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Image 7 of The Cats' Pause, 1-Dec-84

Part of The Cats' Pause

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TkcwtfoiU9%4 Andrews Making His Move Paul Andrews wasn't one of the nation's top basketball recruits last season. Still, Andrews felt pressure when he came to the University of Kentucky after an outstanding prep career at Laurel County High School. Not everyone was convinced the 6-3 Andrews could play big-time basketball. The critics questioned his ball-handling and outside shooting. Everyone knew he could play defense but his overall game was suspect to many fans. "When I came here I knew the first thing I had to do was prove I could play," says Andrews. "I feel like I did that last year and now I feel more relaxed. I'm excited about this season because I know I should get to play more. "Coach (Joe) Hall is going to play the people who give the best efforts in practice and games. That's why I won't let up no matter what the situation is." Larry Vaught Cats' Pause Columnist Still, the way some people questioned his ability last year hurt Andrews. He didn't understand why so many people felt he couldn't help Kentucky. "Maybe it was because I'm from a small town in the mountains," says Andrews. "People in big cities don't think small town players can play. What people were saying worried me a lot, especially when I first got here. It hurt my confidence but I tried just to keep my head up. But after I got settled in I just made up my mind to go out and prove that I could play." He feels he proved his point last year and now says he could even play point guard if needed. But his best spot is probably the "off-guard" where he doesn't have to concentrate on handling the ball as often. "I'll probably work at both spots all year but I expect most of my playing time to come at second guard," says the UK sophomore. "My ball-handling has improved, though, and I feel comfortable with my shot. I think I've improved my outside shot and if I'm open I'll take the shot." Andrews isn't flashy like UK sophomore James Blackmon, one of the nation's most publicized recruits one year ago. But the Laurel product can do the little things it takes to make a team a winner. His speciality is defense. He says, "Coach Hall says he wants me to be a great defensive guard. He wants me to take the other team's best guard. It's quite a challenge but I'm like it." Kentucky's strength program has put weight and muscle on Andrews, who hit an incredible last-second shot to win the 1982 state tournament for Laurel. He says, "I've lifted a lot of weights this year and feel much stronger. I plan to keep lifting during the season to keep my strength up, too. I have to be strong to be effective." He was always effective at Laurel County. He credits Laurel Coach Chuck Broughton and Middlesboro Coach Larry Bruner, a former assistant at Laurel, for making him a complete player. "Larry Bruner was my coach for three years starting in the eighth grade," says Andrews. "He told me then that I had the talent to be a big-time player if I would work. I believed him and kept pushing to be the best after that. "Coach Broughton gave me a chance to play on the varsity as a sophomore. I'll always appreciate that. Then my senior year he moved me to guard to help get me ready for college. Not every coach would have done that but he wanted me to have experience handling the ball before I left Laurel County." His basketball career developed so fast that he even gave up his first love — baseball. He hit .340 his final year and played center field for G.J. Smith, a former UK eager. But during his junior year he decided to concentrate on basketball. Tennessee started recruiting Andrews earlier than any other school. Coach Don DeVoe impressed him and he liked his visit to Knoxville. But he made a trip to Lexington also to watch the Wildcats practice. That's when Hall told him Mike Ballenger, a guard, had just left the team. "A week later Coach Hall called me and asked if I wanted to play for the University of Kentucky," recalls Andrews. "I said, 'Yes.' It's kind of funny the way it all came up so suddenly but I've sure never regretted the way it all worked out." But he got a scare during a preseason intrasquad game. He collided with junior guard Leroy Byrd and fell on his left arm. Fortunately, it was bruised but not broken. "That really scared me," says Andrews. "I could see a year's worth of work going to waste." But he wasn't severely hurt and now he will once again have the opportunity to prove that he belongs at UK. It's a test he will have no trouble passing. ? ? ? THE KENTUCKY football team certainly deserved the Hall of Fame Bowl bid it received after posting its second straight winning season under Coach Jerry Claiborne. The Cats put on a terrific show in the loss to Florida. The team laid it on the line against a bigger, stronger and quicker team that probably should have defeated the Cats by a much wider margin. Linebacker Cam Jacobs was sensational against the Gators. He made 20 tackles and helped inspire the UK crowd from start to finish. But, like true competitors, the Cats weren't looking for a moral victory after the 25-17 loss. They wanted the real thing. "I wanted to beat them because all they were thinking about was drinking their damn champagne after the game," says Jacobs. "Our main goal was to lay it all on the line and we did that," says UK defensive end Brian Williams. "We knew we could play with them." .Claiborne left the field with tears streaming down his face. He knew he had just seen a team give a sensational effort "We are starting to get a little of Coach Claiborne in every player here.'" says defensive captain Dave Thompson. "He likes a big challenge and he really wanted to beat Florida. He inspired us to give our best effort." How the Peach Bowl bypassed Kent ky after that effort is beyond comprehension. But the Cats are going "bowling" once again and it is a reward they certainly earned. ? * + FORMER UK Ail-American tackle u a Bryant didn't spend much time out of work after being cut by the Atlaua Falcons Nov. 14. The Los Angeles Raiders picked up Bryant, a first round draft choice in 1977, the next day. Bryant had started every game from 1977-83 for Atlanta before losing his job this season to Brett Miller. The news wasn't as good for Rick Robey, though. Robey had surgery on his right heel recently for the second time in five months and will miss the rest of the National Basketball Association season. The 6-10, 240-pound Robey helped the Wildcats win the 1978 NCAA championship and has played with Indiana, Boston and Phoenix in the NBA. The Suns traded Dennis Johnson to Boston for Robey last year and signed him to a lucrative contract. But Robey has not played well since arriving in Phoenix and now he is out for the season. THE HIGH school football season may not start as early in 1986. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control will vote on two matters at its January meeting that could shorten the grid season. One proposal calls for no footbal practice in pads before Aug. 1. A five-day conditioning program would also be required before pads could be used. The second item would allow no football games before the final Friday in August. A committee composed of KHSAA and Kentucky Medical Association members voted to put the proposals in front of the Board of Control. The committee feared the severe heat in July and August was dangerous for football players. The proposals probably will pass but there is sure to be a heated debate over shortening the season, especially since that will mean a loss of revenue to many schools. But it is impossible to put a price tag on safety and there is no logical reason for high school players to be practicing in full gear during July. I hope the proposals both pass. Andrews On Defense