WALKER: Liggins needs to be patient

I have been giving a lot of thought to the recent decision by DeAndre Liggins not to go back into the game in Las Vegas when coach Billy Gillispie wanted him to. Usually, it's a cardinal sin for a player to do that.

The one thing you don't want to do is embarrass the coach out in public. More importantly, forget about the beef with the coach, because you quit on your teammates when you do something like that. That's where I had the biggest problem.

I think coach Gillispie really wanted to maybe do a little bit more in terms of discipline, but when you look down that bench, there were not a lot of point guards sitting there. If he had a little more talent and maybe another good point guard or two, I think coach Gillispie's decision would have been easier. But the lack of depth made it a difficult situation for the coach.

I know everybody says it is all in the past now, but publicly players, and even coaches, have to say that to try and move on. But you are watching him every day in practice. You are watching his attitude on and off the court. If he does the little things to make sure he's worthy of the playing time and attention that he is getting, then he will be fine. If he's pouting and some of the same things are going on behind the scenes, that is tough for his teammates to forget. It's all on him. He owes his teammates a great deal and his attitude is an important part of that.

I remember when Joe Crawford left the team his freshman year and went home. That's pretty bad, just like the Liggins' situation. You don't ever want to see a coach go running after a problem that doesn't want to be there. I think both situations could have been handled a whole lot differently and then maybe they would not appear to be so bad.

Publicly, at least with Joe, it was not on national TV for people to see. Even though what Joe did was bad, I perceive what Liggins did to be a little bit worse. Those are the types of things you want to handle behind closed doors and keep in the basketball family as much as possible, but that one was aired out in public.

I think what makes this situation with Liggins a little more forgiving is that there are a lot of fans who probably agree with him that maybe he should be playing more, so they will forgive him. That's a big part of it. He's a freshman. Joe left 10 games or so into the season at the semester. This one happened earlier in the year.

My advice to Liggins, or any freshman, is to be patient. Your time is going to come. When I played you could be more patient with players because you knew they would be around for three or four years. I think these guys come in now have no sense of patience. They want it all and want it right now. I think in Liggins' case, he's playing well off the bench and he has the fans behind him. He even has a lot of the media behind him. Just shut up and do your job and the rest will take care of itself."

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