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John Calipari suggests he has found his backup center

Ugonna Onyenso had a big impact in the Cats’ win over Michigan.

Jason Marcum - A Sea Of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats picked up a big win over the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday after struggling in their other two big matchups against Michigan State and Gonzaga.

At the beginning of the season, true freshman Ugonna Onyenso was making a big impact for the Cats when Oscar Tshiebwe was out due to injury. Onyenso recorded six points, four rebounds and four blocks against Howard in the season opener.

He followed that up with nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks against Duquesne in the second game of the season.

However, the hype around the big man slowed down after he logged just two total minutes in the matchups against Michigan State and Gonzaga.

On Sunday, Onyenso appeared to flip the script, making a major impact during his eight minutes with four points, two rebounds and two blocks while affecting several other shots.

Onyenso’s layup with just over 12 minutes remaining gave the Cats a 51-50 lead, and they didn’t trail the rest of the game.

After the game, John Calipari praised Onyenso and seemed to suggest that he has now taken over as the backup center to Oscar Tshiebwe.

“You know now that I need to play Ugonna,” Calipari said. “He’s gotta be that other big, and that’s what I’ll do.”

He continued, “Let me say this. Ugonna impacted the game in the first half. Blocks, rebounds. They’re like, ‘who is this guy?’”

The odd man out with Onyenso as the backup is junior Lance Ware, who has seen his minutes steadily decrease since the start of the season.

With the foul trouble that Tshiebwe has been in so far this season, the backup center could play a huge role.

And right now, it looks like Onyenso will be in that role.

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