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Roger Harden didn’t get to shoot often at UK, but when he did he could hit shots

Roger Harden, left (UK Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

During his four years at Kentucky point guard Roger Harden played in 122 games, which is still tied for 37th most at UK even though Harden graduated 34 years ago.

But ponder this. In those 122 games, he took only 466 shots. That’s just over four shots PER GAME even though he averaged over 20 minutes per game during his four-year career.

Of his 466 shots, 2018 came in the 1985-86 season when Eddie Sutton took over as coach after Joe Hall resigned. In 86 games under Hall, Harden put up only 258 shots.

“That was not by choice. Joe B. would not let me put up shots,” Harden laughed and said.

Harden said Kentucky basketball fans occasionally will bring up his shot totals.

“That is why I love Kentucky basketball fans,” Harden said. “I had a guy on Twitter who will sometimes post pictures of me with my coaches at UK.”

Harden, though, knows today’s players are far different from teammates he had.

“Fact is guys today start lifting in eighth grade with personal trainers,” Harden said. “Most of us back in the 80’s did not lift weights until we got to Kentucky.

“I had people ask me if I lifted weights but I never really did until I got to the University of Kentucky. Joe B. was way ahead of the curve in the weight room. He won a national title (in 1978) with a power game inside that nobody else had.”

Harden knows his generation of players thought they were physically fit but most could not compare with today’s players.

“Rex (Chapman) and Kenny(Walker) were built well but not like guys at UK now,” Harden said. “They don’t like to admit that, but it’s true.”

By the way, when Harden got to put up 208 shots during the 1985-86 season, he hit 109 — a 52.4 percent mark. And he also still averaged almost six assists per game and set a single seasons assist record with 498. Only Dirk Minniefield (646) and Anthony Epps (544) had more at UK than Harden.

“I knew my job was to pass first, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t hit an open shot,” Harden, a former McDonald’s All-American, said.

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