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Aaron Harrison: “I was definitely disappointed in myself. I knew I could do more to help my team”

Click on the photo to view a video of Aaron Harrison.

Click on the photo to view a video of Aaron Harrison.

By Keith Taylor, The Winchester Sun

LEXINGTON — Aaron Harrison has moved past Michigan State.

The Kentucky freshman guard scored a season-low three points in a 78-74 loss to Michigan State in Chicago last week, but rebounded from the outing with an impressive performance in an 87-49 victory over Robert Morris Sunday night at Rupp Arena.

Harrison scored a career-high 28 points, connected on four of Kentucky’s seven 3-pointers and made all 10 of his shots from the free-throw line. Harrison tallied 19 points in the first half as the Wildcats put the Colonials down early and never let off the proverbial gas pedal to notch their third victory in four games.

Harrison had combined for 26 points in the team’s first two victories, but suffered a letdown at the United Center. After the loss to the second-ranked Spartans, Kentucky coach John Calipari wanted Harrison to focus on playing with the same intensity he displayed after making shots and wanted his shooting guard to “be energized because you’re playing basketball” instead of getting on a high after a made basket.

“It’s something that I really do need to learn and something that I really haven’t done in the past,” Harrison said. “It’s all about energy really (even) on the defensive end. The biggest thing is doing whatever you can to help the team win even if it’s not scoring the ball. I’m just trying to learn that. I learned that I have to figure out a way to help my team win.”

As for his perfect night at the charity stripe, Harrison said a renewed emphasis in practice played a big role in his ability to connected at the line.

“We all had to shoot 100 free throws before practice,” Harrison said. “We did a lot of work on that because that is an important part of the game.”

Harrison learned a bigger lesson on staying focused even during an off-night following Kentucky’s first setback of the season. Instead of hanging his head, Harrison rolled up his sleeves and made strides in the four days leading up to the contest against the Colonials. It showed.

“I was really happy for Aaron,” Calipari said. “Aaron has worked hard in practice and it carried over (into the game).”

Following the loss to the Spartans, Harrison admitted the setback was a low point for the team three games into the season.

“It was a big game,” Harrison said. “We all were disappointed and I was definitely disappointed in myself. I knew I could do more to help my team but we’re past it now.”

As a team, Harrison said the team spent a lot of time focusing on transition defense, a phase of the game that hurt the Cats in the setback to Michigan State.

“That was the main point in all of our practices,” Harrison said. “We wanted to make sure we focused on getting back back (on defense). We always have to make sure we’re focused on the little things. We could have done a lot better at it.”

Harrison was a big reason the Wildcats were able to repay the Colonials for last year’s loss in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament. Veterans Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson were all smiles following the contest.

“They were happy that we beat them by a lot,” he said. “Before the game, I heard a couple of guys saying they wanted hold them to 25 (points) or something like that. It was just a competitive spirit for us. All the freshmen, we were just all excited to get back on the court and regroup.”

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  1. Mike

    Twins a very welcome addition to the team and they will be great. Hope we can find a way to get WCS a little more motivated offensively as he only took 4 shots. He is doing everything else well and should be able to score min. 10 pts. every game with his height and athleticism. He needs to shoot more that FT’s and lobs.

  2. Jen

    I disagree with the above poster that WCS should be shooting more. Other than lobs and put-backs he should be not be shooting. His shot is definitively ugly. He should do like Poythress is and solely play to his strengths. Poythress looks vastly better than last year, and it’s because he’s not doing things he can’t do. WCS can’t shoot. He shouldn’t.

  3. King Ghidora

    I think WCS has some great looking shots. He has improved a lot since he first started playing last year and he’s made some great shots this year. The thing about the game yesterday was that RM pretty much kept the whole team in the paint on defense. They wanted to stop Randle. The coach said he was going to make UK win from the outside and they sure did that. He said if they won from outside it was on him but if they won from the inside it was a problem with the way the team played. His team did what he asked. They kept WCS and Randle and Alex from scoring inside and they cut off all the driving lanes. So the Cats shot over top of them and we see how well Aaron came through.

    I think WCS should take every shot he gets that’s a good shot unless he can pass the ball to someone with a better shot without any problems. That’s how the game is played if you do it right.

  4. Larry T Clemons

    WCS would fill a wonderful role in His Junior Year…..I can only hope.

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