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From the Pressbox: Harrow pushing away pressure of being next in line at the point

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No one will envy whoever follows John Calipari as the coach at Kentucky - a day the Big Blue Nation  hopes will be far in the future - but Ryan Harrow faces a task almost as unpleasant. He's the latest in a line of Calipari-coached first-round draft picks at the point guard position and fair or not, he'll be compared to the standards they set.

"I don't feel the pressure because I feel you put pressure on yourself, that is when you start to worry about it too much and not doing as well," Harrow said. "I know that there have been great point guards coming before me and I feel that I am capable enough to be the next one in line to keep the tradition going."

Playing point guard for Calipari is rewarding - both financially and from the standpoint of becoming a better player. But it's not easy. Calipari empowers his point guards but he's demanding, too.

"He says it's really mental for me. He is not really worried about the basketball stuff. It's just me being out there being a leader and making sure everyone else is uplifted and not getting down on themselves and just being more of a leader-type, that is what he is looking at me for the most," Harrow explained, adding that he's ready to embrace that challenge. "I try to hang out with the team as much as I can and build a relationship with all of the guys. We are all different in some way but we still gotta hang out with each other and build relationships."

Harrow says Calipari is pushing him to speak up more as an on-court leader and the sophomore transfer from North Carolina State acknowledges that part of his personality is a work-in-progress.

"I have been a leader by play and actions, not the vocal-type leader because I am not really the vocal type. But I think if that is what is going to be best for me to get everybody up and playing better then, that is what I have to do. He wants us to speak up and I have been working on that and that will be the biggest thing," Harrow noted.

Harrow is the first point guard since 2007 who is not in his first year playing for Calipari.  Harrow spent his transfer year practicing with the Cats but now that he's in the spotlight, he knows Calipari is pushing him harder and Harrow has to remember that any criticism from his coach is just a means to make him better.

"I think the biggest adjustment is stepping up and taking his criticism. He could be a little loud and it could come off mean but he is trying to make you the best player, so you can't get down on yourself when he gets mean or starts yelling at you," Harrow explained. "He doesn't back down from anybody. He always says if he didn't back down from DeMarcus Cousins, he is not going to be scared of any of us and he makes a point to tell us all that."

What is Harrow's game like?

"Just somebody that is trying to win. A lot of people say my game is flashy and I know my game is a little different than what most people see, but it just happens like that. I am just trying to win and do whatever coach needs me to do to get the win," he said.

What does "flashy" mean?

"With the way I dribble the ball," Harrow said. "I have always been able to dribble the ball really well and it has progressed as I have gotten older, so I may take it a little overboard sometimes, but Coach Cal has gotten me to the point where I just make one move and then get to the basket."

Each of Calipari's point guard has brought his own unique skill set to the court. Harrow is regarded as a better outside shooter than his predecessor, Marquis Teague, but he's not as strong as Teague was. Harrow says he enjoys setting up his teammates but he's always been a scoring point guard too.

"I modeled my game a little after Allen Iverson," Harrow said, "because I feel he did whatever he could to win and that is who I looked after."

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