We were hoping to see Skal Labissiere man up against a physical Arizona State front line. Instead, he disappeared.
Skal had a lot of zeros in the stat column. 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block and 5 fouls in only 13 minutes.
Coach Calipari was disappinted, but he understands. “He’s never been through any of this. This is all new to him,” Calipari said. He’s “somewhat” worried about his confidence, but believes he needs this to get where he wants to go, “I’ll be honest with you, to do what these kids want to do, this is all a great thing that he has to work through.”
Even though he wasn’t scoring, much of his troubles are coming on the defensive side of the ball. He’s not trying to play low, he doesn’t want to bend, and his fundamentals are all out of wack. The lack of rebounds is disturbing, but this pick-and-roll defense is appalling. You simply can’t play if you’re giving up layups.
As bad as it may be, Calipari isn’t worried about the way his bag man is playing. “I love Skal. Skal’s going to be good.”
Although he did admit, watching him suffer is becoming infectious, “I want so bad for him to play well.” Calipari said, “There are a lot of times for you to make it, you need somebody to believe in you more than you believe in yourself.”