Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 12, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Champion qualities present in Wildcats?


ASHLAND — Power Impact

Julius Randle might be the quietest speaker on the team, but his actions on the court can be as noisy as 24,000-strong at Rupp Arena.

The 6-9, 250-pound freshman had the building rocking when he corralled a loose ball for a rebound, glided along the baseline and threw down a two-handed flush in the first half against the Norse.

Randle is the first Wildcat to record consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound games since Patrick Patterson in Dec. 2008. He has 45 points and 30 boards in two contests.

Still, there's Calipari desiring more.

"He should be averaging 20 rebounds a game," said the coach.

Randle's impact, though, is permeating. At one point in the second half, he and reserve forward Alex Poythress both locked grips on the ball. Randle finally relented his clutch — he already had his double-double.

Poythress, who has exceeded expectations so far, is also having an effect on Randle.

The sophomore hustled for an offensive rebound before Calipari turned and uttered a few words to Randle on the bench.

"He was just challenging me, saying that's what he needs me to do on the offensive glass," said Randle, who grabbed five offensive boards.

Big, Up and Down

Kentucky will be bigger and more athletic than most teams it plays.

On Sunday, that advantage was overwhelmingly evident.

NKU's tallest player stood at 6-7. Until the 6:19 mark of the second half, Kentucky's shortest player was 6-6 (Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron).

Said NKU coach Dave Bezold: "We couldn't simulate (UK's size) in practice. We even built extensions, made arms and hands. But Kentucky's so big and skilled at every spot and they keep coming in waves at you."

Bezold's Blue Blood

NKU's coach grew up a Kentucky fan, and he comes from a family full of Big Blue fans.

He had to resort to bribery to get his relatives to support him and the Norse on Sunday.

"Half my family, I had to bribe them not to wear Kentucky shirts," Bezold said. "They probably switched them out on the way in."

Bezold said he wished the Norse matched up with the Cats again in another month to help him gauge the growth of his team.

He didn't hesitate to share some other wishes.

"I hope they win the national championship," he said.

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