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The 'baby' of this Kentucky basketball team has a leader's mentality. 'I like being the general.'

By Ben Roberts, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Basketball

Successful point guards on John Calipari-coached teams all have a few things in common.

They're talented, sure. Every starting point guard at Kentucky over the past decade has been ranked as one of the very best playmakers - often the best - in his high school class.

Some are fast. Some are strong. Most have been big for their position. A few have been good outside shooters, and many have been able to defend. The very best have been natural leaders. And part of being a leader on the basketball court is realizing what you do best, what your teammates do best, and how it all fits together for the good of the whole.

If Calipari had been listening to what his newest freshman point guard had to say about his approach to the game, the Hall of Fame coach surely would've been grinning ear to ear.

"Coach makes us all understand that we all are great players. We all are. We all are special," Devin Askew told the Herald-Leader last week. "But to make this whole thing work, we have to sacrifice. All of us. We do this by doing whatever it takes to win. So, for instance, if I'm not shooting well - if I'm not having the greatest offensive night, myself - what else can I do? I could get steals. I could get stops. I could be the most vocal - more of the general - and guide my team in that way."

Askew paused before offering the alternative.

 

"Or I could keep shooting bad shots and trying to make that work," he continued. "Nah. That's not what I'm going to do."

What Askew says he's going to do - what he came to Kentucky to do - is lead these Wildcats in whatever way leads to team success. If that means his offensive production takes a hit, that's OK. If that means he doesn't get the most attention, so be it.

The 6-foot-3 playmaker from California has NBA dreams just like everyone else who will share the Rupp Arena floor with him this season. His immediate goal is to get everyone on the same page once they hit that floor. It's what Askew has done at every stop along the way in his young basketball career, and it's the reason Kentucky's coaches wanted him on this team.

"My role, personally, being the point guard, is getting the team started," he said. "And then from there just being a leader on the court."

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