When Chris Livingston committed to the Kentucky Wildcats, it was viewed as a major recruiting win.
Ranked as the #12 player in the class in the 247 Composite Rankings, many expected Livingston to arrive in Lexington and be an immediate contributor for a Kentucky program known for churning out top-notch freshmen year after year.
It wasn’t that easy for Livingston, and it’s taken some time to adjust at Kentucky, but as Livingston has grown more comfortable and continued to work on his game, his emergence into a key piece of Kentucky’s rotation has the Wildcats trending in the right direction late in the season.
Wednesday night, as Kentucky battled the Florida Gators in Gainesville, Livingston came up big again, scoring 10 points and pulling down 15 rebounds, a season-high on the glass, and his second-consecutive double-double.
Calipari: "Chris Livingston was ridiculous today ... He's been ridiculous."— Aaron Gershon (@agershon99) February 23, 2023
Livingston has been forced into a larger role due to injuries to guards Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick, and while being thrust into the moment, Livingston has shined bright.
During Kentucky’s three-game winning streak, Livingston is averaging more than 11 points per game and 10 rebounds per game.
But what deserves to be pointed out is how Livingston has come up big in various clutch moments in these games.
Against Florida with the Wildcats clinging to a 74-72 lead with 49 seconds remaining and the Gators in the midst of a 9-0 run, Cason Wallace missed a step-back three on a discombobulated offensive possession, but Livingston made the play of the game when he flew in to put back the shot and complete a three-point play.
REBOUND. BASKET. AND THE FOUL.— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 23, 2023
CHRIS LIVINGSTON. pic.twitter.com/q4ht3NpjKh
The way the game was going, that play by Livingston probably saved the day for Kentucky.
And it was just last week when Livingston made another great play that helped seal a road win for Kentucky.
Livingston’s second-half performance against Mississippi State was great, scoring all 13 of his points in the final 20 minutes to help Kentucky pull off a huge win in Starkville, but his offensive rebound and free throws in the final seconds was arguably the biggest play of the game.
There’s no doubt that Chris Livingston’s emergence has been one of the most significant components of Kentucky’s turnaround over the last few games. If he keeps playing like this, Kentucky becomes a much different team and one that a lot of teams won't want to see in March.
Projections vs Outcomes pic.twitter.com/4TBpACSFZO— Rare Rookies #BBN (@rarerookies) February 23, 2023