VAUGHT: Carter's play impresses Harris

Ramon Harris gained confidence, and maturity, from his 13-day trip to Africa with the Athletes in Action for a four-nation tournament hosted by the Malian Basketball Federation.

"It's helped my confidence a lot because they play hard every single play. I see why they do, because they are really playing for their families," Harris, a Kentucky junior, said Thursday after getting back from the trip. "For some of them, being in the gym is the best place they've been all day, best looking place, best air-conditioned place.

"Confidence-wise, it really helped because they play a different style of game. I feel like I played well and it was fun to do that and build confidence. Seeing Jared (Carter) out there playing better than I've ever seen him play before really helped because it made me want to play better. It made me want to up my game and play harder than the competition. Jared definitely did that the entire trip."

That could be the best news of the summer for Kentucky fans because if Carter, a 7-foot center, could provide an inside presence to go along with Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson next season it would help UK immensely.

While Harris admitted he built a "deeper friendship" with Carter than they have had the last two years because of the experiences they shared on the trip and hopes it will continue to grow, he says Carter's play on the court was outstanding.

"Jared played great. One game he had 15 points. The next game he went 13 (points)-13 (rebounds). Another one he had 11-11. It was the best I have ever seen him play. He played harder than I have ever seen him."

So did Carter's play surprise him?

"I knew Jared could play. I was just waiting for the time for him to do it. He is not at Kentucky for no reason. We know he can be a good player. To see him do it like he did on this trip made me really happy for him.

"Jared is not a cocky guy. I told him I was happy to see him play like that and he said he could feel a difference in his play. I was just so happy for him. He worked so hard and to see him play good like that was just great. It should make Kentucky fans feel good, too, because if he plays like that next year it will make a huge difference in our team."

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