By LARRY VAUGHT
Even though he “worked out” in the the practice facility two days this week, sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow did not play for Kentucky in Wednesday’s win over Morehead and is not expected to be in uniform for Friday’s game against Long Island, either.
“He called yesterday and said, ‘Coach I’ve got an issue I’ve got to deal with, and my mom is here, and I’ve got to deal with it,’” said Kentucky coach John Calipari after Wednesday’s win. “If I knew more, I would keep it from you, but I don’t know more.”
Calipari did say it “should be this weekend” when asked when Harrow might return.
“It may be Friday but I don’t know. We all love the kid, we want him to do well, we’re trying to walk him through this. Mom is a little concerned. He’s a great kid. We need him, but it’s bigger than basketball for me. You want the kid to be right, and you want to make sure in his mind he’s right,” Calipari said.
Harrow transferred to UK from North Carolina State last year and practiced with the Cats but could not play during the NCAA championship season. He was expected to take over as UK’s starting point guard, but had flu-like symptoms before the Maryland game. He played just 10 minutes in that season-opening win and has missed Kentucky’s last three games.
Calipari often has said UK is not for every player — and tells players that when he is recruiting them. There has been speculation that Harrow had quit the team or was having trouble dealing with Calipari’s pressure.
“I don’t think so. No, I don’t think it’s that,” Calipari said when asked if UK might not be right for Harrow. “Might be some of it, but I don’t believe that. He was getting better. That’s the sad thing about it. He had … I was all over him.”
Calipari said he saw freshman Alex Poythress’ father after Wednesday’s game and told him how much he was on his son to improve.
“I’m on him half the game, and he’s playing better and better, but he’s only 50 percent of the way there now. His dad said, ‘That’s why he came here. He wanted to be challenged, and he wanted to be coached, and he wanted to be pushed, and that’s what my son needed.’ They know that coming here. This is an open book; this is not we embellish and — we don’t do it.
“So I think he’s fine. My hope is he comes back this weekend, and he’s got to start on the road getting with the team and practicing and seeing where we are. His weight is still down, though.’
Calipari said Tuesday that Harrow has lost seven pounds during his illness. Still, Poythress said Wednesday he expects Harrow back soon.
“I feel confident we will get him back. We just want him to geat healthy,” Poythress said. “It is hard seeing him go through this, but we are just waiting for him to be healthy. He will help us a lot eventually. Ryan is such a great player. He will be a huge boost when we get him back.”