Kentucky Opens Season with Pikeville Exhibition

Nov. 2, 2014

Kentucky welcomes Pikeville to Rupp Arena for an exhibition game on Sunday, November 2. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and tip is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Pikeville (exh)
Sunday, Nov. 2 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via SEC Network+
Live Audio
Text Updates

Kentucky Associate Head Coach Kenny Payne - October 31, 2014

Opening statement ...
"First of all I want to say a big congratulations to Coach Stoops. What he's done here is unbelievable. We over in basketball are big fans of his, and what he's done for this program is unbelievable. So a big congratulations goes out to him."

"Getting to basketball, not really looking forward to it, but it's on us. We're happy we're playing against somebody else for a change. We've been going against each other for a while and it's been grueling. So it'll be fun to play against somebody else."

On who is starting Sunday ...
"I have no idea. That's why you've got Coach Cal."

On who has surprised him the most this summer and through the preseason workouts ...
"I think it starts with Andrew (Harrison) and Dakari Johnson. When I look at Dakari from last year to this year, body type, mobility, touch shooting the ball, he has made a big jump. Andrew has done everything it takes to run a program. He took the summer to change his body. He's worked on his game. He's playing with extreme confidence. I think yesterday we talked about assist attempts - how many attempted assists are you getting. Yesterday he had 12 assists on 17 attempts, which is really, really good."

On how much they'll go with the platoons on Sunday ...
"Coach hasn't talked about today as much, but I'm sure we're going to - we don't have a choice. We've got 12 really good players. We've got to find time for all of them, and they all deserve to play."

On if they need a voice and a leader and if Andrew Harrison needs to be that guy ...
"I think Andrew needs to be that guy for a couple of reasons. One is -- that's more important than anything else -- the guys respect him. The guys love him and they respect him. And his energy exudes our team. So that's important for us."

On if having the ball is key for a leader ...
"I think so. I think that the fact that he's a giver and that he's willing to give. The fact that, for this to work, there's a bunch of really good scorers out there on the floor and he has to mix it up, him and Tyler. I think the fact that Tyler can learn from him -- that the pressure isn't strictly on Tyler -- is important."

On if that means Tyler Ulis is the leader on the second platoon ...
"That I don't know. I just think that naturally, Tyler, his feel for the game, it is a leader. His instincts is that of a leader. He's just got to get used to it and get acclimated to what it takes to make this team work."

On if it's a challenge for a point guard when there are so many players on this team ...
"There's a lot of things they've got to learn. Karl Towns, for example, his game is growing, so his instincts are that of a three or four. So we're trying to get him to understand that when you're around the basket, you're shooting 70, 80 percent. So those guys are not going to give you the ball 15, 18 feet from the basket. They're going to give it to you where you're going to score the best percentage. So there's adjustments to be made from every player. When you have so many great guys, great kids that are about winning, those two positions, Tyler's and Andrew's, are important. It's important for the growth of our team. It's important for the team as a unit to play together, to share the ball. But more importantly, it's going to be a process, now. It's not just going to be come out there and steamroll people. It's going to be a process. I know the fans don't want to hear that -- that they want to think we've got a bunch of talented people. People are going to come after us and we're going to have to learn through adversity and play hard."

On goals for the new players and facing an opponent instead of teammates ...
"I think every day and every game it is to get better. Every day that you're in this program you try to get better. That's what we expect. At the end of the year, we'll see what we are."

On how one platoon will not consist of all four freshmen ...
"No question. I think the first thing starts with Karl. Do we want to put Karl out there with Trey (Lyles)? No. Do we want to put Karl out there with Dakari? Not right now. It's important that the freshmen have a veteran leader on the floor with them to help them through tough times. That's really important. Last year, I think Cal actually asked the guys really how hard it is. They explained that it was really hard. We don't want them to go through that when we have so many veteran guys that can help them through it."

On if anyone has been struggling with playing time scenarios ...
"Right now I will say no. I think everybody has bought in. I think what we did in the Bahamas was vital. It showed that it could work. These guys at core are really about winning and that's important. Right now everybody's bought in. We don't like to have them not buy in. We just have to make it work and it will."

On reflecting on the Bahamas trip to prepare for the start of the season ...
"The Bahamas trip gave us a blueprint of how we have to do this. It starts with sharing the ball offensively, but defensively dictating the pace of the game and imploding our will on that team. If we do that, then it will work. We did it in the Bahamas against professional teams. Let's see what we do now."

On having 12 players who deserve time ...
"I think the way Coach Cal is doing it now; he has five guys on the floor that each have a sub. Meaning that one of those guys being Dominique (Hawkins) or Derek Willis will come in. Then on the other group, we'll have a sub and it will be Derek or Dominique."

On nerves and excitement of players for exhibition against Pikeville ...
"I think they will all have some nerves, not just the freshmen. I think that when you walk into that arena, see all of those fans, see how big this program is, and you see the pressure that's on each and every one of these kids to perform, you get a little nervous. You have to embrace that. That's why you're here. That's why this is a special place. We can recruit the special players."