By LARRY VAUGHT
While many Kentucky fans think coach John Calipari was stubborn for not playing freshman Dontaie Allen much the first seven games when the Cats went 1-6 and then overly hard on him when he did start playing him, Allen does not see it that way.
“I think he’s hard on everybody. I don’t think it’s certain people. It’s just, he wants everybody to be great so he’s going to coach everybody accordingly,” Allen said.
“In practice he’ll tell me little things like, ‘Shoot the ball.’ Like, he’ll say I’m second guessing into a shot fake into a pull-up. He’ll just be like, ‘Shoot the first one,’ because he feels like I’m open. I think just things like that.”
Allen maybe explained why he kept his patience and belief he could contribute when he was not playing with this next statement about Calipari’s hard coaching.
“It depends on how you take it. Like, how coachable you are. That’s going to depend on how much you think you’re getting coached hard,” Allen said. “If you’re not coachable, obviously you’re going to take it a little bit harder.”
Allen has also understood how he can help teammates when he’s on the court even if he is not scoring.
“I mean, as far as game planning, obviously having a shooter out there will space the floor, but at the end of the day I just want to do whatever helps the team win,” Allen said.
ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes has made it clear on national TV that believes Allen has to be on the court because he can make shots, something many of his teammates have not shown they can do.
“Kentucky is just an entirely different offensive team when Allen is on the court compared to when he is not,” Dykes said. “It would be hard for me to take him off the floor because at least this guy can put the ball in the basket.”
That’s why so many Kentucky fans were baffled after last week’s loss to Auburn when Calipari offered this explanation for why he did not start Allen or Jacob Toppin in the second half at Auburn when they were clearly UK’s best players the first half
“I want to win every game I coach, but the other side of it is, I’m not trying to take anybody’s heart away,” Calipari said.