Meet the Cats: Waiting in the wings

November 7, 2011 

Ryan Harrow

Age: 20

Height, weight: 6-2, 175

Position: Guard

Class: Sophomore

Hometown: Marietta, Ga.

High school: Walton

About Harrow: He spent his freshman season at N.C. State, but transferred to Kentucky after Coach Sidney Lowe was fired. He will practice with the Cats all season but will not be eligible to play in games until 2012-13, when he could become UK's next big-time point guard. Harrow started 10 games last season for N.C. State, averaging 9.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists.

Harrow on the inevitable comparisons to Calipari's recent standout point guards: "That's good to be compared to those guys. I feel like I'm as good as those people. I just want to show my game here and move to the next level."

Coach Cal on how Harrow should use this year of sitting out: "Ryan has to really use this year to take his game to another level. ... He should be in the best position of any point guard I coached in that he's got a year to be tutored without the pressure of having to play."

Jon Hood

Age: 20

Height, weight: 6-7, 215

Position: Guard

Class: Junior

Hometown: Madisonville

High school: Madisonville

About Hood: He tore the ACL in his right knee in a July 18 pickup game and is expected to miss the 2011-12 season. "I was hoping he'd have a breakout season," Coach John Calipari said after Hood's surgery in August. "Like I told him, there's always a silver lining. He can use this as (a way to get) a year older and a year more mature." Hood played in 33 of UK's 38 games last season, averaging 0.8 points and 0.7 rebounds.

Hood on the likelihood of his return from ACL surgery this season: "I don't know. All I'm worrying about now is rehabbing my knee and getting back as soon as possible. ...If it's in my best interests to redshirt, then we'll do that."

Coach Cal on Hood: "All I know is before Jon leaves here, he should be leaving his mark on this program. ... He's gotten better. He wants to do this. He's a wonderful person. There's nobody that is rooting for him more than me."

Brian Long

Height, weight: 5-9, 150

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Dumont, N.J.

High school: River Dell

About Long: Long, one of Kentucky's two walk-on players, found his way from New Jersey to Kentucky through his family's relationship with Coach John Calipari. "I've known Coach Cal my whole life," Long said. "Our families are really close. He gave me an opportunity to walk on at Kentucky and I jumped at it." One of Long's older brothers, Travis, played for Calipari at Memphis. His other brother, Keith, was a walk-on at UNLV in the late 1990s.

Long on growing up in a basketball family (his father was a high school coach and two older brothers played): "I was always in the gym watching his teams play. Being coached by them made me a better person."

Coach Cal on adding Long as a walk-on: "Any time I'm adding to the team ... I want them to be good teammates. If they're not going to be good teammates, I don't want them on my team."

Sam Malone

Height, weight: 5-11, 190

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Scituate, Mass.

High school: Scituate

About Malone: Like fellow walk-on Brian Long, Malone found his way to Kentucky by way of his family's relationship with John Calipari. Sam's father, Joe, met Calipari in 1992 after sending the coach a note of appreciation for the way Calipari gracefully addressed a technical foul he received while coaching Massachusetts against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. Calipari called Joe Malone a few days later, and the two struck up a friendship.

Malone on needing four knee surgeries: "Hopefully, I'm OK now, knock on wood. I really made a fairly good recovery every time, and I feel I'm almost 100 percent now."

Coach Cal on Malone and Long joining UK's team as walk-ons: "Both Sam and Brian are great young men who will add to the team and be good teammates."

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