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From the Pressbox: Former LSU coach Brown raves about Davis

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Dale Brown coached one of the SEC's legendary big men in Shaquille O'Neal. And at yesterday's Rupp Award ceremony, Brown drew a comparison to "Shaq" and this year's Rupp Award winner--UK's Anthony Davis.

"They have similarities, Shaquille and him. (Shaquille) looks like King Kong but he's really Bambi. He's a real bright kid with no ego. I've been in coaching 40 years and I don't know what he can't do," Brown told reporters after the event. "He's got it all."

Brown is also impressed with the way Davis carries and conducts himself on the court.

"There's only one word to describe it--'class'. My mentor, John Wooden, said 'when you can get a great player that puts the team above himself, you've got a winner' and they've got a winner (in Davis)," said Brown.

Raftery calls Davis 'Russell-like'

CBS' Bill Raftery turns the clock back even further to find a player to whom he compares Davis.

"His impact on the game is (Bill) Russell-like," Raftery told "The Leach Report" radio show earlier this week. "Having seen Russell force Tommy Heinsohn in the 50's to shoot a hook shot from the foul area because he couldn't get a jump shot reminds me of this guy playing anybody. He gets his own guy's blocks, he gets secondary blocks, he gets out on floaters and 3s. Good teammate, good leadership--a really high quality kid.

"To think what he's done, knowing how to play. The structure he must have had, both home and teaching (from his coach) has just been incredible. This kid just understands what it takes to win," Raftery continued. "He uses the glass great (to help him keep the ball inbounds after blocks). Statistically, I guess it's impossible but I would love to know how many 'alters' or 'hurries' (there are). He's very impressive."

Focusing on fun no easy task

"Go have fun."

That's the message that was written on the dry erase board John Calipari prepared for his players before last week's games in Atlanta.

But CBS analyst and former Arizona star Steve Kerr says that's easier said than done.

"I probably wanted it too much. I wanted so desperately to win a national championship that I missed my first few shots. Instead of just relaxing and playing, I tightened up and had a horrible game," Kerr recalled in an interview on "The Leach Report" Wednesday.  "There's just enormous pressure, probably more so now than ever before, with the constant media. That's the challenge for the coaches and players.  Get in the right mindset, relax and have fun."

Mashburn sees Cats chasing title, not win over U of L

Former UK star Jamal Mashburn thinks the rivalry aspect to this Final Four matchup for UK and Louisville is overblown, because for the players, their objective is winning two games in New Orleans--not just one.

"From a player standpoint, when you're chasing a championship, it's not as much as the rivalry. I don't think it's come into their psyche. I think they're just going to go out there and play," said Mashburn, who admitted to having mixed feelings about this game.

"For me, I have a connection with coach Pitino and with the Wniversity (of Kentucky), so I'm a little bit torn," noted Mashburn, who led the 1993 Kentucky team to the Final Four in New Orleans.  The Wildcats lost in overtime to Michigan's Fab Five squad.

Mashburn thinks Kentucky will win the game, and the title. He got to see his alma mater up close while working SEC Tournament games for Westwood One radio earlier this month and "Mash" believes the Cats benefitted from losing to Vanderbilt in the final.

"I think that loss was probably a good loss for them.  It renewed a certain energy," he said.

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