Transfer Twany Beckham can make his Kentucky debut Saturday night against Chattanooga.
A Louisville native who transferred from Mississippi State, Beckham said Friday he hoped to bring intangibles to UK. Energy. Leadership. Experience.
"I feel my experience is going to be a key for this team," said Beckham, who started five games for Mississippi State.
Beckham, who averaged 2 points and 10.6 minutes in 11/2 seasons for State, said he expected a "slow process" in contributing to this UK team.
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UK Coach John Calipari said Beckham would not play point guard. "He doesn't understand that position the way we need it played," Calipari said.
Sophomore Jarrod Polson has a better grasp of the point-guard role, Calipari said.
Beckham could provide toughness, defense and heady play on the perimeter, the UK coach said.
Chattanooga freshman Ronrico White is the son of former Tennessee star Tony White.
"He said to be ready," Ronrico said of his father's advice about playing in Rupp Arena. "And it's going to be loud."
The elder White, who lives in Knoxville and works for the U.S. Department of Energy, said he has fond memories of Rupp Arena.
"Back in the '80s, that was the arena," he said. "If you competed hard and competed well, they always gave the (opposing) team respect."
Tony White, 46, played for Tennessee from 1983 through 1987. His 2,219 points rank third on UT's career list.
Ronrico noted his father's ability to score. "As a freshman, he wanted that green light," the son said of his father. "But the coach (Don DeVoe) wanted him to prove himself on defense, first."
Ronrico, a 6-foot-3 guard, is averaging 4.5 points as a reserve.
"If you can get the green light with Don DeVoe, that's pretty good," Chattanooga Coach John Shulman said of Tony White. "Ronrico can actually guard. I don't think Tony could guard before he got to Tennessee. He said DeVoe made him guard on occasion."Tony White said he could not attend the game, but would watch the telecast.
"He's going to hold up well," White said of his son. "The best thing I told him was don't play the score. Always compete."
UK can continue to be the gold standard for college basketball playing in Rupp Arena, Calipari said. That question arose earlier this week when UK president Eli Capilouto said he would put a higher priority on upgrading the campus than on renovating Rupp or building a new arena.
"It's not hurt us in recruiting," Calipari said of Rupp Arena. "It's obviously not hurt on the basketball court."
UK has not lost in Rupp Arena during Calipari's three seasons as coach.
Rupp Arena will need some relatively minor upgrading in the next couple of years, Calipari said. For instance, locker rooms should be revamped, he said.
Calipari voiced support for Capilouto's desire to upgrade classroom buildings and dormitories. Noting that some campus buildings are 60 years old, Calipari quipped, "I didn't know buildings could stay standing that long."
The UK coach also noted the need for new classrooms "with new desks that don't have the holes where you put quill pens."
Calipari likened UK to UConn, each a flagship, land-grant university in its state. The Connecticut legislature allotted $100 million over a 10-year period for improvements to the UConn campus, he said.
"Can we get that in this state?" he added. "Maybe not $100 million. But what can we do per year for the next five years."
A combination of public and private funding is needed for UK's on-campus needs, Calipari said.
Wazoo Sports will carry the game. In Lexington and Louisville, that's channels 18.2 and 11.3, respectively. It's also on Insight Cable channel 524, Time Warner Cable channel 305 and Frankfort Plant Board channel 75. Further listings are at www.wazoosports.com/programming/channelguide.html. ... Dave Baker and Kyle Macy will call the game.