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John Calipari says THE Justin Edwards game is coming

Calipari says, “There’s going to be a game where Justin goes for 30.”

Miami v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Justin Edwards arrived in Lexington this offseason as the highest-ranked recruit of Kentucky’s No. 1 recruiting class, with some projecting him as a top-three pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Yet, he has not played up to those expectations to this point.

Averaging 9.8 points and 4.2 rebounds, his stats aren’t too bad on the surface. Looking deeper into the analytics, a clearer picture is painted as Edwards is 7th or worse (out of 9 players) in defensive (100.6) and offensive efficiency (117.2), according to Evan Miya.

While struggling, Edwards is young and has all the tools to be successful. Standing 6-foot-8, 203 pounds, he holds the physical traits and versatility to be one of the best players on this Wildcat team, even when the shots. Knowing that and seeing it firsthand in their evaluation and practice, the staff has never wavered in their belief in him.

During his weekly call-in show, Calipari went as far as to say that THE Justin Edwards game is coming.

“I really think there’s going to be a game where Justin goes for 30,” Calipari said.

New assistant coach Chuck Martin talked about the hard work Edwards’ is giving to put things together, citing it’s just a matter of time before he breaks out.

“Everyone’s journey is different. He’s an extremely hard-working kid, in the gym every day. He’s super versatile. It’s just a matter of time before he breaks out,” Martin said. “He’s had some really good moments already. He’s just got to focus on defending and rebounding and letting the game come to him, which he does. Good things are gonna happen for him and us.”

Everyone’s journey is different. Just look at last season: Chris Livingston came to Kentucky as a projected first-round pick. Yet, he didn’t even play more than 30 minutes until late January, but by the end of the season, his versatility on the wing was one of Kentucky’s biggest strengths.

It’s clear that Edwards is putting in the effort, and just a third of the way into the season, he still has time. With the big guys returning, it takes some pressure off of him to play bigger than he is used to and could help him find some needed comfort.