WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Bogans sticks in NBA thanks to his defense

Courtesy: Chicago Tribune

To make the 2003-04 Magic, Keith Bogans spent every day in preseason guarding Tracy McGrady, then one of the league's elite scorers.

"I remember ( Kentucky) coach (Tubby) Smith telling me, 'You've got to find something people don't want to do,' " Bogans said Tuesday. "So I took pride in defense. I think over the years I've gotten a little smarter, learned how to shortcut a little and get help from my teammates."

This mentality, along with his shooting ability to space the floor for Derrick Rose, is why Bogans remains the starter despite improved showings from Ronnie Brewer.

Coming off a season-high 10 points, Bogans chuckled when recalling his previous identity as a scorer. He remains Kentucky's fourth all-time leader and, along with Adrian Dantley, is one of just two people to receive four varsity letters from powerhouse DeMatha in Washington.

"If he told me to shoot more, I wouldn't hesitate," Bogans said of coach Tom Thibodeau. "But that's not my job. I know my role is to play defense and bring energy."

Thibodeau sounds comfortable with his current platoon system at shooting guard.

"That's worked well so far," Thibodeau said. "Ronnie comes in with a different look. He's running the floor, cutting, slashing, getting easy baskets. He's a very good passer.

"We think we're capable of playing better. But we're comfortable with our production there."

Bogans is averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 assists in 25 minutes. Brewer is at 4.5 points and one assist in 12.

Layups: Rose said he's battling a minor case of turf toe. He's also averaging just six free throws per game. "I guess I'm not getting enough body contact," he said. "Gotta watch more film." ... Thibodeau said Carlos Boozer's "conditioning has really picked up," but he still hasn't been cleared for contact.


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