After watching Ryan Harrow practice with last year’s National Championship team (in the public practice at Memorial Coliseum and Big Blue Madness), I had no doubts he would be the next great point guard to come out of John Calipari’s dribble drive offense. Admittedly, I didn’t watch much of him at North Carolina State, nor had I heard much about him while he was in high school, but what I saw of him in those settings was a player with skill, speed and athleticism that fit the bill and tradition of the Calipari one-guard. The end result for all of the guys was a first-round pick in the NBA draft. I assumed Harrow’s would be the same.
Unfortunately, things have not gone as smoothly for the Georgia native. Harrow’s mystery illness at the beginning of the year slowed down his progression and continuity with teammates. He fell out of favor with Calipari during his absence and went from a potential first-rounder to not being listed on any draft boards around the country. He had to earn his starting point guard spot back from Archie Goodwin and he is now back as the full-time point guard of this team. I have full confidence that Harrow can lead this team, the bigger question, though, is can he earn his draft status back?
A couple weeks ago, Harrow acknowledged the pressures that comes with playing on a Kentucky team. There isn’t always room for the current players on the following year’s team, and he knows that. There is a pressure to perform at your best so that you can get to the NBA. It’s what you sign up for when you come to play here, especially when you are a point guard. With James Young and the Harrison twins coming in, the back court is filled with plenty talent for the 2013-14 season and I couldn’t imagine a scenario where Harrow would see a lot of minutes.
Ever since the Louisville game, Harrow has been more assertive. He’s now the type of player I thought we would see from the beginning of the season and who I assumed would be drafted in June. In the past five games, Harrow has averaged 16.6 points and has a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio, which is exactly the type of play Kentucky fans have come to expect from their floor general. As Kentucky’s rotation shortens with the Cauley-Stein injury, Harrow will be asked to do even more than he has the last couple of games. The Wildcats need him to be the best he’s been all year and that could be key to earning his way back into a draft pick.
The remaining conference games, SEC tournament and NCAA tournament are extremely important for Harrow. Guiding this team to success, while becoming the team leader, would go a long way into earning his draft status back.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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