SEC Champion Cats Celebrate Senior Day

March 5, 2010

Replay of Live Chat with Seniors

SEC Champion Cats Celebrate Senior Day

After clinching a share of its 44th SEC Championship on Wednesday against Georgia, the Wildcats go for the title outright on Senior Day Sunday against Florida.

The Cats claimed the title after an 80-68 win at Georgia led by Patrick Patterson and John Wall.

Kentucky Florida 
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Florida Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sun., Mar. 7, 12:00 p.m
Coverage TV: CBS
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Live Video via CBS
Text Updates
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Florida Gators at a Glance
Head Coach Billy Donovan
Overall Record 365-156
2009-10 Record 20-10, 9-6 SEC
Ranking nr
Series Record Kentucky leads 87-32
Last Meeting Kentucky defeated Florida 89-77 in Lexington, Ky. earlier this season
2009-10 Team Stats UK UF
Scoring Offense 79.9 71.7
Scoring Defense 65.6 64.7
FG Percentage 47.8% 44.4%
3-point FG Percentage 34.6% 30.8%
FT Percentage 68.2% 70.6%
Rebound Margin +9.1 +2.4
Assists 14.9 14.2
Turnovers 14.7 12.3
2009-10 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (17.0)
UF: Kenny Boynton (13.5)
Rebounding UK: DeMarcus Cousins (10.1)
UF: Alex Tyus (7.0)
Assists UK: John Wall (6.2)
UF: Erving Walker (5.0)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Patrick Patterson (41.2%)
UF: Chandler Parsons (36.7%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.8)
UF: Alex Tyus (1.0)
Steals UK: John Wall (1.9)
UF: Erving Walker (1.5)

Patterson poured in 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. He also blocked four shots for the second time in three games.

Wall led all scorers with 24 points to go along with six assists and three steals, game-highs in both categories.

Darnell Dodson also scored in double-figures with 11 points, including three three-pointers.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On Senior Day ...

"I would say that it is going to be an unbelievable crowd and they are going to appreciate the guys and what they have done for this program. We will honor three guys and obviously Patrick (Patterson) because he will graduate in May. That is what we will do from here on. If a player graduates his junior year and has an opportunity to leave, we will then honor them. If they come back, we will do it twice. If he hadn't graduated, then we probably would not have done it."

On the importance of Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson and Mark Krebs ...

"It is why we have stayed together as a team. I really believe that we can count on them, I really do. I mean, I think Ramon and Perry last game and the game before, I think we can count on them. So, not only have they accepted that some guys in front of them are better than them, but they've also accepted that they have to be ready. I've seen many times in the NCAA Tournament a player who has not played much, all of a sudden make his name because he's prepared and in the right frame of mind. I've seen it many times. We had a kid, (Edgar) Padilla, who played against Kentucky in the Final Four. Kentucky had us down by double digits, they had nine NBA players on that team, they had us down double digits. Carmelo (Travieso) got in foul trouble, so I put in Padilla, and you have to understand, he hadn't played all year. He ends up making us run back into the game, and we're down by two. From that, he got a contract in Argentina. I mean, Billy Packer said, `John is putting in Padilla. This kid has no stats; I mean what is he doing?" Then the kid went in, and became a star that day, and got a contract and brought us back against a team that had nine First Round NBA draft picks. We had a chance to beat them, which was incredible."

On doing something for John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins if they decide to come back...

"Well, you don't know if they're coming back or not, and they haven't graduated yet, so no. I mean, if they had graduated, yeah. But I mean it's tough in one year."

On playing Florida at the beginning of the year and how they've changed since then...

"Well I just saw them play against Vandy; they had the game and they lost a shooter. They just lost the kid that's making every shot. I just saw them against Georgia, I just finished watching the tape. They went down by 17 at Georgia, like everybody did, Vanderbilt, Tennessee. Those teams stayed down and got smashed, and (Florida) came back. The kid has a wide-open look for a three, and tried to pass it with one second on the clock, and threw it to a guy and it went out-of-bounds, and that's how they lost. So, I mean they fight; they have good guard play, athletic, skilled. It'll be a hard game. I mean the game down there was hard; it was a tie game with a few minutes to go. Eric Bledsoe went absolutely crazy. Daniel Orton played out of his mind, if you remember he blocked three balls in one possession. So, we had one of our best efforts, and barely beat them."

On how some of the players have said they don't want to share an SEC title and preaching that to them...

"Not really, no. I brought it up to them only because I saw it. The body language, which I didn't like in the last shoot-around, which I said "Do you understand, the big picture here is that seed. I mean if winning this game helps us get that seed, then that's great."

On how secure you feel about that seed now since some of the "experts" have said you can stumble, and still be in good shape...

"No, that's not true. The good news is, they'll take the body of work. But if you lose your last two of the season, it's hard to say they should be a No. 1 seed. It could happen because everyone else stumbles. They all stumble, you stumble, there's no one jumping, so you end up by default, you're back up to the pay-table and you get a No. 1 Seed. Hopefully, that's not what happens to us, but every game you play, you want it in your own hands, not how someone else plays. So you want to take care of business."

On what Mark Krebs has meant to the team...

"Great teammate. He and I spoke the other day, and I said I feel bad I haven't had you in practice. You know, I practice 10 guys, most of them practice 11, so if you're 13, you're not on that floor much. But he said, `That's ok, last year I never walked off that floor, ever.' He goes, `I was on the floor for four hours.' I said, `Well, that was at the beginning of the year right?' He says, `No, that was at the end of the year. Four hours.' So he said he's fine, he's getting his own work in. I'd love to see him play great. Go in there and play because he deserves it."

#5, Ramon Harris, Sr., G/F

On the meaning of Senior Day...

"It is going to mean a lot, especially after coming in halfway through my freshman year and graduating in three-and-a-half years. It's something that's not easy. I'm happy that I have the opportunity to do that and do something special with us having the opportunity to be a Final Four team."

On playing for three coaches at Kentucky and enduring injury...

"That is why I tell myself that every day I should enjoy the blessings that I have. I can get up and go to school and go to class, even hang out with my teammates. Pretty soon, all of this is coming to an end. Hard work pays off. It's not easy going through three coaches, but I learned something from each coach I played for. It's something I can use after my college career."

On coming back from last season's injury...

"My mom always told me, `With every storm comes a blessing.' I consider that a storm, going through something you didn't plan, something you didn't want. You have to learn to deal with it and continue to fight on. Now, the blessing is having an opportunity and being in the situation our team is in now. We know we have the opportunity to do what a lot of teams can't."

On becoming a role player after playing as a starter last season...

"It hasn't been that hard because of the success of the team. The team is 28-2 and there are a lot of teams just playing to get the season over with. They don't have a postseason. Their conference tournament is it, and we have a chance to play beyond that. It wasn't hard for me at all."

#12, Mark Krebs, Sr., G

On choosing to walk-on at Kentucky instead of playing elsewhere ...

"I don't know. I guess I faced this decision once I left high school and my dreams of going to a Division I school and playing on TV were lost when I made the decision to go to Thomas More (College). For my family it was the best decision, and the way it turned out I would never go back and change the decision I made. When I went to Thomas More, I realized how much I wanted to play at a higher level. Coach (Tubby) Smith took a chance on me, and I wrote him a letter and the next thing I know I'm going to practices and working out with the team. It all happened fast over the course of a summer. I decided to go for it, and it worked out."

On thinking about his time at UK with three different coaches ...

"It's now more than ever I think about it a lot. I got to know some good guys and next thing you know, they are gone and a new coach comes in and I didn't know I was going to still be around. Then Coach (Billy Gillispie) came in and gave me an opportunity and that's when I really took it serious. Then Coach Cal came and again I talked to my family and gave it all I had, and it all worked out for me. He gave me a scholarship and still to this day I think no one deserves everything I've gotten, but it's just amazing what all I have been through. It taught me a lot, and I think it has been great for me."

On your relationship with the other seniors...

"I'm definitely not going to change my number. We are like brothers. Even with Pat (Patrick Patterson) we all made the transition together from Coach (Gillispie) to Coach Cal. When I leave here, the toughest part will be missing the friendships."

On what his future plans are ...

"I haven't really thought about it, but I get that question a lot. I would like to get a job, but I'm living in the moment right now. I could see myself getting a good job and working in the business world and if it takes me into the coaching world, I would love that. But you just have to go along with life and see where it takes you."

#21, Perry Stevenson, Sr., F

On playing for three coaches at Kentucky...

"It's been fun. You get a few laughs out of it now and winning helps too. It's definitely been an experience. If I had to do it again, I probably would. I have learned a bunch and you can always learn more from three coaches than you can one. If I ever decide to coach one day, I will be able to speed it up, slow it down, dribble-drive, and post."

On getting a chance from coach Tubby Smith...

"Not everybody would give a six-foot-nine, 190 (pounds) guy an opportunity to play at this high of a level. He believed in me and thought I could do it. That is pretty much the reason I came to play for him, along with the fans and tradition."

On Mark Krebs and Ramon Harris...

"Those two guys have been in this position with me through three coaches. If they change their (phone) numbers I'll be upset about it because I might have to give them a call or text every now and then just to see how they're doing. Those guys are pretty special to me. We have been through a lot."

On becoming a role player after playing as a starter last season...

"Being a starter, we ended up in the NIT. But, coming off the bench now, we are No. 3 in the country and we are playing for a No. 1 seed in the (NCAA) tournament. I don't have a problem changing roles because it was for the better."

On needing one more block to become one of Kentucky's top five blockers of all time...

"Any kind of accomplishment at this high of a level, at this great of a university should mean a lot to anybody. I pride myself on that because it's what I was best at in high school and I kind of stuck with it. It just means a lot to me to be in this position."

#54, Patrick Patterson, Jr., F

On if he has made a decision on next year ...

"No, not yet. I'm participating in the festivities because I have received my degree, and my whole family is coming in to see me graduate. As far as taking the next step to the NBA, I'm not sure about that yet. I'm doing it just in case I won't get to do it (senior day activities) next year."

On what it means when other people and coaches comment on his consistent hard work ...

"It means a lot to me when other coaches and players recognize me as a player that works hard, never stops playing, and leaves it all on the court. It just shows my work ethic is up there, and throughout all the years my intensity hasn't changed."

On if it was his idea to participate in media day ...

"It was mine, and I thought about it and DeWayne (Peevy) and John (Hayden) asked me if I wanted to and I said yes right from the start. If I was going to be given the opportunity to do it, I was going to do it no matter what. And once they asked me, it was an easy, fast decision."

On whom he thinks will cry at Senior Day ...

"Ramon will without a doubt, maybe Krebs, and I'm not sure about Perry. But I know Ramon will get emotional, and I don't know if I will. It depends on if I look at my mom, and if she is crying then I will cry."

On if things have worked out the way he would have liked ...

"I would've liked it to work out a lot better, from coming in my freshman year with my ankle injury and all the hardships we had last season. I'd like to take away some of those things, but I'm satisfied with the choice that I made and it was an extremely tough decision. All in all Kentucky was the best choice for me, and I've loved every moment of being here."

On how important is it to win on Sunday and seal the SEC regular season championship ...

"It's very important. We believe that we deserve the SEC title and we don't want to share it with Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt will most likely win their last home game, and if we want the title we're going to have to win on Sunday. We respect Vanderbilt as a team, but we believe we deserve the title."