UK Men's Basketball

UK notes: Stevenson suspects he was singled-out player

When Billy Gillispie singled out one player's entry into the game as the reason Kentucky lost to Louisiana State on Saturday, Perry Stevenson figured he was that player.

"I don't know (but) I'd probably say it was me," Stevenson said Tuesday. "I did see the lead dwindle down when I got in there. We can't let that happen."

An engaging interview subject who seems almost egoless, Stevenson said being singled out in such a manner did not hurt his feelings.

"It didn't bother me," he said. "I take it as constructive criticism. He wants me to be the best player I can be."

Normally, coaches are loath to pin a defeat on one player. For instance, when a missed field goal in the final seconds spells defeat, the football coach never blames the kicker.

That custom made Gillispie's scapegoating of one player so surprising.

"Coach knows I can handle criticism," Stevenson said. "I listen to it and take the best from it."

Stevenson acknowledged being in a "slump." In the last five games, he's averaging 5.2 points and 3.4 rebounds. Normally a good free-throw shooter, he's made four of 10 from the foul line in that span.

When asked how being singled out for criticism might affect his play against Georgia on Wednesday night, Stevenson said it would make him "just try not to be that guy again."

Fan 'advice'

Six losses in the last nine games have inspired UK fans to offer advice. Josh Harrellson and Stevenson noted the importance of filtering out the negativity while appreciating the desire to help.

"I try to stay away from it," Harrellson said, "because a lot of it is negative."

That negativity can focus on who should be playing, who shouldn't, who is a good player and who isn't.

The fans sometimes don't see beyond who scores the points or grabs the rebounds, Harrellson said. The fans don't always see who prevented a turnover or failed to grab a rebound or got scored upon repeatedly.

Stevenson echoed the sentiment. When a fan offers advice, he said, the best approach is "don't be rude and (do) listen to it.

"They're only telling us for their benefit, well, our benefit. We just know they're not all coaches. I'm sure a few are. Most of them don't know what they're talking about. They can only tell us what they see."

Etc.

This won't be Georgia interim coach Pete Herr mann's first trip to Rupp Arena as a head coach. He was Navy's coach when David Robinson had a triple-double here in an 80-69 loss to UK on Jan. 25, 1987. ... UK has an all-time record of 83-5 on Senior Day. ...Tom Hammond and Rupp Runt Larry Conley will call the game for the SEC network.

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