Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere considers Tim Duncan and Anthony Davis as role models for how he wants to play.
But at this early stage of his development as a college player, Labissiere most resembles UK’s star freshman of last season: Karl-Anthony Towns.
Like Towns, Labissiere thinks of himself as a face-the-basket threat on offense.
“I love to face up,” he said. “I think that’s a big part of my game.”
UK Coach John Calipari wants to shrink the number of face-the-basket shots from Labissiere, just as he did with Towns last season. And just like with Towns, Calipari wants Labissiere to become more of a force, offensively and defensively, around the basket.
Of big men shooting face-the-basket shots, which he dismissed as “fade-a-ways,” Calipari said, “You ain’t going to win a whole lot of games.”
Better to establish a low-post presence, Calipari said. That’s how Towns evolved into the hub of UK’s offense last season and became the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
The new rules, which are supposed to more often interpret physical contact as fouls, provide added incentive for big men like Labissiere to be low-post scorers, Calipari said.
“We’ve just got to teach him to fight for position,” the UK coach said.
Labissiere, who is projected as a possible No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NBA Draft, said he already had a favorite low-post move.
“Simple,” he said. “Go to the middle (of the lane) and right-hand hook.”