UK Men's Basketball

Payne ‘a different breed’ as taskmaster (and more Kentucky takeaways)

Here’s why it would be important for Kentucky to win the SEC title

Kentucky assistant basketball coach Kenny Payne talks about why it would be important for UK to win the SEC regular-season title. The Wildcats are one game behind Tennessee and LSU. UK is at Missouri on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.
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Kentucky assistant basketball coach Kenny Payne talks about why it would be important for UK to win the SEC regular-season title. The Wildcats are one game behind Tennessee and LSU. UK is at Missouri on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

Associate Coach Kenny Payne, who substituted for John Calipari at Tuesday’s news conference, said Ashton Hagans is working harder than he ever has before. Hagans did not dispute this, saying Payne is a “different breed” when conducting demanding individual player workouts.

Reid Travis said he took satisfaction in contributing a physical presence to neutralize Tennessee’s Grant Williams. It does not bother him that numbers in a box score do not reflect this kind of contribution.

Payne said Calipari will never be satisfied with PJ Washington’s effort. Washington had been rebounding at 60-percent efficiency. Calipari wants 90 percent. And if Washington reaches 90 percent? Calipari will want 105 percent.

Contradicting Calipari, Payne said winning the SEC regular-season championship means “a lot.” Playing to a championship level is important in the NCAA Tournament, he said.

Payne applauded John Calipari trying to tamp down the chants of “overrated, overrated” directed at Tennessee at the end of Saturday’s game. UK can be the target of such chants, but fans should not direct them at opponents, he said.

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