Date story published: Sunday, February 24, 2002
Freshman sharpshooter Rashaad Carruth broke out of a prolonged shooting slump yesterday. He credited extra pre-game shooting and better mechanics.
Carruth, whose three three-pointers were pivotal in Kentucky's 71-58 victory over Arkansas, had missed all nine of his three-point attempts in the last three games and had made just one of 15 attempts in the last five games.
"I came in, like, 45 minutes early this morning, like at 9:45 this morning," he said, "and just shot around trying to see what was wrong. I found out I was leaning to the left or to the right when I was coming off screens (and shooting)."
With a more upright posture, as UK coaches had advised, Carruth reverted to form.
Carruth was so hot against Arkansas that UK Coach Tubby Smith left the freshman in the game after he picked up two first-half fouls. The second foul came with 8:29 left. Carruth did not exit until the 4:58 mark. "I think I was in a rhythm and he (Smith) knew it," Carruth said.
"Well, he was making shots," the UK coach said in explaining his departure from form. "Usually when I take a guy out with the second foul it's because he hasn't done anything, usually."
Although his shooting kept him on the floor despite the first-half fouls, Carruth noted his surprise that he did not enter second-half play until less than 10 minutes remained.
"You've got to wait your turn, man," he said. "It's frustrating. It still messes with your game. I thought it'd be better with the shorter rotation. I thought without two players, I'd get more minutes. I'll just have to wait my turn."
Carruth hesitated to call his recent shooting woes (three of 24 from three-point range in the previous 10 games) a slump.
"I had a little stretch where I was off," he said. "But I don't think it was a slump. I just had to concentrate and make shots."
Carruth took the coaches' suggestion to shoot with an upright posture, but he has hesitated to heed the suggestion to put more arc on his remarkably flat line-drive shot.
"I feel more comfortable just shooting the way I know how to," Carruth said. "I mean, it's hard to change a person's shot. I'm 19 years old, so it's going to take a lot for me to really change my shot."
Bogans takes vow
After being benched for the final 18 minutes of two of UK's four most recent games, guard Keith Bogans made himself a promise.
"I just told myself I was just going to stay out there and do whatever it takes to be out there on the floor," he said. "Because last week, that wasn't me sitting over there watching the game instead of playing. I told myself that's never going to happen again."
Bogans grabbed a season-high nine rebounds against Arkansas. He also shook off a scoreless first 19 minutes to contribute 10 points.
He credited his mother, Joy, who came from their Alexandria, Va., home to watch the game.
"Any time your mom is in town and you haven't seen her in a while, you try to play well," he said.
Less is more
Point guard Cliff Hawkins equaled his fewest field-goal attempts (three) since taking only two shots against Virginia Military Institute on Dec. 5. Smith did not complain.
"That's what he has to do," the UK coach said. "When he just concentrates on running the team, passing and playing great defense -- not looking for his shot -- we're a much better team."
UK retired the jersey of former All-American Sam Bowie, who gushed about his No. 31 joining 41 other banners hanging in the Rupp Arena rafters.
"I'm very elated and very excited," Bowie said in a pre-game news conference.
Bowie noted the significance of a jersey retired by Kentucky. "You're talking about the elite program of all programs ...," he said. "To have my name affiliated with the greatest of the greats, it leaves you speechless."
Bowie used the news conference to put the suspensions of Gerald Fitch and Erik Daniels for trying to enter a bar with a fake I.D. in perspective.
"I don't condone what they've done," Bowie said. "But at the same time, they are human. ... Here I am getting my jersey inducted. Coach (Joe B.) Hall, he disciplined me quite a few times. I did some things I wished I hadn't done. But at the same time, I learned from my mistakes. I hope those guys do the same thing."
Arkansas guard Brandon Dean on UK's superior size: "I was talking to Cliff Hawkins about how blessed he is to have all those big, tall, long guys in there to grab rebounds and block shots the way they do. They definitely played big."