By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky had a comfortable lead late in Tuesday’s 25-point win over Alabama when coach John Calipari got upset with Jamal Murray, UK’s leading scorer.
He yelled at him even though Murray was on the other end of the court. Murray heard him but rather than turn away, he ran over to Calipari and took even more heat from the coach.
I asked Calipari during the postgame press conference if that showed signs of maturity by Murray that he came over to hear everything the coach had to say. Or I tried to. Here’s how the exchange went:
Question: I know late in the game it looked like Jamal took a shot you weren’t pleased with.
CALIPARI: “It wasn’t a shot. It was a crossover, hit off his knee. It was stolen and going the other way. It’s only one time this game. Do you remember early in the year? Now you look and he did it one time. That’s why we were laughing after the game. I mean, how much better is he? Oh, my gosh, he’s not even the same player. His shot selection, he’s not turning it over, he’s defending better, he’s getting by people, he’s drawing fouls. He’s that big guard that he can be. You put him in pick-n-rolls, we did that late, he got to the rim. He’s a lead guard who scores it and is playing pretty well right now.”
Question: What impressed me is when he was at the other end of the court, you were yelling at him, he ran down to get with you.
CALIPARI: “No, no, he looked right away. He looked right away and said, That’s me.”
Question: Earlier in the season, he would have stayed far away from you.
CALIPARI: “No, he’s doing good. He’s doing good. Again, the kid ends up with 23.
We’ve had more balance. But this team needs him to score baskets. He does it. And that team was almost playing like a box-and-one. They just said, Do not let him get the ball. Do not let him score. And he still got 23.”