By LARRY VAUGHT
During Kentukcy’s win over Florida on Saturday freshman Tyrese Maxey flirted with a triple double before finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists after failing to get a rebound or assist the final seven minutes.
Teammate Immanuel Quickley had a career-high 26 points against the Gators — the same total Maxey had in UK’s opening game win over Michigan State.
So would Maxey rather have a personal scoring high or a stat-stuffing game like he did Saturday?
“I’d rather just win! I’m willing to do whatever my team needs and that’s what I tried to do today,” Maxey said after the win. ” Of course, Ashton (Hagans) wasn’t able to start because of his leg and he told me to just do what I do and he had faith in me.
“So I took on the role of being a lead guard, trying to get our guys involved early like getting EJ (Montgomery) and Keion (Brooks) some shots. I’m glad we won. Win by one, win by 20, I love it.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Maxey’s numbers against Florida are what he’s capable of doing much more often.
“He should be a triple double because if he makes easy passes you’re not going to turn it over, and they’re assists because these guys can play,” Calipari said. “The second thing is I’ve seen him rebound and do that stuff. Now go get it.
“You know, he’s doing it. And making those two free throws (at the end of the game), folks, that’s first time this year he’s done that. Listen, he’s either missed or gone one of two; he’s not made two. Believe me, I’m watching every game. He made them this game. Big step for him.”
Why? Hasn’t Maxey been good in the clutch a lot this season?
“Demonstrated performance is what builds your confidence, not me saying you’re the greatest or what are you doing?” Calipari said. “It doesn’t matter if you build your own confidence and you have through hard work, through the grind, and then you get on the court and you perform.