Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Smith hardly vengeful toward Team Nike

UK basketball

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - Revenge won't be a factor for Kentucky in its exhibition opener tonight. coach Tubby Smith said, even though Nike Elite beat the Wildcats last basketball season. "It's not going on my resume," Smith joked. "It is going on (Team Nike coach) Bill Frieder's resume."

Smith said his goals for Kentucky's two exhibition games, against Team Nike and Nov. 12 against EA Sports, are simple.

"You try to measure how far you've come and test yourself against some of the best and just figure out what you have to work on," Smith said.

"I think our defense is ahead of our offense right now. (Defense) has got to be our bread and butter. That's our M.O., getting into people, shutting people down defensively. Even with that, we should be able to put more points on the board. I like to see that we're getting the ball out, especially with the size we have inside. We're able to rebound the ball and push it up the court in transition and get more easy baskets. Those are two main things there."

Smith has determined four-fifths of his starting lineup - Cliff Hawkins and Gerald Fitch in the backcourt and Chuck Hayes and Erik Daniels (Princeton High) on the front line. Smith said he's likely to go with a smaller lineup today and is leaning toward starting sophomore swingman Kelenna Azubuike.

That means the Wildcats' two freshmen centers, 7-foot-3 Shagari Alleyne and 7-1 Lukasz Obrzut, would come off the bench, even though Nike Elite's nine-man roster includes 7-0 Jason Jennings.

"I just want to play the best guys that I feel comfortable with and that are ready to play right now and that will give us the best chance to (win) as well," Smith said. "You want to reward guys for what they're doing in practice. Starting is not a big deal right now."

UK opens Nov. 21 at home against Winthrop.

UK vs. Team Nike

Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. today, Rupp Arena (23,000), Lexington.

Records: UK 32-4 in 2002-03, Team Nike 1-0 this preseason.

Radio: WSAI-AM (1530).

TV: Insight Ch. 6 (tape delay, 11:35 p.m.)


Ant. BarbourSr.6-53.4
Erik DanielsSr.6-89.5
Chuck HayesJr.6-68.6
Gerald FitchSr.6-312.3
Cliff HawkinsSr.6-16.3
Coach: Tubby Smith (164-47, seventh season; 288-109




Team Nike beat UK 84-75 last preseason. It won its first game this preseason 88-86 Sunday over Miami (Fla.). The team includes former UC forward Ryan Fletcher, who scored 12 Sunday.

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