UK Men's Basketball Student-Athletes' Media Day Quotes

Kentucky Student-Athletes
UK Men's Basketball Media Day
Oct. 13, 2016


#3, Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, Freshman, Forward


On adding a jump shot and expanding his range …
“I’m just working on my whole offense. I don’t want to be one-dimensional. I want my shot to be there too.”

On the pressure of playing up to the standard of an athlete like Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns or DeMarcus Cousins …
“It’s always been pressure with me. I’ve always wanted to be the best that I can be, so it’s not just because of them, it’s because of me personally.” 

On the biggest surprise so far at UK since stepping on campus …
“Definitely how crazy the fans are. I mean, when they just sit out there for free tickets to just watch us practice (it’s crazy). Somebody got married! That’s when I knew it was a little over the top.” 

On the frontcourt as a whole and playing alongside Isaac Humphries …
“We can rebound, block shots and run the floor. We can stretch the floor a little bit, and we all play together. Isaac is playing well. We can play together, and now we’re really focused on what we can do together. No doubt we’ll be on the floor together.”

#13, Isaiah Briscoe, Sophomore, Guard


On embracing the role as a leader …
“I’m up for the challenge, and every challenge. Coach obviously trusts me 100 percent with the team. I have a great friendship with everybody on the team. I think we all get along fine. I’m just trying to push everybody to be the best that they can be.” 

On improving his shooting …
“I’ve been working hard on my jump shot. I’ve been coming in here every night and working out. I’ve improved a lot, but I still have a long way to go in trying to get better as a player.”

On ways that he’s improved on and off the court since last year … 
“I think I’ve matured more as a person on and off of the court. I’ve improved as a leader, and my jump shot.” 

On competing against De’Aaron Fox ever day in practice…
“It’s fun, a lot of fun. We make each other better because he’s a quick, fast guard, and I’m not used to playing against quicker and faster guards. With me, I’m stronger and more physical, and he’s not used to playing with that so we’re getting each other better each day.” 

#20, Brad Calipari, Freshman, Guard


On soaking in the moment while playing for his dad at Kentucky …
“It’s been good. Practice has been good and everything like working out has been a good experience. It’s good to be a part of a great group of guys. It’s fun to be around.” 

On the biggest difference between ‘Coach Cal’ and ‘dad’…
“Oh man, that’s tough. Probably how much he yells. At home he doesn’t yell too much but here, he’s all over the place.”

On his favorite memory of he and his dad growing up … 
“We were on a bike ride and my dad had the dog on a leash. Then the dog started chasing something, and he flipped over on his bike down the hill. Yeah, that was funny.” 

#10, Johnny David, Sophomore, Guard


On being able to soak in the experience of playing at UK after his first year …
“Last year was kind of shocking as far as how everything happened. Coming into this year, I have a better understanding of how everything goes.” 

On using this platform as a UK player to better himself for the future …
“I just like the experience. The things that we do here are an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget for the rest of my life. As far as games, traveling and being with the team, it’s going to benefit everyone here, not just me.” 

#0, De’Aaron Fox, Freshman, Guard


On what he expects at Big Blue Madness this year compared to last year …
“Well, it is going to be more exciting of course because all eyes will be on us. I am excited to be a part of something special and I just want to have fun.”

On how the team’s basketball chemistry can be compared to their off-court chemistry …
“I feel like if you like each other and have fun off the court it helps with team chemistry on the court. I think all of our guys really like each other. We bond together and on the court we are gelling together really quickly.”

On if the team is excited to let the fans know who they are outside of basketball …
“Yes, because they don’t get to see us outside of the court so they’ll get to see how we really interact with each other since it won’t be all about basketball tomorrow (at Madness). We are still going to show them what we can do, but also they’ll see us not so serious.” 

#32, Wenyen Gabriel, Freshman, Forward


On his favorite and least favorite part about practice …
“My favorite part is definitely scrimmaging. We go freshmen versus the upperclassmen. Coach Cal gets to teach us, and we get used to the competition. We also get to know where other people like to shoot, where they like to score, and where people’s spots are. Conditioning is probably not the best part. We do conditioning every practice.”

On how strength coach Rob Harris helped him develop his conditioning …
“He pushes you a lot. This is the best shape I’ve ever been in. Rob likes to get us motivated. We talk to each other, play music and really get into it. I’ve never had anything like that before, so it’s been new to me, but it’s been really beneficial as well. It really has helped my game.”

On if he agrees with Cal describing him as being “tough on himself” …
“Yes, I try to put in a lot of work. I am trying to become the best player I can be, so every day the goal is to get better. When I see myself messing up sometimes I am kind of hard on myself.”

#25, Dominique Hawkins, Senior, Guard


On what is has been like playing with so many good basketball players coming through Kentucky’s program over his career …
“I have never really thought about it, but it is pretty unbelievable. I’ve played with a lot of guys who are now playing professionally and have had incredible years. It’s a blessing to be able to play with guys like that and be a part of a team that went to Final Fours and championships.”

On Coach Cal’s emphasis on defense this season …
“He is always emphasizing defense. The first practice he says, ‘We’re not going to worry about offense. We’re just going to focus on defense today.’ Then we do all these defensive drills throughout practice.” 

On which of his teammates has the most charismatic personality … 
“De’Aaron Fox’s personality is so charismatic. He’s so funny, anything he does just makes you laugh. I play video games with him all the time and I’ve seen him get frustrated if I’m winning and that just shows how competitive he is.”  

#15, Isaac Humphries, Sophomore, Forward


On how strength coach Rob Harris has helped him improve in the offseason …
“He obviously has changed my body. I have built muscle mass; a lot more than it was. He got my conditioning up. We’ve talked a lot about my goals and where I want to go. We set goals at the start of the summer on where I wanted to be now and he has helped me get there. He’s had a big influence on me.”

On how hard Coach Harris pushes the team … 
“He pushes us really hard. He knows what is best for us, where we want to go, and how we need to get there.”

On the one thing Coach Harris asked the team to do that they didn’t like initially, but are thankful for now…
“I am going to say those 5:30 a.m. wake ups in the summer. We aren’t doing them now, but we were all kind of like ‘Are you crazy at 5:30 a.m.? Come on.’ But then two or three went by and we just started to love it, so it was fine.”

#1, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Freshman, Forward


On the impact of Robert Harris … 
“Rob is crazy, but he’s been great, especially for me, and the whole team conditioning wise. We’ve been getting bigger and getting stronger all because of him.”

On Coach Harris in comparison to high school coaches … 
“I was lucky to have a good strength coach in high school as well, but it’s just another level, not just with lifting, but with everything including treatments, massages, all the taking care of your body stuff has been really different here.”

On his Kentucky experience thus far …  
“It’s been the best experience so far. Being in Kentucky is like no other place in the world, so being here learning from coaches like Coach Cal and playing against the best has been awesome.”

On not being considered at the top of recruiting class … 
“I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I’m not really worried about what somebody writes in an article because the article doesn’t transfer to the game. At the end of the day, I’m going to try to go on the court and prove to everybody why I’m here and they’ll see that.”

On surprising Coach Cal in a positive way … 
“It’s cool to hear that, but at the same time I’m just going to go on the court and prove what I can do. For him to take notice of that is always good, but it’s not like, ‘Oh, he thinks I’m good, let me stop.’ It pushes me to turn it up another notch and play better. I definitely use it as motivation. My motto is, ‘Never be stagnant, always move forward,’”

#5, Malik Monk, Freshman, Guard


On his Big Blue Madness expectations …
“I don’t know what to expect. It was amazing last year seeing how many fans come out to support Kentucky basketball, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the fans react to the new team. I think it’s going to be crazy. There are six new freshmen who haven’t seen anything like this yet, so I don’t really know what to expect.”

On his relationship with past players …
“Some of the past players I played against in high school, some I know personally. Every Kentucky basketball player is family. It doesn’t matter if you came 10 years before me or 10 years after me. Everybody knows one another and everybody is close.”

On his impression of Isaiah Briscoe …
“I knew him since I was in the ninth grade. I’ve seen him play all the time. I know him personally, so I didn’t get my first impression while being in Kentucky. We met at the LeBron (James) camp when I was in the ninth grade. He was the same as he is now, super confident.”

On blending a young team with a lot of confidence and egos … 
“We all want the same dream so we just try to accomplish it together. It’s easy to sacrifice if you have great players around you.”

On the team’s speed …
“With every drill Coach Cal does, we’re out running so I can tell that we’re faster than a lot of our opponents. Our guards are fast so I think the guards will push everyone else to run even more.”

On the guards competing against one another in practice …
“It’s the freshmen versus the upperclassmen every day in practice. We kill the upperclassmen every day. Us going against the upperclassmen helps us a lot because we don’t know much of anything and they know all of the plays and what to expect.”

#11, Mychal Mulder, Senior, Guard


On seeing former teammates all on the Phoenix Suns …
“It’s interesting to see all those guys on the same team. It’s pretty funny how that works out. It’s especially fortunate for Tyler (Ulis) and Devin (Booker). I feel like that’s a really great combination. It’s really cool to see the guys who progress, move on from here and are successful. That’s what you hope for, for your friends and teammates.”

On helping get De’Aaron Fox adjusted to the college game … 
“Fox is adapting really well. He’s a really skilled point guard with the ball, great off the ball even. He understands the game really well and in that you can kind of see a little bit of Tyler (Ulis) in him. His will to win is really high, so I feel like he will be really successful and play a really big part for us.”

On if there are any changes in Coach Cal with having his son on the team …
“He doesn’t really change. You see Brad doing drills and Coach Cal may have a little smirk on his face once in a while, but that might be the only difference I see. You can tell he’s proud of him. Brad’s working really hard and it’s great to see how he’s progressing.”

#35, Derek Willis, Senior, Forward


On his final Big Blue Madness …
“It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal for our players and especially the freshmen who are coming in. It’s a big deal for me since it’s the last time I get to do it. It’s especially big for the fans. It’s a good time and a good show for everyone.”

On which freshman has stood out thus far …
“I would say Wenyen (Gabriel). I like how he plays and his potential is really high. His potential is as high as he wants it to be. His motor is really good for a freshman. He does a lot of good things. They are freshmen and have a lot to learn, but they’ve been picking up stuff pretty quickly.”

On being a mentor to the younger players … 
“The leadership role I took on is not as vocal because Isaiah (Briscoe) does the vocal part. Mine is more of pulling people aside and telling people during a drill ‘You need to do this or that.’ That’s kind of the role I have.”

#14, Tai Wynyard, Redshirt Freshman, Forward


On taking a redshirt season last year …  
“I got a lot out of it. I got to see how the coaching staff coached, and how the team worked on and off the court. It was really good for me to be out during that time.”

On what the fans will see from him on the floor … 
“I’m going to work hard, get every rebound I can and put every ball in the hoop that’s possible. Just a lot of hard work.”

On Isaac (Humphries) and Bam (Adebayo)’s play in the post … 
“They are both different players. Bam tries to jump over people, while Isaac tries to move them out of the way. They are both really physical players.”

On playing for New Zealand in the 3-on-3 tournament this summer …  
“It was a lot of fun. I was able to meet a lot of new people and have a lot of fun with a group of international people.”

On his expectations for the season … 
“Just really working hard all of the time. As soon as I’m on the court, just running up and down as fast as I can (and) to get every rebound I can.”