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From the Pressbox: Notes from Tom Leach

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For the Kentucky men's basketball team, the loss at Alabama was marked by a repetition of many of the same mistakes that cost the Cats in their loss at Georgia earlier this month.

"We just let them push us around again," head coach John Calipari said after the 'Bama loss. "We were taking bad shots and then we come down the last four plays, we break down on offense. I probably went at the wrong guys late but I'm still trying to figure out the team.  We've got some things to learn."

This team probably represents a bit of a learning experience for the coach. He coached teams at Memphis with outstanding freshmen, but I don't think any of them had to rely as heavily as his first two UK teams have on rookies to be the best players. This team lacks the strong on- and off-the-court leadership that Patrick Patterson provided to Cal's first UK squad.

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"We're deeper and we're much more athletic than we were a year ago."

Now there's a scary statement about the South Carolina basketball team for Big Blue fans since the Gamecocks handed Kentucky its first loss last season in Columbia, S.C.  The statement comes from coach Darrin Horn, whose club comes off an overtime win over Arkansas on Wednesday night.

Notorious Cat-killer Devan Downey is gone but the Gamecocks have found a more than capable replacement in freshman Bruce Ellington, who leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and 3-point accuracy at 40.2 percent.

"I'm not big into individual comparisons," Horn said. "Individual players have their own games. Devan was a special talent and had some unique abilities. Bruce is a different kind of player and trying to build his own career. He's capable of doing some really good things, but still a freshman as well."

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Randall Cobb is out in Phoenix working on a training regimen designed to have him at his best for the NFL scouting combine next month. But before he left Lexington, Cobb received a special treat as he was asked to be the celebrity "Y" when the UK cheerleaders did their cheer spelling out "K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y" at the LSU game last Saturday.

"If you would have told me 600 days ago that I would have had the chance to be the 'Y' at a basketball game, I wouldn't have believed you," Cobb said in an interview on WLAP's "Sunday Morning Sportstalk" show. "That was an honor."

Cobb was also flattered when one of the hosts said UK fans consider him one of the best to ever wear the blue and white.

"That's a humbling statement," Cobb said. "For people to think of me so highly, that really warms my heart. UK has been like my family for the past three years. I've loved everything about Lexington and I feel like this is home now."

Before leaving, Cobb said he got some advice from ex-Wildcat and current Washington Redskins' player Jeremy Jarmon.

"He just told me it's time to go to work now," Cobb said. "This is my job. I've got to make sure I'm 100 percent in. It's  a hard task, and I've got to make sure I'm taking care of my job."

Depending on where Cobb ends up in the NFL, his days of lining up at the QB spot in the "Wild-Cobb" formation might be over. If so, Cobb will miss it.

"Wildcat was always fun," Cobb said. "That takes you back to being a kid and playing in the backyard. You don't do anything but read your offensive line's block and try to hit a hole and go play football."

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