VAUGHT: Alleyne addresses transfer rumors

          

Shagari Alleyne has heard all the rumors about how he's unhappy at Kentucky and plans to transfer when the season ends just like he did at this time last year.

"They were going around last year, too. They are going to go around any time a player gets in trouble, even if it is just a minor situation," Alleyne said today in Indianapolis before Kentucky practiced. "That rumor mill always goes around.

"I am not going anywhere. I am going to stay at Kentucky. There is no reason for me to leave. I came here knowing what to expect and nothing has changed."

Alleyne did admit he was looking forward to the NCAA Tournament as a possible fresh start for him and the team. In the last seven games, he's played just nine minutes. Twice he didn't play at all, including the loss at Florida when coach Tubby Smith left him in Lexington.

While there's been no official word on what Alleyne's off-court problems have been, they are believed to be academic related.

"What went on in the past is in the past and is over with now," Alleyne said. "I'm just looking forward to the tournament. I want to help the team the same way I did at the beginning of the season and do what it takes to help us be successful. I'll get another chance. If coach Smith calls upon me to play, I'll be ready to produce. I know what I have to go in and do."

Alleyne averages 3.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 9.3 minutes per game in 26 games. He also still has a team-high 40 blocked shots -- or one for each six minutes he's played. At times, he's changed games. At times, he's been a non-factor.

"There are certain games he could really help us," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "But he has to understand what it takes all the time, not just part of the time."

Alleyne insists not only does he understand, but that he will be a far better player by next season.

"I can't predict the future or anything, but I can tell you I will be a much better player than this season," Alleyne, a sophomore, said. "You can't stay on the same level from year to year or people will expose your weaknesses. If you get better from year to year, then you are more unpredictable."

Unpredictable? Now that's a good word for Alleyne to know because it certainly describes him. After a freshman season that had many wondering if he could ever help UK, he had some impressive games, including the big regular-season win over LSU where he scored nine points, blocked four shots and swung the game UK's way. But just when it looked like he could be a force, he slid into Smith's doghouse and has never got out.

Still, based on how much he improved from last year, it's still good news that he plans to be back and hopefully become a better, and more consistent, contributor next year.


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