Throughout the first half of the season, we’ve come to the conclusion that Ryan Harrow’s development is/has been/will be essential to the overall success of the Wildcats. And now, we’re not alone. Nick Birdsong, an Alabama sportswriter, is arguing that the maturation of Ryan Harrow is the most compelling storyline in the SEC- even going so far as compare the drama to that of the Kardashians (come on, Nick, what have we ever done to you?).
Anyway, Birdsong believes that Harrow’s improved play makes him the most talked about player in the SEC right now. After a slow start against Maryland and subsequently missing four games, Harrow’s individual workouts with Calipari have paid off in spades. Harrow has averaged 16.7 ppg and 4.2 apg in the past four games. He’s also currently rocking a 3.4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks seventh among the nation’s top 100 assisters, and has improved his defensive tenacity, as evident by an average of 2.4 steals per game over the past five games.
The statistics are proof enough of impressive development, but Kentucky fans know that the best sign of Harrow gaining confidence in himself is hearing his mighty (…) voice on the court, directing his teammates with newfound assertion. As Calipari has told us so often, a vocal Harrow is much more desirable than “cool guy” Harrow.
So everyone’s talking about Harrow, Harrow’s talking more on the court- we’re all happy. However, Harrow’s first SEC test has the potential to be a trip-up game- Memorial’s wacky court layout is capable of throwing point guards and coaches way off sync. Without Calipari constantly within shouting distance, Harrow will really have to step up his vocal leadership and guide the Cats on the court. Vanderbilt may be 6-6 with some questionable losses (50-33 against Marist?!), but for some reason they always seem to give Kentucky trouble. The Cats’ SEC opener will be a true test of how far Harrow has come as both a player and a leader since his early struggles.
Here’s a discussion question: if Harrow continues his impressive play, is it Calipari’s greatest point guard development to date? I say yes- Wall and Knight were much further ahead than Harrow was to start the season, and Teague didn’t face all the illnesses/mysterious family issues that Calipari had to factor in with Harrow. What say you?
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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