Oct 11, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Ryan Harrow (12) talks with reporters during media day at Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Preview: #12 Ryan Harrow

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#12 Ryan Harrow

6’2″, 170 lbs. 

Sophomore-Point Guard

Transfer from North Carolina State

Walton High School

Marietta, Georgia

2011-2012: Sat out due to NCAA transfer regulations

2010-2011: 9.3 points per game, 3.3 assists per game, in 23 minutes per game

When Ryan Harrow made the decision to transfer to the University of Kentucky, away from North Carolina State, the move didn’t have very much hype surrounding it due to Harrow having to sit out a year before even putting on a UK uniform and playing in Rupp Arena.  Wildcats fans were more focused on last season, with an incredible set of players that would eventually lead us to a national championship.  But then, all of those players left for the NBA draft and UK is left rebuilding, well, reloading once again this year.  This recruiting class, as a whole, was very weak at the point guard position, and that worried some Kentucky fans, as they were wondering who would be the next great point guard to play for John Calipari and Marquis Teague’s replacement.  However, what those fans were forgetting was that we had a 5 star point guard sitting at the end of the bench every single game last season.

Ryan Harrow was a high profile recruit coming out of high school, ranked anywhere from 19 to 25 best overall recruit by the major recruiting databases.  Ryan Harrow is very capable of becoming the next great point guard of the John Calipari system.  What’s even scarier for any team that opposes the Wildcats this season, is that Harrow has already been practicing under Coach Cal and learning his system for a year, and is ready to start his second season here.  Usually, Coach Cal has one year to take a point guard from the typical shoot first high school player that they are and turn them into a true point guard that can do anything for a team when needed, and at an elite level.

It is not fair to compare Ryan Harrow to the other point guards that Coach Cal has coached in the past, but then again, we said that about Brandon Knight being compared to John Wall and Marquis Teague being compared to Brandon Knight.  But having a year of experience for this team, to go alongside a year of experience of playing in college is something that gives Ryan Harrow an advantage over all of those players, before the season even starts.  Harrow truly believes that having the extra year to learn is an advantage as well.

I learned the system, which was most important to me, just figuring out what Coach Cal wanted out of his point guards and how he wanted them to lead. He wants you to get everybody around you better and think about the team first instead of being a score-first point guard, which I’m used to. He also wants me to be a vocal leader. I had to adjust to that. That year gave me a lot of time to practice on that.

Harrow is known for being extremely athletic and he has an incredible ability to handle the ball in traffic.  He can use his speed so well with this offense when it starts to run and gun, and it even helps that Harrow is just another player that can receive an ally-oop.  There are so many videos on the internet and Cats fans saw at Big Blue Madness as well that Ryan Harrow has a better leaping ability than the previous two point guards at Kentucky.

I know a lot of people are excited to see me play because they saw me in a couple of scrimmages last year or watched my YouTube videos. I’m just as excited as they are to be able to get out on the floor and play.

Harrow admits that trying to learn a new style of offense than he was accustomed to was difficult and not only that, he had to change the type of player he was altogether, which is going to be rough for any player.

It was hard last year. I was making a lot more turnovers. But this year I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m balancing out when I need to go score and when I need to pass it.

Coach Cal knows that it was rough for Harrow to change his game for this system, but he also expects big things from the sophomore point guard.  He is hoping that Harrow can develop into a great guard for the Cats and be able to run a fast break and break down a defense just as good as any other point guard he has coached.

I want Ryan to be the best layup shooter in the SEC. I don’t need any cuteness. Get to the basket, shoot layups. If they absolutely back off like they tried to play Marquis Teague, he shoots it a little bit better. But I want you to shoot layups, and that’s what you’re doing, which means you’ve got to play through bumps and keep going.

Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Brandon Knight, Marquis Teague and now Ryan Harrow? No one knows for certain but all signs lead us to believe that he will fall in line with the rest of them.

Stay tuned to Wildcat Blue Nation for all of your Kentucky Wildcats sports news.

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