Kentucky basketball put together perhaps its most complete performance of the year on Wednesday. The Wildcats blasted Monmouth 90-44, its biggest margin of victory and best defensive effort of the season.
Head coach John Calipari isn't thrilled with his entire roster after the win, though.
Sophomore big man Nick Richards has not taken a step forward from his first season in Lexington, as of yet. His field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and blocks per game are slightly up, but the rest of his major numbers are actually down on a per game basis from his freshman year.
On Wednesday, Richards played just nine minutes, and didn't enter the game at all until the very end of the first half. He wound up with six points, three blocks, and two rebounds in that short period of time, but also managed to commit three fouls.
After the game, John Calipari wasn't afraid to use Nick Richards' playing time as an example for the rest of the Kentucky basketball roster.
He said that anyone that wasn't playing with energy would ride the pine, and named Richards specifically.
From the Courier-Journal:
“We needed this to say, here's who is playing,” Calipari said. “If you're not playing with energy, you're not playing. I'm just not going to put you in. Or I'll put you in with two minutes. You choose not to play with energy, you're out. No matter who it is.”
“Whoever goes to practice and if you're not practicing then you're the fourth big, you're out for a minute,” Calipari said. “Now you'll get a chance to play, but you better play well because you're that odd man out right now. So, if you looked at our practice you would say the fourth big on your team is Nick.”
Freshman forward EJ Montgomery appears to be the beneficiary of Richards' decreased playing time. He played 26 minutes off the bench. He wound up starting the second half, and finished with seven points and four rebounds, earning post-game plaudits for his energy.
Calipari definitely intends this to be motivation for Richards, and in his brief appearance in the game, it seemed to work. We'll see if it translates going forward.