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By LARRY VAUGHT
WINDSOR, Ontario Ã¢â‚¬â€ After MondayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win, Kentucky senior center Josh Harrellson joked that maybe somebody needed to Ã¢â‚¬Å“punchÃ¢â‚¬Â him before a game to get him going sooner.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why Kentucky coach John Calipari wondered after TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 104-75 win over host Windsor here if someone in the media had done something to inspire Harrellson after he pulled off 19 rebounds, made four steals and scored eight points.
Harrellson said it had more to do with advice he got from assistant coach Kenny Payne.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every time coach Payne kept saying every rebound is yours and not let anyone take them from you. Go after every ball and get each one you could,Ã¢â‚¬Â Harrellson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Cal always stresses defense and being in the top of the nation for blocked shots. If we do that and rebound, we will be a good team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Harrellson said it helped his rebounding, and defense, that he quit staying behind his man.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach just told me to stop playing behind the post and if I could get the steal, get it. I started fronting my man and got more aggressive,Ã¢â‚¬Â Harrellson said.
Harrellson liked what he saw from younger teammates during the three-game trip and earlier practice sessions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We came together as a team more. We got conditioned out of it. We have come a long way in practice. Now we will take two weeks off and come back strong,Ã¢â‚¬Â Harrellson said.
Calipari noted this was his time to Ã¢â‚¬Å“de-compressÃ¢â‚¬Â and think about starting a season rather than conducting two-a-day practices, traveling to Canada and then playing three games in mid-August.
Time to relax
Now he wants his players to take time to relax. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one reason he sent injured freshman Terrence Jones on his way home before TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game when he put him on a plane to let him have a little extra time at home in Oregon.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Normally I give a team one week off when we come back, but I may give them two or more,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I may leave them alone because we got a lot of work done.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want a team to do in November like what I want it to do in January. Teams that do that peter out. But what this gives me is where we are still not a November team in December.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Calipari thinks when he gets Jones as well as centers Enes Kanter and Eloy Vargas, who were not eligible to make the trip, added to the team that the Cats will be fine.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need the three big guys. Put them with this team, then we are pretty good,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.