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TAMPA Ã¢â‚¬â€ For a player who got in for only six meaningless minutes in three NCAA Tournament games last season, senior Josh Harrellson certainly looked comfortable in ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NCAA atmosphere.
He had 15 points and 10 rebounds Ã¢â‚¬â€ his seventh double-double of the year Ã¢â‚¬â€ in a 59-57 win over Princeton that puts UK into SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third round against West Virginia. Harrellson was 7-for-8 from the field and also had a career-high four steals along with one blocked shot. He had nine points and three steals in the second half to help UK overcome a five-point deficit.
In four postseason games this season, Harrellson has averaged 11.5 points and 8.75 rebounds per game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I had a lot of jitters before the game, I’m sure just like all the freshmen did. I came out and I was nervous at first, but the jitters went away pretty quick,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Harrellson. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’ve been around it enough being with the team last year participating in the NCAA, not playing significant minutes but getting a few minutes here and there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“So you know, I’ve dealt with it so I’ve had a little more experience than them (UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s freshmen). But you know, come out with our first victory for me being a starter and a significant player, I’m happy and for all my teammates, we got our first win together in the NCAA Tournament, so hopefully we can keep it going.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky coach Calipari certainly heaped praise on Harrellson again.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We’re still playing, and we won the SEC title because of him. Josh has been a steady rebounding presence. Now he’s got confidence around the basket to make baskets that he hadn’t had,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“He’s another guy like Darius (Miller) that comes to practice 40 minutes early and does conditioning and individual work and then practices. And what he’s done is he’s changed all his habits, he’s changed his body, he’s changed his mentality, so the result has changed.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And I tell those guys, my team, all the time, if you’re going to do the same things over and over and over and think you’re going to get a different result on that basketball court, you’re insane. That’s the definition of insanity. So you’ve got to change what you do, how you think, how you approach it, and he has.Ã¢â‚¬Â