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From the Pressbox: Tim Brando likes Harrow's development

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Before Kentucky played Louisville, John Calipari stressed that the important thing for his team to gain from the game was improvement. Noting that Louisville had edges in location and experience, Calipari said he could live with a loss if he saw the competitive fight and sense of urgency that he had been pushing for since the start of the season.

Well, if you think Coach Cal is satisfied with any loss, you don't know him very well. But it's also true that his words as well as his body language told a story of a coach who liked a lot of what he saw that day.  And Tim Brando, who called the game for CBS, says the most significant development for Kentucky may be the maturation of sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow.

"Ryan Harrow just grew up by leaps and bounds in the Louisville game, playing at a higher level than I had seen and I had seen (him) at N.C. State," said Brando, who was working on the ACC network for several of those Wolfpack games two years ago. "He had not been a very confident point (guard) and I think understanding what John needs at the point is going to be essential for that growth."

Harrow sat out last season at UK after transferring from State but after a subpar outing in the opener against Maryland, followed by a lengthy absence stemming from a mysterious illness, there were major question marks about the Cats' on-court quarterback.

"I think this is a classic case of Calipari coming up with a conception, a belief that this can work and then seeing it through to make it work. John is one of those guys as a coach that he'll be leaning in a certain direction but as he's leaning, he'll decide, 'Yeah, I'm right about this.' And he may not be right immediately, but he's going to make sure his point becomes accurate by the end of it," Brando said on "The Leach Report" radio show Monday.

At NC State, Brando said "the book" on Harrow was that he did not play with confidence.

"From a coaching standpoint, instilling that confidence and toughness is right in his (Calipari's) wheelhouse," Brando said, noting that he is seeing a different Harrow than he saw at N.C. State.

"Some Kentucky fans are going to look up in March and they're going to be looking back at the season and say, 'Early in the second half (of the Louisville game) when the game was going south, and a timeout was called and Kentucky was down 17, something happened there, an epiphany took place and Ryan Harrow became a really good player. And from that point forward, they really did improve and look where they are now,' " Brando predicted. "If there's one key element to this team, that can be a difference-maker, that might in fact be it. Ryan was a talented player but was really never confident at running the point. He could always score but (running the team) was never his forte."

Now, Harrow seems to be oozing confidence and his team is feeding off that positive vibe. And that can only enhance the chemistry of a team that looks good to Brando already.

"It does as though these guys like each other on the floor. They share the ball well and it's not about me, it's about we," Brando observed. "And I like that seeing in this team and I think John does, too."

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