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Kenny Walker: Garbage man role suits Harrellson, UK just fine

By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky all-American Kenny Walker has been impressed, too, with Josh Harrellson’s dramatic improvement and role for the Wildcats.

“He is a guy that can make an open jump shot, get a couple of putbacks and go out there and get you 10 or 11 rebounds if he stays out of foul trouble. That’s who he is and I don’t want him to try and be no more than what he is. I think he will get better as the year goes on,” Walker said. “I think he will ultimately provide more offense. Right now he’s just a garbage man, and that is his role. If he continues to do that, I am okay with that.”

Harrellson admits his confidence is growing. He played behind DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and Patrick Patterson, all first-round draft picks, as well as Perry Stevenson last year. This year he was expected to be a backup for Enes Kanter and Terrence Jones and probably even behind Eloy Vargas, a junior college transfer.

Instead, with Kanter ineligible and Vargas ineffective, Harrellson has become UK’s anchor in the middle. The more he plays, the more Jones can flourish on the perimeter where he likes to play.

“At the beginning of the year I would not try to put it back up. I would try to kick it out. Now when I get the ball I look to score now and try to be more aggressive,” Harrellson said. “I am always an option when I relocate. If I start finishing it I am going to be more confident and they will be more confident throwing it to me.”

He also has to learn to avoid fouls, something he did against Indiana but has struggled to do in other games.

“I just came in with the mentality I didn’t want to get in foul trouble early like I have the last couple of games,” he said after the Indiana game. “It is totally different when I get in foul trouble. It brings the team down and we don’t play as well. I have to play without fouling.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari would like to see him draw a charge, something he has yet to do this season.

“Josh had three opportunities for charges that he didn’t take (against Indiana). We are doing drills right now where he’s taking five charges in one set: Charge top, charge baseline, charge baseline, come up, charge, charge down the middle. Still won’t take a charge,” Calipari said.

“Again, you have got to give your body up. But if he will rebound and do what he’s doing, we can’t ask much more of him. All we are saying now is give us five percent better, where can you improve, how can you draw a foul because you’re such a good shooter. Where can we put you to you get a couple baskets. He’s doing everything.”

“I work every day in practice on free throws. I am about an 85 to 90 percent shooter. I know I am a good shooter. I just have to get to the line,” he said.

He liked the way his teammates countered Indiana’s physical play, too,

“We are a young team. They had seen previous games where we were not as physical with teams as we should be. Like North Carolina, we weren’t tough. They were trying to come out and being the more aggressive team and thinking maybe we would back down and fold,” Harrellson said. “Our young guys are getting used to it more now. If we get punched in the mouth, we retaliate and go back at them now.

“We are coming closer as a team. We share the ball and are not being selfish. These last three games we have really made strides as a team collectively. Brandon has shown strides of being a team leader, Terrence has showed a side of playing hard every game. I think everybody is giving everything they have got.

“You want to come out every game no matter who you play like that. You are trying to beat every team you play by 50, but sometimes teams tend to play down to competition, especially young teams not used to just coming out and playing hard every night. We are getting better in that area and will improve on out at that.”

Harrellson, though, has already improved more than most imagined. He had one double-double in two previous seasons. In nine games this year, he has two.

“It feels great when you help your team out. You just go out there and play your game and help your team get better any way you can. That’s all I am doing,” he said.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/kenny-walker-garbage-man-role-suits-harrellson-uk-just-fine/

17 comments

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  1. LindaS

    Well now, isn’t Josh getting a lot of love lately….LOL

  2. bigbluefans4uk.com

    Linda, he is indeed. The highly publicized talents of the freshmen preceded their arrival here, and those guys are going to get their share of ink, and recognition, but the story of this team, so far this season, has to be Josh Harrellson strong showing in a support role. This was a needed contribution, but frankly unexpected, thus making it a huge story.

    I am old enough to remember Rupp’s Runts. Everyone knew about Dampier, Riley, and even the steady floor presence of Conley and Kron, but the reliability of Jaracz in the middle allowed that team to click from the very beginning, and his contributions were completely unexpected, as a sophomore who had never played varsity basketball, a local kid at that.

    I see a similarity between Josh and Thad and the contributions they make to their fine teams.

  3. Andy

    Go Jorts, if he stays out of foul trouble he can be a double double guy for sure. FREE ENES STRIP SCAM NEWTON OF THE HEISMAN. If the NCAA can make a decision for Newton in 24 hrs, why can’t they do the same for Kanter. Just BS Larry!!

  4. Suziecat

    Josh certainly is getting a lot of positive ink…not an easy task with our high profile freshmen. Hope he continues to work hard and play to the best of his abilities. Think we have gotten only a glimpse of what he can achieve.

  5. Suziecat

    Larry, have you recovered from your fight with the bug? Looking at the stories posted on this blog, it doesn’t appear that you missed a beat.

  6. King Ghidora

    I figured Josh to make a big contribution all along but I missed on Vargas and Hood. I think Josh has untapped potential to be honest. He’s a great face the basket shooter and he really isn’t getting a chance to show that. He’s playing the low post all the time. I’d love to see Vargas play the low post some and keep Josh in to shoot treys. I think he would be excellent at it. If Kanter ever gets to play (not likely) then Josh should have earned a shot at getting to play a high post position some. I know it doesn’t really fit Cal’s system but he made adjustments last year. I don’t see why it would be out of the question this year. And I really believe Josh has earned his chance.

  7. Mike

    This NCAA committee studying the Kanter case is an embarassment to whatever purpose they were supposed to be serving. With all the info being out there for weeks now, these idiots should be fired for direlection of duty if they can’t render a FAIR decision within 2 wks. This exercise should have been decided in 48 or 72hrs. at the latest. This is all designed to hurt UK and the entire BBN.

  8. LindaS

    @Professor, I too remember Jaracz and you are so right about him and the Rupps Runts. Jaracz was my second favorite player, Dampier being my first. I had a crush on Thad! Oh those were the days. Never had a crush on Little Louie.
    I have been keeping track on Josh and am very happy for his progress. He has not had an easy time while at UK with the players he had to play behind and all the attention the freshmen do get. I am happy to see him take his play into his own hands, to practice and do what he needs to do to improve. However, I am not going to be a member of the Josh’s Adopted Grandmothers club again, been there, done that, got the t-shirt and BURNED it! LOL GO CATS! VOTE FOR JOE B! FREE ENES, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! NEUTER THAMEL AND STERLING!

  9. Jim

    Harrelson has immproved his play of late. He has provided a wide body in the paint and gives the team a rebounding presence. If he can improve his ability to catch an dhold onto the ball, he could be a double digit scorer, every game, to go with his rebounding. Yes, he is very valuable to the team.

    By the way, Kenny Walker has always been my favorite player. His scoring, dunking, and shot blocking were something to see. There may have been forwards who more prolific in scoring, ie Mashburn, but Sky had the shot blocking to go with his offense.

  10. bigbluefans4uk.com

    I agree with Jim, and as that happens, I can see Josh becoming more assertive in the offense, and taking more shots, and getting to the line more often. However, his greatest contribution to this team is his offensive rebounding and his infrequency of turnovers, only 6 in 211 minutes of play.

    So long as he continues to do those 2 things, he will remain a valuable player for this team even if he does not begin to score more points.

  11. gmoyers

    Suzie, feeling some better, but just can’t shake it. working mainly from home
    Josh is such a wonderful story. Has to be candidate for Comeback Player of the Year nationally in my opinion.
    And he is handling it all with such grace
    ANd Jim, I am with you on Kenny

  12. P BARKER

    We saw early on this year where opposing players driving for in close lay ups deliberately crashed into our defending players and almost all the time got the call. I really believe Jorts could add about 4 or 5 more points to his game if he would pump fake and deliberately go into his man when he’s in possession of the ball and in heavy traffic under the basket. If not in heavy traffic, dunk it like Cal says…just an opinion! One last thing, The Professor is dead on with his assessment of Thad Jeracz…he never has gotten the credit for contributing to the sweetest run fast break in all of college basketball.

  13. Karen Sprinkle

    I’m glad to see Josh getting some love in the media (and from Cal). You can tell by his improvement how much Josh has worked to improve the aspects of his game that needed work. I had noticed that in the beginning of the season, he’d always throw the ball back out, no matter if a player was even guarding him. I’m glad now he’s taking the ball to the hoop and dunking. Even if he misses the shot, taking the shot keeps the defense honest and doesn’t allow them to help so much on the other players. Great job, Josh!

  14. Jackie

    Glad he’s finally getting credit, but I hope he doesn’t revert back to his old ways and slacking off. We need him to be strong and STAY OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE!!!! Please for the love of KY bball, quit making silly fouls. Love you and your effort tho, keep it up, Josh!!!

  15. larry vaught

    Avoiding silly fouls is a priority for him. I don’t think he’ll revert back. He’s waited too long for this chance

  16. Coleman Gaines

    Didn’t Harrellson get good reviews on his playing in China last summer? I seem to remember he did. Idon’t know how good his opponents were but I seem to recall that at least one was a 7 footer.

  17. LindaS

    @Coleman, here is a link to one of Larry’s stories about Josh, Cal and China http://vaughtsviews.com/?p=5008

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