A caller to his weekly radio show on Monday asked Billy Gillispie to name Kentucky's second-best perimeter shooter. The best (Jodie Meeks) being obvious.
The UK coach did not hesitate. "Josh Harrellson," he said.
That Harrellson has taken only six three-point shots suggests Kentucky does not look to fill it up from the perimeter.
Harrellson was about as direct when asked how his high-post shooting can help create room around the basket for Patrick Patterson to operate.
"I think it helps out tremendously when I make them," Harrellson said. "It stretches the defense out, and they can't double down on him."
That's the idea. But it's becoming increasingly clear that Kentucky needs better perimeter shooting to stretch defenses wise to the Cats' perimeter struggles.
Going into Saturday's game against Appalachian State, Kentucky ranks 287th nationally in three-point baskets per game (4.6). The Cats rank next to last among Southeastern Conference teams in three-point shooting accuracy (30.7 percent).
Take away Meeks (27-for-75 for 36-percent accuracy), and the other UK players who have attempted more than five three-pointers are shooting a collective 23.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Gillispie sounded underwhelmed on his radio show when he spoke of UK's three-point options:
■ Freshman guard DeAndre Liggins (5-for-21). He's a good shooter, Gillispie said, but his "shot selection has been questionable."
■ Freshman Darius Miller (2-for-14). He's going to be "very adequate."
■ Junior Michael Porter (5-for-20). His shooting will improve if and when he's not saddled with lead guard responsibilities.
■ Junior Ramon Harris (1-for-6). When (or if?) he returns from neck soreness sustained in a collision with Porter, he can be "adequate."
By comparison, Harrellson (3-for-6) looks like Mr. Deadeye, especially after making a three-pointer en route to a career-high 15 points against Indiana last Saturday.
On the plus side, Kentucky doesn't take a lot of three-point shots. The average of 15.0 per game is on pace to be UK's fewest since Eddie Sutton's last team took 9.4 per game in the 1988-89 season.
"We can shoot it better," Gillispie said on his radio show. "The reason we haven't is we haven't been very efficient offensively."
The Cats struggle at times to get the ball to Patterson, who has been willing and able when defenses collapse to throw passes to open teammates.
And collapsing defenses are a way of life for Patterson, who acknowledged his frustration after the Indiana game.
"It's frustrating sometimes," he said with typical understatement, "because I can't get the looks I like to get on the way to the basket."
When Patterson gets the ball in position to score, he's as close to automatic as human frailty allows. He's made 71.4 percent of his shots, which leads the SEC, ranks third-best nationally and puts Patterson on pace to eclipse Michael Bradley's school record for shooting accuracy in a season (65.7 percent in 1998-99).
Patterson noted the "huge help" that comes when Harrellson hits shots from the top of the key. "Especially when the (defender) on top is all the way down with us 'bigs' down low," he said.
Harrellson candidly speaks of his confidence wavering.
"My confidence is finally coming back," he said after the Indiana game, "and it's something I haven't had the last couple games."
Harrellson admitted he sometimes lets criticism drain his confidence.
"I was listening to the negative side of what people were saying and not taking the constructive criticism out of it," he said of coaching instruction in practice.
Why did Harrellson dwell on the negative tone of instruction? "I wasn't used to it," he said before adding, "I'll get used to it.
"I'm finally getting (confident). Coach G. helps (by) saying everybody has the green light."
If the Cats shoot well, especially Harrellson it appears, it could be all green lights on the road to a successful season.
"If I keep on playing confidently," Harrellson said, "we'll be a really good team."
Fans can watch an open UK practice on Friday in Freedom Hall. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m., with the public workout scheduled to begin at 5:30.
Admission is free.
The open practice comes the day before UK plays Appalachian State (Noon tip-off Saturday).