LEXINGTON — Not only was Kentucky’s season at a crossroads, but so might have been Ryan Harrow’s future with the Wildcats.
The sophomore guard had scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games going into last week and seemed to have firmly settled into being UK’s point guard. However, then he regressed. Not just a bit, but a bunch. In a 17-point loss at Florida, he missed all three shots he took, didn’t score and had just one assist and one rebound. However, he was even less productive in a 30-point loss at Tennessee on Saturday when he lost his starting job to Jarrod Polson and went 0-for-2 from the field and didn’t have a point, rebound or assist.
But against Vanderbilt here Wednesday, Harrow was solid from start to finish in the 74-70 victory. He was 6-for-9 from the field and had 12 points. He battled for five rebounds, handed out four assists, made one steal and did not have a turnover in 32 minutes.
Part of his success came because coach John Calipari “opened up the court” to give Harrow and Archie Goodwin (16 points, six rebounds, three assists) a chance to beat defenders off the dribble.
“We are a good enough 3-point shooting team — you've got to guard people. You've got to guard Alex (Poythress). You've got to guard Kyle (Wiltjer). You've got to guard Julius (Mays). You can't just say, well, we'll pack everybody in as you spread the court. You can't do that because we can make 3s,” said Calipari. “But it also gives Ryan room to move and get his confidence. So we opened up the court so he could get into some pick-and-rolls. And you know, he needs to play more confident, and he did today.”
Actually, that confidence started a day earlier when Harrow asked for a meeting with Calipari and told him that he wanted his starting position back.