VAUGHT: Stevenson impresses teammates

The more his teammates watch him play, the more they are impressed with freshman forward Perry Stevenson.

"He can get the basketball off the backboard in a heartbeat or block a shot just like that," senior Bobby Perry said. "He just has God-given ability with that timing he has. He definitely has big-time leaping ability to block shots. The 20 pounds he has gained since he got here has just helped him bang more inside with bigger guys, but he always had the ability to block shots from the time he got here. That has not changed."

However, Stevenson's play could well change Kentucky's play this season. It's already clear that him and Randolph Morris work well together and he could give UK a second inside presence to go with Morris that it did not have last year.

"He has learned quite a bit from the summer to preseason to now," Morris said. "I would say the biggest thing he has learned is to pick and choose his times when he is going to block a shot. A shot blocker naturally wants to block every shot, but you can't do that. No one can. He's learned that. Other than that, his progress is coming along well. He's gaining pounds and trying to play as physical as possible, too. Without question he will be a great asset by SEC time, or maybe sooner."

Morris doesn't even try to challenge Stevenson in practice — and remember that Morris is one of the better big men in the SEC.

"When we see Perry coming, we try to get away from him as soon as possible," Morris laughed and said.

Even you? "Sometimes you do what you have to do. With his talent for shot blocking and changing shots, you don't mess with him. It's about taking what the defense gives you. If you don't adjust, he will block shots. I don't care who you are. Give him a chance and he will block your shot," Morris said.

How much will Stevenson's ability help UK? Let South Carolina Upstate coach Eddie Payne explain.

"It is a huge deal for any team to have a player like that. You can make a decent move to the block against Kentucky and he knocks the ball away. That changes the other team's psyche. I don't care who it is, that makes you think before you want to shoot again," Payne said.


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