ scored 23 points at Mississippi State last week, Calipari reminded the team that he only had three rebounds. PJ’s face afterwards was priceless:

In Tuesday night’s loss to LSU, PJ tied Reid Travis for a team-high nine rebounds, but only had five on Saturday vs. Tennessee. Afterwards, Calipari said the staff is keeping track of those rebound attempts.

“We keep attempts, focus — at the end of every game that’s the first thing I look at is what were their attempts. And I told you, PJ started going down, down, down, as he started scoring more thinking, I’m a scorer, I’m not a rebounder.”

So, what happens if PJ does become a 90-percent attempt rebounder like Cal wants?

“If he gets to 100, it’s going to be 105,” Payne quipped.

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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.

5 Comments for Kenny Payne on why Calipari’s so hard on PJ Washington



  1. clarks
    3:15 pm February 18, 2019 Permalink

    Push em all to the top of the mountain cal. GO CATS



  2. zoupman
    4:49 pm February 18, 2019 Permalink

    Typically when a coach is hard on a good player, he knows that player can be even better. Cal is very good st this and PJ seems to be doing his part.
    Win/win for player and team.



  3. UKinIN
    5:03 pm February 18, 2019 Permalink

    This just points out how dysfunctional last year’s team was. Calipari was begging guys to play rather than pushing them to be their best.



  4. RealCatsFan
    5:29 pm February 18, 2019 Permalink

    When you are coaching at any level, you have to be able to read the psychological minset of your players. Some need to be pushed like this, and some need words of encouragement to give them confidence as they learn. And some need a good old fashioned ass chewing from time to time. It’s a lot like parenting. 😉



    • trumpetguy
      12:01 am February 19, 2019 Permalink

      RCF, agreed and probably a point a parent of a potential recruit might want to consider. If their kid is only interested in status quo, being a good player on a good team…..then go that way. BUT, if they want to improve to be much more than just good, and play on a team with deep March aspirations, UK is the route to take! Cal will not accept luke warm effort……bad for the player, and bad for the team.