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By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore teammate Kyle Wiltjer said teammate Ryan Harrow “looked fine” during a Monday workout and he’s hoping he’ll be back on the court playing soon.
“I have seen him a lot the past couple of days. He seems up to speed and he’s looking forward to practicing. He’s practicing today so hopefully he can get back to full speed and get better,” Wiltjer said before Tuesday’s practice. “He’s a very talented player and having him back will give us a little extra depth. Hopefully he will continue to get up to speed and get where we need him.”
Calipari doesn’t buy the theory that Harrow’s absence could be good for UK because it is building depth at point guard with Archie Goodwin being forced to start at point guard and junior Jarrod Polson get his most extensive playing time at UK as the backup. Even senior Julius Mays, a two guard, is playing some at point guard.
“But I’d rather have him here. That stuff gives guys an opportunity. Any time you have injuries or things of that nature, things happen on your team, maybe you didn’t know or you’re surprised but the reality of it is you’d rather go through without that kind of stuff,” Calipari said.
Polson says he’s trying to concentrate on playing hard and not how much he is playing.
“Obviously, when you are not getting as many minutes, it’s probably easier to get yanked out of the game, but you can’t really think about it like that. Just play as hard as you can because you don’t know how many minutes you are going to get. That’s my mindset really, just play hard and pressure them defensively. That is going to help with getting more comfortable and less nervous,” Polson said.
“I definitely think I have gotten way better. Obviously I didn’t play much in my first two years, but I was going against great players in practice every day. I have definitely improved a lot since high school and playing against them has helped tremendously.”
Morehead could test UK’s point guard depth. The Eagles forced an opponent season-high 29 turnovers in Sunday’s win over Lafayette), including 17 in the first half. The Eagles turned the Leopard miscues into 36 points and recorded a season-best 19 steals and coach Sean Woods says the Eagles will be just as aggressive against UK. Morehead has used 15 players this season, and nine Eagles are averaging double-figure minutes. The Eagles have been called for 95 fouls through four games this season, while its opponents have only been whistled for 58 infractions because of that aggressive defense.
Calipari seems eager to see how his team will fare against Morehead’s pressure defense.
“We need to be pressed and played physical and let’s see what we’re about. If we’ll be strong with the ball, if we’re going to come to jump stops, if we’ll come back and meet passes, if we’ll make the extra pass, we’ll find out,” Calipari said. “This is all learning. We could have 30 turnovers and they beat our brains out, could happen. We’re a young team. We don’t even know how we’re going to respond to stuff.”
Polson says UK has worked daily on the press and Calipari has even had six players playing defense on the press.
“We know that they are probably going to press tomorrow. We have gotten a lot more comfortable with the press break and we kind of know what we want to do with it now,” Polson said.