By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky signee Tyrese Maxey played three games last week at the Kentucky Lake Showcase in Marshall County, including one with UK coach John Calipari watching, and showed why he’s one of the top 10 players in the 2019 recruiting class.
He averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game in the three wins. He had five 3-pointers in one game — and had six assists the same game. Another game he attempted just three 3-pointers, but pulled off 11 rebounds.
The 6-4 Maxey was relentless on defense just as national recruiting analysts have said he would be. He also had the infectious personality that Calipari likes for his point guards to have.
Calipari said it was not a big deal for him to come watch the guard play even though his team was going to be playing Louisville about 24 hours later.
“He is in our state and it gives me a chance to watch him. I am not going to miss practice. I will get back for practice and then we will drive to Louisville. It’s not that big a deal.I am not missing anything,” the UK coach said while watching Maxey play.
Maxey had 28 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists while making 10 of 17 shots from the field, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range, with Calipari watching. Maxey called that a normal stat-stuffing game for him.
“I just do whatever it takes to win. Rebounding, sometimes shots are not falling so you have to get your other teammates involved, sometimes just play defense. Whatever it takes to win, that is what I am going to do,” Maxey said.
Maxey offered these other insights during a break between games at the Kentucky Lake Showcase
Question: Any chance you might be too unselfish at times and not look for your own shot enough?
Maxey: “It’s just part of me. Sometimes I am too unselfish but when it gets down to it at the end of the game if it is close, I will try to take over.”
Question: What was it like to have John Calipari watching you play or are you just used to that?
Maxey: “I think I used to let it bother me. Like my sophomore year he came to one of my games and that what all I could focus on because I have always wanted to go to Kentucky. But now I see him a lot and talk to him all the time, so it really doesn’t bother me. It’s just another day.”
Question: Did it surprise you he took the time to come see you play the day before Kentucky was playing Louisville?
Maxey: “I wouldn’t say it surprised me because we are close. He doesn’t get to see me often because I live all the way in Texas. But I am glad he took the time out to come. It shows the interest he has in me and is one reason why I chose to go to Kentucky.”
Question: Why have you been a Kentucky fan?
Maxey: “I have just honestly been a coach Calipari fan, even when he was at Memphis. He did really good with Derrick Rose and then had John Wall at Kentucky. Now he has so many guards in the NBA and I feel like he can do that for me.”
Question: Did you watch the UK-North Carolina game?
Maxey: “Every single second of it. I love the way UK played and shout out to Ashton Hagans. He did really well that game. The whole team did but really proud of Ashton. I loved that pace. Coach Cal lets his kids go.”
Question: What is it like to play three games here in the state where you will play your college basketball?
Maxey: “It is kind of cool, especially with my teammates getting to come, too. I may not see them as much after this year. To come up here and share this experience with them is really good. I actually played in Kentucky in seventh grade. I played in Louisville (at an AAU event).”
Question: What do you think of Kentucky fans?
Maxey: “I have talked to fans a little bit here but I have seen them everywhere, even in Texas. They are always reaching out to me.”