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By LARRY VAUGHT
ATLANTA Ã¢â‚¬â€ South Carolina coach Darrin Horn appreciates the little things players can do to help a team win because thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what he did best first at Tates Creek High School in Lexington and then Western Kentucky University.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why he appreciates the way junior DeAndre Liggins plays defense for Kentucky much like his does South Carolina senior Sam Muldrow, the SEC defensive player of the year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They (players) all want to play offense. They all think they are better than they are. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s every kid in every program,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Horn Wednesday following his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s practice for ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s SEC Tournament game against Mississippi.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Liggins just does his job every day. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no question a coach appreciates that. The hardest thing as a coach sometimes is to get guys to buy into things that are so important for winning like defense and things that donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get personal glory. With a guy like that, you know what you are going to get every day. He wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rise or fall based on how his offense is going. He knows hisÃ‚Â job is to stop people, play hard and make the extra pass. You will get that from him from what I have seen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Liggins was also named to the all-SEC defensive team and time after time this season heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s indicated that offense is not important to him even though he has improved his outside shot. Horn says LigginsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ actions probably have had an influence on UK freshmen Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know for us having a guy like Sam it is easy to point out how he does his job and never says anything about scoring,Ã¢â‚¬Â Horn said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you have a guy like that or Liggins who does it himself and lets younger players know what it takes to win, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when you team has a chance to be really good.Ã¢â‚¬Â