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By LARRY VAUGHT
Freshman Alex Poythress knows plenty about the different setup for team benches at Vanderbilt because he’s from nearby Clarksville, Tenn., and almost went to Vanderbilt.
“I have been there and know about the benches,” Poythress said. “I remember how weird the gym is and how the benches are on the baseline.”
He joked it could be “good or bad” having Calipari so far away at times during the game.
He’s got several family members and friends coming to the game and says it is “exciting” to go back home.
“At the end of the day it’s just another basketball game. We just have to take care of business and win the ball game,” he said.
Calipari isn’t worried about Poythress trying to do too much since he has been pushing his freshman to play with more energy.
“If it’s an effort thing, he can do as much as he wants. Just go ‘til you pass out,” Calipari said.
He says Poythress accepts coaching well and seems to want to change some habits that have frustrated the UK coaches.
“To listen and change what you do is two different things. He’s respectful and he’s not (bucking against it). Is he responding to everything? No. That’s because it’s really hard. It’s like anybody else. You get in a comfort level and someone tries to push you out of that comfort level, you fight it,” Calipari said. “Someone tries to get you to play harder and you don’t, sometimes it becomes embarrassing when everybody’s watching that you’re not able to do it and makes it doubly hard to break through.
“As soon as he finds out that he can do this — every great player out there, there was a point in his career that he had to learn what Alex is learning. ‘I got to bust through this when I’m tired. I cannot look exhausted. I cannot look play like I’m (tired). And I don’t need anybody to alibi for me. I don’t need that. What I need is to just change.’ You got to recognize it first, which he has. Now you got to change it.”