VAUGHT: Attention won't overwhelm Legion

Alex Legion isn't likely to be overwhelmed by the attention that Kentucky basketball players receive. If anything, he may throw on the celebrity status UK players often enjoy.

"I kind of like it. It is an honor to be here. They really like their basketball here," said Legion, a freshman guard. "As far as getting used to it, it is going to take a little getting used to it. You are always in the spotlight, and that kind of keeps you on your toes. You want to make sure you are a good citizen as well and not let it go to your head.

"It has kind of been a life-changing experience going from high school to everywhere you go, everyone knows you. But I don't look it as anything bad. I am kind of used to it going to Oak Hill Academy. That kind of prepped you for it. I kind of like basketball and it is easy for me to talk about basketball with the media and fans. I enjoy that."

So did the attention surprise him at least a little bit?

"I had heard stories, but I did not think it would be like this. Walking to the (Wildcat) Lodge every day, somebody will blow the horn at you. It is kind of crazy. I will get used to it. I kind of brush it off now, but I also kind of like it," Legion said.

Legion knows expectations are high here and that despite UK's recent 20-win seasons, fans expect more.

"I don't think they fell off that much. This is Kentucky basketball. I don't think people are used to Kentucky not doing great things," Legion said. "They are not like Michigan or anything like that. For the type of program they have here to put up there with Duke and UCLA and with the players they get players year in, year out, they should be a lot better than what they have been. I will say that. That is kind of one of my reasons for being here. I think if this program does well, then the players get the benefits as well."

Legion is known for his shooting ability and the knack for making unusual shots. However, he says what makes him unique is the ability to score on mid-range jump shots.

"I think really no one at our level, college and high school, has a mid-range game any more. That is whyI like the pull-up jumper between 10 and 15 feet. I really kind of work on that. I kind of do shoot off one leg from habit," he said. "I don't try to imitate anybody. That is just what happens.

"I think that mid-range shot probably is the best part of my game that really stands out. If you really look at the game, you usually see a 3-pointer or a lay-up. You really don't see any in-between, so that is where I try to distinguish myself. I have always had a nice shot and worked on going to the basket and trying to slam dunk or shoot a 3. That has pretty much been my game. Scoring is what I can do."

Legion, a Detroit native, signed with Michigan but wanted to re-open his recruitment after coach Tommy Amaker was fired.

"It happened while I was at school (at Oak Hill, Va.) and everything was kind of crazy. UCLA had always been my dream school. So I set up a visit with UCLA. I always liked coach Gillispie because he was at Illinois as assistant coach. When he did well with Acie (Law at Texas A&M), I was going to throw them in," Legion said. "I had Texas A&M (on my list), then he left. That is when I put Kentucky on.

"I had three visits — Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA. I came here first and my mom liked coach Gillispie so much. She was like, ‘It is close to home. There is no point why you shouldn't go here and play for a great coach. Plus, it is a basketball school.' I agreed."

Legion especially liked Gillispie's confidence about where the Kentucky program would go.

"It is one thing to say you want to win a national championship, but he truly believes that and I don't think most coaches do. Working out with him — and he is killing us — he talks to us and tells us he wants to dominate. You can see it in his eyes. We did 40 suicides (one day) because we didn't make the time (he wanted). We were almost late to class. He wouldn't let us leave the gym until we made it. That is the type of attitude you need to be a champion," Legion said.

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