UK Basketball: Harrow knows Calipari's criticism is meant to help him
Kentucky guard Ryan Harrow, shown in a game last month, said he has come to realize that coach John Calipari's criticism of him is intended to make him tougher. (Clay Jackson / February 7, 2013)
However, Kentucky coach John Calipari was not overly pleased with his sophomore point guard after Tuesday’s 77-55 win over South Carolina.
Calipari emphasized that he wanted to see more “touching” out Harrow to encourage teammates.
“I mean, physically, you touch them all the time. You're always near them. You're touching them. You're talking to them. We're trying to get them in that mode. It's just not natural for him,” said Calipari. “He's more of a, I want to be laid back when I play, and you all know you can't play that way.
“We're just trying to convince them that when he does play the right way, I believe he's as good as any point guard in the country. The other guy is not really that good. The one that plays aggressive and is low to the ground, talking to his teammates, he's as good as any point guard in the country. The other guy shouldn't be on the court as much, so we're just trying to convince him of what he's got to be. He's got to buy into that, surrender to it, and just go do it.
“Think about what I'm saying. I'm not saying make more shots. I'm not saying be better with the ball. I'm saying play with more intensity, play lower, play rougher, talk to your teammates more, be more into the game. He can do it. That's all we've been driving him for.”
Here is what Harrow had to say about his play, his coach’s comments and more after Tuesday’s win:
Question: Does Calipari ever tell you that you can be as good as any point guard in the country?
Harrow: “He says that but I just have to keep working and try to pick my energy up as much as I can and do whatever I can to help the team on the defensive end and running the team on the offensive end.”
Question: Do you notice anything similar to last year’s team as far as energy and finishing off games?
Harrow: “I think this was one of the first times we actually played the whole game through keeping the lead and playing good defense and helping each other. Last year’s team, they did that a lot. We just have to keep on working and it starts in practice.”
Question: What did it mean to have Willie Cauley-Stein (13 points, six rebounds) back playing?
Harrow: “He helped us out a lot with his energy when we really needed it. He is going to run the floor and play defense hard. When he has his offensive game going, it makes it a lot easier for all of us.”
Question: Did you know Florida lost at Arkansas?
Harrow: “Coach told us they lost to Arkansas. That was big. He said we were one game away from being number one (in the SEC). We have to keep working and be ready to play.”
Question: Will you ever be tough enough for Calipari?
Harrow: “No. I think he is always going to want me to be tougher even when I try to be tough because he wants the best out of me. He just wants me to be the best point guard in the nation and he sees that in me. He is going to be hard on me at all times.”
Question: What does he want you to do to show him how tough you can be?
Harrow: “Just playing through bumps. Playing good defense. Not stopping on screens. Stuff like that.”