Liggins ready for major role next season

Liggins expects to play a major role for Kentucky during his junior season and thinks what he learned playing a year under Calipari will make him a better player.

DeAndre Liggins figured John Wall and Eric Bledsoe were both heading to the NBA. He also knew Kentucky coach John Calipari also likely would bring in more talented recruits — and he has with guards Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb.

Still, Liggins expects to play a major role for Kentucky during his junior season and thinks what he learned playing a year under Calipari will make him a better player.

"I have to work on my jump shot and ballhandling. That is a lot of what I did last year, too. My jump shot is better but I want to work on my weaknesses. I have to get my ballhandling better. I plan to work with (assistant coach) Rod Strickland to help me with things I need to do," Liggins said after UK's season ended as he looked to next year.

"My time will come and I just have to keep waiting patiently. I was never a very patient person before, but it is something I have to do. I have got more patient from last year and want to keep doing that. You have to learn it. I learned last year that you have to have patience in college basketball. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get better and contribute more."

Liggins has had some difficult learning spells. He refused to go back into a game his freshman year under Billy Gillispie. Last season he had to sit out the first nine games for unspecified reasons.

He admits he was "hard-headed" when he got to Kentucky.

"That was a fair word. I was hard-headed as a freshman. That's a typical freshman. I think I learned a lot and why I was a better player this year. I don't think I was hard-headed this year. Coach Cal wouldn't let me, and I have grown up," Liggins said.

He says Calipari's freshmen adjusted to college life easier than he did and also had one ingredient he lacked — confidence — he lacked under Gillispie.

"They had a lot more confidence than I did. I didn't have any confidence as a freshman. That is one thing that made them who they are. They believed they could be great, and they were," Liggins said. "From day one, they all had so much confidence in their ability. That was good for me, too, because I wanted to be on a winning team and they showed what having confidence can do for you."


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