DEMAREE: 2005-2006 a Final Four Season?

Prior to Randolph Morris surprised Kentuckians by declaring for the NBA KSR's Lonny Demaree spoke with Tubby Smith regarding 2005 recruiting and the 2005-2006 season.

As Coach Tubby Smith wraps up the spring recruiting period with the signing of a junior college All-American forward Rekalin Sims from Vallejo, California, he has some candid thoughts about last season and what he sees for the future.

"We lost a lot of power in Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike," Smith lamented. "That's the reason why we need (a power forward)." At the moment the chances of landing Uche Echefu, Kentucky's lone PF target, appear to be very remote.

Smith said he feels, "Bukie will make it because we taught him how to play." He said he also thinks that Hayes will be on some NBA roster next year. "All he needs is a chance," The coach said.

In relation to the power lost off of last year's team, Smith said he is very happy to get Sims but he is not a power player. He feels Sims can get some rebounds but his style is more along the line of Tayshun Prince. Smith made mention of Bobby Perry and Sheray Tomas as possible replacements for that power lost to the team. But everybody knows that Perry is more of a three-man rather than a true four-man.

"I thought this year was our year to get to the final four," Smith said. "We needed that for experience purposes." What the coach was saying was that until a player has played in a final four, he has no idea the difference's that come in the form of pressures, hoopla, dealing with the media in trying to cut down the nets on Monday night.

The coach feels that his 2005-06 team has a chance to get to the Final 4. The coach feels the pressure to get to the Final 4. He has candidly stated that UK needs to get there. The aforementioned experience in being there before could take the edge off.

Coach Smith said Randolph Morris needs to find his niche as a big man that plays the 5-position because he feels that Morris not likely to be a big scorer in his career.

The big man that can score, clog up the middle, block and alter shots, play physical, pass well out of the post, rebound, and control the paint area are headed for the Hall of Fame. There are not many of those that come along.

"Morris need to find his niche," Smith informed, "he's never going to be a great offensive player. "I told (Jamal) Magloire that if he can get ten rebounds a game, he will make a lot of money in this game."

So, there is a lot of talent on this team but can coach Smith find that power and the rebounding punch need to get to the coveted Final Four in the NCAA tournament.

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