By LARRY VAUGHT
Freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox has made “great strides” for coach John Calipari even though he’s playing faster than he ever has.
“Sometimes decision making – running faster than he’s ever ran in his life, which means his mind is moving fast at times. But there are things that he does that I can’t teach. He’s special. He is. How he plays on the ball, how he plays in pick-and-roll defense, I mean, wow. It’s not like we have taught that a whole lot; he just gets after it. He’s long. A big guard,” Calipari said Tuesday before UK practiced for today’s game with Cleveland State.
What about his propensity for missing outside shots?
“If you remember last year Tyler Ulis was shooting like 22 percent from the 3-point line. He wasn’t making any shots. I don’t worry about guys like him. You have to get in the gym. Part of it is, you got to take game shots. You can’t take tip toe shots. You can’t take casual shots. He’s the least of our worries,” Calipari said.
Fox has scored in double figures each game and led UK in assists each game. He says he doesn’t pay attention to shooting percentages.
“Get to the free-throw line, shoot as many layups as you can. Just do whatever to help my team,” Fox said. “I’m shooting the pull-up more. I’m playing a lot faster than I was just because that’s what Cal’s been preaching to me.”
He says his shot has not been off that much.
“I haven’t really changed much. They’ll start falling eventually,” Fox said. “He (Calipari) wants me to shoot more runners in the lane. I don’t really have a reason not to. Sometimes I’m just not thinking about it. Sometimes a pull-up is just the first thing on my mind or get to a layup is the first thing. Not too many people have that in between. It’s just something I have to learn to use more.”
He has been watching the way sophomore teammate Isaiah Briscoe can finish when he gets inside the lane.
“It’s ridiculous the way he can just put English on the ball (at) any angle on the backboard. Kyrie (Irving) is one of the only people – Steph (Curry) has the high layup, but the way Kyrie finishes around the rim through contact, either hand, doesn’t matter if he’s on the right side with left hand, he just puts crazy spin on it and it goes in. I heard Kyrie is Isaiah’s cousin. I didn’t even know that, but I think that’s who he learned it from,” Fox said.