Madison s Game Coming Together Like Glue
Master Blaster Hopes To Contribute More
The first three weeks of preseason practice under new Coach Eddie Sutton weren't much fun for Richard Madison.
"He was on me like glue," says Madison, a 6-7 sophomore forward at the University of Kentucky. "It seemed like he was always chewing me out. I got my head down.
"But then Coach Sutton told me to get my head up. He said he was just trying to make me a better player. He said I shouldn't worry who laughed when he got on me because he was only doing it to help me and the team.
"Now I can start to see everything come together. I guess all the chewing out he did really did help me."
II Larry Vaught Cats' Pause Columnist
And that should be good news for the Wildcats because UK needs another inside player to go with Kenny Walker and Winston Bennett before it enters Southeastern Conference competition.
Kentucky's three-guard lineup got the Wildcats off to a terrific start but Sutton knows he needs more inside strength. Madison knows that, too.
"I feel I can really help this team," says Madison, who has averaged five points and 12 minutes per game in UK's first four contests. "I'm not bragging but I think when we go into the SEC that I can contribute things and add to this team.
"I can provide i cbouncUng, quirJyiess^n we need points."
"Richard is starting to grasp what we have been teaching him for eight weeks," says Sutton. "In order for us to be a better team he must play."
But it's defense, not offense, that will determine when, or if, Madison earns more playing time.
In high school Madison was a baseball, basketball and football standout. He can hurl a baseball over 90 miles per hour. He can throw a football over 60 yards in the air. He was the prep Player of the Year in basketball after his final season in Memphis, Tenn.
Madison went straight from one sport to the next. He didn't miss any games but he was never on the basketball court when fundamentals were being stressed during preseason drills.
"I knew the word defense but I didn't know anything about the right defensive positions," says Madison. "I would always come straight in from football just in time to play the games. I missed all the fundamental work and it hurt me when I got here.
"But now I'm in better condition than ever before and I know the fundamentals of sound defense. I know I can still score so I've just been concentrating on defense. When I get the defense down, I'll worry more about my offense."
"Richard just didn't have time to worry about learning the fundamentals in high school," says Sutton. "But he now fully realizes that to play for us he must be sound fundamentally and make a big effort at the defensive end."
Madison, though, doesn't worry about making mistakes. Last season Madison knew a miscue would earn him a seat on the bench by Coach Joe Hall.
"You can't play tense," says Madison. "Even if Coach Sutton takes you out he puts you back in the game so you can have a chance to make something happen again. The whole game is just more enjoyable for me now."
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ROGER HARDEN has made a believer out of Sutton.
"Roger's play has just been outstanding this year," says Sutton. "His assist total (41 in UK's first five games) is amazing. That's like a guy averaging 30 points per game.
"He's been a great leader on and off the court. He's playing with more confidence. He's not been scoring a lot but he is not shooting much.
"He's become a good defensive player. He's just a much better player than he was a year ago."
Sutton named Harden his "Star of the Week" after the wins over Cincinnati and Indiana.
"In both games when we needed a big play Roger provided it," says Sutton. "He made some big-time plays for us."
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WHEN A player is tired, he had better tell Sutton.
"We have a rule that if you take yourself out you can go back in when you
want," says Sutton. "But if I take you out, you go back when I want you to.
"I want our players to be honest when they are tired. That's best for them and the team."
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SUTTON CAN sympathize with high school coaches who are trying to cope with the "seat belt" rule this season. The rule prevents a coach from leaving his seat during a game. If he does stand up, he is hit with a technical foul.
"It is a horrible rule," says Sutton. "Coaches are partly responsible for it, though. Basketball does Strang things to people. I've seen little grandmas go beserk at a game. If a coach is up ranting and raving he can incite a riot.
"But this rule has too severe a penalty. I'd be surprised if the rule stays in more than one year. I couldn't stay seated. I'd have to get a seat belt and strap myself in the chair."
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COACHES, LIKE fans and players, get tired of looking at the same officials during the course of a season. If Sutton had his way, an official would not call over three or four UK games per season.
That's one reason Sutton decided to be open-minded about the Southeastern Conference officials this year. He did not "rest" any officials before the season started.
"We use to blackball officials," says Sutton. "Now we just rest them. I wanted to give them all a shot, though. Nobody can call a perfect game.
"I've always thought in a big game that it would not be a bad idea to bring in three coaches and let them call it. Their mechanics wouldn't be very good but they wouldn't be intimidated by the players or crowd.
"Really, for big intersectional games the ideal situation would be to have neutral officials. We did that several times at Arkansas.
"Personally, I think when you go on the road you should take your officials with you instead of having a split crew. When we play at Kansas let us take three SEC officials. When they come here let them bring Big Eight officials.
' 'With split crews coaches get on officials from their conference for a friendly call. We've all been guilty but that is not a good situation."
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BO JACKSON now has the Heisman Trophy that most football experts expected him to win this season. And he's also found some allies to answer the critics who questioned his character when he took himself out of games with Tennessee and Florida because of injuries.
Here's what several NFL scouts had to say about Jackson in a recent article in the New York Times.
Jim Gruden, Tampa Bay Bucs: "The guy was hurt. "Keith Byars of Ohio State got hurt and nobody got mad at him."
Dick Corrick, Green Bay Packers: "There's a fine line between pain and injury. He had a couple of broken ribs and a bad shoulder. Some people said the same thing about Herschel Walker."
Chuck Connor, Miami Dolphins: "It's a bad, bad rap on the guy. There's no question about his toughness."
Mike Hickey, New York Jets: "Pat Dye, the Auburn coach, encourages his players to come out of the game if they're hurt, so they do. Just because Bo
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