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Calipari has to teach Alex Poythress to sustain effort just like he did Marcus Camby

Kentucky forward Alex Poythress (22) drives between Vanderbilt defenders Kedren Johnson, left, and Josh Henderson (40) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Kentucky forward Alex Poythress (22) drives between Vanderbilt defenders Kedren Johnson, left, and Josh Henderson (40) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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.

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3 comments

  1. Pacman

    Its amazing that Alex could be averaging 13 pts and 6 rebs per game and he is barely scratching the surface of his talent level. If he was involved in every play he could easily be at 25 pts and 15 rebs every night

  2. TrueBlueJohn

    Not every kid comes with a motor already in place like Michael Kidd-Gilcrest. Most of the top level players could get by on skill alone, and not many of them were pushed to play defense. That is why I think that Cal is the best coach in the country. In a single year, he gets these kids to sacrifice their egos, play hard every possession, and think of team first, and he basically repeats the process every season. Amazing.

  3. Karen Sprinkle

    I believe that Cal said that Alex had never had a conditioning program in high school. I’m sure that his habit in high school was to pace himself because his team needed him to play every minute of every game. It’s hard to break habits made over a period of years, but you can see such a change in Alex since the beginning of the year, and especially since Camp Cal. He’s getting there slowly but surely.

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