Big hopes for a little-used Wildcat. ‘He will have a huge impact on college basketball.’

It’s common for to pick a basketball player and single him out for words of praise when that Wildcat hasn’t been playing much.

At various points this season, he’s done it, to varying degrees, with Chris Livingston, Lance Ware, and Daimion Collins. He’s also made  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 A&M, his first game action in nearly a month — Calipari amped up the appreciation level.

’s coach talked about how Thiero was the only scholarship player on this 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.

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