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UK workouts also tryouts

They are the in-limbo Cats, that certain percentage of the Kentucky basketball team living on the edge of uncertainty.

We're not talking Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson, the top-shelf Cats who will surely be welcomed back with open arms should they find the NBA waters too chilly for their liking.

We're talking the next tier of Cats, those being watched and evaluated by a new coach in John Calipari, when everything's in flux, including the recruiting rumors.

The in-limbo Cats might have a spot on next year's roster, they might not. So, to them, these haven't been workouts the team has been going through the past two weeks as much as they have been tryouts. Maybe for both sides.

Josh Harrellson is an in-limbo Cat. He's the 6-foot-10 sophomore center/forward who came to the UK last year from Southwestern Illinois College.

Harrellson knows that DeMarcus Cousins, the 6-10 super-prospect, inked his name to a UK letter of intent Wednesday. He knows Daniel Orton, a 6-10 center, signed back in November. He's heard that Xavier Henry, a 6-7 forward from Oklahoma, could visit UK next weekend.

"I want to stay," Harrellson said Wednesday before the team's final 55-minute workout. "I've never been more happy in my life. It's a great place, and I love the people that surround me. But if I don't fit in, I'm just gonna go somewhere and be happy."

DeAndre Liggins is another in-limbo. The Chicago native was an up-and-down freshman last season, with more downs than ups. Some thought he might bolt. Now Calipari is on board. The same Calipari who, when at Memphis, recruited Liggins.

"I let him down, I came here instead," Liggins said on Wednesday. "He came to me, so it's like a good thing. ... I want to play for him. I'm excited."

To Calipari, playing time is the bottom line. If a player is not going to play here, would he be better somewhere else?

"If I believe you're not going to play, I'm going to tell you," the coach said Wednesday. "Now, if a player chooses to come back, knowing he's not playing, that's OK. But you can't be mad in January and February if you're not getting off the bench. You've got to understand I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that."

But January is a long way away for someone like A.J. Stewart. The 6-7 sophomore signed with Tubby Smith. By the time Stewart arrived on campus, Billy Gillispie was the coach. Stewart has played sparingly. Might he play more under Calipari? Or less?

"I might have a decision to make," Stewart said Wednesday. "I'll have to see how it goes."

Is the offense a good fit?

"I want it to be," replied Stewart.

And what of Matt Pilgrim, the 6-foot-9 transfer from Hampton who sat out last season?

"(Coach has) just been talking like you just got to go hard, bring energy, gotta have an up-tempo motor," Pilgrim said.

Does Pilgrim expect to be on the team next year?

"Yes, sir," he said.

"I have no idea what the roster is going to be like next year," said Ramon Harris, the senior-to-be who was a starter this past season. "I have no idea who's going to be here, and who's not. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

Will Harris be here?

"I do plan on being here," he said. "Hopefully, I prove to the coaches that I can play this system. That's something I want to do, and I told coach that was something I wanted to do. So far, it's been good."

Harris said his understanding is that the final decision "will be a little of both" between coach and player, but "as far as I know, they say coach is able to change the roster as he pleases."

Said Harrellson, "It's kind of frustrating, going through these workouts, trying to get better, and knowing it might not help at all."

Not knowing what the future holds.

"I think I'll have a decision to make whether or not to stay," Harrellson said. "It'll be my decision."

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