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Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson answer questions after the win over Princeton. (Victoria Graff photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

TAMPA — 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 Thursday’s NCAA atmosphere.

He had 15 points and 10 rebounds — his seventh double-double of the year — in a 59-57 win over Princeton that puts UK into Saturday’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.

“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,” said Harrellson. “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.

“So you know, I’ve dealt with it so I’ve had a little more experience than them (UK’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.”

Kentucky coach Calipari certainly heaped praise on Harrellson again.

“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,” Calipari said.  “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.

“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.”

14 Responses to Harrellson keeps shining in NCAA play

  • LindaS says:

    I think Josh is the Cinderfella story of all times at Kentucky. Not only is Cal and his teammates appreciating what he does but the announcers were drinking his kool-aid today! Really happy from him and we really need him. He is a very integral part of the game and the team would not be where they are now without him. He is playing in a way he does not want this season to end and I hope it doesn’t end for him or the rest of the team. I haven’t screamed a man’s name so much in a long time like I did Josh’s today, what a game! GO CATS!

  • john4uk says:

    Josh,Darrius,and Deandre showed up today.Hopefully the others will show up Saturday.
    As a fan,you have tp really appreciate Harrelson and his p;ay this year.

  • LindaS says:

    Freshmen Trio: 19 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal
    Upperclassmen: 40 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals

  • TheProfessor says:

    will need to be hitting on all 6 Saturday

  • TrueBlueJohn says:

    Agreed, Professor. WVU is a good team out of a tough conference with a really good coach. Everything needs to be working. We can’t win if the freshmen have another combined 19 point game.

  • ClassyCatFan says:

    Like the “6″ pun Professor… I guess you meant that as a pun (UK is only 6 deep).

    I may have to go out and buy some Jorts for the summer!

  • Ben says:

    Agree! The freshman must show up on Saturday! I hope the other freshman take notice an follow suit this off season. It would be great to have quality subs next season. If Josh can do it, then everyone on our bench is capable of doing the same thing. Cal should demand it or cut them lose and get players that will.

  • larryvaught says:

    Huge game for all seven top players. Need them all clicking Saturday

  • Big Bear says:

    We are going to need their outside shooting against that zone that Huggins deploys.

  • grant says:

    To borrow a quote from jimmy dykes. Jorts has a big valentine. Go cats! ..

  • ClassyCatFan says:

    Grant, Grant, Grant… please… I am all for the first ammendment rights of everyone, but really? Quoting Jimmy Dykes on a pro-UK site? C’mon man! UK fired him so we wouldn’t have to see him again, now he calls more games than Tom Leach and you gotta quote HIM?!

    Just don’t start in about “the nail!”

  • Gene says:

    I will “take” Jimmy Dykes any day of the year if the alternative would have to be any sportswriter from an unnamed newsrag based in Lexington, Kentucky !!
    There are at least two “writers” employed there who Calipari must have put in their respective places with a resounding thud.
    Pretty sure that’s a fact as far as the old fool is concerned and it probably would be for the short, bald guy.
    The pair seem to hope and pray, each day, for a kentucky loss then go out of their way(s) to trash a group of kids for their performance(s) when they pull one out in the final seconds,Fine examples of wonderful human beings (I think).
    While I digressed a bit from the original topic I’ll still take Jimmy over Ian Eagle or a Sparnuckle (?) whatever that is, ANY DAY !!

    Larry—-Don’t ever leave Boyle County and the Messenger!!

  • Suziecat2 says:

    It was obvious by the expressions on Josh’s face, he didn’t want the season to end and he backed that up with his performance. WAY TO GO JOSH! GO BIG BLUE! BEAT WVU!!!!!!!

  • grant says:

    lets not forget someone who has “violent cuts” classy cat fan.

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