UK basketball player profile: Ryan Harrow benefited from battles with Teague

jtipton@herald-leader.comOctober 4, 2012 

  • Ryan Harrow

    Height, weight: 6-2, 170

    Position: Point guard

    Class: Sophomore

    Hometown: Marietta, Ga.

    High school: Walton

When it comes to this season's presumed point guard, Kentucky Coach John Calipari prefers no-frills relentlessness over shake and bake.

"I want Ryan to be the best layup shooter in the SEC," Calipari said of Ryan Harrow. "I don't need any cuteness."

Who better to ask what that means than Harrow, whose high-pitched voice, unimposing stature and inviting smile suggest, well, cuteness?

"When I have my opportunities to go to the basket, that he wants me to make the layups even though I'm probably going to be bumped or fouled," Harrow said. "And (the referees) may not always call it."

In explaining Calipari's aversion to cuteness, Harrow said, "Coach thinks he understands that I have a lot of flash in my game, and sometimes that has to be mediated or taken out completely.

"And I can understand that. He just wants to get the job done."

Dribbling the ball brings out the impulse to show the flash in his game, Harrow said.

"I've always been good handling the basketball," he said. "Sometimes I can make too many moves instead of making one move and going by the person."

Because he sat out last season after transferring from North Carolina State, Harrow figures to be Calipari's first point guard with college experience since at least 2006-07. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists for N.C. State in 2010-11.

Last season, experience took the form of practicing against Marquis Teague.

"He got beat up," Calipari said of Harrow with an approving tone. "He played against a pit bull every day."

That kind of rough play may benefit Harrow this season if opponents choose to be physical. Hence, Calipari's emphasis on getting to the basket.

"If they absolutely back off like they played Marquis Teague, he shoots it a little bit better," the UK coach said of Harrow.

Harrow described his practice sessions against Teague as mutually beneficial. Teague got to play against a quick opponent. Harrow got to play against a physical point guard.

"I realized I had to get a lot stronger," Harrow said.

When it was noted that he does not look different from the slight guard who arrived a year ago, Harrow said, "I weigh more."

He said he weighs 168 pounds, which isn't all that big even for a point guard.

"But I'm a lot stronger than what I was when I first got here," he said. " ... I wasn't lifting heavy weights as I am now."

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227Twitter: @JerryTiptonBlog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com

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