SMITH: CATS NEED LEADERS
By LARRY VAUGHT
Tubby Smith doesnt expect any one player to replace the leadership qualities
that Chuck Hayes provided for
a group of players, including sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo, to do that
Chuck was such a strong leader. I dont know if we have anyone in that
category this year, said Smith. We do have people that should be leaders and
able to take charge.
He says seniors Ravi Moss, a walk-on, and Brandon Stockton have been in the
system four years. I look to guys who understand what it is all about here,
Rondo obviously is only a second-year player, but Smith thinks he could become
much more of a leader for the Cats this season because of his play. Hes
capable. Guys respect him not only because of his ability, but they respect
him because hes consistent and does things the right way. A point guard does
a lot for your program. He has the ball in his hands a lot. I expect them all
to be leaders, but Rajon is very capable of helping to fill that role for us.
The Wildcats had a more tumultuous off-season than normal. First, Kelenna
Azubuike elected to forego his final season of eligibility to put his name
into the NBA draft. He would have been
center Randolph Morris did the same thing. Neither was drafted. However, while
Azubuike decided to continue his professional career, Morris elected to try
and regain his eligibility at
As Smith was waiting for preseason practice to officially start, he still
didnt know exactly what Morris status would be this season. He said he
talked about Morris situation with his players at their first team meeting in
understand where there would be a little uncertainty of why he did not let us
know more and communicate better with us. Those things were brought out, but
kids are kids. They are not like grownups. They forgive, forget and move on.
They dont hold a grudge.
Im very impressed and pleased with the way the kids have embraced
I like his demeanor and the way hes conducted himself. He was a little bit, I
dont know, uneasy. Im not sure hes ever been in a situation like this
before. He put his name in the draft and didnt get drafted. Its a little
embarrassing and a humbling experience. Theres a couple of ways to handle
that. He could go in a shell or come out and face it. He has handled it the
right way. Hes been very modest in the way hes done things.
He didnt make a mistake. We allow players to put their name in the draft.
Obviously, he would have been better served if he had taken his name out. But
it did not hurt us. We had already signed players and had a solid group coming
back. With him back and improved with the right attitude, we are just that
is a lot more where this came from. Read the rest of this article as well as other
great articles from Larry Vaught, WLAP's Jim Tirey, WLEX's Ryan Lemond, Lonny Demaree and
more, in the November issue of Kentucky Sports Report, the magazine, on newsstands now.
In this month's issue, Larry Vaught interviews Wildcats head coach Tubby Smith and
does a second feature on Ramel Bradley. Jim Tirey, Rob Gidel and Lonny Demaree write
features on Kentucky football and Ryan Lemond features the womern's basketball program. To
order your copy of Kentucky Sports Report, the magazine, click here.