Kentucky has a single senior on the roster this season – center Josh Harrellson. Josh Harrellson was a rather unheralded prospect brought to Kentucky by former coach, Billy Gillispie. The 6-foot-10, 270-pound forward was more known for his shooting touch than any other part of his game.
While there were moments of success as a sophomore, Harrellson sat on the bench much of the time, averaging only 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds a game in his 34 appearances.
When Coach Calipari took over before last season the initial thought was that Harrellson would be one of the players asked not to return, but Josh impressed Calipari enough to keep his spot on the team. He only played in 22 games, averaging 1.3 points and 1.2 rebounds per contest.
Even with UK losing almost all of its front court production, not a lot was expected of Harrellson.
As the season got started, it became clear that Harrellson wasn't quite the same guy who had played at UK the previous two seasons. Josh had embraced his role as the rebounder on the team.
"He's had, since the change, different habits, different body, different mentality, almost a fear of, ‘I've got to do this now'," said Calipari. "He's a totally different player and I'm proud of him."
Harrellson's work ethic this season has seen him average 6.6 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game, including an SEC best 105 offensive rebounds this year. Harrellson has also started every game this season, averaging almost 27 minutes per game. Those are numbers that no one projected before this season.
"I don't know if I've ever coached a player that has gotten more out of his body and his skill level and his athleticism than Josh Harrellson," said Calipari. "And I've coached a lot of players. That's as big a compliment as I can say to him," he finished.
While full expectations of this team haven't been reached yet, there's definitely a feel good story tonight with Josh Harrellson playing his final game in Rupp Arena as a Wildcat. And the man they call "Jorts" will always be remembered for the contributions he made this season.
Follow KSR on Twitter: @MyKSR1
Discuss on KSR's Premium Forum: WildcatChat