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By KEITH TAYLOR, Winchester Sun
Andrew Harrison wants to be a better player. That’s why he isn’t taking things personally when John Calipari make a point to his freshman point guard during a public or private setting. Sometimes those teaching lessons can get pretty loud especially when Calipari isn’t happy with Harrison’s play in practice or during a game.
“Every possession matters so much,” Harrison said after Kentucky’s 105-76 rout of Texas-Arlington earlier this week at Rupp Arena. “Coach Calipari is just trying to make me a better player and that’s what I want to become. You just have to be prepared for this type of coaching and you’ll be good. It’s always tough from the beginning, but I feel like I’m getting better and I want to keep getting better every day.”
Harrison missed Kentucky’s two exhibition games and most of the blue-white game, but has started the first five games, tallying double figures in three of those contests. Harrison, averages 11 points per game and scored a career-high 15 points in the win over the Mavericks Tuesday night. A sign he’s settling in at point guard, Harrison dished out six assists in his last game, also a career high. Harrison is steadily making the transition from high school to college.
“We’re definitely getting back to having fun and it’s a growing process,” Harrison said. “Everybody knows how tough it is. That’s what we signed up for. We just have to make sure we’re always on top of our game and practice hard every day. I’m having fun and I’m still learning. The game we lost (against Michigan State), I almost cried myself to sleep, (but) I’m just getting better every day, That’s the only thing that matters. “
Harrison’s twin brother Aaron Harrison and classmate James Young give the Cats a one-two punch on the perimeter. Aaron tallied 28 points in a win over Robert Morris last Sunday, while Young netted 26 against Texas-Arlington. Andrew Harrison said getting the two players hot on the same night will require “consistency.”
“Both of them are great players — probably one of the best at their position in the country,” Harrison said. “My job is to make sure they’re playing defense and stuff like that because scoring points comes easy to them two. That’s what makes it fun.”
When he’s not sharing the ball with his brother or Young, he has more options in the paint.
“We have a great post up team with Dakari (Johnson), Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Julius (Randle) and even our bigger guards can post up as well,” he said. ‘We definitely need to work on that and get (the ball) into the post a lot more.”
Harrison likes depending on Johnson, Cauley-Stein and Randle in the post in case of a defensive letdown, but added the Cats can’t rely on help defense from the post players on a consistent basis.
“We just have to work on our communication,” Harrison said. “It comes down to me, Aaron (Harrison) and James (Young) — the guards — just taking on the challenge. We need to stop our men one-on-one, so that’s what we need to work on.”
Calipari wants his team, especially Harrison, to become louder on both ends of the floor and Harrison said it starts with his vocal chords.
“It’s different every play, but I definitely feel like I can talk louder,” Harrison said. “We just have to talk more. That’s what coach was talking about. We have to talk more and communicate more as a team. We’ll be fine.”