VAUGHT: Sheppard not surprised if Morris returns

Jeff Sheppard isn't sure he would be able to let Randolph Morris back on his team if he was coaching or that he would be open to his return if he was playing on the same team based on the way Morris left Kentucky.

However, Sheppard also knows that there's no reason to be surprised if Kentucky coach Tubby Smith lets the prodigal son return to the Wildcats.

"There's no doubt in my mind he would take him back," said Sheppard. "He gives these guys so many chances over and over again. We have seen it when the guys have been in trouble before. He gives them second and third chances. He has a big heart. There's no doubt he will give him another chance if it is at all possible."

Sheppard says those who think Smith will take Morris back only to help the Wildcats win don't understand the coach and the way he sees the bigger picture when it comes to helping players.

"Maybe this will be a great thing for Randolph. Hopefully this is the thing that puts a fire under him and motivates him to take his game to the next level and understand he has ability but that it will be a couple of years down the road before he's ready for the NBA. He has a lot of work to do," Sheppard said. "He needs to remember he's at the University of Kentucky. Enjoy playing at Kentucky. Win games, improve, develop and get an education. He needs to take advantage of what he has now. Coach Smith understands that and will be willing to give him a second chance to understand that."

Sheppard says he'll never understand why Morris didn't use Smith's vast network of NBA contacts to advise him about his draft potential.

"When I played and a guy thought about leaving, he would talk to coach smith. He is such an incredible tool to have," Sheppard said. "He is being courted by NBA general managers every year trying to get him to go to the NBA. He coached with Larry Brown in the Olympics. He knows those guys. He could do more making phone calls from his office in an hour than you could do on your own in a month to find out about the draft.

"The thing that really bothers me about all this from what I know is that they (the Morris family) didn't ask for coach Smith's help and advice. He's all for you going to the NBA and making millions of dollars, but he's also all about doing it the right way and knowing when the right time to go is."

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