Kentucky's players enjoyed just about everything that went on during their 94-54 exhibition win over Lindsey Wilson, including the new attitude of coach Tubby Smith.
Remember, a day before the game, Smith announced he had suspended senior Sheray Thomas for three games for violating team rules. That seemed to be an indicator that Smith was sending a message he would tolerate no foolishness this year.
But Smith apparently has sent a more important message — he wants his players to have fun.
"We talk a lot about what kind of guy Tubby is," said senior Bobby Perry, who had 17 points and took 14 shots in 19 minutes against Lindsey Wilson. "He can be hard on you, but he's also a little gentler this year. He's not soft, just laid back.
"Maybe he's building that energy up for later and might explode. But right now he is chilled. He is a lot more calm than last year. The freedom he allowed us early in the game when things were not going as well was huge. He let us pick ourselves up and fight through some rough spots. That meant a lot to us."
Junior forward Joe Crawford likes the new Tubby Smith as well.
"He is calmer. He was not totally satisfied with the way we played, and shouldn't have been," said Crawford, who finished with 11 points after not taking a shot in the first half. "He's not going crazy like he did at times last year when we make mistakes. That helps knowing he won't be down on you for doing something wrong.
"This year it seems like he is just going to keep letting us play, and you can play a lot better that way. There's just a more positive attitude on the bench."
Don't believe him? Flash back to a fast break when Ramel Bradley threw a pass back beneath his legs to Perry for an easy score. In years past, Smith would have not liked that move no matter what. This time he accepted it.
"That is telling me they are trusting one another," Smith said of the unique pass. "He played relaxed and under control. It's one thing if you throw it between your legs and then run over somebody. We don't practice that play, but it was a great play."
Cats like Coach's new attitude
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