Monday, July 20, 2015

Jamal Murray Will Play For Canada in The Pan American Games

Incoming Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray was named to the Canadian roster for the 2015 Pan American Games, becoming one of only three collegians to make the roster. Murray is the only one of the three to not have played in a collegiate contest yet.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canada Basketball comprised the 12 athletes who will represent Team Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games from July 21-25. 

The 12-man roster is encompassed of national team veterans and up-and-coming talent. All 12 athletes have competed for Canada internationally either on the senior, development or an age-group national team. 

Murray, a 6-foot-5 guard, was originally a member of the 2016 recruiting class but recently reclassified to the 2015 class. As a member of the 2016 class, Murray was rated a top-15 prospect by nearly every recruiting service and tabbed a consensus five-star recruit.

At the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Murray teamed up with fellow UK signee Skal Labissiere to lead the World Selects to a two-point win over a USA team filled with McDonald’s All-Americans. In the game, Murray scored a game-high 30 points and dished out five assists.
Murray joins former Wildcat Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga) and Dillon Brooks (Oregon) as the collegians on the roster.

The athletes participated in a six-day tryout and training camp from July 12-17 and officially moved into the TORONTO 2015 Athletes Village this weekend. The men’s basketball games will take place at the Ryerson Athletic Centre in Toronto from July 21-25, with a three-game preliminary round, semifinals and finals.

The Pan Am Games is a sporting event in the Americas held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games. The competition is held among athletes from nations of the Americas.

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 Big Blue Madness Ticket Distribution Set For October 2

Big Blue Madness, the unofficial tip-off to the 2015-16 men’s and women’s basketball seasons, has been set for Oct. 16 in Rupp Arena.  The ticket distribution will take place on Friday, Oct. 2.

Tickets are free again this year for the annual spectacle in Rupp Arena, which will feature introductions of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, practice drills, videos, and more.

In a change from previous seasons, the ticket distribution will take place on Friday night to allow fans to attend the home football game vs. Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 3. The ticket distribution will take place on Friday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m., following the 7 p.m. home UK volleyball match vs. Mississippi State.

Tickets for the 2015 Big Blue Madness will be available at 10 p.m. both at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows on Euclid Avenue and online and All patrons require a ticket to Big Blue Madness, regardless of age.

A limited number of control cards will be issued to those camped out earlier on Friday, Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. All fans must be present to obtain their control cards and only one control card per person will be accepted at distribution. Control cards will not be distributed after 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, and all persons with control cards must be in line by 10 p.m.

At the request of campus public safety officials, fans wishing to line up ahead of time at Memorial Coliseum for ticket distribution are asked to do so no earlier than 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The athletic department will provide portable restroom facilities, but the use of permanent, wooden-type structures, portable generators, and propane tanks or other open flames used in cooking is prohibited due to safety concerns. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not permitted. Additionally, selling sports tickets in excess of face value is illegal in Kentucky.

Big Blue Madness times and broadcast info, as well as more ticket and campout information will be released at a later date.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Aaron Harrison Agrees To Two Year Deal With Hornets

As reported by Kentucky Sports Radio , Former Cat, Aaron Harrison has agreed to a two year deal with the Charlotte Hornets. The deal includes a partial guarantee for this season and a team option for next season.

Congrats to Aaron, it's well deserved to say the least.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Kentucky Men's Basketball Leads Nation in Home Attendance

The Kentucky men’s basketball team was the team to watch during the 2014-15 season according to national attendance figures released by the NCAA on Monday.

UK led the nation in total home attendance for the first time in five years with a total of 447,874 fans attending the Wildcats’ 19 home games in Rupp Arena this season. Kentucky was one of only three schools (Syracuse and Louisville) to reach at least 400,000 fans or more at its home games.

UK once again led the nation in overall attendance as 845,594 fans saw the Wildcats play at home, on the road and in neutral sites, more than 100,000 fans than second-place Wisconsin. Kentucky set the NCAA record last season with 922,653 fans.

Kentucky ranked second behind Syracuse (23,854) in average home attendance with 23,572 fans per game, the fifth time in John Calipari’s six seasons the Wildcats averaged 23,000 or more fans at home games. Rounding out the top five was Louisville (21,386), North Carolina (19,582) and Wisconsin (17,279).

UK has led the nation in average home attendance in 17 of the last 20 seasons, and since Rupp Arena opened for the 1976-77 season, Kentucky has ranked either first or second in average attendance every season. Only Syracuse, which plays in the Carrier Dome, has ranked ahead of Kentucky during that time.

The Southeastern Conference had the third-highest attendance among the 32 NCAA Division I conferences, and the NCAA Tournament saw a slight bump in attendance in this year’s postseason with 739,798 fans, the third-highest total in NCAA history.

Friday, June 19, 2015

LSU Freshman, Ben Simmons Wants to Beat Kentucky... BAD

Ben Simmons, who has got to be the highest ranked basketball recruit that LSU has seen in the last 50 years is already running his mouth about the up-coming basketball season..... or at least his brother is.

As reported by, Simmons' brother, Liam says that Ben would "love nothing more than to go into Kentucky and beat them ... rather than go to Kentucky and win a Championship because that's expected."

I'll take that as a challenge, a compliment and a sign as that he couldn't hang in the Bluegrass... Also BRING IT SON....

Also... I should I add that he said this...

I don’t see why we can’t be the best team in the SEC,” Simmons said. “Kentucky has good players but we have good players, too. It depends what leaders you have, who can lead. Me going to LSU is huge because I have to be a freshman and lead. I could have gone to Kentucky and been one of the other guys just playing there and trying to leave.
“For me, though, I want to leave a legacy — and that’s at LSU.

Again... BRING IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Calipari's PRE NBA Draft Press Conference

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

“Let me start by telling you the approach that we take with all these kids. We basically play position-less basketball and have for some time. It’s not trying to pigeon hole any player in one position. I want them all to be multi-position players. When you look at Willie (Cauley-Stein), Karl (Towns) if he had his druthers would’ve been a two-guard. Now you’re talking about a post player who could step out on the court, which was not unanimous. It was other players who were going to be that one pick. Now when you look at it, it should be him. We put Trey (Lyles) at the three position to make him more versatile. Now you’re talking about our guards, who are big. Because of Tyler Ulis, Andrew (Harrison) can play with another point guard. Aaron (Harrison) can play the three if he needed to because of his size. You’re looking at Devin Booker and you’re saying, ‘Wait a minute, that kind of shooting and that size?’ All of the sudden, you get what we were trying to do. Our goal is not just to help guys get into the league; we want guys to become all-stars. We had three last year, and if you took Derrick Rose as a fourth, then our goal would be to say, ‘Hey, half of the NBA all-stars started with us.’ It is about position-less basketball, and when you look at our guys, I think you say, ‘Wow, all of them do have the ability to play two and three more positions than before.”

On what is special about Willie Cauley-Stein ...

“First of all, you get a guy that’s 7 foot – he might be bigger – whose feet and hands are that of a 6-3, super athletic guard, which means he can guard five positions. He can guard a point guard or a big guy. He adds shot-blocking. In the schemes of what I’m seeing in the NBA, which are pick and run to the rim and make them play that guy, putting guys in the dribble drive motion, which you saw in Golden State where guys are behind that backboard. The guys in Utah used to do it. He can do all that. A lot of these kids have been groomed since they were 6 years old. Willie really started playing when he came with us. When I saw him in high school at an AAU event, he had two points and two rebounds in a game and he was from the state of Kansas and Kansas did not recruit him. What I say to you about his offensive game is he’s better than you think and you mold him into what you want him to be. People say, ‘He’s only coming into his own now. Why?’ Because he just started playing. I’m looking at him and saying he’s one of those guys that’ll do the things to get a team over the hump. The other thing that was thrown at me was, ‘Is he really a gym rat?’ I’ve had, in my time, three guys off the top of my head that I can say were gym rats. One was Derrick Rose. I used to drag him out of the gym. ‘You’re in here too much.’ Brandon Knight and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (are the others). Those guys were in the gym too much. But Willie plays and loves to play. He’s coming into his own. Anthony Davis wasn’t a gym rat and he’s OK. I think that’s been overblown and it’s almost like you’re trying to pick something out that he’s not. He hasn’t played as long as some of these guys. He’s going to be one of those guys next year that is well-spoken and the fans are going to love him wherever he goes. I have an idea of the three spots that are looking at him, but I don’t think he’s going to go (past) the third one. I understand the small ball. Small ball is because a 6-7 guy can move his feet and hands like a guard, but now you’ve got a 7-footer that can do the same. In three years, if someone has two 7-footers that can move their feet, then we’re going back to the twin towers. This is a guy that’s a unique 7-footer and can fly up and down the court. I think he’s going to be really good.”

On if he’s talked to Phil Jackson or Derek Fisher (New York Knicks) about Willie Cauley-Stein ...

“We haven’t talked yet. I talked to Mark Warkentien. He and I have known each other for 20 years or longer. When Phil came down, we spoke a little bit, but if they want to talk to me then they’ll call. It’s a little early right now. Guys are still formulating what they’re doing. I talked to a lot of teams about all these
kids, but it’s more background. They haven’t gotten to, ‘OK, if we do this ...’ Those calls will come next week.”

On the versatility of Karl-Anthony Towns ...

“He’s developed into a player. He had no real post game, and I told him, ‘You’re going to be a post player that can play out on the floor. You’re going to learn to play pick-and-roll defense. You’re going to have an idea of how to keep a quicker guard in front of you, block shots and play that way. You will fly up and down this court. You have a chance to be the No. 1 pick.’ Earlier in the year he would say, ‘What, Coach? I was an afterthought. They had this guy and that guy.’ I said, ‘You just stay the course. I’m telling you that you can do this.’ At this point, he’s going to have the opportunity as is appears. He’s a great kid and one of the nicest people you’re ever going to meet. He can shoot 3s, but that’s not going to be who he is. You’re going to have to guard him in pick-and-pops or if he’s trailing in the break. He has more ball skills than I would let him show. I told him, ‘You’re catching that ball four feet out and scoring or you won’t be in the game.’ I forced him. He had no choice. All of the sudden he became unstoppable late in the year. Believe me when I tell you, we coached him with the Dominican (Republic National) Team and Del Harris was the first to say, ‘Son, do you think you’re going to be playing if you’re shooting 3s? You have to be able to sit in the post.’ He had nothing then. He works hard and is a great teammate. I read something today that said, ‘They’ll look back on him and ask who the only guy to hold him under 20 points?’ Then they’ll say, ‘Calipari.’ I’ve had good ones, but he’s right there with those guys that you look back and say, ‘Whoever picks him may never trade him.’ There’s only a few of those in the league and he’ll be one of them.”

On Devin Booker’s overall game and what he brings to the table other than his shooting ...

“Devin Booker and Moss Point, Mississippi. I saw him play in the Global Games in Washington, D.C., and he barely got off the bench on one of the regional teams that played. My concern for him was defensively. I knew he could shoot. When we got him, my whole thing was, ‘You’re not going to be a standstill shooter. You’re going to create and go to the basket. You’re going to defend or you won’t play.’ He ended up being a much better defensive player than I ever imagined to where he rebounded. He’s almost 6-7. Everyone that’s brought him in has said, ‘Cal, we thought he was like 6-4.’ We all grew up shooting set shots. Everyone on this phone that’s listening – and you’ll smile right now because you tiptoed shots and you jumped three inches off the ground – and that’s when you really jumped. This kid, when he shoots around the elbow, will jump 18 inches and let it go. We had to get him to get it off quicker. In high school you just jump over them and nobody’s there. In college, if you jump then they’re jumping. You have to get it off quicker because they can’t jump as high moving as you can with the ball. You don’t want to be a guy in that league that is a catch-and-shoot guy because they’ll take that away. In rotations, defensively, you have to be able to get it to the rim. You have to be able to finish when there’s contact. You create the contact and finish. We worked on all of that with him and he came so far, but has a ways to go with that. That’s what the NBA will clean up. You’re talking about a big guard who can shoot, Klay Thompson-ish. That’s what he looks like. The league now is create a rotation defensively and take advantage of that rotation. With him out on the court, either you don’t let him get it and it’s four-on- four or you do let him get it and he’s looking for a pull-up 3 or drive to the elbow. You teach him to finish at the rim and it’s pretty good. In the league at his size, he could end up guarding someone that’s 6-4 or 6-5.”

On his conversations with Aaron Harrison and what feedback he’s gotten from the NBA on the Harrisons
...“I’m not worried. I think he’ll be drafted. And let me say this: I’ll go even further; I think he’ll be in the league for a while. And I believe that because of his ability to play multiple positions. He’s not locked into any position. (At) 6-6 and his size, everyone knows that this kid makes game-winning shots. There’s not a whole lot in the league like that let alone a guy in the draft like that. So I think he’s going to be fine. I think, again, and I’ve said this, I told both he and Andrew that we’ve got to finish this off because if we don’t, you’re going to get the undue criticism. It’s not fair, it’s not right. I’m just telling you. And it happened. But I’ll say this again: Andrew has played well in these things. I’m getting calls. You’re talking in that late first, maybe early second. But I think he’s going to bounce into that early first because everybody is like, ‘We’re not getting this (criticism of him). He’s this big, he’s this athletic, he’s this skilled. Left and right hand. There’s something missing here.’ With Aaron, just so you know, where he’s projected, most guys are worrying about their one pick right now so they’re not zeroed in on as much as, ‘OK, who are we taking at 35 to 45.’ So I haven’t talked to many of those guys yet. They’re more concerned with the guys in front of them.”

On Trey Lyles working out with the New York Knicks today and what they’re looking at from him ...

“I will tell you this: When they came in, they watched practice. Phil (Jackson) watched practice, watched shootaround, watched games. What I’m hearing is he walked away saying, ‘This is the kind of player in the Triangle who has great (size).’ He’s 6-10. We played him at a three. I could have had him closer to the elbows and basket, and he could have scored more and done more, but people that really know the game walked away saying, ‘Wait a minute, the kid can shoot, he can pass. He’s really skilled. He’s got size. He’s physical enough to be able to come in and guard his position right now.’ So I think they really liked him. The one thing people don’t realize about Trey because he is soft-spoken – they think, ‘Well, he’s not assertive.’ Let me just say this: If a fight breaks out, he’s not moving. He will not move. And he’s one that that stuff is in him, and it’s just like, OK, he gets in a competitive environment and it comes out and you go like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ Again, I think he’s a guy that, whoever takes him, they’re going to say, ‘We didn’t realize (he was this good).’ And that’s part of this (what we did this year). No one guy hurt in what we just went through. And everybody has improved their position from where we started to now. And now you’re saying with a guy like Trey, you’re talking the low number into what, 12? And again, he may be one of those guys that people pass on to take a flyer and they make look back and said, ‘Oh my god, 6- 10. In college they played him at the three. He’s a stretch four.’ When you’re talking about these teams that are going small, now you think about your four being a stretch four who can shoot the 3 and play that way, but he’s 6-10. He’s all of 6-10. So I’m not worried about Trey, and I’m also not worried when he gets in there how he’s going to perform because he’s got some fight in him now.”

On Dakari Johnson’s future and how he’s handled things over the last month ...

“I talked to Donnie McLean, who is working him out in California, and he was surprised. One, they were surprised at his size and his skill set. When he went to meet with the teams, the teams that I talked to came back with two things: They didn’t realize he was this young. Like, basically he would be a freshman because he reclassified (in high school). The second thing they didn’t realize is how smart he is. He looks older. So you look at him, he looks older. They sat down and they talked to him, and I basically tried to explain what his grandfather was, where he came from. His grandfather was an activist in New York, and I went to the funeral and it was like, who was this guy? And one person after another talked about what he had done for their lives. This kid has learned the right way. In the league right now, everybody is talking about getting smaller. Well, all of a sudden you have a chance late in that first round to get a 7- footer and you’re saying, ‘There’s just not many guys with this kind of body.’ When you talk about – hey, he can go bang with one of these big guys, he can. I think his game is all out ahead of him. From what I’m hearing, it’s late first (round). Maybe something happens where someone goes to those three teams that are saying right now that he’s right there and they get somebody and maybe he drops early second, but I just can’t see it right now. What I’m hearing back there is he’ll be in that late first somewhere.”

On what makes Karl-AnthonyTowns a good fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 1 and his character overall...

“The character, I don’t think there’s any question. Everybody that’s ever come in contact with him (loves him). The Timberwolves have probably contacted, and they’re like, oh my gosh, he’s one of the great kids of all-time – and he is. But there’s two things for Minnesota and Minnesota’s fans: The first thing is he is an unbelievable teammate. I want you to understand he’s the No. 1 pick, he played 24 minutes, and was fine, and cheered on Willie, and did everything he could to get Willie going and was fine with – if Aaron took all the shots, he didn’t care. He was a great teammate. That’s one. The second thing is, he likes
Minnesota. He said from day one, ‘I’ll go to Minnesota. I love it. Let’s build something.’ So I think those are the two things that are so important. And when you’re building a franchise and trying to get it done like Flip (Saunders) and Milt (Newton) are right now, which are with young guys – veteran guys understand how you’ve got to be together and how you have to be a great teammate to make it work. Young guys are going into the league just trying to score and get paid. Karl comes in, he is a great teammate. But more importantly, for the fans and the team up there, he’s fine. He said, ‘Let’s go Minnesota!’ So I think those are the two important things.” 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Calipari Summer Press Conference QUOTES...

                                                           Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari:

On the loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four ...
“First of all, I never thought we were going to lose last year. When we won a couple of games and how we won them, and then what we did to West Virginia, I just didn’t think we’d lose. It hurts because we had a chance, and even though we made history, we had a chance to be one of those iconic teams. I haven’t spent a lot of time reflecting, but the thing with this job is that stuff never ends. You’re always doing something. Even when I took some time earlier after the season, we were still in the throes of recruiting and I was on the phone, but it hurt us all. We all thought we were winning the whole thing. We thought we were going 40-0.”

On why UK lost to Wisconsin ...
“We didn’t play as well, but Wisconsin played great. Look, every team that we played this year played their best. Wisconsin at their best, they’re good. When you talk about teams last year: Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arizona, us, Duke, maybe one or two more, maybe Michigan State, which was playing well at the end. Those were the teams and we had to go through most of them to get there. The hard thing about that tournament is one game someone plays out of their mind and one game you don’t play up to par. When we had a four-point lead with five minutes to go, I don’t think there was anybody in the universe that didn’t think we were winning the game because we always did. It surprised me how we finished, but it happened. And you gotta give Wisconsin credit.”

On the roster for next season ...
“I feel good about it. I just think we will be different. Kind of excited about it. I think this may be one of those multiple pick-and-roll kind of teams. Could be more of a dribble drive team than I’ve had here in a while. I think we have a little bit of everything, and again there’s no one like anyone else on the team. There are not two guys that are similar. Every guy is different and has his own thing. It’s exciting because we’re still going to be good. I think college basketball will come back a little bit. This past year there were really good teams.”

On why it’s good to have a team with diverse skill sets ...
“Because they can worry about being the best versions of themselves. They don’t have to worry about anybody else. Just be your best and that’s going to be good enough for us and for that player.”

On looking forward to coaching without platooning ...
“That was hard last year. No. 1, I had never done it. And so there were all kinds of things we were dealing with, and not just on the basketball court. You’re basically having to sell how we’re doing this and how it’s going to benefit each player. And it did. Karl-Anthony Towns got better. And now he’s projected as the No. 1 pick. Willie Cauley-Stein got better. If we had play six or seven guys could Willie or Karl done what they had done? I don’t know. I do know this: We got better with the way we did it. Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari (Johnson), the (Harrison) twins, they all got better. So I don’t think anybody was hurt by it and our program obviously wasn’t hurt by it. We set records. We were historic. A little bit short of what we wanted to do, but still a historic team. And our thing every year is how do we just get guys better? How do we play that will benefit these players, which in the end benefits the program and benefits the University and all those things. There was a young woman from the military being interviewed. They asked her, ‘What makes a great leader in the military?’ Without hesitation she said, ‘They love their people.’ And it didn’t say
strategically this. They loved their people and they made decisions based on that. That’s what we do here. It’s not like you can be that way, but not care about results. You can do both. They are when you zero in on those, those get you more than you can get any other way in my opinion.”

On comparing the buildup to next season with his previous years at UK ...
“The other years we brought in some pretty good freshmen. We had some pretty good veterans and those were the teams that did well. When you talk about Tyler Ulis, everyone that talks to me about him says that they love him as a player. I was just with Steve Alford and he said, ‘I absolutely loved Ulis.’ Alex is going to be back. Before he got injured, you had people telling us that he was going to have a monster year. You watch him. I’ve had more people come up to me and say that now is Marcus Lee’s time to shine. He’s ready for it. You also look at Dominique (Hawkins) and what he’s been able to do. You have some veterans. Derek Wills, who now should not feel anxiety, but be able to come back and lead a group of young players who are pretty good.”

On Alex Poythress’ rehab ...
“He sent me some videos. He was doing some box jumping, he’s probably running at slow pace right now, but he’s running, jumping, doing stuff. But obviously it takes time.”

On Poythress playing at the No. 4 spot or the perimeter ...
“Depends, but he can do both. It’s nice that you can play, now obviously you guys remember down in the Bahamas where he was in that slot and he was ridiculous. So we’ll see. If that’s where he’s at his best, then that’s where we’ll play him.”

On other coaches hurting him in recruiting ...
“I don’t know if it was that, but there were a lot of things that were thrown, and look, here’s again, I put this out because I had heard LeBron had said it: Where his game changed when instead of worrying about being great, he was worried about the process to be great. It changed him. That’s what happens here. If you’re into ‘I just want to show you what I can do,’ it’s hard. You’re going to be here with six, seven other guys that can all play. If you want to be the only guy that can score. Some people think, ‘Well, my best chance of getting where I want to go is being the main guy and taking all the shots and playing all the minutes.’ Really? Ask Devin Booker. Really? But if you really believe that, and I’m not going to convince you of anything different, you won’t come here. So I don’t think it was just that, but it’s hard for me when 26 in six years, when they’ve had the academic success they’ve had, when they’ve had 14 players have graduated, three in three years. Where it’s more of a college experience for these kids. Where they have a lifetime education, so when they come back they can get their degree and where you come in here and perform and prepare yourself to go forward. You have to admit that our guys in the league have had great success. They’re not flaming out. They’re not all max contracts, but more than anybody else I’d say.”

On negative recruiting against UK given the program’s successes in recent NBA drafts ...
“They’re good. I mean really good. I started talking to a friend of mine and he started coming back with the answers and I said, believe me, I know all that, but this thing is hard because again, a lot of times kids are looking for the easiest route to what they want to do. They think, well, I’m there with seven other guys or six other guys and they all can play, how hard am I going to have to work? I’d rather be my only guy and I will get all of the balls. You try to explain that’s not the path. The path is the process to get better and that that is what you enjoy. What we did with Anthony (Davis) and Karl(-Anthony Towns) both. Karl just phoned me yesterday. He called yesterday and we were talking about we forced him to do stuff he didn’t want to do. Like, you’re going to get in the post and you’re going to become tougher. We did it with Anthony and now look at Anthony’s game. Now they’re all writing about Karl like he’s got all this. Yeah, but you had to have him establish toughness, a post presence, free-throw shooting, all the things like being able to guard pick and roll. So it moved Karl from a guy that they said boy, if only he were tougher. Now all of the sudden he is a lock to be the No. 1 pick.”

What does Mychal Mulder bring to the team ...
“The good news is he’s played in a terrific program where there were other really good players he played with, yet he was still a First Team All-American. He can really shoot. Terrific athletically. We may press more. This may be a team that I press more with. May go back to some of the presses I used at Memphis. But until I get everyone, we won’t know that. But he can, with his length and his athleticism, he gives us that – Charles (Matthews) gives us a different look than he gives us. Charles is more of a slasher. And Mychal is making 3s. They’re both pretty athletic. Mychal is probably more so than Charles. Charles is probably a little tougher. They’re just different, which is perfect.”

On his expectations and outlook for Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins ...
“It doesn’t matter what I envision it’s what they envision for themselves. And they’ve got to come in and do it. Which is why (I made) my comment don’t come here not expecting to play this time. You expect to play. Then you make that happen. You fight for your spot. You improve your skills. ‘Well, if I just had more time.’ No, then you’d be bad for more time. No, it isn’t about more time. It’s you earn your minutes. You – and I’m not saying those two specifically, I’m saying any player. ‘Well, if I just got more time.’ Really? What would you be? 0 for 12 now? ‘Well, you know, I wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake.’ Really? Or would you just make twice as many mistakes? And then the confidence that they have you build that through the process and enjoying the day-to-day grind of the process. Instead of – I’m going to be great, no I’m going to go through the process to be great. And then go into games and perform. You build your confidence. If you’re not confident then no one on the court is confident with you, and the coach is not confident in you. If you’re confident then the players around you are confident with you, and the coach is confident – ‘he’s alright.’ But, you have to be confident and you have to build that yourself. And there’s only one way to do that – through the process of getting better and better and better which brings great joy to you, more than the anxiety of worrying about being great. Just go every day. And then when you get in games – perform. You build your own confidence. So, that’s for all of the guys that we talk about not just Dom and Derek. But, I’m proud of where they’ve gone with themselves as students, with themselves on the basketball floor – how they’ve improved, how much stronger they are, how much they’ve grown and matured. Both of them. Derek has matured more than I can even tell you. Now, he’s got to get on that court and it can’t be ‘Ah we wish he could play more.’ It’s ‘Look at him play. He needs to get more minutes.’ You know?”

On what Derek Willis has to do to get more playing time and what he meant when he said Willis doesn’t have anxiety anymore ... “Well, they all do (have anxiety). Anyone that’s trying to break their way through and doesn’t know exactly how it’s all going to play out, you have anxiety. I think he’s gotten better and better. He’s done great in school. And he and Dom are on, like, a normal college path. I mean, the first couple of years you don’t play a whole lot, you’re trying to bust through your third year, and you’re trying to make sure your senior year is, you know, you’re fulfilling your own dreams. But they’re on a normal path. It’s just, for some reason here, it doesn’t seem normal but it is normal.”

On fighting the perception of what’s wrong with a player if he stays more than one year ...
“They tried to say that with Willie. Willie went from where he was to being more prepared. I mean, it’s all in each individual player, but yeah, they would feel that. But it’s not just here; it’s everywhere. If a kid was a really good player and he went to a school saying, ‘I want to be the only guy that can play,’ and he gets in there and they start double
teaming him and now all of a sudden he’s there three or four years, did he fail or did you pick the wrong school? Or did you have the wrong idea of how you were going to get there? Or did you really fail? Or did you do it the right way? I mean, each kid is different, and Dom and Derek came in on a different track than some of the other kids. But I’ll tell you what, they both have gotten better. They’re both great kids and great students, and I’m rooting for them. They know that. And I told them, ‘You better come back here expecting to play.’ I told them that at the end of the year: ‘You come back here expecting to play.’ Now you go make it happen. I can’t do it for them. They’re going to have to do it.”

On his expectations and outlook for Willis and Hawkins ...
“It doesn’t matter what I envision. It’s what they envision for themselves. And they’ve got to come in and do it. Which is why (I made) my comment, ‘Don’t come here not expecting to play this time.’ You expect to play. Then you make that happen. You fight for your spot. You improve your skills. ‘Well, if I just had more time.’ No, then you’d be bad for more time. No, it isn’t about more time. It’s you earn your minutes. You – and I’m not saying those two specifically, I’m saying any player. ‘Well, if I just got more time.’ Really? What would you be? 0 for 12 now? ‘Well, you know, I wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake.’ Really? Or would you just make twice as many mistakes? And then the confidence that they have, you build that through the process and enjoying the day-to-day grind of the process. Instead of I’m going to be great, no, I’m going to go through the process to be great. And then go into games and perform. You build your confidence. If you’re not confident then no one on the court is confident with you, and the coach is not confident in you. If you’re confident then the players around you are confident with you, and the coach is confident – ‘he’s alright.’ But, you have to be confident and you have to build that yourself. And there’s only one way to do that: through the process of getting better and better and better, which brings great joy to you, more than the anxiety of worrying about being great. Just go every day. And then when you get in games, perform. You build your own confidence. So, that’s for all of the guys that we talk about not just Dom and Derek. But, I’m proud of where they’ve gone with themselves as students, with themselves on the basketball floor, how they’ve improved, how much stronger they are, how much they’ve grown and matured – both of them. Derek has matured more than I can even tell you. Now, he’s got to get on that court and it can’t be, ‘Ah we wish he could play more.’ It’s, ‘Look at him play. He needs to get more minutes.’ You know?”