Lee, Poythress, Ulis Press Conference

April 29, 2015

Final Season Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Kentucky men's basketball returners Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis met with the media on Wednesday before wrapping up their academic obligations over the next two weeks and heading home for the offseason. Please see below for a transcript and video of their interviews.

#22, Alex Poythress, F

On his current condition ...
"I'm jogging right now. I'll probably start some single leg jumps and stuff soon. I'm progressing. It's been a struggle and a journey. That's how it is with ACL injuries. It'll all be worth it when I finish rehab and everything. I'll be fine for the preseason. "

On what he's learned through his injury and rehab ...
"I'm mentally strong. Don't get down on yourself. Keep your head high."

On what Coach Calipari wants him to be next year ...
"He just wants me to step up and be a leader of this team. He wants me to run practice."
On how he sees next year's team shaping up ...
"I think we'll be fine. We have a lot of talent coming in. We have a lot of talent already."

On the pressure of playing at Kentucky ...
"The pressure is going to be the same every year. I'm used to it by now. The new guys will have to learn that. Tyler, Marcus and I will be there to help them along the way. It's just hard. When you get here, you have to face reality and everything, but I feel like we have a great group of guys coming in and they'll be able to handle it."

On if the team feels like it has anything to prove next year ...
"You have to prove anything in life. Nothing is going to be handed to you so you have to go out and prove it."

#00, Marcus Lee, F

On players like Alex Poythress and Tyler Ulis having more to metaphorically "eat" next season  ...
"Definitely. We've talked about that already. Especially when Alex comes back, it's going to be game over. That's how we've been thinking about it."

On Kentucky still adding players for next season ...
"I mean we still need enough players to play the game so I can see why they're like that. Last year we were overly blessed with so many players that could play that it didn't really matter if everybody had a great game or not. This year everybody has to be on the ball. We have to push each other even harder."

On Coach Calipari saying it's his and Poythress' time ...
"To me and Alex it just means we have to get ourselves right. We have to get our bodies right for each game and each practice. We know we have to push each other. We have to push our team to where we need to be."

On Coach Calipari saying next year people will say he should have played Lee more the past two years ...
"I haven't left this place (the practice gym) since we got back. That's the only thing I've been trying to prove. Like I said, we've had great players. When you have so many great players with such little time it's hard. When you're here with great players that don't have attitudes and you do everything together you don't think about that."

On all the time he's been spending in the gym practicing ...
"I walk in the gym and I'll see Tyler in here. I'll see Alex doing form shooting. Even though Alex can't really run, he's still working hard. That's what's going to make us really good this year."

On what he's been trying to improve ...
"I'm not going to tell you that. This (the practice gym) is my place. You guys can figure that out when it comes."

On the opportunity that awaits him ...
"It's a great opportunity. It kind of just reminds you of your high school year where you're kind of just starting over and starting new. You're able to just be free and do whatever you want."

#3 Tyler Ulis, G

On how the past few weeks been since deciding to return ...
"It's been fun. Just been going to class and working out. Just trying to gain weight and prepare for next season."

On Coach Calipari telling him to get his guys ready for another run at the national championship ...
"I remember the whole thing. He texted me like a day after we lost to Wisconsin. Told me he wants to coach me again and make another run at this, and you know I was all down for it and I can't wait to start again."

On if he views that as now he is a leader on the team ...
"Yeah, I feel like he wants me to lead the team and especially as a point guard. So I have to step up and do a lot more than I did last year."

On what he was feeling watching the announcement of players declaring for the NBA ...
"Happy because you know they and we all have the same dream and they made theirs come true. They worked hard to get here and to get where they are going."

On what is it going to take for next year's team to be successful ...
"A lot of hard work and a lot of teaching and listening to the coaches. With the freshmen coming in, we have an entirely new team with seven people leaving, but with the leadership of me, Marcus and Alex I feel like we will be fine."

On if he has been paying attention to the new recruits ...
"I knew (Isaiah) Briscoe, Charles (Matthews) and I kind of know Skal (Labissiere). I have heard he is a great player, I have seen him play a couple times and I feel like they all are going to fit in. Briscoe is great with the ball. Charles runs the lane and finishes at the rim. You know Skal is just an all-around great player. I feel like we will make another run at this."

On how his role changes now that he is a leader ...
"I have to lead more and be more of a leader on and off the court. I will probably play more minutes than last year. I won't be behind the twins. They took a lot off of our shoulders this year and I just have to be able to step up more"