Liggins discusses emotions

DeAndre Liggins admits that he needs to keep his emotions in check at time. Liggins said, "That is part of me. I can't let my emotions get too involved, but I am going to do whatever it takes to win. If it takes for me to open up and say something, I will do that."

LEXINGTON — Part of what makes DeAndre Liggins the best defensive player Kentucky has — and one of the best in the nation — is the passion and emotion he has.

Part of what causes problems for the Kentucky junior at times is the passion and emotion he has.

His emotions were already churning Saturday because he knew the Wildcats desperately needed a win over Southeastern Conference leader Florida for a lot of reasons. It was also the first time in his collegiate career that his grandmother, a woman he dearly loves, had made the trip from Chicago see him play.

That's why when coach John Calipari took him out not long after he had been put into the game for what the coach felt was a questionable shot, Liggins overreacted. He said something to Calipari, went to the end of the bench and put on his warmup jacket. Calipari sent assistant Kenny Payne to talk to Liggins and bring him back to sit between him and Payne.

What followed was a sometimes animated exchange of words between the player — who seemed to do most of the talking — and coach. Finally, it ended and Calipari almost immediately put Liggins back into the game.

"I took a bad shot and he took me out and I was wondering why he took me out. We talked and he said was I ready to go back in and I said, ‘Yes,' so he put me back in," said Liggins. "I was intense. I am a competitor. My emotions get in the way sometimes, but that is part of how I play and I have to control that sometimes.

"That is part of me. I can't let my emotions get too involved, but I am going to do whatever it takes to win. If it takes for me to open up and say something, I will do that."

Yet not every coach would welcome quite that kind of dialogue on the bench even though Calipari last year watched Daniel Orton go all the way to the locker room when he was upset at the Southeastern Conference Tournament and then put him back in the game.

"He is that type coach. You can voice your opinion to him and he will let you get back in and not hold it against you," Liggins said. "I respect that."


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