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  1. #1

    Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Nick Richards’ lack of consistent production has been a problem for Kentucky this season.

    The 7-0 freshman center was expected to not only be a defensive presence, but also an inside scoring threat and solid rebounder.

    Instead, Richards has averaged 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 16.2 minutes per game. He’s hitting 61.1 percent from the field even though he’s missed a number of dunks and other close shots.

    He has blocked a team-high 32 shots and also has 23 turnovers.

    Often he’s been out of position on defense to challenge shots from off the ball or has just got beat one-on-one by his man.

    That has made me wonder at times why sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones has not played more. He’s averaging just 13. 3 minutes per game in the 28 games he’s played. He’s shooting 60.3 percent from the field and averaging 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

    He’s got only 15 blocks — far less than Richards — but he’s also been a more physical, reliable defender. Yet even when Richards struggles, Calipari has been hesitant to go to Killeya-Jones — and that has led to speculation already that the sophomore might transfer after this season. Of course, the same transfer speculation arose after Killeya-Jones’ freshman season. He immediately denied it then and the player or his family have done nothing to indicate that he is considering a transfer now.

    So what does he have to do to play more?

    "He's doing fine. He's doing fine. A lot of times it's the guy in front of you,” Calipari said. “It has nothing to do with you, you just gotta be ready for an opportunity.

    “I think he's doing fine. He's way better as a player. But Jarred (Vanderbilt) and PJ (Washington), even Wenyen (Gabriel) when he's making shots and Nick (Richards) – he's got guys in front of him that are doing pretty good and deserve minutes, too."

    But doesn’t Killeya-Jones deserve minutes? Calipari has gone out of his way to continue to play Hamidou Diallo despite his struggles. Granted, UK lacks backcourt depth and that makes it more necessary to play Diallo at times.

    Plus Calipari has stressed that he won’t throw a player “under the bus” or abandon him when he’s struggling.

    Again, no problem with that here.

    I don’t see practice. Calipari does. I do see games. I’m not advocating 35 minutes per game for Killeya-Jones, but I don’t buy the theory that Richards is playing so much better that he deserves playing time over Killeya-Jones.

    Maybe Killeya-Jones will get his chance to play more at the SEC Tournament. Maybe not.

    Either way I’m hoping he’s back next year better than ever — remember he was a McDonald’s All-American — and find a way to convince Calipari that he needs to play more.

  2. #2
    Unforgettable
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    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    That is a very unusual article from Larry.
    Real Fan since 1958

  3. #3

    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    I'm frustrated with Richards, but I don't really see SKJ as being any better. The numbers say Richards has actually been a little more productive. They're both getting pretty limited minutes. And Richards' minutes have been decreasing drastically, with the exception of the Florida game when we had foul trouble that forced him to play.

  4. #4
    Comeback Cat ETWNAPPEL's Avatar
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    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    Quote Originally Posted by MickintheHam View Post
    That is a very unusual article from Larry.
    He’s just stating the obvious

  5. #5

    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Nick Richards’ lack of consistent production has been a problem for Kentucky this season.

    The 7-0 freshman center was expected to not only be a defensive presence, but also an inside scoring threat and solid rebounder.

    Instead, Richards has averaged 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 16.2 minutes per game. He’s hitting 61.1 percent from the field even though he’s missed a number of dunks and other close shots.

    He has blocked a team-high 32 shots and also has 23 turnovers.

    Often he’s been out of position on defense to challenge shots from off the ball or has just got beat one-on-one by his man.

    That has made me wonder at times why sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones has not played more. He’s averaging just 13. 3 minutes per game in the 28 games he’s played. He’s shooting 60.3 percent from the field and averaging 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

    He’s got only 15 blocks — far less than Richards — but he’s also been a more physical, reliable defender. Yet even when Richards struggles, Calipari has been hesitant to go to Killeya-Jones — and that has led to speculation already that the sophomore might transfer after this season. Of course, the same transfer speculation arose after Killeya-Jones’ freshman season. He immediately denied it then and the player or his family have done nothing to indicate that he is considering a transfer now.

    So what does he have to do to play more?

    "He's doing fine. He's doing fine. A lot of times it's the guy in front of you,” Calipari said. “It has nothing to do with you, you just gotta be ready for an opportunity.

    “I think he's doing fine. He's way better as a player. But Jarred (Vanderbilt) and PJ (Washington), even Wenyen (Gabriel) when he's making shots and Nick (Richards) – he's got guys in front of him that are doing pretty good and deserve minutes, too."

    But doesn’t Killeya-Jones deserve minutes? Calipari has gone out of his way to continue to play Hamidou Diallo despite his struggles. Granted, UK lacks backcourt depth and that makes it more necessary to play Diallo at times.

    Plus Calipari has stressed that he won’t throw a player “under the bus” or abandon him when he’s struggling.

    Again, no problem with that here.

    I don’t see practice. Calipari does. I do see games. I’m not advocating 35 minutes per game for Killeya-Jones, but I don’t buy the theory that Richards is playing so much better that he deserves playing time over Killeya-Jones.

    Maybe Killeya-Jones will get his chance to play more at the SEC Tournament. Maybe not.

    Either way I’m hoping he’s back next year better than ever — remember he was a McDonald’s All-American — and find a way to convince Calipari that he needs to play more.
    I'll put a few minutes in the mail and send them to him where ever he ends up at next Fall.

  6. #6

    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    SKJ can’t guard his own shadow, that keeps him on the bench. Worst defender among the regular rotation players.

    Richards’ stats are a bit misleading. In the last five games he is averaging about 12.6 mpg.

  7. #7

    Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    Had a good tournament. Occasionally Larry knows what he's talking about.

  8. #8
    Fab Five catmanjack's Avatar
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    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    He was big in the last 5 mins!
    Big Blue Mist Will Consume You

  9. #9
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    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    Played good defense the last 2 days. I like what I saw. He would help and recover quickly to his man. Richards incapable of that

  10. #10
    Fab Five catmanjack's Avatar
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    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    Richards needs a whole summer to work on his game.
    Big Blue Mist Will Consume You

  11. #11
    Comeback Cat ETWNAPPEL's Avatar
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    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    He had a fire about him this weekend

  12. #12

    Re: Killeya-Jones deserves more minutes

    SKJ played his best games as a Wildcat this weekend.

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