By LARRY VAUGHT
There’s nothing like a mother’s love — or advice.
Kentucky freshman Isaac Humphries of Australia made his biggest contribution for the Cats since early December when he had four points, six rebounds and three blocks in Saturday’s win over Florida.
“I’ve been on a mission all week, really. My mom has been in my head just telling me to go hard, go hard, go hard. And today, I was really determined if I got a chance – and I did – to just really prove myself and I think all in all, I’m happy with how I did and how I took on my own little personal goal for myself,” Humphries said.
So what did his mother say or do that UK coaches had not been able to do?
“I think my mom just noticed the mental, how it was affecting me mentally. I mean, it wasn’t that bad, but Mom’s being mom. She knows when something is a little wrong. She really drilled me and said, ‘Snap out of it, you’ll be fine. You’re young. When you get your chance go for it.’ And yeah, I did,” Humphries said.
He got his chance when senior Alex Poythress could not play. Calipari, and Humphries, did not find that out until just before the game started.
“I think I did well. I was on a mission to prove myself out there so I think I did well in my own opinion,” Humphries said.
He said he had been thinking about the “end goal” daily and even when he was not playing in games, he was trying to get better in practice. He said not playing did make him question himself at times.
“You doubt yourself and stuff like that but you just have to push through it. Coach has been telling me all season that I’ll get my chance and today was it and I think I proved myself,” Humphries said.
Kentucky fans certainly liked it when he came from the weak side to block a shot, something UK had been lacking on defense.
“That was a great part of the game for me. I was just talking to Tyler (Ulis) about it actually. I noticed he had a complete mismatch and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to have to go eventually,’ and then I saw the ball being passed to him and I just went for it. That’s all you can do really,” Humphries said.