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First-String Appearance May Mean New Beginning For Rob Lock
By Nick Nicholas
Rob Lock deserved an apology from his Wildcat classmates. It was just that simple.
Maybe Eddie Sutton wanted to show everyone, most importantly Lock, that by starting him would elevate the big guy's confidence.
Stepping on the hardwoixl during pre-game introductions, starter Rob Lock received the biggest cheer of UK's first-stringers. It almost seemed the student body knew it was at fault for booing Lock against Texas Tech.
When Lock checked out with 17 seconds remaining in last Saturday's game against Lamar, he was greeted again with a chorus of cheers. The cheers this time were riot meant for an apology, however. The final standing ovation UK's student section gave him was for a job well done.
Helping Kentucky record its third win in four outings. Lock, a starter for the first time since his freshman season, scored 12 hard-fought points while logging 30 minutes.
"I felt a little apprehensive coming into Rupp Arena and being booed by my fellow students," Lock said following Kentucky's 71-56 victory against Lamar. "But I have to give a lot of credit to people in the community. I received many support letters and the people on campus just told me to keep my head up. I felt like I was mentally ready to play. I had a lot of confidence."
In return. Lock waved to his classmates as if to say, Tlmnks for sticking with me. His courteous gesture toward the student body
UK's bench than reserves in uniform. An improved Lock is just what Dr. Sutton ordered.
The UK staff will be looking for consistency now from its only true post player. Not before long will an 18-game SEC round-robin schedule appear on tap.
"I think he can play that way every night." said Sutton. "It would mean a great deal to the team, especially when we only have seven scholarship players at the present time."
From the opening tip until he left when the game was decided. Lock was hustling all the way. He deflected several passes underneath and was seen more than once diving for a loose ball. This was a different player. He was playing with enthusiasm and confidence, some things for the past two seasons which have been missing from his playbook.
Lock had his game face on and was prepared for Tom Abatemarco's club
After his second dunk gave the Wildcats a 24-20 lead. Lock stared at Gulley as if to say Take that.
"I grunted on that dunk," said Lock with a smile. "He looked at me and I looked at him. I don't think I intimidated him, to tell you the truth. I just looked at him.
"I didn't do that maliciously. It was the heat of the battle if you want to call it that."
That's not the Rob Lock who Wildcat fans have watched during the last two seasons.
At one point in the second half Lock appeared to be too tired to continue. Sutton, while focusing his attention toward Lock,
Looking For Consistency
motioned his hand to Ins stomach and then to his heart.
"He got a little fatigued," Sutton said. "I (pointed to) belly and then valentine(meaning) suck it up. And he did that."
Late in the game he ignited a 19-to-six spun when he dished off an assist to Ed Davender. Davender's layup at the 4:54 put UK on top by six, 54-48. With UK leading 59-50, Lock proceeded to reel off two buckets of his own which gave the hosts a 13-point margin with 1:41 left to play.
"It helped me when I started this evening, and when I didn't receive any adverse cheering." said UK's center. "1 had confidence."
"I just got off on the right foot and that's got to help your confidence.
Lock now has an impressive showing under his belt. What about Kentucky's upcoming battles? Will Rob Lock be able to give the Wildcats productive play from (he post on a consistent basis? And what could happen lo Lock once Cedric Jenkins and Mike Scott come into fold?
"The key to how well I'M play will be the next game." said Lock, looking ahead to Friday's game against lona. "I played well tonight and I can't get complacent. That's the key.
"Ill play well in the next couple of games I think I'll be consistent. I may have one or two bad games. But the next game is the key for me.
"I'm going to try as hard as I did tonight in the next game."
may indicate that Rob Lock is on his way to better days.
"I needed a game like this to prove to myself I could play like this," Lock said. "I think I played very well tonight. I did everything the coaches told me to."
Friday before the Lamar contest. Lock and assistant James Dickey talked about the center's roles.
"Coach Dickey defined my roles in what I needed to do for the team to be a success," said Lock. "I wasn't forcing shots tonight. Although I didn't rebound well I think I played pretty good defense. 1 played well within myself. That's the key to my (future) performances.
"He said they don't really need me as a scorer too much because we have James (Blackmon), Ed (Davender) and Rex (Chapman. He said if I work hard on rebounding and defense. . .that's what the team needs.
"I wasn't really looking to score as much in this game."
His and Dickey's game plan paid off. While concentrating on the boards and guarding the Cardinals' James Gulley, Lock's double-digit production was made possible by a six of seven performance from the field.
Eight of his pointstwo dunks, a tip-in and a layupcame from underneath. He also showed the 23,123 in attendance that he can hit the jumper. In the second half the Reedley, Calif., product burried an eight- and 10-footer, respectively.
Gulley, a 6-foot-8 bulldozer, came into the game averaging 23 points per contest. He poured in a game-high 24 points (II of 22 from the field).
"He's (Gulley) a good basketball player," said Sutton, in defense of his center.
Grabbing only two rebounds. Lock did manage to compile marks in both the assist and steal departments. What may be even more of a surprise was the fact he didn't commit a single turnover during his overtime work load.
"I had two assists and two steals and that's something I've never had before, even in high school probably," noted Lock with a proud and happy look in his eyes.
Lock's services now are needed more than ever.
Kentucky's injured list is growing and growing. With the addition of Paul Andrews and his injured knee, these days there are dhJiost as many players in street clothes on
Facts And Figures From 10 Years At B/C All-Star Camp
By Camp Director Bill Cronauer
? All 23.NBA teams showcased at least one former B/C All-Star on their opening-day rostersa total of 77 players and two coaches.
? B/C All-Stars participants include the No. I player on an astounding ll teams: CelticsLarry Bird, LakersMagic Johnson. RocketsAkeem Olajuwon, Pistons Isaiah Thomas, HawksDominique Wilkins, 76'ersCharles Barkley, NetsBuck Williams. JazzDarrell Griffith. KingsReggie Theus, MavericksRolando Blackman. SupersonicsXavier McDaniel.
?On the 1985-86 NBA Ail-Star team, four of the five first teamers have attended B/C: Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Dominique Wilkins and Isaiah Thomas. So have the top two vote-getters on the second teamAkeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley.
? Ten members of the B/C All-Stars hierarchy competed in the 1986 NBA All-Star game in DallasLarry Bird, Magic Johnson, Dominique Wilkins. Isaiah Thomas. Akeem Olajuwon. Charles Barkley. Ralph Sampson. Kevin McHale. Rolando Blackman, and Jeff Malone. In addition, they have reigned as All-Star Game MVP four of the past five years (Bird in '82, Sampson in '85, and Thomas in '84 and '86).
? In Dick Vitale's '86-87 Basketball Yearbook, NBA scouts and coaches evaluated "The Best In The Biz." Ex B/C'ers dominated as the No. 1 center (Akeem Olajuwon), the top four forwards (Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale and Dominique Wilkins) and the No. 2 and No. 3 guards (Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas).
? B/C All-Star products dominated last season's NBA statistics: seven of the top 15 scores played at B/C, including top scorer Dominique Wilkins. . .five of the top 10 rebounders, including No. 2 Charles Barkley and No. 3 Buck Williams. . .five of the top 10 assist leaders, bolstered by the 1-2-3 sweep of passmasters Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and Reggie Theus.
? Eleven former B/C All-Stars were selected in the first round of the 1986 NBA draft, including five of the top nine picks: Auburn's Chuck Person (Pacers), Kentucky's Kenny Walker (Knicks), Michigan's Roy Tarpley (Mavericks). Miami of Ohio's Ron Harper (Cavaliers) and Ohio State's Brad Sellers (Bulls).
? B/C All-Star attendees stand tall in the NBAs awards balloting Larry Bird has ruled as the Most Valuable Player for the last three years. Bird, Darrell Griffith. Buck Williams and Ralph Sampson won four Rookie of the Year titles in the last five years Hubie Brown and Frank Layden have been honored as Coach of the Year.
Larry Bird Magic Johnson
Akeem Olajuwon Kevin McHale
Ralph Sampson Buck Williams
Dominique Wilkins Rolando Blackmon Isaiah Thomas
Dominique Wilkins Charles Barkley Darrell Griffith
Dominique Wilkins Mark Aguirre Jeff Malone
Team-By-Team Breakdown Of Former
B/C All-Stars In The NBA
Scott Hastings Antoine Carr Dominique Wilkins Cliff Levingston Randy Wittman Glenn Rivers
Greg Kite Kevin McHale Larry Bird
Brad Sellers Earl Cureton Elston Turner John Paxson
Roy Tarpley Mark Aguirre Rolando Blackman Al Wood Derek Harper
Joe Dumars Isaiah Thomas
Clinton Smith Terry Teagle
Dirk Minniefield Ralph Sampson Akeem Olajuwon Dave Feitl Buck Johnson
Greg Dreiling Steve Stipanovich Chuck Person Wayman Tisdale Kyle Macy
Benoit Benjamin Rory White Norm Nixon Darnell Valentine
Magic Johnson Adrian Branch
Bucks: Jerry Reynolds
Nets: Mike Gminski
Buck Williams Pace Mannion
Knicks: Kenny Walker
Gerald Wilkins Trent Tucker Coach Brown
76'ers: Tim McCormick
Jeff Ruland Kenny Green Charles Barkley Andrew Toney Jim Les
Suns: Ed Pinckney
Mike Sanders Jeff Hornacek
Blazers: Jim Paxson
Kings: Joe Klein
LaSalle Thompson Reggie Theus Harold Pressley Bruce Douglas
Spurs: Tyrone Corbin
Sonics: Curtis Kitchen
Xavier McDaniel Dale E Danny Young
Jazz: Thurl Bailey
Dell Curry Darrell Griffith Coach Layden
Bullets: Dan Roundfield Anthony Jones Jeff Malone Frank Johnson Ennis Whatley
TOTAL: 77 players, two coaches