Coming in as a prized five-star recruit that headlined Kentucky’s 2020 recruiting class, high expectations surrounded BJ Boston Jr. as the up-and-comer that would lead UK to a final four.
While he still leads the team in scoring (12.8 PPG), the freshman forward has just not lived up to that expectation as of yet. His shot selection has been confusing, often times one step in from the three-point line or a circus shot around the rim, and that has led him to shoot just 35% from the floor. Also, he has struggled defensively in one-on-one situations.
In the win last night against Vanderbilt, Boston totaled six points on 3/9 shooting, and did not even play in the final 6:45 of game time. His performance even led to the ridiculous idea by some fans in Rupp Arena to boo him after he missed a jumper.
In the midst of all these struggles and hardships, UK Head Coach John Calipari pleaded with fans after the game to stick with the freshman.
We need our fans to absolutely support (Boston). I don’t know why anybody would just want to be nasty to anybody. If you want to be nasty, be nasty to me. It’s my fault. Don’t be nasty to him. I’m the one that put him in the game,” he said. “So if you’re mad, just be mad at me. Be positive.”
The UK coach continued to point out Boston’s performance in practice suggests he has the potential to blow-up in one of these next few games, along with the fact that he came in as a top-five player in the class, but the freshman has just struggled to put it together in games.
“Yeah, look, I don’t give up on any player and I believe in B.J. (Brandon Boston Jr.), we have been working on B.J. to play a certain way, but he’ll revert back to what he knows best, those flips, don’t get fouled. I have — you know, I mean, we — and I told him, all the stuff we have been working on, you did none of it today,” he said. “And I expected him to have a big game today because he’s been so good in practice, so good in individuals, all the stuff the, coming to a stop in the lane and just to one, two stop, like a little floater, and he had two or three opportunities and he’s trying to flip balls. So, but he’ll get it, and I believe in him.”
Kentucky has won two straight games now to start SEC play, but they ultimately need BJ Boston to hit at least 75% of his potential in order for them to make any kind of noise in March. Knowing that, it would be wise not to boo if you are a fan, as it is in general, and hope he finds more confidence on the court.