Just a short while ago, there was quite a bit of hullabaloo concerning how slowly Kentucky had been starting games. Sure, it seemed like an easy fix to those of us on the message boards and in the stands. Bench Porter, start Liggins. Right? Well, it seems like Coach Gillispie had some different ideas on how to fix the problem.
Enter Kevin Galloway.
For the first few games of the season, Galloway was an enigma to say the least. He was blessed with athletic ability in bunches and a physical frame that most felt would make him a Gillispie and fan favorite. (Yay alliteration!) However, questions abounded about why he didn’t see much floor at USC and why he had been so unused despite the Cats’ early season struggles. As we all well know, often when “Very Talented” and “Little Playing Time” describe the same player, “Poor Attitude” is somewhere in the conversation. That never seemed to be the case with Galloway, however, so we were left to wonder what the reason could be that KG was getting so little clock. We should have known. It was all about practice.
A couple of weeks ago, Jerry Tipton did something right. That probably should have its own “Breaking News” post, but I digress. Actually, he wrote an article in which he detailed Galloway’s new work ethic in practice and how the junior wing was seeing it reflected in his playing time. Well, his solid play has continued, as he has started four consecutive games, and the numbers while he’s playing are really encouraging.
In the four games Galloway has started (Miss. Valley State, Indiana State, App. State and Tenn. State) the team is outscoring the opponent 104-50 with him on the floor. That’s pretty flippin’ impressive considering he’s played about 12 minutes a game during the stretch. The most telling stat, and the one that should comfort the fanbase the most, is that during the period when Galloway is playing at the beginning of the game the team is outscoring its opponents 44-7. Now, obviously this stretch has also seen Jodie Meeks be indescribable (actually I just described him as indescribable right there…guess I lied) and other players like AJ Stewart elevate their play, but I feel like Galloway deserves a little credit for being one of the catalysts in this stretch of games.
Typically KG only plays a maximum of 6 or so minutes at a time, often coming in for only a minute or two before being right back on the bench. However, I believe that his energy on the floor (and apparently in practice) is something this team needs and relishes. On a team with several quiet leaders, a player who lays it all out every time he comes in is always a spark and that is the role Galloway plays for this year’s team. Coach Gillispie is quoted as saying that in order for KG to play significant minutes, he must take care of the ball and be “the best defender in the Southeastern Conference.” In the last four games, he’s averaging 1.25 turnovers/per and his intensity on defense has been visually evident (even if he gets beat sometimes). He’s walking, non-Mark Coury-esque proof that whoever works in practice is going to be rewarded with some floor time.
Obviously somebody has to feel the effect of Galloway’s improvement in the form of lost minutes. Unfortunately for those of us who love the Razor, it may be him. I don’t think KG is going to be a 25-30 minute player, but with the way he’s sparked us out of the gate recently, it’s going to be tough to keep him out of the starting lineup and he currently owns the spot that belonged to Ramon Harris before his injury. Couple that with his improving defense and the fact that he is a moderately reliable ballhandler and passer who can relieve pressure from Michael Porter and the parts are there for him to be a dependable 15-20 minute player for the remainder of the season. If he can develop a consistent scoring touch, he could be a huge asset to the team as Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins develop this year and as a leader next season.
That’s all I have for now. I figured if you were going to be stuck all day with me, I’d at least give you something new to read, and Galloway deserves the love because he’s quickly becoming a big part of the team. And as if you didn’t have enough worthwhile information already, Tipton has an article about Galloway on this subject up right now, which includes some thoughts from KG and other players about his effect on the team. Back to your day, now.