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Kentucky Basketball Press Conference Quotes

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Dec. 6, 2002

Head Coach Tubby Smith

On North Carolina's freshman class...
"They have a very talented group of newcomers. They've mixed nicely with the returning players they have and they are playing well together as a group."

On Carolina point guard Raymond Felton...
"Everyone saw Raymond play quite a bit in camps around the country before college. He's a very talented player and he presents a tough matchup for anyone."

On how the team has dealt with some difficult times...
"Through all the tumultuous time we've been able to win and have success. It's unfortunate that some of those things have happened, but that's part of life. You have to deal with injuries and with people coming and going, and I think we're better off right now with the people that we have in our program."

On what Illinois did to have success against North Carolina...
"Illinois was able to handle Carolina because they were able to get the ball inside to their big players and create problems for North Carolina. We're going to play our game. The biggest reason Illinois was successful was because they defended so well, and that's something we are going to have to do a better job of if we want to have any success at all."

On the poise of UNC's freshmen to win the NIT...
"Freshmen today have a lot of experience traveling around the country and playing in all types of environments. They've been exposed to all kinds of atmospheres playing in high schools and AAU teams, so they've developed a lot of poise and they are a great group of players."

On how Erik Daniels can contribute coming off his four-game suspension...
"He gives us another body in the interior. He's a great passer and has a good IQ for the game. He's mentally tough and adds a lot of toughness to our team, so we're very happy to have him back."

On the challenge of playing at North Carolina...
"Going up against the second-winningest program in college basketball is a motivation for our team. This game presents a great challenge. Our players typically respond well to challenges and we hope they do that tomorrow as well."

On the keys to the game tomorrow...
"We have to execute early on. We need to make them play on both ends of the floor, especially making them defend us. We want to take good shots and hopefully we'll make shots and create problems for them."

On what he's most pleased about to this point in the season...
"I'm most pleased about our unselfish play. I'm really pleased with how Gerald (Fitch) has distributed the ball. Our ballhandling has been good, too."

On how Chuck Hayes has made the transition to small forward...
"I like how Chuck plays at the three spot. He's capable of stepping out on the floor and driving to the basket. He is also comfortable with his perimeter shot, so he's been able to make a smooth transition to a more perimeter game."

Marquis Estill, Forward
On North Carolina center Sean May...
"We're up for the challenge. He's a nice inside player - big, strong. I look forward to playing in those type of games. I think it's the first big guy who has both inside and outside skills that I'll be playing against this season."

On UNC freshmen...
"We've seen them play a few games. They're an excellent team - quick and athletic. We have to be ready to play."

On Kentucky being No.1 all-time in wins and UNC No. 2...
"It's just another big game. You can't look at the statistics. We have to take care of the game the same way we do every game."

Jules Camara, Center
On UK's experience vs. UNC's youth...
"They're exciting and they'll play at a fast pace. We've got to get the ball inside and we've got to stay out of foul trouble. We also have to control the tempo of the game. We can use our half court offense on them to our advantage and start going up and down with it."

On UNC freshmen playing well...
"They're playing well. They really shocked me when I saw them play against Kansas in the Preseason NIT. Whoever we play is going to give us their best game. They're excited to play us and we're excited to play them - it's going to be a good challenge."

Chuck Hayes, Forward
On Kentucky's image...
"With a good win in Carolina we can definitely earn some respect from the fans and really from the nation. We had a little slip in Maui and people still doubt us, but a good win in the Dean Dome would finally give us respect."

On Kentucky's inside game...
"That's our advantage. I'm pretty sure Coach will key in on that today and tomorrow. They're young, quick and athletic, but we have some experienced players and we have the size down in the paint. The best thing for us to do is take it to them."

On his switch to small forward...
"I haven't had any problems offensively. Defensively it is a little different -- guarding the perimeter, going through screens, containing penetration."

On UNC's youth...
"They have no fear of anybody. It's really impressive. They've adapted to the collegiate level so quickly."

Keith Bogans, Guard
On the UNC/UK rivalry...
"This is what we all live for - to go down and play against a program like Carolina. We're the two winningest programs in college history. We want to keep the tradition going here and play well. We've played well against them in the past. They're going to be looking forward to getting us back. They don't want us to come into their house and just walk away with a victory, so I'm sure we're going to have to work for it."

On Kentucky's image in the media...
"It really doesn't matter. If they (the media) want to keep on sleeping on us and not thinking we're a good team, then let that happen. We're going to continue to play basketball. I just want to go down there and win."

Erik Daniels, Forward
On returning from his four-game suspension...
"I miss being out there with my teammates, being out there on the floor. I'm ready to go out and contribute to the team. It's been really frustrating sitting out. It's really tough to sit and watch my team play."

 

 

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