At various points this season, he’s done it, to varying degrees, with Chris Livingston, Lance Ware, Ugonna Onyenso and Daimion Collins. He’s also made Adou Thiero the subject of such praise. On Wednesday night — after the barely used freshman played a little more than three minutes in a 20-point victory over Florida A&M, his first game action in nearly a month — Calipari amped up the appreciation level.
Kentucky’s coach talked about how Thiero was the only scholarship player on this UK team who had yet to receive a true, extended opportunity to show his stuff in actual games. Calipari paused briefly, for effect, and made a statement that went beyond any he’d uttered in the recent past regarding players under similar circumstances.
“I’ll say this, and I’m not saying this lightly,” Calipari started, in full declaration mode. “I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but he will have a huge impact on college basketball. He will. Because he can play basketball. He’s tough physically. Plays better in the games than he does in practice, to be honest with you.