This was supposed to be the year that Bobby Perry emerged as a consistent scorer and even better overall player for Kentucky.
He was moving back to his natural position, small forward, after having to play against bigger, stronger players the last two years at power forward?
But what's happened? Perry is only 12-for-38 from the field in six games. He has 18 rebounds. His playing time even dropped to only 16 minutes in Tuesday's win over College of Charleston.
Kentucky coach Tubby Smith is obviously perplexed over Perry's slow start this season, especially since it seemed the senior would also emerge as UK's clear leader on and off the court.
"He's playing a different position. The four (power forward) is inside and now he is guarding quicker, smaller guys who can go by him," Smith said. "He has to stay in his defensive stance better. He's been so used to guarding guys near the basket. He needs to bend his knees and get his butt down.
"He didn't have much lift (against College of Charleston). He took the ball to the basket and barely got off the ground.
"There are a lot of ways to help out without scoring. In our system, he has to set screens on the wing. He has to do other things like rebound better. And he can do those things."
Teammates agree and believe Perry will soon start playing better.
"I am not worried about Bobby. He's going to come through. He's just not shooting well right now," junior point guard Ramel Bradley said. "He doesn't have a big head. He will come back and shoot well. He will be back, no doubt about that. When we have a day off, he's always in the gym shooting.
"He is usually a pretty consistent shooter. He strokes the ball well in practice. Maybe he just needs to make a few shots and then he'll be fine. But the good thing about Bobby is that even if he's not making shots, he still plays hard and does all the little things it takes to win."
Perry admitted Monday he was having trouble adjusting to the time difference after returning home from Maui and was not falling to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Maybe he's just physically worn down, as well as mentally tired. For the first time this season he took a break from doing media interviews following Tuesday's game.
"Everybody has a streak that you have to fight through. It doesn't matter if you are a freshman or senior. You just hit lulls. My confidence is fine. My offense will be there. Right now I'm actually more worried about my defense. But it's early in the season and I know what I need to do," Perry said.
It starts with making shots. As soon as he does that again, the rest of his game will fall quickly into place. Just wait and see. But the key is making shots — or taking better shots — and that's something Kentucky desperately needs him to be able to do Saturday at North Carolina.
What's wrong with Perry?
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