Western Kentucky (5-3) travels to No. 6 Louisville (8-1) at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday. Comments from coach Ray Harper, junior guard T.J. Price and junior forward George Fant.

Ray Harper

   Upcoming schedule: “Well it’s obviously a difficult stretch. Seems like this time of year, this is when we’ve had a very difficult stretch last season.

“The good part, we’ll be home four of the five. We won’t be traveling and classes end (Friday) so we’ll have a lot of time to just concentrate on basketball.

“I think our team is growing up, but anytime you’re adding guys that haven’t played, you still got some things to figure out as far as rotations, what lineups work the best. The next four or five games will be important for us.”

 Jackson and Harrison-Docks: “They’ve been good, but I think they’ve been excited for a year. Anytime you play that first game in a year, it’s not always as easy as you think it may be.

“They’ll be jitters and they’ll get better each time they step on the floor. But we’re excited we’ll have them here very soon.”

    More on Jackson, CHD: “They’ve got to hit the ground running. It’s not like they just showed up or they’ve been suspended or whatever – they’ve been busting their tails for a year.

“Soon they will be eligible, hopefully, and if that’s the case, we’re gonna throw ‘em right in there.”

    Louisville forcing turnovers: “They create the most turnovers in the country and they also commit the fewest turnovers. They’re a veteran basketball team, their backcourt has to be one of the top two or three backcourts in the country.

“They’re deep and they’re very talented. What we can’t do is take quick shots that lead to transition baskets for them. We can’t have turnovers that lead to easy buckets for them. Taking care of the basketball will be critical for us and we’ve gotta be smart. At the same time we’ve gotta attack them when they’re pressuring us.”

 Russ Smith: “He’s a senior. He’s one of the fastest guards in all of college basketball. When he and Chris Jones start attacking the basket, especially with the way they call fouls on drives, it makes it very, very difficult. I’m not sure how you stop those guys without a lot of help. I don’t think anybody in the country can play them head’s up and think they can’t give a lot of help because they’re just too quick, too fast.

“You’re going to bump them, you’re probably going to get your hands on them at some point, so we’ve gotta mix it up. We’ve gotta give them some different looks and not let them get comfortable.”

 Montrezl Harrell: “I think he’s, probably, if he comes out at the end of the year, he’ll be a first-round draft pick. I saw him when he played at Hargrave Military Academy. At that time he was committed to Virginia Tech and I thought he was the best player on the floor the day I watched him. I knew he had a chance to be very, very good.

“He’s just a guy that plays with – he’s got a high motor, he plays with extreme energy, he’s big, physical, he presents a lot of problems and a lot of challenges.”

    Caden Dickerson and O’Karo Akamune: “Caden practiced (Wednesday), tweaked it a little bit, but I think he’ll be OK. O’Karo’s a little bit slower. Hopefully, maybe by next Saturday, but probably more likely right after Christmas.”

    Nigel Snipers: “He’s done OK. I don’t know what his numbers are, they’re not eye-popping by any means. He’s gotta continue to work. The biggest thing with him is gonna be on the defensive end. The thing we need out of him is defense and a high motor, high energy. If he can do that, he’ll find his way on the floor some.”

Harrison-Docks and Jackson’s eligibility: “(Friday’s) the last day of finals, I think Tuesday’s the deadline when teachers have to have their grades in by Tuesday. If their grades are in by (Friday) and they’re certified, then yes. But I can’t say if they will or they won’t have their grades in, I don’t know.”

    Brandon Harris: “He made shots. In every game he’s played he’s taken lots of shots. I think the game at Marshall he took 12 3s, he only mad two. Bowling Green he took 11 3s, made one or two.

“I think he’s better when he’s off the ball. Having Chris and Trency should help with that a little bit to ease that burden of him having to handle the basketball.

“I thought he really started to come into his own late in the season once Jamal (Crook) came back last year. Can he play point guard? Absolutely he can, but I don’t think that’s where he’s at his best and when he helps the team the most if being off the ball.

“It allows him to go to the offensive boards a little harder and for a guy his size he rebounds the basketball as well as anyone I’ve ever coached from the guard spot.”

T.J. Price

    Upcoming schedule: “We gotta find out how tough we are and how good we really can be. It is gonna be a tough schedule, it’s gonna be something that we have to dig deep and grind through, but we’ve been through some tough times.

“Even a couple years ago or the last two years, winning four games in four days, I feel like we’re tough. Not to compare them teams to the teams that we’ve played, but just to have something to be confident on, it’s doable. We can do it.”

 Louisville: “We know how they’re gonna play defense, we know how they’re gonna be aggressive. (Wednesday) coach was telling us that they’re one of the top teams that make teams turn over the ball, so of course they’re gonna come out and play really aggressive.

“Personnel-wise they got players like Russ Smith, Chris (Jones), they got Chane (Behanan) – they got players over there. There’s no doubt they’re a pretty good team.”

George Fant

    Upcoming schedule: “We’re gonna find out how mentally tough and physically tough our team is. We’re gonna find out how good we really are and basically give ourselves a stepping stone and a goal to reach toward toward the end of the year.”

    Harrison-Docks and Jackson: “A great spark. Those guys are both energy-guys. Trency’s full of energy, you guys know that. They’re both great players, two good guards that gives us two more threats on the court as well. Two more people that can lock down and play defense and lock in to the game.”

    Vs. Chane Behanan: “I’m not gonna say I look forward to it. It’s a game. He just happens to play for their team. We’re more worried about getting the win against Louisville and Western and Louisville, that’s pretty much it.”


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