Tubby Smith has done a lot of thinking and soul-searching about last year's team. One conclusion he made was that he may have asked players to try and fill too many different roles last season.
"Moving people in and out of different roles created inconsistency and players were not comfortable," Smith said. "We put some guys in roles that they were not quite ready for. We always want to score and push the ball. I think we will have more confidence throwing the ball inside. That's one thing we were lacking last year. Then we have to be quick to recognize to throw the ball back out to somebody open. It just all takes time to understand, but we can be better offensively."
For Kentucky to challenge defending national champion Florida or a Final Four team like LSU even in the SEC, Smith knows that junior center Randolph Morris has to play like he really was one of the nation's best prep players before he came to Kentucky. He's been solid, but not spectacular, in two years at Kentucky. He's averaged 10.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 55 games and shot 56.6 percent from the field.
Smith has no doubts that Morris' heart is fully at Kentucky after his flirtations with the NBA last year. "I think he learned a valuable lesson and missed a lot (last year)," Smith said. "He needs to improve in a lot of areas to help us win."
Finding a set role for guard Ramel Bradley this year could help his decision-making and overall play more than anything. "He will give us what the team needs. If he needs to score, he can. If he needs to run the team, he can. If he needs to be a defensive stopper, he'll do it," Smith said. "Everybody wants something. But we need him. He will appreciate that because he will know he's needed. He always has the green light to score. But if he doesn't have a shot, then pass it. It's pretty simple."
These are just some of the observations Smith shared that are included in the upcoming Kentucky Sports Report basketball preview issue.
Tubby Smith looks back
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