The Missouri Tigers are an exciting team to watch play. Most of that excitement comes at, or from, the hands of guard Phil Pressey. Pressey, a junior, is a lighting-quick player who can score rather easily or help his teammates put the ball in the basket. Averaging a shade under 12 points and seven dimes a game, it isn’t shocking to hear people sing the praises of one of the top guards in the nation.
However, what is surprising is to hear it be sung by a former Kentucky Wildcats player right before the two teams are set to square off. Anthony Epps, a member of the 1996 Kentucky National Championship team, sang praise for Pressey while heeding a warning to Wildcat players:
“He is one of the better point guards in the country. It will be a challenge for Ryan Harrow and Jarrod Polson to step up and contain him. Florida did a great job the first time containing him (in an 83-52 win) but in the second game Tuesday he got loose and gave Missouri the chance to win. He is the key to Missouri’s team. Kentucky has to do a good job finding him and containing him.”
Kentucky, who finds themselves on the bubble, can’t afford to lose this game to the Tigers. While I am sure Kentucky coach John Calipari was already acutely aware of Pressey’s abilities, I wonder if his players will take Epps’ quotes as either a motivational tactic, or feel disrespected that a former UK player would speak so highly of an opposing player.
Honestly, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. This game has significant ramifications for both teams, and Epps might be right: success or failure for either team likely rest in the hands of Pressey.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone