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Q&A with Sam Malone: UK a 'dream come true' for walk-on

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Sam Malone is a walk-on from Boston, Mass. The freshman's father, Joe, is a long-time friend of Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Calipari offered a walk-on spot to Malone and the guard accepted right away. Malone sat down with Cat Scratches to talk about his decision to come to UK and what life has been like in Lexington, Ky., since he arrived in August.

Cat Scratches: When did you first find out about the opportunity come and play for Coach Cal at UK?
Sam Malone: The fall or the winter time. My parents had come down for a game and Cal asked what I was doing next year and I wasn't sure yet. He asked if I wanted a spot and I took it right away. It was like a dream come true. I didn't even know what to say. I was jumping up and down in excitement.

CS: If it hadn't been for the opportunity at UK, what were your college plans?
SM: It was always dream to play Division I ball. After the spring of my junior year I got hurt. I was out the whole summer and the first half of my senior year (with his third knee injury during high school). That limited me with recruiting. I was really in a tough spot and Cal helped me out.

CS: Did you have any idea what to expect about UK basketball before you arrived on campus?
SM: My brother (Joe) is a junior here. He's told me how crazy the fans are and how much they love basketball. I thought I had an idea but since I've been down here it's been another level.

Has there been anything about UK fans that has particularly surprised you?
SM: When Anthony Davis shouted me out on Twitter I got about 800 followers in half a day.

CS: How does life in Lexington compare to home?
SM: The people are different, the food is different, everything is different. I miss the food up in Boston definitely but the people are a lot nicer here.

CS: What are your goals for your career at Kentucky?
SM: I'm just looking help my team get better, get good grades in the classroom and whatever I can do.

The walk-on program has a rich tradition at UK. Are you very familiar with how UK fans make a habit of embracing walk-ons as their own?
SM: I've heard a little bit. I've got an outgoing personality so maybe I'll make a few friends.

Has Jarrod Polson prepared you at all for the cries of 'SHOOT!' that will come from the crowd when you do enter a game?
SM: That's what I've heard. They want you to shoot the ball and I'm ready to shoot the ball.

CS: What kind of player can fans expect to see when you hit the floor?
SM: I'm a tough point guard and a good distributor. I'm a good shooter and great defender. Hopefully I'll be able to help my teammates get better.

CS: What do you think when you look around the gym and see some of the most talented players in the nation?
SM: You have to take a step back sometimes, but when you're with them you wouldn't even be able to tell they're great players. They're just humble people and nice guys. They've welcomed me and Brian with open arms. Everyone is included in everything. They're always in our rooms and we're always talking. It's great.

CS: What do you see in your future after college?
SM: I'd love to get involved in basketball in some way. I love the sport.

CS: What is your relationship with Coach Cal like?
SM: He's a great guy to learn from. I watch him and pick up on everything he does. I've known him since I can remember. I've gone to camps every year since I was 10 years old, whether it was Memphis or Kentucky.

CS: With how much you've been through in your basketball career, how proud is your family to see where you are now?
SM: They're definitely really proud. Overcoming three knee surgeries was tough and they know I'm working hard down here.

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with this team you may be hearing "shoot" alot Sam...especially early in the year...can't wait for the season to start

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  • David Ball: with this team you may be hearing "shoot" alot Sam...especially early in the year...can't wait for the season to start read more