By LARRY VAUGHT
It was a big adjustment for Reggie Hanson to play for Rick Pitino after being recruited by Eddie Sutton, a much more defensive minded coach, when Sutton was fired after Hanson’s sophomore season and Pitino took over.
“I am one of most physically and mentally tough guys you will meet but those conditioning runs Rick put us through that first year broke me down,” Hanson said. “I would throw up before every run.
“Rick thought I was on drugs. He had (strength coach) Rock (Oliver) talk to me. Rock said, ‘What’s going on? We can get you help if you need it.’ I said, ‘Rock I have never tried illegal drugs. I am just scared of these runs.’ Then we both laughed and he said I would make it.
“Rick was great at developing you from a skills standpoint. Eddie limited my game to what I could do but Rick wanted me to shoot 3’s, handle the ball, do everything.”
Still, the Sutton mentality was not easy to forget as Hanson found out in the Big Four Classic against Indiana in Indianapolis in one of his first games for Pitino.
“We were running the motion offense and I came open at the top of the key for a 3 but I took two dribbles and shot a 2,” Hanson said. “Rick immediately called time out and ripped into me. He said, ‘What are you doing? Shaving points.’
“I said, ‘Coach, honestly I had a flashback to Eddie when I was not allowed to shoot the 3.’ Rick left me in the game and I didn’t have that problem again and had a great, great time playing for him and Kentucky.”