Tyler Ulis on Labissiere: “He just started fighting”

Skal Labissiere screamed after a dunk. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Skal Labissiere screamed after a dunk. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

No one believed more in Skal Labissiere than Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis. He helped convince coach John Calipari to put him into the starting lineup two games ago and he could determine just how far UK goes in the postseason.

Ulis shared a few thoughts on Labissiere earlier this week.

On how much easier his job is now that others are stepping up …
“A lot easier. I don’t have to look to score as much. With Skal (Labissiere) playing like he’s playing, we can feed him the ball, have a post presence. Alex (Poythress) playing in the post, Marcus (Lee) doing his job, rebounding and blocking shots. It just all helps our team and allows us to do our job and just win basketball games.”

On if it’s a “better late than never” situation …
“Yeah, this is the perfect time for them to come on because it’s March. Any minute is going to be win or go home, so with them stepping up, it’s big for our team. Everybody is doing their job now and I feel like we can make a run.”

On what changed in Skal Labissiere …
“I don’t know. I don’t think anything changed in him. He’s been working hard, he works out every night. He just started fighting. He got in there rebounding the ball, definitively blocking shots. I feel like when he made a couple jump shots, his offensive game confidence went up and that helped him on the defensive end.”

On what did he point out to Labissiere that he’s picking up now …
“Nothing really, he just started making shots. We know he’s a skilled player and he’s coming out doing what he’s capable of doing. I just try to get him in pick-and-rolls, put him in positions, pass him the ball, and he knocks shots down.”

On if Labissiere got a confidence boost after the start at Florida …
“Definitely because in the practices, he was really playing well, playing hard, rebounding the ball, making shots, post presence. Coach Cal decided to start him and when he got in there, it boosted his confidence. He got in and made a lot of shots. Hook shots, jump shots, all types of shots, which boosted his confidence for the next game.”

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