Ravi Moss the guy in the middle

No, Ravi Moss doesn't play the five-position on the court! No, he doesn't jump center! No, he's never in the middle of controversy on or off the court! Yet, Moss always seems to be in the middle…middle of a comeback rally, a spark off the bench, in the middle of a run of points either making big shots, making a steal, being a defensive stopper, making a key pass leading to an assist, or getting a big rebound.

No, Ravi Moss doesn't play the five-position on the court! No, he doesn't jump center! No, he's never in the middle of controversy on or off the court! Yet, Moss always seems to be in the middle…middle of a comeback rally, a spark off the bench, in the middle of a run of points either making big shots, making a steal, being a defensive stopper, making a key pass leading to an assist, or getting a big rebound. He's even in the lane of player introductions chest bumping Chuck Hayes, or in the middle over the swaying huddle of players firing them up after the introductions.

He seems to always be there when he's needed the most. He's had big moments all year long such as early in the year when Kentucky was struggling with Lipscomb. At the beginning of the second half, Tubby Smith inserted him in the lineup. For the game, he logged 24 minutes and had a career high of 13 points. Or the big three he hit against West Virginia answering the back to back three's Kevin Pittsnoggle had just knocked down bringing the Mountaineer's to within 56-53. There were other games when his heroics couldn't help his team win. Such as the 17 points against North Carolina, the sixteen against Vandy or the big three pointer against Alabama in the middle of taking the lead 64-63.

What tangibles or intangibles does he have that always seems to put him in the middle? "He plays with so much heart," coach Smith said with great appreciation. "He's a guy that's a perfect example of an over-achiever, a guy who came in as a walk-on and when he first got here couldn't throw it in the ocean. He spent a lot of time working on his shot, changing his shot and now he our leading three-point shooter. Two of the last three years, he's been our best three-point shooter. Playing hard as he does, that's contagious! But then, that's what your leaders and captains are supposed to do."

We ask the coach what are some of his other assets that make him so valuable and what prompted him to want to have him on his squad? He said, again, his ability to make big plays, the big stop, the big shot, and none bigger than Saturday's big steal under the basket when he stripped an Arkansas player under the Arkansas basket thwarting a comeback win.

Does over-achieving mean doing something he not capable of doing? No, he wouldn't be on my team if he didn't have the capability, Smith snapped back!

He said: "All people that are successful overachieves. He not only reaches his potential but overachieves."

What was done to change his shot when he first got here? "He use to slingshot his shot and we got the ball in his shooting pocket," Smith said. "He still reverts back to that a sometimes.

"What attracted him to us was, he did a lot of things for his high school team and now facing the basket putting the ball on the floor are the areas he has improved a lot. His high school coach Jeff Jackson thought he could fit in with what we did and he had the characteristics on and off the court that makes a winner."

Who the hardest worker in practice? "Ravi," Sheray Thomas said without hesitancy. "He's a clutch player – he's a leader and he's intense all the time." What made him a standout to you and what made you notice him? "Since I got here, it is pretty much Ravi and Chuck (Hayes) that play full out all the time. Chuck was more noticeable because he was on the court all the time. When I first came, Ravi wasn't that highly touted as he is now. He just came on the floor and terrorized people in practice and he still does!"

The Cats hope Moss continues to thrust himself.


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