UK Athletics Photos
By LARRY VAUGHT
Before the season started the safe guess was that freshman wing BJ Boston would be Kentucky’s leading scorer.
After two games, it certainly looks like that is going to be the case.
Boston has scored more points (35) and taken more shots (34) than anyone on the team. In fact, he’s taken almost twice as many shots as Terrence Clarke, who is second on the team with 19.
Boston is averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent overall from the field. However, he’s 0-for-7 from 3-point range.
“I think he has done some nice things early in this season,” UK assistant coach Joel Justus said after Sunday’s loss to Richmond when Boston had a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
But here is why Boston’s scoring is not likely to drop off.
“He is going to be a guy asked to score the ball and asked to create,” Justus said.
Kentucky’s young team is going to have to find a player who can score when games are on the line and everyone knows he is going to have the ball. The best teams anywhere have that.
“I think he has the mentality,” Justus said. “I think when you are coaching young guys like that they have to respect the position. He has to be a guy who takes extreme pride in being a guy we call on to get buckets.”
Justus said while coach John Calipari trains every player for that challenge, Boston is a “competitor, fighter and wants to win” — necessary attributes of a player who can handle that type of role.
Calipari likes guards who can rebound because then they can start the fast break. Boston has shown he will do that and that can help get him some easy transition baskets.
ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes likes the way Boston doesn’t force shots — except maybe in the closing minutes of Sunday’s loss when UK was desperate for points.
“He doesn’t play that way taking bad shots,” Dykes said. “I wish he made a few more perimeter baskets but I really like the way he plays.”
Boston was disappointed Kentucky did not have an assist the second half against Richmond and only five in the game.
“Something we have got to work on every day is getting one-more (pass) and making the game easier for each other,” he said. “I feel like I have a big responsibility uplifting and encouraging the team to fight through adversity.”
Kentucky has to play Kansas Tuesday and Boston said the team knows what has to improve based on Sunday’s loss.
“The biggest lesson we learned is hit free throws, take care of the ball and play as a team. I would rather it happen now than later. The next game we have to come in with a fresh mind,” he said.
Kentucky Radio Network analyst Mike Pratt, a former UK All-American, knows both Boston and freshman Terrence Clarke are outstanding players.
“We are going to see the next few weeks what the wings can do and what they have learned,” Pratt said. “If they can give paint touches, then that is what Cal guys love is stop and pop. If they can hit them and get fouled, it opens a lot of things.
“I think Boston can really be special. He’s a worker. Everybody has told me that. But he’s young and no matter how talented you are, it just takes time to adjust to being at a place like Kentucky.”