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- Matthew Mitchell on ‘dynamic’ Duke, NCAA seeding, Rupp crowd, Stallworth, Epps and more
- BBN Cares helps special UK fan get chance to see Cats play Belmont
- Future UK running back Mikel Horton named to Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl
- Stoops says “comfort level is much greater” at Kentucky now
- Draft analyst Ed Isaacson says UK freshmen are “very low on the learning curve of actual basketball knowledge”
- Calipari on inspiring players, more emotional bench, Anthony Davis, Belmont and more
- Cauley-Stein says change coming because “Cal’s going to get it out of us”
- Can these Cats start clicking? “We’ll find out. I can’t really tell you,” Cauley-Stein said
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky freshman guard Aaron Harrison says he has patterned his game after a variety of NBA stars — Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Monta Ellis.
“I try to take something from all of their games,” Harrison said.
It’s also no surprise that he says his all-time favorite Kentucky player would be point guard Rajon Rondo, now a star with the Boston Celtics. Rondo was also an intense competitor who preferred to let his versatile play do his talking.
“I just like his toughness and his game. He averages a triple-double. I have never met him, but I would like to one day,” Harrison said.
Harrison and his brother had academic work to complete and could not attend UK’s summer school with freshmen Marcus Lee, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson. Instead, he says he worked on “just staying in shape, getting stronger and getting to the basket” during summer workouts.
“People are saying I am just a jump shooter. It’s not true, but it helps as motivation,” he said.
Calipari noted that Harrison was better with his left hand than his brother, something Aaron says is not true.
“My dad worked on my left hand a lot when we were younger because he knew it would be important,” he said. “But I think Calipari is just egging it on with Andrew about me being better. Just motivating him.”
So how are the twins most different on the court?
“I take more jump shots, and he will get to the basket and throw more passes. Stuff like that,” Harrison said. “Our shooting styles are different. We are different players.”
The two often played one-on-one games growing up in Richmond, Texas.
“That is probably why we are so tough now, because of that. We would go back and forth, definitely. No one ever lost a game two times in a row. We were probably 10 or 11 at the house doing that. It started a lot of arguments,” he smiled and said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
The more you are around Julius Randle, the more you realize how special the Kentucky signee could turn out to be next year.
Consider who he tries to mold his all-around game after.
“If there is anybody, I watch LeBron (James) a lot. Tthe stuff that he does on the court as far as getting his teammates involved while also being an attacker. If anybody, him. Kobe (Bryant) has been my favorite player to watch, but LeBron’s been my favorite player to study,” Randle said.
“Kobe always was my favorite player growing up, but honestly I never really grew up trying to model myself after anybody. I just took a lot of stuff from everybody’s game and kind of made my own.”
And it has worked out very, very well and by this time next year it would not be a huge shock to see Randle in position to be another No. 1 overall NBA draft pick coached by John Calipari.
By LARRY VAUGHT
New Jersey standout Karl Towns doesn’t get to talk to UK coach John Calipari or UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua often because they are not allowed to contact him directly since technically is still only a high school sophomore even though he has reclassified to the 2014 recruiting class. Instead, Calipari contacts his coach and then information is relayed to Towns, who has already given his verbal commitment to UK.
“Coach tells me what they say and I tell him to tell them hi and wish them the best this year,” Towns said. “They tell me just to run the floor hard and stay positive and do all they taught me (during the summer). They tell me to remember all they told me and I try to use all the assets God gave me and dad and coach Cal taught me.
“Coach O (Orlando Antigua) is a great guy and I love him. But I went to Kentucky because it has the major I wanted, is a great school and has a great team and coaches. At the end of the day, that’s where I feel I can blossom into the player and person I want to be.”
He’s followed Kentucky’s up and down season regularly.
“I watch every game. I rush home to watch on TV or I am on my phone watching,” Towns said. “I am always up to date on Kentucky and making sure the Wildcats are doing well. They’ve had a hard road, but they will pick it up at the right time. Coach Cal will get them there. He’s just a special coach and will get it done.”
Towns got to experience that coaching first-hand during his time with the Dominican team when he had NBA players as teammates and played against NBA players and college players in exhibition and tournament games.
How hard was it to adjusting to playing against normal high school competition after that summer experience?
“It was very difficult to adjust to high school again. It was so different,” Towns said. “The physicality is so much less in high school, especially in New Jersey where they are very picky about touch fouls. With the Dominican team, I went against LeBron James, Kevin Love and others who were all very physical. I am always a physical guy and to be in high school and not be able to touch anybody is hard. It’s like I am intimidating and they (officials) have to give fouls to kids smaller than me. I have had to tone down my physicality and a lot of the things I did against NBA players. It just took me a little time to adjust to that, but I was fine by the time the season started.”
Towns plans to join the Dominican team again this summer even though Calipari won’t be coaching.
“I want to see who the coach will be, but I want to go out and work hard and lead the team to the Olympics (in 2016). It is so much fun playing with those guys. It’s great to play with competitive people like that. They make sure you play hard and get better. We learn from each other and how to fix flaws in our game and have fun doing it for us and our country,” Towns said.