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  • VAUGHT: Sestina injury gives opportunity for Whitney, Brooks and Juzang

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Kentucky plays its first game tonight without Nick Sestina since he fractured his wrist in practice earlier this week when the Cats take on Alabama-Birmingham in Rupp Arena.

    Sophomore guard Ashton Hagans says the injury gives Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks and Johnny Juzang can become bigger players for UK with Sestina out.

    "Itís just time for us to get better and become that team that weíre looking forward to becoming at the end of the season," Whitney said.

    Still, doing that without Sestina won't be nearly as easy for Kentucky.

    ďHis physicality, his mindset. Heís talking loud all 40 minutes, the whole practice," Hagans said. "Thatís when Nick (Richards) steps in and talks more with us, EJ (Montgomery) talk more to us. Itís just, weíre at a perfect spot right now. Luckily itís at the beginning of the season and weíll have him (Sestina) back real soon.Ē

    Whitney dislocated his finger during a recent game, popped it back into place and continued to play. He says "it's getting better" and he will be ready to do more with Sestina out just like others will.

    ďNate was a big part of rebounding and toughness in our team. So guys have to step up. Itís got to be me, Keion, Johnny playing a lot of minutes coming off the bench. Weíve just got to come in and be tough," Whitney sad.

    Sestina's injury could result in Whitney playing more inside despite his lack of size.

    ďItís a big opportunity for everyone. Weíve just got to come in and be prepared for whoever that is," Whtiney said.

    He knows he'll have to use his athleticism against bigger players who should also be slower than him.

    "So thatís a mismatch, so Iíve got to take advantage of that," Whitney said.

    The freshman said UK understands UAB, a solid underdog, could still give UK trouble, a lesson the Cats learned in the loss to Evansville.

    "We have to come out and play no matter who it is. Donít lower your level of play down to the competition," Whitney said.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Dokker's Avatar
      Dokker -
      Whitney being worried about lowering his level of play to his opponent has me wondering exactly when did he raise it above it?
    1. KeithKSR's Avatar
      KeithKSR -
      I’m hoping Cal puts Brooks and Whitney in the game together at the 4/5 spots sometime against UAB, just to see how they do. I also hope it is done by choice and not out of necessity due to foul trouble.