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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / December 17.
  • John Calipari Says De’Aaron Fox’s Ankle Injury Isn’t Serious, Playing Hamidou Diallo ‘Not Even in Cards’

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    By MIKE McCURRY

    Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox left Saturday’s game against South Carolina in the first half after sustaining a right ankle injury, but the injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

    Fox, who is averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per night, came out of the locker room at halftime on crutches and sporting a walking boot. The 6-foot-3 floor general, one of the fastest players in the country, scored 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting in eight minutes of action prior to going down.

    “It’s not swelled,” coach John Calipari said about Fox’s injury after the game. “I think it might’ve been a stinger. I don’t know. But something hit his ankle.”

    No. 5 Kentucky still rolled to an 85-69 win over No. 24 South Carolina behind 27 points from Malik Monk and 18 from Bam Adebayo.

    The Wildcats improved to 7-0 in SEC play with the victory, giving the Gamecocks (15-4 overall, 5-1 SEC) their first league loss in the process.

    “[Monk] has been doing unbelievable work the last week,” Calipari said. “Man, he’s put in his time. He’s mastering his craft.”

    Saturday also marked the first time that South Carolina has lost this season with Sindarius Thornwell, who dropped a career-high 34 points in the defeat.

    Kentucky shot 58 percent against arguably the county’s top defensive unit.

    While Big Blue Nation awaited Fox’s status, they could pass the time by watching Derek Willis bring the house down.

    If Fox were ruled out for an extended duration, would John Calipari contemplate using Hamidou Diallo? Diallo enrolled at Kentucky this month with the expectation of red-shirting and waiting until 2017-18 to play.

    Calipari said he would go to his son, Brad Calipari, before Diallo.

    “Because I would want to play Brad, mainly,” he said. “And I would tell you that, if I have to play Brad, we’re going to play some more zone. All you guys out there, you basketball bennies, saying, he never plays zone. I played some zone today, how did it look? Three, three, basket. Okay. Now you know why I don’t play zone. No, we’re not, that’s not even in the cards [playing Diallo].

    “He’s working hard. He’s been here three, four days, and we have a kid on campus who knows him and he says, man, look at him. He’s getting better. He came here for a reason. He wants to be his best version. How good can I get? How good can I be? What I want him to do is, I want him to go after Malik and Isaiah. He’s a really good on-ball defender, like really good. Like go after these guys. Make them better. If they’re not practicing hard, make them look bad. But yeah, he’s not in the mix.”

    Photo: @KentuckyMBB

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