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January 3, 2013

Harrow shines after taking some flash out of his game

Ryan Harrow couldn't stop himself.

Dribbling down the court in the second half of Kentucky's 90-38 win over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, the sophomore point guard ran into traffic.

To escape, he tried a behind-the-back dribble.

"It's just a habit," Harrow said. "Those moves, like when I put it between the legs and behind the back, it's like my body just did it itself."

It didn't work.

"I went like, 'Oh, snap, what am I doing?'" Harrow said, recounting his realization that he had made a mistake.

He picked the ball up and tried to pass out of trouble, but it only led to a turnover.

Coach John Calipari immediately yanked him out of the game.

"He said, 'If you want to be cool you can sit over here,'" Harrow said. "I said, 'OK, I'm not cool anymore. Let me get back in the game.' And he put me right back in. I was able to finish the game off, so everything was good."

Nearly everything was good for Harrow, who had 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, a season-high eight assists and a career-high four steals.

He even made 4-of-5 three-pointers after having made 3-of-16 from outside entering the game. Calipari had given him the green light after Harrow performed well in three-point shooting drills (a player has to make 50 in five minutes).

"I'm keeping the green light," Harrow said.

He did have four turnovers, nearly equaling his season total of five entering the game.

They came on bad decisions and overly fancy plays that have been uncharacteristic for Harrow as of late.

"That's the old kid that used to play but wasn't very good," Calipari said. "The new one is not turning it over. He's strong with the ball. He's aggressive."

Harrow has had to pare back his game to suit Calipari and the team as a whole.
He's always defined himself as a creative dribbler, someone who can make the flashy play with ease.

That didn't change in the summer when he hooped with John Wall. The two North Carolina point guards would trade move after dazzling move. That "And1 mixtape stuff," as Harrow referred to it.

"But you can't do that here," Harrow said.

It took him a while to learn.

Julius Mays said Harrow was "fighting the way" Calipari wanted him to play. Harrow was stuck in his ways, trying to break his guy down at every opportunity and create for himself. Calipari wanted him to be aggressive, in control, operate the offense.

Eventually, Harrow got it. In his last five games, Harrow's averaging 15 points on 49.2 percent shooting, 4.6 assists and 1.4 turnovers per game.

"Once he bought in to what coach was trying to get him to do," Mays said, "he realized how good it makes him look and how good it makes our team look."


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