He’s getting warmer.
EJ Montgomery put together another solid performance in Kentucky’s victory over Texas A&M Tuesday to prove John Calipari and Kenny Payne are right when saying he’s close to breaking out in a big way.
Montgomery finished Tuesday’s game with eight points, 10 rebounds and three assists. He was also able to stay out of foul trouble as he finished the night with just two fouls allowing him to play 38 minutes, one game after he played 30 minutes in a win over Florida. In both games, Kentucky held its opponents to 60 points or less, and Montgomery’s defense was a big part of that.
After the game, Calipari told Tom Leach that this was the best he’s seen Montgomery play since coming to Kentucky.
Calipari on Montgomery's play: "It was unbelievable. It's the best I've seen him play."— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 26, 2020
Despite all this, Montgomery still hasn’t exactly become what Kentucky needs him to be in order to win a national championship, as he committed three turnovers and is still not doing enough offensively to force defenses to respect him more.
Regardless, Montgomery continues to close in on being the elite forward Kentucky hoped he’d be when they signed him in 2018. still come a long way and is absolutely making a positive impact on a Kentucky team that now looks capable of making it to the Final Four.
When speaking of Montgomery’s improved play after Saturday’s victory over Florida, Calipari said: “He is so close to being what he’s capable — he’s close, but he’s close because he’s conditioning, he’s pushing.”
Associate head coach Kenny Payne added Monday, “His energy is way better, his rebounding is better, his fighting to make plays for us to win has been really good.”
Montgomery’s performance Tuesday suggests these assessments are accurate, but there’s still more work to be done.