Calipari had a question for Kentucky freshman Maxey: 'Why are you smiling?'

Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Basketball

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's Tyrese Maxey and North Carolina's Cole Anthony took to Instagram and texting to exchange congratulations after their debuts as college basketball players this week. There was ample reason for good wishes being on a two-way street.

Maxey's 26 points against Michigan State on Tuesday were the most scored by a UK freshman in his first game. Anthony's 34 points were the most scored by any Tar Heel in a debut.

"I knew he was going to play well," Maxey said Thursday of Anthony. "He's a worker. He prepares."

UK coach John Calipari suggested there might have been an element of surprise with how well Maxey played.

"Tyrese has not done that once in practice, not one day," Calipari said. "As a matter of fact, if you ask who I've been toughest on, they will tell you (Maxey)."

After the Michigan State game, Calipari voiced what sounded like discomfort with the smile that seems to come easily to Maxey's face.


"Ashton (Hagans) steals the ball from him (in practice) and he's smiling," Calipari said. "What are you smiling about? Don't smile. Be mad."

With a smile, Maxey said he did not welcome having the ball stolen from his grasp.

"I wouldn't say I was smiling after that," he said. "It was a good play. It happens in basketball. Like I steal the ball and score a lot on people. Basketball is fun. So that's why I was smiling."

Maxey came off the bench against Michigan State. This was an unusual experience for him.


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