Through the first seven games of the season, true freshman forward Chris Livingston is yet to play 20 minutes or more in one night.
The top-10 5-star recruit in the Class of 2022 opened the regular season as a member of the starting lineup, but that quickly drifted away. After playing 19 minutes against both Howard and Duquesne, Livingston has seen less and less of the court across the first three weeks of the Wildcats' campaign.
In UK's two big games so far this season against Michigan State and Gonzaga, Livingston played a combined 19 minutes, clearly falling out of favor when the going gets a tad tougher.
In those two games, he's scored a combined one point, not making a single field goal. In Kentucky's other four games of the year entering Tuesday night, the Akron, Ohio native was averaging nine points-per-game.
Kentucky defeated Bellarmine 60-41 in a lackluster showing on Tuesday, one that saw Livingston fail to record a point, but instead compiled five rebounds, an assist and a steal.
While he isn't exactly lighting up the box score, head coach John Calipari praised the freshman for his hustle after the win, pointing towards getting him more playing time as a result.
"I loved Chris again, I gotta figure out how to get him in," Calipari said. "You see him go get balls? Until then, we weren't getting any balls."
That of course begs the question...how does Calipari get Livingston more minutes?
Well, the answer might not surprise you on face value. He either gets someone else's minutes, or even moves down a position from small forward to power forward:
"Having to get some other guys, whether it be Cason (Wallace), Antonio (Reeves), CJ (Fredrick), someone's going to have to take less minutes, or could I play him at four, which I was going to do today."
It appears that Calipari is leaning toward the latter, as it seems unlikely that players as important as Wallace or the shooting guards would lose time on the court barring an off night.
Perhaps putting Livingston in that PF slot would get him in the rotation easier, as he could be the "backup" to Jacob Toppin, coming in and out at that specific position while also being able to go back up to the three if need be.
With 24 games left in the regular season, there's still plenty of time for a role to be properly carved out for the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder.
After all, he's still a freshman, one who just learned how to sub himself out at that:
"But he's going to get more (minutes). I was just, I'm so proud of him," Calipari said. "He made one, he got tired. He went to sub himself. First time in his life maybe that he said, ‘Sub me.’ And I left him in through the timeout because I thought the timeout, very next play he tried to steal it, and then he let the guy run for a layup, and I knew it. That's on me. I should have had him out. But he's going to get more and more time. He will."
The next big opportunity awaits for Livingston this weekend in London, as the Wildcats will take on the Michigan Wolverines across the pond on Sunday, Dec. 4.
A game recap of the Wildcats' 60-41 win can be found here.
Wildcats Today will have more to come on the victory from Rupp Arena.
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