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From the Pressbox: Hood on incoming freshmen, recovery

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Could Nerlens Noel really be a better shot blocker than Anthony Davis? Various recruiting analysts have suggested it was possible but it's hard to believe, given that Davis ranks fifth on UK's career record for blocks in one season at UK.

Junior forward Jon Hood doubted it, too, but now he's a believer.

"Nerlens is not Anthony but he blocks shots better than Anthony. I didn't believe it either but you play one pickup game with him and you are like 'Oh yeah, he does,' " Hood declared. "Nerlens doesn't tip anything away. Nerlens goes to put it in the third row. He helps me a lot because when I have to guard Alex, there are times when Kyle doesn't guard Alex and I have to and he just takes off down the lane and I'll stand him up and he'll spin and he will shoot one over the top of me and Nerlens will come across the lane and send it into the wall way over there.

"He blocks shots as hard as Dwight Howard blocks shots. He is not nearly that big, but he has room to put on weight, especially up in his shoulders. He will get there."

We also asked Hood for a capsule review of the other three freshmen coming into the UK program.

On Willie Cauley-Stein:  "He is an athlete. Best athlete 7-footer I have ever seen. Anthony was not a seven-footer and Willie is. I want to throw that out there, Anthony was not a seven-footer. Willie can run, he can jump, he can do all those things and he knows what he does well," Hood said, "and he doesn't try to do the things he does bad but he tries to improve on the things that he doesn't do as well."

On Alex Poythress:  "He is a freak. He is built just like Terrence Jones," Hood noted.  "Jumps a little bit higher, doesn't play like Terrence, he tries to get to the rim as much as he can which we mess with him when we play pick up and try to get him to shoot it but he is developing his jump shot and is getting better."

On Archie Goodwin: "Scorer. Archie gets on those rolls in pickup games where he just doesn't miss for six or seven trips and then when he does you are just like 'Oh, I guess I should try to rebound that'," Hood observed. "He is very athletic. Good defender. He likes to compete."

And advice does Hood have for those newcomers?

"That everybody is going to come at you. There will always be somebody out there that will try to bring you down. On and off the court, there will be guys to try to catch you doing something you are not supposed to be doing when in reality, you are doing what you are supposed to be doing," he said. "They are going to try to make it seem like you are doing something bad when you are not."

Hood says his recovery from knee surgery is going well although the rehab process is "slow, tiring, exhausting." He says he was often alone doing his recovery work alone but he persevered and having to watch his teammates chase and capture a national championship while was out of uniform was among the hardest things he's ever had to do.

"It was real bad. We get to the Final Four for the second year in a row, that is just unheard of, and then we get to the championship game. Well, (first), we get to the Final Four and to be playing Louisville and have them talking so much trash before we play the game after we had whipped them at home was - I wanted to play them a lot - and then of course having to watch the title game, that is an almost once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Hood says he's fully recovered from the knee injury and he's eager to get started on the new season.

"There has not been a role defined. (Calipari) won't define our roles until awhile longer," said  Hood.  "He is one of those guys that wants you to get everything better. He doesn't want you to focus on just one part of your game, just your shooting, no, you have to do everything right, everything better."

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