By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari believes freshman Alex Poythress is continuing to learn. Poythress had 12 points and seven rebounds against Auburn.
“Here’s a freshman, probably averaging 13 or 14 (points), eight rebounds and doing some pretty good stuff, but we need more. Sustaining effort is the only issue with Alex and he increased that about 20, 25 percent last game. Now we’re just trying to build off of it,” Calipari said. “But it has nothing to do with Alex the player. It’s just a competitive spirit, that sustaining effort and all those things.
“But he has gotten better and better and better and that’s all we ask. I’ve done this a long time and every one of the kids that you coach, they were brought up in different environments, they were coached by different kind of players and people. Some of them are advanced in some areas and not advanced in others. Some of them are really skilled and some are not. Some are in unbelievable shape and can very much push through every pain and comfort level. Others can’t push through anything.
“And our job — and I feel this every year — is to help reach each of these kids. Alex is no different than Marcus Camby when I coached him (at Massachusetts). Marcus that first year, it was tough to get him to push through pain, it was tough to get him to sustain effort and he played 19 minutes a game and played him every minute we could. We’re trying to do the same with Alex right now, but he’s making great strides.”
Poythress is averaging 13.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, both second best on the team going into tonight’s game at Alabama.