LEXINGTON - Point guard Ryan Harrow had 12 points in 31 minutes, both career highs at Kentucky, in Saturday’s 88-50 win over Lipscomb. However, it was more than the numbers that impressed teammate Jarrod Polson.
“He looked a lot more comfortable out there. Just getting back on everything. He is doing really well. In practice he is doing really well every day and that translated to the court today. That’s the way we need him to play,” said Polson after the game.
Harrow was 6-for-13 from the field (0-for-3 from 3-point range). He had two steals, but also only two assists and just one rebound. He did not commit a turnover in his most productive game. It was also his first start after he missed four games in November for personal reasons.
“I also thought Ryan has a ways to go. This again goes back, kind of head down versus — you've got to lead these guys and you've got to get them to talk, not me,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “But I thought he did better today.
“I told him he needs to get 10 or 12 points a game. That's all we need from him, and he did it without forcing shots. That's what we need.”
Here’s what Harrow had to say after the game.
Question: Why did Calipari not seem to think the team played as intense as he wanted while you thought the intensity was better?
Harrow: “We just have to play with more intensity and not have the coaches tell us what we should be doing. I don’t want to put it on coach Cal. We just have to come out there and be ready to play. We are not communicating like he wanted. He went to a NBA game and saw those guys talking and says we should be talking, too. That is something new for us and we are just going to have to do it.”
Question: Is this team listening to the coaches well enough?
Harrow: “You just have to listen to what he (Calipari) says and go out there and execute it and not have him have to tell us during games what we need to be doing. That’s his biggest thing. We do all that work in practice and then we basically don’t do it in a game. So he calls us fakes because we are just faking it in practice and then we go out there and do our own stuff in the games.”
Question: Did you make an effort to talk more against Lipscomb?
Harrow: “Yes, whenever coach Cal yelled it to me. I don’t talk that much, either, but he was telling me to talk, so I was just screaming anything. It had nothing to do with the play, but I was just screaming so he wouldn’t say anything to me.”
Question: What were you saying?
Harrow: “I might have been saying, ‘Screen, screen, screen,’ and the dude wasn’t even up there to screen yet. It was just something I did. Let me just say it.”
Question: What about the talking during the game between teams that led to four technical fouls?
Harrow: “We had just started the game and the dude bumped me and I was like, ‘Okay, he just bumping. That is his style of basketball.’ Then he bumped me again and he said something. I was like, ‘I got into it with somebody last game, I can’t do that.’ Then he did it to me again and I was like, ‘Alright, I can’t do this. I have to say something.’ Then the ref said something to us and I said I was just going to chill. Then he came up to me again and that’s when he got the technical foul. Coach was just like, ‘Clap your hands, hit the floor and do it like that but don’t say anything to him.’”
Question: What happened with the same player and Nerlens Noel the second half that led to double technical fouls?
Harrow: “He shot the layup and after he came down he pushed Nerlens in the back and you just can’t push anybody. We are not going to just let you push us around. So Nerlens said something back to him and the dude said something back to him and the refs had already told us we didn’t need to be talking to each other. So that’s how those two technicals happened.
“I know a lot of these refs, so they talk to me before the game. When I got into it, he (official Ted Valentine) took me to the side and told me to relax and just play. I am cool with all the refs right now.”
Question: Do you think you took another step forward considering you had season highs in points and minutes played?
Harrow: “Yeah, I had done good in practice, so I felt like I was going to do good in the game today. Taking some shots, missing some but making some at the same time and just staying aggressive. Trying to find the open man and trying to play defense. That’s basically what I am trying to do.
“I don’t usually look at the stat sheet, but I tried to look at the stat sheet today to see how many assists they had me for and they only had me with two. I don’t know who is keeping stats, but something has to happen. Then they had me with one rebound, and I know I was going after rebounds today. We are just trying to play hard and do whatever Coach is asking so I can stay out on the floor.”
Question: So why were you looking at the stat sheet?
Harrow: “I wanted to see my assists because last game I felt like I got shorted on assists, too. So I wanted to see this game and they gave me two, too. Something is going wrong. I am passing the ball for a reason.”
Question: But how important is it that you have had only three turnovers all season?
Harrow: “I am just trying to make the right decisions and not force anything. Usually people are open, so I am going to try and get it to the open man. I don’t have to force too much of anything.
Question: Did you not look at the stat sheet for turnovers for a reason?
Harrow: “I have never really turned the ball over because I don’t try to force too much stuff. I am not worried about the turnovers, just the assists. Whoever is doing the stats, help me out.”
Question: How important will the next two weeks be when there are no classes based on what you saw during your redshirt season with last year’s team?
Harrow: “It’s nothing but basketball, basketball, basketball for us now. The guys this year now just have to be focused and ready for that. It’s going to be hard. You don’t see anybody else. Nobody is in town. There is not much to do. You just have to be with the team and it just brings us closer together.”
Question: What about extra voluntary workouts that Calipari suggested would be beneficial on top of the three-a-day scheduled workouts?
Harrow: “Basketball, basketball, basketball. That’s all that I know to say. Five practices ... we better be good.”
Question: Does it worry you that the team did not improve as much Saturday as what Calipari hoped?
Harrow: “I thought we should have improved a lot just with the way we had been practicing. We have been practicing real hard and being real competitive in the games. I think some guys mentally just have to be a little bit more focused and don’t take what coach Cal is saying in the wrong way. He is just trying to help us basically.”
Question: Can the way Jarrod Polson embraces every opportunity to play and has fun with it be an example for others to follow?
Harrow: “Whenever I do something good, he always comes and chest bumps me or something like that. We have to have fun out there. If we are not having fun, it is going to be even harder on us and what coach Cal is saying to us is going to be even worse. If we don’t have fun with each other, it is going to be bad. He is always so excited and having fun and ready whenever he goes out on the floor.”
Question: How much does it help the team when Kyle Wiltjer is hitting shots like he did against Lipscomb?
Harrow: “It is real important. It makes my job a lot easier. Either they are going to guard him and that gives me an open lane or they are gong to commit to me and all I have to do is pass it right to him and I know he is going to knock down the shot. I knew he was going to have a good shooting day, too, because he was doing good in practice and those shots all week.
“I think when all of us are clicking, it will be scary. Me scoring, Archie (Goodwin) scoring, Alex (Poythress) scoring, Kyle scoring. All of us playing well will be the team everybody is expecting. With this time off (from classes), we will get to gel even more and in February we will be the team everybody has been looking for.”