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Image 9 of Basketball, 1996

Part of University of Kentucky Basketball Media Guides (Men)

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- i s 1995 - 9B Outlook native took over as head coach in 1989. In his first year, UK scored 88.8 per outing, and last year, the numbers were an impressive 87.4 points per game. But UK's defense was the key, holding opponents to 69.0 points per game. The difference allowed the Cats to own a 28-5 record in '95 while leading the nation in scoring margin at 18.4 points per game. Yet, no team enters a season without its weaknesses. This year's main weakness is the same that led to last season's end, just one win shy of the Final Four — shooting. In the 1995 regional final against North Carolina, the Tar Heels dared Pitino's bunch to fire away outside. The Wildcats never got untracked, and in turn, sunk to a season-low 28.0 percent from the field, 19.4 percent from the three-point line, in losing 74-61. "Consistent outside shooting and free throw shooting, along with passing, will be our weaknesses," Pitino said. "Those are the major obstacles we have to overcome." The Cats got a jump on turning their weaknesses into strengths with a trip to Italy in August. The returning players visited Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, seeing sights \\ J re w going to be one hi and 10 people Hinting and coming together to be a great team," asked the 43-year-old cod, "or are w going to need three or jour baietballs? That's the biggest action marl right now. Can this team blend into a cokm unit without egos standing in the way of this team improving and reaching its potential,'" such as the Grand Canals of Venice, the Colisseum of ancient Rome and Vatican City. But more importantly, Pitino used the 10 days of practice prior to leaving, as well as the five games overseas, as a chance to improve his returning players while also tinkering with positional changes. The Stable Leading the list of changes is thlilliHIT a 6-1 shooting guard who will make the transition to point guard. He led the team in scoring last season, averaging 16.7 points per game. In Italy, Delk moved to the point and still led the team in scoring through five games, averaging 24.8 per contest while the team finished with a 4-1 record, playing four professional Italian teams and one pro team from Russia. "Our reasons for moving Tony to point guard are twofold," Pitino said. "One, it allows iniHIHTTP to move back to his natural two-guard position and two, if Tony wants to play in the NBA, he'll have to play the point. And he can do it." Delk finished the 1994-95 season as a first-team AP All-SEC selection and third-team All-America by Basketball Weekly. He has scored 1,251 points in his UK career, good enough for 26th on the Wildcats' all-time scoring list. He should become the school's all-time record holder in three-pointers made and attempted early in the upcoming season.