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ESPN analyst Bruce Pearl insights on Harrow, Goodwin and Poythress

By LARRY VAUGHT

Since Bruce Pearl has been out of coaching only two years, the former Tennessee coach recruited and/or watched many of the current Cats play in high school.

“I remember (point guard) Ryan Harrow in AAU. I know what a terrific scorer he is and know he needs to be aggressive offensively,” Pearl said. “That’s who he is and always has been. He does not have to be molded in John Calipari’s point guard mold. Yes, he needs to be a leader and play unselfish. But he needs to score to be effective. That gets the rest of his game going.”

Freshman guard Archie Goodwin came to Pearl’s camp at Tennessee.

“I was one of the first to offer Archie (a scholarship). I love him,” Pearl said. “He’s absolutely a great scorer. Great prospect. Great kid. He’s way too hard on himself. But I knew it would be hard for Archie to be the best offensive player on the team and hard on Kentucky if he was the guy they were counting on to be the best offensive player on the team night in, night out.

“I loved Archie Goodwin. He called me after games. He was so hard on himself. I spent most of my time trying to get him to stop being so hard on himself, and he loved to be coached. He wanted to be coached. He wanted the input. I knew after watching him play it was only a matter of time before my phone would ring and it would be him. It must be great to coach him.”

He watched freshman Alex Poythress of Clarksville, Tenn., and calls him a “rare specimen” much like Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, UK starts last year who went one-two in the NBA draft, were during Kentucky’s national championship season.

“But he grew up in Clarksville. He did not play the same level of competition that some players have,” Pearl said. “He has a ways to go. That does not mean he’s behind. It means he’s a fantastic freshman but his game is not as mature as what Kentucky is used to seeing. Kidd-Gilchrist as a high school freshman was dominating the AAU circuit. As a sophomore, he was a man among boys. That’s not the case with Alex. Too much is being asked of him.”

Pearl credits Calipari with a “great find in Willie Cauley-Stein who may wind up the best pro” on the roster. He’s also been impressed with freshman Nerlens Noel.

“He’s a terrific defender. He’s improved offensively. He’s showed great character,” Pearl said. “I like his body language. Like his energy level. Like the fact he likes to defend and block and change shots and rebound. He is probably behind offensively in the post, but he is scoring with his back to the basket some. I think he is on track to be a really great player.”

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18 comments

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  1. wildcatdon

    Pearl is basically an idiot..I wouldnt put stock into anything he says..Why these ex coaches always have to end up on ESPN is beyond me..they are not all that sharp and it shows me the network is desperate..Next…

    1. larryvaught

      I always found Pearl to be very insightful and appreciate how he took time with me and still does. And trust me, he loves everything about UK basketball. Probably appreciates it as much as anyone I know

      1. Larry T Clemons

        I Love Bruce Pearl and am still sad that he’s not a Tenn.

  2. Mike

    Wildcatdon….r u out of your mind? Pearl is not an idiot….he just made a few mistakes. He was to UT basketball that Franklin is to Vandy football. I happen to agree with everything he said as suspect Larry might feel close to the same.

  3. Freethrow

    I agree with the idiot remark and to the fact that he did good things at UT. One doesn’t wash away the other though. The Ryan Harrow we see “now”, if he were still at NCS, would have started or at least played major minutes as a freshman instead of the 5 or so minutes a game he averaged while there. Coach Cal’s record with “improving” a guards play is without question. For cripes sake, just look at Teague from the start of last season until the end. Did you honestly see him as an NBA first rounder after the first half dozen games? I think not.

  4. Freethrow

    Sorry, second round pick, but just the same applies because Teague wasn’t even there at the start of last season and wouldn’t have been if not for Coach Cal.

  5. Pacman

    I think Bruce Pearl sees players through “Pearl” colored glasses. He thinks because his teams always played out of control with little discipline that basketball is meant to be played that way. You can win games that way, but not championships because you always run into the disciplined coaches (Calipari, Coach K, Boeheim,etc.) that have players as good as Pearl’s and play disciplined basketball. Even Bob Huggins showed that with discipline and fundamentals a not so talented team can beat a very talented team on any given night because of their knowledge of the game and execution. I would take much of what Bruce Pearl says with a grain of salt.. he is an AAU coach first and plays that style (first player down shoots the ball, no defense except grab and hold), not the Kentucky way.

  6. Bud

    Pearl, Corso. and Phelps ESPN hires these former can’t win coaches simply for the emtertainment possibilities they bring. A player can take a bad shot, be in a slump, or just have a bad game. He still has a coach to help him understand what is or isn’t happening. When ESPN, Lexington Herald, or any other media type hires one of these clowns we have to tolerate them through all their slumps, stupid comments, and on the job training. Those three are proof that ESPN is an EQUAL OPPORTUNYI EMPLOYER. Mr. Vaught being the legend that you are, why wouldn’t anybody give you the time you request for. I’m 48 years old and have enjoyed experiencing Cawood, Rupp stories, Joe B. Hall, Mr. Leach, Rob Bromley, and you. Because of these experiences the bar has been raided quite high for any outsider trying to bring something intelligent to to the table. Like college sports, the same goes in the media their is a HUGE talent gap out there. THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO.

  7. Larry Pup

    I don’t like ESPN at all Bud. Corso was a winner at Louisville a loser at IU. He hates UK because we would never schedule his red birds back then in football. I don’t think he ever got over it. ESPN never says many comments favorable to UK if you listen carefully. Phelps is a complete jwaste. He is really smart, just ask him. I always liked Pearl for his entertainment, and I still like him. I agree with your comments concerning Larry V. and the list of Kentucky greats in the media realm.

  8. LindaS

    I don’t give a flying rat’s butt what orange brucie says, he will say anything to score points. So says my evil twin sister and that was edited from what she wanted to say, trust me! LS (BTW watch it Larry, you won’t be the first person he stabs in the back)

  9. PHILLIP BARKER

    Say what you want, but Pearl is right on about Alex…expectations are way too high for him. Everyone looks at his body, and automatically dismisses his short comings in dribbling, movement without the ball, and defense…all you hear about is his “potential.” I agree he has great potential, but we won’t see it this year. Hopefully, he spends another year with Cal, however, if he leaves, I fear he will have a short NBA career. At this stage of his development, he has a below average feel for the game…he needs a lot more experience. I truly want nothing but the best for you Alex, so keep working my man.

  10. Tom Hatton

    Larry, I know what your saying about giving his time and also about loving UK basketball but I still cant put a 100 percent trust in Mr. Pearl just yet!

    1. LindaS

      Amen…orange brucie has been known to talk with forked tongue!

  11. Rodney

    I like Pearl better now than I did when he coached at Tennessee…….. :) I think he knows the game of basketball, no matter the other issues he may have had. I think he makes a good point on Alex, and its something I really overlooked. This is a huge step up in competition for Alex. It will take him some extra time to adjust. The kid has all the tools, he just has to get right between the ears. He will be fine. Whether he needs to come back next year is yet to be determined, but I think he will be a beast before this season is over, even if it takes until Feburary or March. If he is not, then the ceiling for this team lowers somewhat.

  12. Mike

    Linda S….what has u so down on Brucie??…did he turn u down for a date??

  13. LindaS

    I have better taste then that. He is a liar, I don’t like liars, he has no ethics or integrity. He is a loser and a has been. He should have known better.

  14. HB

    Coach Pearl was good for UT, good for the SEC and good for UK. I hate that he cheated, got caught and is out for now, but hopefully he’ll be able to return at some point wiser from his mistakes. Meanwhile I’m happy for him that he gets to make a living on ESPN ’cause Lord knows we’ve got plenty like DIgger who drive me batty.

    Good coaches at opposing SEC schools are good for the conference and good for UK. If they get so good that we lose several extra games a season that’s okay too, because it forces us to improve our game and we’ll be better prepared to take on all comes in the NCAA.

    Cal can beat them all and having colorful & resourceful opposing coaches just makes it all more competitive and fun. Think about it – didn’t you enjoy playing & beating UT when he was there? Good competition makes us better.

  15. Tcat

    I agree HB…

    No doubt Pearl has made some mistakes and told a few tall tales but haven’t all of us??? Pearl sat there and said good things about UK and some still pass judgement, SMH…

    When my wife and I started dating I never asked her how many men she’d “DATED” because I didn’t want her to lie… All men know in this day and age I would have had to double plus 5 whatever she told me… Human beings lie, Pearl just got caught…

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