VAUGHT: UK an "amazing ride" for Moss

Ravi Moss really didn't know exactly how to answer what he thought was the "best thing" about playing basketball at Kentucky. Yet the answer the senior walk-on guard probably shows as well as anything why Moss has endeared himself to so many Big Blue fans the last four years.

"So much is great. I like being around kids. They light up when you come into a room. That's cool," he said. "You really can't beat Kentucky basketball. It is the place to be."

Moss certainly has been a big part of making Kentucky basketball "the place to be" the last four years with his relentless play. He shared his thoughts on his career with media members Friday as his Senior Day game against Florida is only nine days away.

"I have had so much fun. It has been an amazing ride. I've gone to place I'll never forget," Moss said. "I've met a lot of cool guys. I'm fortunate, and blessed, to be here and I'm glad I was able to play at Kentucky."

Moss admitted he struggled with being at Kentucky early in his freshman year and wondered if he had made a mistake when he saw the level of competition and intensity at UK. But by midway of his first year, he said players like Keith Bogans, Gerald Fitch and Erik Daniels assured him he belonged with the Wildcats.

"I felt a lot better after they encouraged me," Moss said.

He had no real explanation for why he's had a knack for hitting so many big shots, especially from 3-point range, in his career. "It's just the confidence of my teammates," he said. "I've always believed in myself, but it helped knowing my teammates believed in me. And the coaches believed in me."

Moss played high school basketball in Kentucky. His sisters attended Kentucky. Yet even he admits he did not truly grasp the passion of UK basketball fans until he became a Wildcat himself.

"It is crazy. You never would think people would know as much, or care as much, about Kentucky basketball," he said. "I've had people come up to me and tell me their family was really not getting along because we were losing. It's amazing how one team can affect a whole state. I thought I understood (Kentucky basketball fans), but I didn't. We've got great fans, but sometimes fans worry too much rather than just letting nature take its course."

Moss has is own fan in coach Tubby Smith. The UK coach said today that Moss was the "best non-scholarship athlete" he has ever coached, especially when one considers athletic and academic success.

"He's as athletic as anybody on our team. He wanted to be here at Kentucky. We are grateful he came here. He's been good for us," Smith said. "He had to overcome some things. He might have been viewed as a walk-on and had to gain respect from teammates who may have thought they were better.

"He worked at his game. He developed an outside shot. He was willing to make those changes. He improved his stamina, passing, defense."

Moss says he has gone from a freshman "who was excited every time the team made a basket" to a senior who is "trying to teach the young guys what I know."

He's not sure what the future will hold once basketball ends, but he does know how he hopes UK fans will remember him. "I hope it will be positive (memories). Basketball has been good to me. Just remember that I played hard," Moss said.

Don't worry. Any Kentucky fan who has ever seen Moss play won't be able to remember anything else because all he's ever done is play as hard as he could every second he's been on the court.

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