Mo : I am big KY basketball fan and I believe in your strategy; as any program we all have expectation for the program. I also think everyone set goals for a year. I like to know what are your goals for KY basketball this coming season.
Tubby Smith : As always, our goal is to win championships. We've won a lot of them at Kentucky, but we want to win more. We'd like to get back to the Final Four. That's one of our goals every year. The ways we reach those goals is get better in certain areas. We have to improve our all-around toughness. When you look at last year's team, we got beat on the boards too many times. That has to be improved. We also have to get to the foul line and make those shots. Those are areas we need to get better in. And if we improve in those areas, we'll win.
Scott Melton : Who is going to be your new point guard?
Tubby Smith : Ramel Bradley, Derrick Jasper or Michael Porter. I have faith in all three of those guys. Ramel brings an outside scoring ability to the position. He's capable of being an excellent passer. He's a different player than Rajon. But we have the ability to have a lot of different guys bring the ball up the court, because of the versatility we have on the roster. Ramel needs to think about setting other people up more ... once he does that, he's going to be outstanding.
Chris Harper : Who will take the leadership role on the team this year?
Tubby Smith : That's one thing that was a concern last year. Everyone has be a leader, but Ramel and Bobby have to be very influential because of the type of people they are and the roles they have on the team.
Chris Valvo : You mentioned last year that BIG changes would happen in the 2006-2007 season. Can you give specifics and do these changes include a faster tempo and full-court pressure? Thanks Coach.
Tubby Smith : When we talked about changes, we talked in terms of things that would make our program better. We've added a new strength coach, which has helped. We have a stronger commitment and a better attitude from our players this summer. And when you play well together, you tend to play at a faster tempo. Changing the mentality is sometimes more important that changing the names. The goal is always the same ... to win.
Andrew Blakefield (#1ukfan) : Who will be the starters?
Tubby Smith : If we started today it would be Ramel at the point, Joe at the two, Bobby and Randolph. That final position could be Sheray at the four. Or Jared or Lukasz at the five. One of the freshmen might step in that mix as well. We have a few months before we have to finalize that.
Brad : Hi Coach! What kind of effect do you think the practice facility will have on the program?
Tubby Smith : It will help with scheduling issues we've had surrounding practices in the past. When you are teaching, you want to eliminate distractions. The new facility will help eliminate distractions. From a recruiting standpoint, it will be state-of-the art and should make a tremendous impression on the guys we bring to campus. I'm very excited about the new facility. It'll be best of its kind in the nation.
Olivia : What Impact do you see Joe Crawford playing this year.
Tubby Smith : Joe had a big impact last year as a sophomore, despite playing injured most of the season. He's probably our best pure jump shooter. He can score a number of ways and create opportunities for others. With another year of experience and being healthy, I think you'll see a very good Joe Crawford. That's my expectation.
BJ , Lewisburg, KY : I recently read a comment by Rajon Rondo on ESPN.Com saying that he thought this would be a better "TEAM" this year just wondering 1st-why he would make that statement and 2nd do you think it is a true statement. Thanks Tubby I am a big fan.
Tubby Smith : I think Rajon didn't think we reached our potential last year as a team. There were a lot of distractions last season. Rajon understands that we could have all done things differently last year. I'm very happy for Rajon and know that he'll do a great job in the NBA. He'll always be a Wildcat.
Jan Kuhn : How would you compare this years class of freshman coming to U.K to the class of two years ago?
Tubby Smith : This class doesn’t have all the hype that that class had. That class had three Mcdonald’s all-americans. This group is very excited to be here. They are a hard-working, focused group … both athletically and academically. I expect good things from this group.
Tom Gray : What was your favorite part about the Sydney Olympics? I had two - the Opening Ceremony and Gold Medal Day on September 29, 2000.
Tubby Smith : The opening day was just outstanding. After that, we were focused on the games, but the atmosphere leading up to the competition was really special. Walking into that stadium with all the other countries represented was exciting.
Miranda : Hi Tubby! What is the one thing that has you most excited about this upcoming season?
Tubby Smith : I know our players are going to come back strong from last year. Right now our guys are working hard to prove that we are better than we were last season.
bigblue cat07 : will we see morris playing the 4 spot with carter at 5 this year and perry at the 3 sounds good on paper could luck coach
Tubby Smith : We can make anything look good on paper. Randolph's development is going to be critical. Can he play without fouling? Can he play the four? Those are critical. Jared and Lukasz are both going to contribute. We probably would have redshirted Jared had we known that Randolph was coming back last year. Jared is very capable of stepping in and starting. In our offense, the four and the five are really interchangeable.
Josh Myers : How well will Jasper, Meeks, Porter, and Stevenson do this year? Can they pick up the offense quickly and score? Can we see alot of playing time from them or possibly even a starting job for one?
Tubby Smith : Those are all issues we'll look at when practice starts. All four freshmen are capable of playing right away. We have a good nucleus returning, so the competition will be tough. The guards are big, physical and versatile. We should have more scoring from the perimeter from that group. The size of our guards will allow us to trap down better than we did last year. Any of those could start if they do what we ask them to do.
Chris : Coach, I'm very excited about the team, including four great-looking freshmen. I don't know much about Michael Porter. Could you tell me a little bit about him and what position (1G or 2G) you see him primarily playing? Thanks.
Tubby Smith : Michael is a combo guard who could easily play the point. He was a football player in high school, so he's tough and will defend well. He's a leader and will be one of our better passers. He understands the game very well .. he played for his father, Gary Porter. I think he'll be at the point for us.
Chris Harper : What player could be the most improved from last year?
Tubby Smith : It's hard to tell at this point, but I think it could be Jared Carter. A lot of folks need to improve, and they've been working hard to get better. Bobby Perry came on strong at the end of last season, but I think Jared may be our most improved guy.
Chris Duncan : Tubby, Big Fan, just curious to know if Morris has developed more of an over the shoulder game, seemed showing the ball for that turnaround he likes got him blocked alot.?
Tubby Smith : That’s a good question, Chris. One of the things we’re trying to get him to work on is a jump hook from both sides. It would be a devastating weapon for Randolph. He’s been working really hard this summer with our new strength coach, Scott Holsoppole. Randolph has to learn to have his defender sealed when he receives the ball, which will give him the ability to go either left or right with a jump hook.
UKathletics.com : Thanks, Coach Smith, for taking the time to answer some questions.
Tubby Smith : I appreciate everyone taking the time to post their questions. Sorry I didn't get to all of them. Maybe we can do this again sometime. I'm back on the road recruiting this week, but I wanted to touch base with all our great fans before the summer slipped away. Enjoy the warm weather and we'll see everyone this fall. Go Cats!