Billy Gillispie Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 12, 2008

Lexington, Ky. -

On the official signing of Jon Hood, Daniel Orton and GJ Vilarino...
"I'm really excited about all three of the players that we signed today. They will all be terrific players for us and we are very fortunate to have them. Our roster will get better with these three signees. All three of them are great human beings. They are all excited and all three of them love Kentucky."

On GJ Vilarino...
"GJ Vilarino is the first one who committed to us and he is one of the fastest players in the country. Currently, that is something that we lack. He continues to get better and he is an extremely hard worker. Vilarino is a gym rat, and we need more of those. He starts about 6:30 A.M., and he is often either lifting weights or getting individual instruction. He is becoming a vocal leader and I like the way he is beginning to mature. Vilarino has been a good player for a long time and he continues to get better. I'm very excited about him and I appreciate that he made his commitment very shortly after I got here."

On Jon Hood...
"Jon Hood is the second player who committed and I think he will be a tremendous player. In the last year he has improved as much as anyone. He is also a gym rat. After going to Big Blue Madness, Vilarino and Hood were in the gym working and shooting. They did the same thing the next night. He is a very good athlete and he continues on the path of the other players we have been recruiting. Hood is long and athletic, and he has gained weight. I don't care if he gains any more weight because he will continue to get stronger. He can shoot the ball and he has the ability to make baskets. Some players can shoot the ball, but they can't make the play to get a basket. Some players can make baskets, but they aren't great shooters. He will be a combination of those things, and he will be able to score in a variety of ways. Hood will eventually have the ability to initiate offense. He has great leadership ability and he has a great love for the University of Kentucky. We are awfully happy to have him. I like his toughness, but I love his confidence. He wants to see how he measures up with the rest of the team and find areas he needs to improve. He is determined and he comes from a great basketball family. His mother played in the Final Four and his father played at the collegiate level."

On Daniel Orton...
"Daniel Orton was the third player to commit here. We are extremely happy to have him, and of our recruits, he has the most national recognition. He is an unbelievable prospect at a difficult position to recruit. His IQ is off the charts, he understands how to play and he already has an NBA body. He has agility, speed and unbelievable hands. Orton sees what other players at his position can't. Not many players can pass and read defense like he can. This is all projection, but I think he will be a fantastic player as well. I'm not worried about his knee injury. I wish he hadn't gotten hurt, but those things happen. It is very unfortunate for him and his high school team. It definitely hurts when you lose a player of that magnitude. He will rehab exactly as he should and he'll get back to full health."

On gym rats...
"Gym rats help the team take another step. Basketball is a long hard season, and a year-long situation. If one or two players want to spend the majority of their time in the gym, then before you know it three or four guys will always be in the gym, then six or seven. When this happens everyone improves and becomes a much better player. No matter how much work you put on those guys, they want more. It sends the message of commitment to everyone on the team. The title of a gym rat is earned over time because it's an important title."

On Friday's game against Virginia Military Institute...
"Virginia Military Institute has led the country in scoring two years in a row and they led the country in steals last year. They are a confident team and they don't worry about missing baskets. Those kinds of teams are dangerous. Their game may not seem like a direct system, but it is. Coach Duggar Baucom has done a great job implementing a system that works for their program. VMI has good players who are experienced. They shoot more three point shots than anyone, and they make more three point shots than anyone. This will make us play for 40 minutes and face different kinds of offense and defense. That makes it difficult to prepare, especially at this point in the season. They are masters at getting teams to play the way they want to play. On tape, I haven't seen too many teams play their own game against VMI. They usually end up playing VMI's game. They feel that they are better playing their game than you are. VMI will likely force quick shots and more three point shots. Mature teams and organized teams can combat that, but it's a difficult task with young players."

On the pace of games...
"I want us to play as fast as possible, but that will be determined by how we shoot and handle the ball. We had 16 turnovers in the first half against Ouachita Baptist and I don't think those were created by our pace. We made poor decisions, and that's how it often is early in the season. I believe we should be able to play at a decent pace, and our defense will allow us to play at a high pace. But, that is yet to be determined. At this point in the year, our defense isn't where it should be and we need to get more defensive rebounds. Also, we aren't playing the passing lanes yet, which will create easy baskets. We need to change all of those things because they will help set the pace of a game."

On who will play Friday...
"We have 19 players on the team, and I don't know who is going to play on Friday. I'm happy with everyone right now, and the situation will play out. No one is going to have to play the minutes that Ramel Bradley and Patrick Patterson did last year. That will benefit us, because I believe we have a fairly deep team."