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Calipari challenging PJ Washington to do more

Washington has been key in UK’s recent resurgence, but his coach still demands more from his star forward.

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NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an old biblical adage that says “for whom much is given, much is required.”

Kentucky forward PJ Washington falls into this adage pretty well. The sophomore has been scintillating during the Wildcats 10-game winning streak, playing with passion and energy on both ends of the floor averaging nearly 20 points per contest and being a terror on the glass.

However, when Washington doesn’t play up to those exacting standards, rest assured UK coach John Calipari notices and says how he feels about it.

After the Cats four-point victory at Starkville over a tough Mississippi State squad 71-67, Calipari was less than impressed with his star forward.

“I think he is the best player in the country, but not like he played tonight,” said Calipari. “Doesn’t go get rebounds, doesn’t get loose balls, missed one-footers, missed every free throw - what? Come on. If you’re the best, play that way. Come out with great energy, a motor. It’s not about made shots, it’s about how to play.”

Ouch.

Granted, Calipari’s assessment was spot on. Although Washington scored 23 points in the victory, his three rebounds were his lowest output since the Utah game in December. And one of his rebounds was off his own shot, so in 24 minutes of play, he grabbed just two defensive boards.

There is no question that Washington is the man on this Wildcat squad, and as he goes so goes the squad. His play helps to elevate the play of the rest of the team. And with the postseason looming, now is not the time to revert back to old habits.

Calipari knows this. Washington knows this now.

Sometimes its tough being required to do more. Eyes are everywhere. Especially the man at the helm.

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