UK Notebook: Carrier helping freshmen

November 22, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Putting the freshmen players off limits to the media for an indefinite time has led to questions and speculation about what prompted Kentucky coach to make that decision.

Senior Josh Carrier says while he knows of no specific reason that Smith took the action, he can see why the coach might have decided the freshmen were receiving too much attention.

"We really are not too concerned about the hype over the freshmen," said Carrier. "We just don't want to let it get to their heads. If it does, Chuck (Hayes) and I will be the first two to talk to them and try to calm them down. If that doesn't work, then coach Smith will be right on them.

"We are not worried about them. They are good kids. They are taking advice, and I think they will keep taking it."


Since Carrier and Hayes are UK's only seniors, Carrier understands that keeping Rajon Rondo, Ramel Bradley, Randolph Morris and Joe Crawford from talking to the media will not put an end to questions about the four talented freshmen.

"You just have to deal with the questions about the freshmen," Carrier said. "People are expecting great things from them, and our whole team. They are a big, big part of this team. They are here to help us win.

"I don't really know why coach put them off limits, but it might be a good thing. I know a couple of teams I have been on the last couple of years, some young guys have said things they shouldn't have said. This way the freshmen can read the papers and see what the older guys have said and learn from that."

When the freshmen were allowed to talk, many had praised Carrier, as well as Hayes, for helping them know what to do, and not do.

Carrier says he never considered not helping the freshmen even though Rondo, Bradley and Crawford all figure to play far more than him on the perimeter.

"You can't be scared of competition," Carrier said. "Just bring it on. We battle in practice each day. It's not like they are not human."

Carrier hopes the way he handles the competition will make an impact on the freshmen and show them how much he values just being at Kentucky despite his limited playing time the last three years.

"The critics do seem to stay on me, but you can't pay attention to that," Carrier said. "You are always going to have critics. Coach Smith is our biggest critic, and you have to listen to him. But fans also think they know more about the game than you do. You just have to let it slide.

"I am happy here. It's unbelievable some of the things that I have experienced. This has been a great place for me. I am going to graduate in May with a degree. I don't know what my plans will be after that. Graduate school looks like a good plan, but Lexington is a great place and I've had a great time here. That's what I want to impress on the freshmen. I want to make sure they understand how lucky they are just to be here."

Duncan commits: Elizabethtown tight end-defensive end Zipp Duncan ended his recruitment over the weekend by verbally committing to Kentucky.

He is UK's sixth-in state commitment and 11th overall.

Duncan had scholarship offers from Marshall and Cincinnati and was receiving inquires from Stanford, Louisville and Vanderbilt.

Duncan committed despite the recent speculation about coach Rich Brooks' future with Kentucky. The Cats are also only 2-8 heading into Saturday's season-ending game at Tennessee.

The Cats have also offered a scholarship to his teammate, linebacker Brandon Deaderick.

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