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By LARRY VAUGHT
At times it might have appeared junior Jon Hood was a big tentative in last week’s Blue-White Game. Considering he was coming back off knee surgery that forced him to miss all of Kentucky’s national championship season, that seemed easy to understand.
However, Hood explained there was a different in patience and hesitation after he scored 18 points in that intrasquad scrimmage.
“That is what it was. It is patience. Coach (John Calipari) told me to be patient. Other guys have told me. Other coaches on the staff have told me to be patient. I played well. But it was just Blue-White scrimmage. Don’t forget that,” said Hood.
Still, teammates were happy with what he did and the thought of him adding more depth to this year’s team.
“I didn’t realize he had 18 points. That is good for him,” freshman Willie Cauley-Stein said. “He has kind of been struggling in practice with his shot, not really his shot but his mindset about his shot. We all know he can shoot the ball. That’s why he is here. In practice he kind of lets his mind go. But that’s good (for him to get 18 points). That’s real good for him that he was scoring a lot.”
But scoring is not the primary thing on Hood’s goal as the forward tries to work his way into the playing rotation after last year’s redshirt season.
“It is hard to learn patience. It’s one of those things where you have to gain it and just one day sit down and say this is the way I am going to play. I was able to do that here in practice and it carried over to the game,” Hood said. “It feels really good to be playing again, especially when your team in the Blue-White scrimmage wins and you are winning from the beginning to end. That’s a lot of fun, but at the same time it is just a scrimmage. Here in about a week we are going to be sick of playing ourselves and need somebody else to play.”
That actually comes Thursday night in Rupp Arena when UK plays the first of two exhibition games by hosting Northwood.
“Whatever coach Cal needs me to do, I am going to try and do that. I will not be begging for playing time. I know since I have been here three years, I understand that it is ‘you get what you deserve.’ That is in basketball and in life; if you put in the work at basketball then you will get time. That is something I am ready for and I think I have put in enough time,” Hood said.
“Everybody is so much better than they were last year and the new guys are obviously amazing. (They’re) the number one recruiting class again for a reason. Sometimes in pick-up we look like the Atlanta Hawks playing in the ‘Highlight Factory’. It is just fun to watch.”