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By LARRY VAUGHT
What has been the biggest change in Kentucky sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow recently?
Has it been his offense/scoring? Has it been his defense, both on and off the ball? Has it been his leadership on and off the court?
“It’s all of that really,” said UK senior guard Julius Mays. “He is really getting in the gym and getting his confidence up. It has been showing on the court. He has been putting a lot of extra work in and has been focusing on our team and not himself. He doesn’t care if he gets numbers. He just wants us to do well and he knows we are a lot better when he is playing well and bringing energy.”
Harrow is averaging 9.0 points, 3.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 50 percent (8-for-16) at the foul line in nine games going into Thursday’s Southeastern Conference opener at Vanderbilt. He has only nine turnovers in 214 minutes — one about every 24 minutes despite having four in UK’s win last week over Eastern Michigan. He’s also second on the team in steals with 14.
“The team trusts him more now. He’s spending a lot of time around his teammates,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monday. “In practice, he’s one of our hardest workers now. He’s got a great attitude.”
Calipari noted that Harrow and Archie Goodwin have been doing their extra individual workouts with him before practice for 20 to 25 minutes. However, when other players work out after practice, Harrow has been staying, too.
“He stays in the gym (after) and cheers on the guys, just talks to them and encourages them. He’s become that guy that we needed him to be,” Calipari said. “But you’ve got to be around the team. You’ve got to be around them. You’ve got to be with them. They got to know you’re for them. Then they’ll follow. Then you can lead.
“Leading is not just walking out on the court and barking orders. Leadership is about service, and the only way you can serve others is to be around them. That’s what he’s been able to do, and I’m really proud of how far he’s come. My thing to him was: This is where we – as in I – thought you’d be at the beginning of the year. Now we’ve gotta build on this. Where do we go from here?”