VAUGHT: Stevenson appreciates being at UK

Perry Stevenson is not the best basketball player on Kentucky's team. But the best thing about Stevenson is that he understands that because he has the right perspective on playing basketball for the Wildcats.

"I am definitely having fun here. Who wouldn't? I didn't have as much fun early this season, but even then I still had fun. Just playing here is great. I don't think anyone could ever take that fun feeling away from me here," Stevenson said.

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How did he handle early-season calls from home when his mother worried about the team and him under new coach Billy Gillispie?

"She had that outsider's view, and of course, that mom instinct will kick in and she will ask what is up or what is wrong. I told her we were fine and I was doing well. That was it," Stevenson said.

So how much do you appreciate just playing for Kentucky?

" I appreciate what I have here. A lot of people can't have this. I kind of had that feeling when I was coming in here, but early in the season when we were piling up losses, I was just trying to look on the bright side of things and it really struck me even more then," Stevenson said.

Is there another side to Gillispie that media members and fans don't see?

"Coach Gillispie is funny. He has jokes every now and then. We don't laugh at them because they are usually done in practice and kind of one of those straight-faced jokes that you will laugh about later when he is not around. But he can be funny," Stevenson said.

What have you learned most about Gillispie this season?

"Love your teammates. He doesn't look like the person who would just radiate love, but he definitely does. More so than you ever see. It is off the court and pretty much everywhere. It took a while to see that," Stevenson said.


"The first time I noticed was when he was yelling. Usually if a coach doesn't pay attention to you or care, he doesn't yell. But when he yells, I take it as a sign of love," Stevenson said.

Does he give you a lot of love?

"Yes, he does," Stevenson said. "It's only helping me to get better, though."

So will this team be in the NCAA Tournament?

"We are taking it one game at a time. That's the only way to approach the NCAA. You can't worry about it every single second. If you do that, you can't have fun and you can't win games," Stevenson said.

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