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By HAL MORRIS
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ One of the things Kentucky coaches liked in the second half of TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win over Boston University was better communication.
Point guard Brandon Knight knows the Wildcats will need to talk the whole game Saturday when they head to North Carolina.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It contributes to the environment of the team. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got everyone talking, the other team is looking at you like, Ã¢â‚¬ËœThese guys are crazy. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got everybody talking and everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bouncing.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ So it kind of contributes to the swagger everybody has and also to the overall execution. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re communicating, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re executing,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Knight.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some guys donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like to talk, but youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to learn once you get on the court you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have that attitude.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Knight said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trying to work on his communication skills on the court.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m trying toÃ‚Â do my best to talk as a point guard,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be in a shell. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to talk and let guys know where they need to be and what we need to be doing. So IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m trying to talk more and more. IÃ‚Â think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m getting better at it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Freshman Doron Lamb said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also trying to pick up the vocal part of his game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never had to talk really. This team, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got me talking a lot. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m starting to talk more on defense and offense,Ã¢â‚¬Â Lamb said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can do it, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just never had a coach to tell me to talk, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to start talking more now.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky assistant John Robic said some players are just naturally quiet, and Lamb is one of them.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You had some kids like that. Last year, Eric (Bledsoe) was the same way as Doron. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just your makeup,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have coaches that are that way. Some are quiet and some are more vocal. But what the kid can do is really play. And he has a great feel for the game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trying to talk, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on him. His teammates are on himÃ‚Â because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something that will elevate everybodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game and make us a better team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lamb, the first player off UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bench, said the last time he was not a starter was in the eighth grade of AAU basketball. But he said coming off the bench is fine with him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really care. I get starter minutes, and I play a lot and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a big part of the team,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I get on the court, I just do my job.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Robic said the Wildcats as a whole are getting better at communicating.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought we got better at it last game, both offensively and defensively, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just your point guard, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s everybody. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to relay calls to each other. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not going to be able to hear sometimes, so you have to rely on each other and trust one another.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lamb said the key for UK on Saturday is to work together and communicate to combat the hostile UNC crowd.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s probably the hardest team weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve played so far. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the first away game, and everybody thinks it will be hard for us because it will be sold out and everybody cheering against us,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to have to go in there together, play as a team and just talk on defense and rebound.Ã¢â‚¬Â