Friday, January 27, 2017

Kentucky Player Pre-Kansas Press Conference QUOTES

Kentucky Players

#0, De’Aaron Fox, Freshman, G:

On the guard matchup against Kansas … “You obviously look forward to playing good players and good teams. They got a lot of veterans that know what they’re doing. It’s going to be a fun matchup.”

On if he felt like he didn’t have his top speed against Tennessee coming off his ankle injury … “I feel like it’s always going to be like that coming off of an injury or being hurt. Just getting my rhythm back and just trying to get ready to play.”

On what they took from the Tennessee game … “We just didn’t come out with energy. We didn’t really play well, they hit some tough shots and we lost the game. Right now we’re just getting back to detail. Just focusing on little things.”

On why the energy wasn’t there … “I don’t know. Some days you just don’t bring energy and we just didn’t bring it last game.”

On Coach Cal saying Bam Adebayo is beginning to ask for the ball more … “We know he can pass the ball and he’s not selfish at all. I mean, we know we gotta make an emphasis to get him the ball and sometimes just feel like we can’t make the pass or – I don’t know what goes through the other players’ heads. I try to get him the ball as much as I can, and if they don’t double we know he’s going to score, and if they do double we know he’s going to make the right play.”

On if it’s difficult defensively to not be called for fouls but stay aggressive … “Yeah, it is. Sometimes you just have to have a feel for how they’re calling the game. Most games are called differently. At that point it’s just adjusting.”

On Kentucky’s defense breaking down late in shot clocks … “We know teams aren’t going to try to come down and shoot the ball in 10 to 15 seconds with us just because that’s how we want them to play. But when teams start holding the ball for 20, 25 seconds and then getting a shot, sometimes our defense breaks down. Playing defense that long, it’s hard to play defense that long. Just gotta be extremely disciplined and sometimes we just breakdown. That’s what they did the whole game and they were successful at it.”

On knowing when to attack offensively and when to move the ball … “Even when you’re passing around everyone should always still be in attack mode. When we don’t have it in transition, it’s just pull it out and then run something. But I mean, I feel like you should always stay in attack mode.”

On how close he feels like he is to taking over the team where Coach Cal doesn’t need to make calls from the bench … “It’s still comes down to me just learning how to play, learning how everybody’s playing and just knowing what he wants exactly. As a point guard, you want to be the extension of coach on the court. Sometimes it’s just the relationship with the coach so you can read his mind and he can read yours. He doesn’t really have to say anything for you to know what to tell your teammates.”

On what a game like Saturday’s is like to prepare for as a player … “Of course it’s difficult to prepare for because it’s such a good team and they have such good players at every position, but it’s something that you want out of a competitor if it’s any sport.”

On what concerns him about going against older, veteran guards … “Just someone with the experience, has a savvy that I don’t have. He’s been here for years and he’s been in big games like this. I’ve only played in a few. He has the experience that I don’t, but at the end of the day you gotta go out there and play.”

On how important it is for the guards to not get caught up in the one-on-one battles Saturday … “I mean, it’s extremely important just because our guards aren’t the only players. We still have Bam, Wenyen (Gabriel), Derek (Willis), guys in other spots that can contribute. I mean, I can’t speak for anybody else. It’s a matchup of course, but it’s not a one-on-one game; it’s not a two-on-two game.”

On if he could tell the team was “slipping away” from what made them so good earlier in the year … “Honestly, for me, I saw we weren’t getting the transition buckets that we were getting the past few weeks where the ball wouldn’t even touch the floor. It’d be pass, pass, pass, layup. I could see that we weren’t doing it as well just because our defense, we haven’t been talking as much. In practice, it’s really just the little things. Like, it’s not big things that actually caused us to lose that last game. It was just little things. That’s what we’re just trying to touch up on this weekend and get ready for this game.”

On how Isaiah Briscoe has responded to the past few games … “In practice he’s picked up his energy. In the game he had 14 rebounds, so he’s been doing stuff other than scoring. When you’re not scoring, when you can do something else that’s great just because you don’t have to always score to contribute to your team. I think that’s what he does.”

On if he gets “geeked up” for a game like this because it’s Kentucky and Kansas … “I mean, for me I’m not going to get geeked up. I know what Kansas is; they recruited me. I know about tradition. I know about all that. It’s going to be a big game, but I just feel like you gotta stay level-headed and go through every game the same.”

On both teams coming off losses … “Honestly, it made me feel better when I found out they lost, just so we’re not the only team coming off a loss. … If we both came off losses or if we both came off wins, it’s going to be a big game no matter what.”

#25, Dominique Hawkins, Senior, G:

On what they have focused on since the loss …
“We’re just touching up on some stuff, like communication and being able to be more focused and paying attention to what Coach is teaching us.”

On what is special about Kansas’ backcourt …
“They got a tremendous backcourt. I remember last year playing against them. They did really well against us. We’re going to have to contain them in some sort of way.”

On what they learned from last year’s matchup with Kansas’ backcourt …
“That they’re very aggressive and they can score in many ways. They’re pretty much kind of just like us. They push the ball up the court, try to score in transition.”

On where the team is defensively …
“We’re improving. It’s only January right now, so every day in practice we just want to continue to be better and communicate with each other on defense. Hopefully we get better every day.”

On whether communication is the big thing on defense …
“I feel like it is, definitely. We need to communicate more and be more focused and pay attention to the scouting report.”

On the importance of not getting in a one-on-one battle with Kansas’ guards …
“It’s very important. Coach is going to calm us down. We’re going to be very hyped for the game and once the game starts Coach probably will calm us and we’ll just have to play basketball, as we love to, but you never know what will happen.”

On what happens in players’ minds when they stop listening to the coach …
“I guess it’s having a young team, is what happened. Guys don’t really focus in on what Coach is saying and they just want to play basketball the way they do. We’re going to have to learn how to play basketball together and the way that Coach Cal wants us to.”

On the talk about UK needing to win this game to remain in contention for a No. 1 seed …
“I just think we need to come into the game relaxed and just play the game that we’ve been playing early on during the season. Whatever will happen at the end is what’s going to happen.”

On whether GameDay adds more incentive to play well …
“I just think—it’s probably motivation for a lot of other people, but I just look at it as another game. I feel like a lot of people view our games and are watching on TV as well, but this one’s just going to get a little bit more extra attention.”

On whether that’s the advice he would give to younger players about GameDay …
“Yeah, that’s what I would give to them. It’s just another game. It’s going to be crazy in Rupp, probably the loudest of the season, but just take it one game at a time.”

On how much they hear about getting the ball into the post …
“We hear it a lot, but there’s just some times that we feel that there’s another play that we could make. Bam, as he is, he doesn’t holler for the ball at all times, but sometimes he’s wide open and we need to get him the ball more.”

On whether it can be difficult at times to get the ball to Bam Adebayo …
“It’s difficult at times because they know that Bam, he’s a tremendous player when he gets the ball in the post and it’s hard to get it to him because they’re usually denying him already to trap him.”

On this being an opportunity to bounce back from a loss …
“We’re just going to take it as another game. We know that everybody’s attention is on it. It’s a big game to everybody else, but it’s just another game for us, a regular-season game, and we just want to come out and compete.”

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