UK Men's Basketball

Harris cleared to play after more tests

Kentucky's medical staff cleared Ramon Harris to play even though the cause of his fainting spell last weekend remains unknown.

"All the checkups (and) all the tests have not revealed exactly the reason it happened," UK Coach Billy Gillispie said on Monday. "That's a little scary in itself. We have great doctors. They cleared him for a reason."

Gillispie said he would go on faith in the doctors when deciding how to use Harris, perhaps as soon as Tuesday night's game at Mississippi.

"You have to trust the experts," Gillispie said. "I'm not an expert. They were comprehensive in their testing. Everybody takes it very, very, very, very seriously.

"You have to trust the doctors. I'm not a doctor."

UK's medical team "totally cleared" Harris' return.

Harris fainted during halftime of Kentucky's game at Alabama on Saturday. After being taken to a hospital for tests, Harris accompanied the team home to Lexington that afternoon. Additional testing — including an MRI and a check by a cardiologist — continued through Monday, Gillispie said.

Apparently, Harris' fainting spell was unrelated to his nasty head-to-head collision with teammate Michael Porter when Kentucky played Lamar on Dec. 3, Gillispie seemed to say when he referred to "two separate incidents." After the collision, medical personnel loaded Harris on a stretcher and took him to UK Hospital. He was sidelined for the next three games and five of the next seven.

But Gillispie stressed the seriousness of the situation and mildly chastised a reporter for asking if he would return to business as usual in handling Harris.

"It's a major, major, major thing to happen to a player by itself," Gillispie said. " ... You always have to be concerned (because) it's not the first time he'd had to be carried (out of an arena)."

Harris practiced with the team on Monday.

"He did all right," Gillispie said. "We didn't go long (and) he was in there for the biggest part of it."

Meeks faces zone?

UK guard Jodie Meeks has been in a zone. Now he figures to face a zone.

The Rebels have used a 2-3 zone quite a bit this season in light of multiple injuries.

"We'll continue to try to mix and match and try to figure what gives us the best chance," Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said. " ... Regardless of what we do — man-to-man, zone, press — we're going to be very conscious of where (Meeks) is at all times."

Gillispie noted that Meeks represents almost all of UK's perimeter shooting threat. In SEC play, he has made 24 of 45 three-pointers (53.3 percent). His teammates have made seven of 30 three-point shots (23.3 percent).

"He's doing a fantastic job," Gillispie said of Meeks. "But we have to perform better as a unit. ... We have to do a better job helping him."

Gillispie not satisfied

By his own admission, Gillispie is never satisfied.

So no surprise that he saw plenty of room for improvement despite Kentucky being the only unbeaten team in the Southeastern Conference and ranked first nationally in shooting and second in shooting defense (according to NCAA statistics of Jan. 22).

On offense, UK has been efficient, but not in an optimal way, he said.

"I don't know that we're doing it quickly enough," he said. The defensive attention given to Meeks creates a comfort level for his teammates, which slows their cuts.

"When you're slow, it affects everything," he said. It disrupts the offensive timing.

And nine days after saying the hustling made UK his "kind of team," Gillispie found the effort for loose balls deplorable.

"This is the worst loose-ball team we've had," he said. "I don't think we've gotten on the floor enough for loose balls."

Etc.

According to Collegerpi.com, Ole Miss has the fourth-best Ratings Percentage Index of the nine different teams remaining on the schedule. In order, it's Tennessee (No. 20), Florida (No. 29), South Carolina (No. 62), Ole Miss (No. 76), LSU (No. 79), Mississippi State (No. 81), Arkansas (No. 87), Vanderbilt (No. 116) and Georgia (No. 218). ... Ole Miss has a 40-5 home record in Kennedy's three seasons as coach. ... Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and Jeannine Edwards will call the game for ESPN.

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