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Press Conference Quotes




UK Head Coach Tubby Smith

Head Coach Tubby Smith
"We're coming off of a loss the other night, which is really a tough one since we got ourselves back in there in the second half. We didn't defend very well against an outstanding player in Rod Grizzard. That was one of our focuses; to limit his touches, keep him off the foul line and rebound the ball. We didn't do any of those three things, and if we can't do those things well, we're not going to win big games. We need to concentrate on doing what we do best. We forced turnovers the other night, but didn't capitalize on that.

"We worked hard yesterday in practice. We're trying to keep our guys believing they can score, and when we get a lead, that we can keep it. It's been tough to get everybody on the same page. We have good players, but getting them to play well together is probably the toughest thing about coaching.

"Vanderbilt is the type of team that will take advantage of your defensive mistakes. They have the ability to go back-door on you. With Greg LaPointe's ability to go outside and Sam Howard's ability to shoot from outside, they're dangerous. They're coming off of a tough home loss to Georgia, in which Georgia played extremely well. Vanderbilt has been playing good. They know how to win on the road, because they have won on the road. We haven't really done that. We have to really guard against having a let down at Rupp. Just because we're at home, we can't think that we'll win the basketball game.

"It's a constant thing, with us being young, to keep repeating things over and over again. Especially with fundamentals, we have to work on things like block-out, box-out technique. It's not just mental, but it's a matter of repetition with this team. Over the holidays, we had plenty of time to work on these things, and everyone seemed more focused in on them.

"The team is so young and so fragile, not only psychologically and emotionally, but maturity wise. And physically, they don't have the strength, stamina and endurance that a group with five or six seniors would have. I know how I was when I was young. It was easy to lose my concentration. That's how it is with this group. So, I have to stay positive. If' I'm not, then I can't expect them to be."

On the play of Cliff Hawkins...
"Even when Cliff is doing a lot of positive things, there are still a lot of things I have to close my eyes to. I hope that he doesn't feel like he has to do something spectacular every time he's in the game. We just need him to play solid, fundamental basketball."

On where he feels the team stands in the Southeastern Conference...
"I know we can win the SEC. We're a very formidable team as we are right now. We had two 10-point losses this week, but one or two stops changes that. That's the way it's been for us all season. If one guy breaks down and doesn't do his job, you are beat. That one breakdown always leads to others.

"Vanderbilt is another young team. They've been playing great lately. We really need to break down the transition and get the ball inside. That's where our strength lies. We haven't exploited that enough, which is something we're working on."

UK Player Quotes

Saul Smith, Guard
On the team's confidence...
"I think we're holding up pretty well. We are really looking forward to this next game because we feel like we have some stuff to accomplish. I don't think our confidence is really shaken. We have a lot of improving to do. We found out that we have a lot of weaknesses and things we need to work on.

"We don't feel like we have played our best basketball by any means. That's what we have to do. We have to go out there and give it our all. We have to put together a complete game. We have to learn to finish a game when we have the lead. I don't think we've finished too many games this year. That's what we have to do on the court.

"After the Tennessee game, we felt like we had turned the corner and headed in the right direction. But I think we took some steps back on the road and it really seems like we are not playing with that fire on the road, and that's what it is all about. We have to dig in deep and pull out a win."

J.P. Blevins, Guard
On the possibility of having 6 a.m. practices....
"We know that the only way to get better is through hard work. Whatever we have to do to get better, we'll do it. Whether it's 6 a.m. practices or staying longer in the afternoon."

On the team's confidence...
"We've lost two on the road, but we're ready to get back on the court Saturday and get a win. Certainly we know that we haven't played the way we'd like to on the road. The only thing we can do is look ahead to the games we have coming up, and Vanderbilt is next."

On the disappointment of the Alabama loss...
"When your up seven with six minutes left, you think you should win those games. You try to steal as many as you can on the road. We definitely felt like that was one we could've had. For whatever reason, we let it get away."

On his shooting slump...
"I haven't really gotten into the flow and gotten the looks I've wanted. Things haven't really fallen my way the last three games, but hopefully I'll get things going."

Gerald Fitch, Guard
On his improved shooting...
"I'm starting to relax. My shot is starting to feel more comfortable and I am hitting my shots."

On the team's inability to close out games...
"Coach always stresses execution. It seems we always have little slumps in big parts of the game when we take bad shots and fail to execute. That is something that we have to correct."

On getting back into the conference race...
"We put ourselves in this hole. We have to be men about it and dig ourselves out. That is something that we have tried to work on and I think we can do it."

On his rebounding ability...
"When I see a shot taken, I read where I think the ball might come off because of where it hits the rim. That is something I try to do and I think it has helped me get a lot more rebounds. I also try to read the ball coming out of the shooters hand and look at what position it hits on the rim."

Tayshaun Prince, Forward
On the team's recent play...
"Of course we haven't played like we are supposed to the last couple of games, but it doesn't do any good to keep talking about it. It is time to move on."

On the two-game losing streak...
"We had chances to win the last two games and didn't, so it is frustrating. We have been talking about how hard it is to keep a lead on the road and win in the SEC."

On playing hard...
"Coach always emphasizes to us about going hard the entire practice, and sometimes the effort is not there. Some days we will go hard, then there will be about a five-minute breakdown. It is all about practice carrying over into the games."

On Vanderbilt...
"We had a great practice yesterday and we have to do the same things today. If we do the things we need to do today in practice then they will carry over into tomorrow's game."

Marvin Stone, Center
On his reaction to 6 a.m. practices...
"I knew they were coming. It's what we expected. They'll be tough, but we have to work through them."

On the team's late-game difficulties...
"It has happened often, so we start second guessing ourselves. We want to make the big shot and when we miss the shots it really hurts us."

On getting the confidence back...
"We are just going to have to play harder when we have the lead. Hopefully, when we close out some games like we are supposed to, the confidence will return."

On Vanderbilt...
"They have won a couple of road games in the SEC, and we have not been able to do that, so it is going to be a tough game."

 

 

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