Friday, January 13, 2017

Kentucky Players Pre Auburn Press Conference Transcript

#0, De’Aaron Fox, Freshman, Guard

On his jumper showing continued improvement … “It’s just something that’ll help my game. If I’m making the midrange and they start stepping up, I can just hesitate and blow by anybody. It’s just going to help my game completely.”

On if he’s talked to Diallo Hamidou … “Yeah, I’ve talked to him, but I knew him before he came here. I mean, he was already a friend. Now he’s just getting his feet wet.”

On Diallo as a basketball player … “Back in high school he was so strong, big and physical. More physical than everybody. He could just bully his way to the basket. He’s always been able to shoot the ball. If you’re in the way when he’s on his way to the basket you’re most likely going to get dunked on.”

On having another high-level player to practice against … “Definitely, definitely. He’s going to make us better and we’re going to make him better. Like I said, he’s a combination of speed and power. Just something that not too many people have. At a wing spot, it’s going to help us (with) him guarding me, Malik (Monk) and Isaiah (Briscoe), just switching off of all of us, and then us guarding him as well. It’s going to make us all better.”

On if he talked to Diallo on his recruiting visit … “Yeah, even if you’re not going to play, I think that half a year here, that extra summer here, is just going to make him better.”

On if Coach Cal has talked to him about calling plays at the end of games … “Yeah, he has a little bit. I’m still young, a freshman. It just comes from me trying to be an extension of him on the court. But at this point right now, it’s Isaiah and him. They’ve been doing it toward the end of games. But it’s something I need to learn how to do.”

On what the difficult part is of learning how to do it … “Just know which ones to call, how much time on the shot clock to run it. Different variations of the situation.”

On if he likes Briscoe handling the ball in those situations, freeing him up offensively … “It works for us, vice versa. Sometimes we’ll put him in the middle of the zone or on the baseline, or me and him switch. But last game I was effective at it so I stayed there. Sometimes he may be more effective in that game and he’ll stay down there.”

On what Coach Cal has told him about being empowered … “Most of the time he says ‘will to win,’ but just the empowerment of being able to take control of your team. I think the second half I kind of controlled the pace of the game. That’s just something I have to be able to withstand the whole game, be able to control the game without getting in foul trouble, do it defensively without reaching in, using hands or bodying someone. I think Zay did it last game for the most part.”

On where he can be more disciplined … “Defensively, and just being ready. Sometimes I’m not ready for the play. Sometimes it’ll catch me by surprise and you’ll see me jump and start using my speed to catch up. But just being ready at this point.”

On if there’s relief that media is now asking him positive questions about his shooting … “I mean, I don’t think it’s a sigh of relief. It’s just something I’ve been working on. Just trying to get back.”

On adapting to the reality that his shooting percentage will have highs and lows … “I knew it was going to happen. Even in high school I had stretches where I’d make every shot and stretches where I missed a lot of shots. It’s just part of the game. Everyone is going to go through those shooting woes.”

On if his shooting woes are due to form or not being ready … “For me it’s just being ready. Just be ready to shoot. Most of the time right now when I’m ready to shoot, it’s been going in. It’s just being ready at this point.”

On if part of the shooting woes are attributable to confidence … “Yeah, it can definitely be confidence. If you’re not confident about your shot then nine times out of 10 it’s not going to go in. But if you’re confident, even if you’re missing, just believe the next shot is going to go in.”

On how hard he thinks it would be to join a college team midseason out of high school … “It would have been extremely difficult for me. I didn’t really struggle at the beginning, but I think in the middle of the season when everybody is starting to try to hit their peaks and you’re just coming in – you’re at the bottom of the barrel, you don’t really know what’s going on – I think it’s extremely difficult coming in midseason like that.”

On if there’s any pressure on Diallo … “I don’t think you have any pressure. You’re literally just coming in to get better. You’re playing against some of the top players in the country and they have kind of a year, year and a half, and he’s got a couple people that are a lot older than him. At this point he doesn’t have anything to lose. He’s just coming in with a clear mind, and just ready to get better.”

On how Diallo could help them in practice … “Even though he just came out of high school, he’s so strong and athletic. He’s just another guy to help us defensively get better. Him being able to guard us in practice will make him better. He’ll be ready for next year. Him guarding us in practice right now I think at first might be a little difficult for him just adjusting to this level, but once he gets used to it he’s going to be a heck of a player.”

On Diallo in the open court … “It’s ridiculous. If he played now he could be one of the best players in the country in the open court. He’s so fast and athletic. I mean he’s like 6-(foot)-6 with like a 7-foot wingspan. It’s extremely difficult to stop him.”

#3, Bam Adebayo, Freshman, Forward

On what Coach CAl is focused on following the win at Vanderbilt …
“Just more discipline. We were relaxed when we got up and they came back, so it’s about focusing on discipline.”

On executing down the stretch in a tough road environment …
“We’re getting better as a team, as individuals, and we’re all buying in.”

On Hamidou Diallo joining the team …
“He’s just getting used to it so far. We’re just showing him the ropes around here like where the classes are, food places and basketball in general. We all help him out the best that we can, but mostly its Dom (Hawkins), Isaac (Humphries) and Isaiah (Briscoe). I haven’t seen him practice yet. This is his first practice so we’ll see how he plays.” 

On having any interaction with Diallo on the AAU circuit …
“I knew Hamidou last summer because we played his team, and after you play somebody like that you speak to them a lot. I spoke to Hamidou at tournaments from then up to now.”

On what Diallo brings to this team in practice …
“It makes us compete more. It gets us all better offensively and defensively because he’s a new pickup and he’s one of those guys that’s new to the team, so it’s going to be fun figuring him out.”

On your individual game is right now …
“Everything as usual: free throws, defense, offense – just the whole nine yards. The main thing is to just try to get better.” 

On Camp Cal’s impact on this team going forward …
“It’s helped me become a better player and a better teammate. We all came closer as a family. We’re just working to win.”

On winning a close game on the road …
“We needed one of those, because we don’t want to have one too late in the season and it cost us, so I would rather have one early than late in the season.”

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