Montgomery shows talent scrimmage, not in practices


Freshman forward EJ Montgomery taking a shot during BBM. UK Women’s and Men’s basketball teams had the season’s first open practice for Big Blue Madness on Friday, October 12th, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky

EJ Montgomery had a good performance in the Blue-White scrimmage on Sunday night in front of 15,377 fans; but that performance won’t be doing him any favors in future practices.

The freshman big man from Florida was one of five Kentucky players in the scrimmage to finish with at least 20 points, chipping in 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and one block.

Head coach John Calipari was pleased with Montgomery’s performance after the game, the only problem is Calipari has only seen that type of play from Montgomery on a few occasions this year, and he wants to see it more.

“EJ told on himself, he hadn’t practiced that way,” Calipari said after the game. “If you’re that good, you’re practicing that way now.”

Calipari said Montgomery has looked his best during Sunday’s scrimmage and the three-day combine Kentucky hosted the weekend before Big Blue Madness. At the combine, Montgomery did not participate in any of the drills, but did perform well in the scrimmage apparently, in front of NBA scouts.

“Oh so when there’s people in the seats and there’s scouts in the seats, you just take it up a notch? Really?” Calipari said. 

According to Montgomery, that’s exactly what happened. 

“Some of them (practices) I slacked off a little bit but it’s going to change,” Montgomery said.

If Montgomery continues to slack off in practice, he may be at risk to lose some minutes, as fans saw that there are many players on the roster deserving of minutes in the scrimmage. 

Montgomery was one of 10 players in the scrimmage to finish with double-digit points, and it looks as if Calipari could use all 10 of those players in its regular rotation. However, the more players that are in the rotation, the less minutes each player gets, and no one is willing to give up any of their minutes.

“I went around the room and I said to PJ (Washington), ‘do you want to give up any of your minutes?’ He said absolutely not,” Calipari said. “How about one minute? Nope. ‘Reid (Travis), do you want to give up?’ No.”

Minutes will be hard to come by with this talented roster, and it would be in Montgomery’s best interest if he brought the same intensity to practice that he’s brought to the combine and scrimmage.

If not, Montgomery is at risk of losing minutes, and having some long, difficult practices.

“Well guess what son, you’re going to take it up a notch or you’re going to be on that treadmill, cause if that’s who you are, then you’re going to be that guy every day,” Calipari said.