Stevenson will have impact on this team

I went over to see Bill Keightley the other day and Perry Stevenson came in, so I got a chance to meet him for the first time. He is very nice young man.

I went over to see Bill Keightley the other day and Perry Stevenson came in, so I got a chance to meet him for the first time. He is very nice young man. I told him I like the way he affects the game defensively and the pride he takes in playing defense to help his confidence a little bit because I know coach (Tubby) Smith wants him to be more of a physical presence, which is not easy for a freshman.

I think what Tubby is saying is that you have to fight harder to get stronger. We know you can put on weight, be tougher. You blocked 10 shots a game in high school, but you have to understand how to play good, tough defense here every play.

The upside to that is those are things you can work with him on. I think in time he will put on some weight. I don't think he will put on a lot of weight, but he will get stronger.

But even now when he does come in the game and he does block a couple of shots, you have the opposing teams looking for him. Even if he is not blocking shots, he is affecting the guys coming into the lane and at least not giving up easy shots. That is something you just cannot teach. The great shot blockers in Kentucky history like Sam Bowie, Melvin Turpin, Andre Riddick and Jamal Magloire all had that. That is a special talent that he has. Hopefully, he will get a chance to toughen up and be out there more because he changes the game in a positive way for UK.

There was a transition time for me when I was a freshman. Obviously guys are bigger, stronger and can jump higher here. That is what he is going through. I think I learned some rough lessons in the backyard from my brothers, who I tried to play with at a young age. I was used to getting knocked down and getting back up. I don't know what it was like for Perry before. Unfortunately, now the only way you get that is playing against bigger, better and stronger competition. I think he will get better as time goes along. He can bring his game up to the competition.

The big question is what kind of competition is he going against in practice. Can you get better going against that type of competition in practice? Obviously, Randolph Morris is unique talent and going against taller guys like Woo helps out a little bit. But the way get better is going against better competition in practice and play against better competition on the court. That will happen in the SEC when he plays some great players. The only way you get better is to go through it a couple of times, get knocked down and get back up.

I think Indiana will be a good lesson for him Saturday. I really respect coach (Kelvin) Sampson. His teams are very good defensively. Just like Bobby Knight's Indiana teams of the past, they are going to play you hard and physical. There definitely will be no off night for Perry physically in this game. It will probably be one of the more physical games of the year for him.

But I think once he gets the playing time and gets used to going against that type of competition regularly, even though he is a thin guy, he will adjust his game and will eventually do well. He just brings a defensive mentality to the game that few guys have. He needs time to get stronger, but even now he can still do a lot to help a team win and change a game in your favor.


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