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By LARRY VAUGHT
Mississippi State senior guard Dee Bost does not know Kentucky coach John Calipari personally. However, he senses why heâ€™s been successful bringing talented player to UKâ€ˆand winning so many games.
â€œFrom what I see, he is a great coach. He uses players to their max potential. I can see why guys want to play for him. He puts guys in the pros and lets them make plays. Who wouldnâ€™t like that? â€œ Bost said.
Reeling Mississippi State, which has lost three straight games to drop to 6-6 in Southeastern Conference play, hosts No. 1 Kentucky Tuesday night. Bost averages 15.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and leads the Bulldogs with 135 assists and 55 steals.
Bost knows many NBA players spent time in Lexington last summer working out during the strike and practiced with the Wildcats. Eighteen NBA scouts are slated to be at Tuesdayâ€™s game.
â€œYou are talking about some of the best players in the NBA. They helped them and that has to be an advantage to get knowledge from great players like that,â€ Bost said. â€œI think that would give you an edge. I try to learn the game from anybody that has played as a pro. That would be huge to get to work out with the pros like they did. It could only make you better.â€
Bost knows Kentucky is considered the marquee team in the SEC and is being touted now as the team to beat in the NCAA Tournament. He says the UKâ€ˆhype does not bother him.
â€œThose are things we canâ€™t control. That is other peoplesâ€™ opinions and things they do. It really doesnâ€™t bother us, but at the same time we think about it and say we have to change those opinions and go out there and make people start talking about us again,â€ Bost said. â€œWe should have won the game with them last time they were in Starkville (two years ago). Now they are coming back and itâ€™s a great chance for us to make a statement.
â€œThey draw a crowd just because of who they are and the tradition they have. Thatâ€™s a lot of credit to them, and just makes the game even more fun and more intense.â€
Bost knows UK sophomore guard Doron Lamb can be a special player based on last yearâ€™s experiences.
â€œDoron Lamb is really an efficient player, especially on the offensive end. He is a pretty good defender. He is an overall good player,â€ Boston said. â€œTerrence Jones is a heck of player. Last year he could have been (NBA) lottery (pick). They are both really, really good just from what I found out last year.â€
Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury and assistant Phil Cunningham are both Kentucky natives who still have family in Kentucky.
â€œThey mention how big a game it is. They donâ€™t mention they were ever Kentucky fans or the game being anything special,â€ Bost said. â€œCoach Stansbury is a great coach. He gave me the opportunity and freedom to play. He has had my back since Iâ€ˆhave been here, especially with the NCAA.â€ˆI canâ€™t be more thankful for him. But all that really matters is we are playing Kentucky and we know they are a great team. Itâ€™s about the game, not the coaches.â€