By LARRY VAUGHT
When John Calipari talks, apparently freshman center Bam Adebayo listens.
“Every team needs a post presence, so that’s a big emphasis. Instead of focusing on all guards they need to focus on the post too,” said Adebayo after he scored 24 points against Mississippi Thursday.
“In practice they were throwing me the ball. Just building up my confidence and trusting my teammates. When we got in this game, they found me and I found them. It all worked out for the best of us. At the beginning of the year I got in foul trouble a lot, but now it’s smooth sailing. I’m not in foul trouble anymore. Just playing basketball.”
He’ll get to show that again Tuesday night when Kentucky hosts Texas A&M in its first home SEC game this season.
“Bam’s getting better. He’s somebody that, again, you know, 12 out of 19 (from the field against Ole Miss),” Calipari said. “I don’t understand the free-throw shooting because he is a better free-throw shooter than that, but the last couple games he’s like 2 for 10.”
Calipari said the team is working daily on getting interior players to improve.
“It’s a process. And then we’re trying to get them to do what we’re working on in games. They don’t always do that. They revert back to what they know and what they’ve been doing their whole lives and he does occasionally,” Calipari said.
“If you don’t have a post presence, your team is a fraud. It is.”
That’s the phrase Calipari uses often and the one that Adebyao and his teammates have taken to heart based on the Ole Miss game.
“There’s going to be a game that you miss shots and you’re going to lose. And if you’re trying to win six in a row at the end of the year and you don’t have a post player, I’m sorry, it’s not happening,” Calipari said.
“You look at Villanova last year, the biggest reason they won was because of that big kid. If they didn’t have that big kid, they had no chance of winning. I mean, that’s what set them apart. They had those perimeter guys that could play and they had a big guy.”