Harrellson recommits to good habits

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Harrellson recommits to good habits

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:54 am

Harrellson recommits to good habits

LEXINGTON — Kentucky coach John Calipari could tell a difference in Josh Harrellson’s demeanor prior to the Wildcats’ showdown against Tennessee Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
“He worked hard for two days,” Calipari said. “He said, ‘I'm going to get back, coach. I'm going get back.’”
And he did after an unexpected eight-game scoring drought.
Following Harrellson’s 23-point outing against Louisville on New Year’s Eve, the senior center leveled off and had failed to produce double figures in the team’s first eight conference games. However, Harrellson came back to the forefront and scored 16 points to help lead Kentucky to a 73-61 victory over the Volunteers.
Harrellson made a promise to return to his pre-conference self after members of the team renewed their commitment to each other during a Super Bowl gathering at Calipari’s residence Sunday evening.
At the time, Calipari took a wait-and-see approach to Harrellson’s recommitment to the team, but said the senior center made good on his word with “two great practices” that resulted in his best outing in the Southeastern Conference.
Harrellson didn’t produce career-high numbers, but scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out a pair of assists that helped the Cats end a rare two-game losing streak and back into contention in the SEC East. Harrellson missed just one shot on eight attempts and his only missed field goal was a 3-pointer in the second half.
“I owed it to my teammates to come out here and compete,” Harrellson said afterward. “I hadn’t played good in the last eight games. I just came out with the attitude to play my game, play within myself and play hard.”
Aside from his scoring contributions, Harrellson even took a charge at an opportune time.
“I was pretty happy about that,” he said with a smile.
Harrellson added that the team’s previous two losses brought the team “back down the earth” and resulted in the impromptu meeting in front of Calipari and the rest of the coaching staff as Green Bay was defeating Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
“It got everybody off cloud nine and (it brought everybody’s) egos back down,” he said. “I think we’re together and on the same page as a team. We’ve been doing a lot of team stuff and just hanging out. We’re just trying to do as much as we can as a team and trying to get back on the same page.”
Harrellson said there’s a “lot more commitment” and unity within the program and it showed against the Volunteers.
“Everybody on the team said they were going to commit to a couple of things and everything that everyone said they were going to commit to, everybody did it. That’s a big step for us.”
Calipari said Harrellson’s previous outings against conference foes were indicative of his work habits behind the scenes.
“If you go through the motions in practice and act like it's this, that (you have a bad game),” Calipari said. “When you get in the game, the first raindrop hits your back, you know what's about to happen. If you work your butt off and the raindrop hits you, you're like — I'm not worried about that.”
Harrellson admitted that “maybe I thought I was better than I was and maybe stopped doing the little (things) that made me great.”
“I just went back to (what worked before) and it all paid off again,” he said.
The payday proved to be beneficial to the Cats.,0,4786714.story

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