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Coach John Calipari needs Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee to prove UK could win without Willie Cauley-Stein

Dakari Johnson

Dakari Johnson


How confident is UK coach John Calipari that his team can play with the same effort it did the second half without Julius Randle on the court when he is back on the floor Wednesday night against Mississippi State?

“Here’s the one thing I want to tell you: We’ve had games where Andrew wasn’t getting it done, had no pressure on the ball, wasn’t in the emotional state. We go to somebody else and we play better. So he’s done. Now when you see him, hopefully you’re seeing a different player,” Calipari said. “We’ve also won with Aaron on the bench. James Young against Belmont was in Detroit before the game started, so we won without him. Now we’ve won without Julius.

“Now the question is, can Dakari (Johnson) or Marcus (Lee) give us enough that we can win without Willie (Cauley-Stein)? Now what’s important about that is those guys know if you don’t come to play and compete and battle or you’re not quite ready, you’re out and we’ll win without you. That is very important for a team to know and I’ve made it a point to let them know that, whether it’s Julius or Andrew or Aaron or James, we have enough.

“When you talk about the way Dominique (Hawkins) is playing, the way Alex is playing, if Dakari will give us more and Marcus Lee give us more and the way Jarrod goes in and helps our team. The one guy that I gotta get in games and I gotta get him started a little bit is Derek Willis because he’s really been doing good in practice. He and Marcus Lee are the two that we gotta keep engaged because I really think before it’s all said and done they’re going to help us win games.”

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1 comment

  1. Little Baron

    I am STILL waiting for Calipari to put his money (ie, Lee & Willis) where his mouth is.

    Yes, I know there are only so many minutes in a game, but we could a lot more rested players on the court with the energy to play with intensity, if this DEEP bench is REALLY utilized. Willis just may have been the difference maker, turning one or two of our losses into W’s, if he played 4 to 8 minutes. We’ve sure has our games where we needed someone to find the bucket from 3-land.

    Here’s hoping BOTH Lee (what a boost of enthusiasm & a ability to block shots) and Willis (need 3’s to open the middle for Julius, and a big man hitting 3’s will pull a big defender outside).

    In advance, hoping it really happens…
    Thanks, Coach Calipari, for playing these guys! & not just talking about it.

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