Thursday, October 27, 2016

Video/Transcript: UK Players Derek Willis, Mychal Mulder Pre-Clarion(Exhibition) Press Conference Interview

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

DEREK WILLIS

On if they’re ready to play a game …“Yeah, looking forward to it. Kind of get tired practicing against yourself. It’ll be nice to go against someone else.”

On preseason training camp …“It’s been good. Learned a lot. Been moving fast for the most part. Still putting in some offensive sets, defensively I feel like we’re doing fine. Just like anything, we have a lot to work on.”

On how he’s doing …“I’m doing good. I’ve been rebounding better. Just trying to make open shots. Just trying to play as simple as I can.”

On how the three guards playing together has looked …
“I think it’s good because they can alternate the point guard (role). Malik can run the point, of course Fox and Zay. I think they’re just testing it out and seeing how it’s going.”

On how the big lineups have looked …
“It’s always an idea. We’ll see just depending on the matchup.”

On how far along this team is compared to other teams …
“Well, for starters we had everyone here through the summer, so that was good. I feel like our chemistry with everyone on the team has been fine. Everyone hangs out with everyone. Off the court we’re great together. Just like anything, it’s still early and we’re just trying to figure out what we want to do with things.”

On how different of a player Mychal Mulder is this season …
“Mike’s been doing real good. I think in the scrimmage he played really well. We practiced at Rupp Arena (Sunday after the Women’s Clinic) and he was doing real well, knocking down shots. The thing I like about Mike though is that he plays really hard. You can respect that about anyone. But he’s been doing really well though.”

On how impressive of an athlete Mulder is …
“When he goes up for rebounds – I don’t know what his vertical is, but I’m sure it’s up there. He goes after balls, he’s really quick, he’s probably one of the quickest people on our team. And then again you can’t leave him open. I feel like his athleticism does get overlooked though. I can definitely see that.”

On the most important thing for him to get out of these two exhibition games …
“Play hard, do the things I have to do, make open shots, make sure my dude doesn’t score, grab rebounds. If I can do that I can stay on the court.”

On the most important thing for the team to get out of these two exhibition games …
“Just breakdowns, being complacent. I feel like that’s been a thing every year where we’ll get a lead or something, we get comfortable, and then the team catches back up to us and we’re in a dogfight. If we can learn to just bury people when we have them down I think that’d be really good for us.”

On how a game like this compares to a regular season game …
“I would say it compares to a regular season game in the sense that for our freshmen it’s their first time out there so they’ll kind of get a taste for how Rupp Arena is in a game setting. Our mindset though is each game we play we obviously want to win. We’re just going to go out there and try to accomplish the goals we want to meet for that game – get so many rebounds, don’t make so many turnovers, stuff like that. That’s usually what we try to focus on.”

On how his defense has improved …
“I think it’s really like a mindset. I feel like there will be days where I do play good defense, and then there’s days where I’ll have a couple breakdowns and then it’s in my head, ‘Ahh, I’m not playing good defense,’ and that’s where I feel like for me the practice will just go down from there. So, it’s just a thing for me being more consistent and trying to do what I do each day.”

On how much this team helps him work on his defense by playing against very athletic players …
“I guess it’ll get me ready in the sense that if there’s ever a situation where I need to come out and play the 3 a little bit I’ll be prepared for that. Maybe even guard a smaller guy, or they might have like – if we’re trying to just bury a kid, maybe their best player is a point guard and they want to keep rotating guys off of the point guard. Then I can maybe have to step up and do that for a little bit just to give somebody a break. Just kind of get me ready for anything, honestly.”

On what this team needs to address in the exhibition game …
“For me, personally, I think it’s my intensity. I feel like I need to play harder, have a higher intensity. I feel like that just kind of brings the team up when you can see everyone out there going hard. But from the team standpoint I feel like we need to communicate better. I feel like that’s a thing, and it just goes back to the complacent part. If we get up, then keep it that way. Don’t let them get back in the game. Stuff like that.”

MYCHAL MULDER

On seeming “bouncier” …
“Oh, I don’t know. I feel good. We’ve been working hard in the offseason, had a lot of time to progress. So I’ve been feeling good. A lot of us are feeling good.”

On how much he weighs now …
“Closer to 190, so I put on some weight.”

On Isaiah Briscoe saying he’s the bounciest player on the team …
“We work really hard every day on strength and conditioning. Just using athleticism in basketball. I don’t know. I don’t claim to be the bounciest. I can jump, you know what I mean? But we’ll see. We’ll see about that.”

On whether he has improved his athleticism …
“Yeah. I feel like I’ve feel progressed body-wise and when it comes to confidence and just an all-around basketball player I feel like I’ve progressed.”

On how excited they are to play another team …
“We’re all really excited to be able to line up against somebody that we don’t know so well. We work hard every day against each other and I’m excited to see us really project that against an opponent.”

On what he hopes to get out of exhibitions …
“These games, they always show you what you need to work on early on. It’ll show you what you got going for you and what you might lack. In an exhibition game like this, we’re just excited to go against an opponent and see what we can do against somebody other than ourselves.”

On what the seniors bring …
“I feel like we bring a little bit of leadership. These guys are all really talented young basketball players and they do look to us for some sort of guidance for how we should handle ourselves on and off the court. Generally, I think it’d be leadership.”

On how that will show itself starting Sunday …
“Like I said, it’s not like they need a lot of extra leadership. These guys are leaders on their own at a young age and it’s impressive to see. They’ll look to us—they’ll be jacked up to see all the fans in Rupp for game one and I’m sure they’re excited about it. They’ve been talking about it all week, so I’m excited to see how they handle that.”

On what the young players have been saying about Sunday …
“I feel like have an idea what the crowd will be like, but they’re just excited to see it all filled up. It’ll be more packed even than what it was at Madness, probably. So they’re just really excited to see that and they’re excited to go against another opponent.”

On whether his father will be at the game …
“Yeah, yeah. He’ll be there. He seems to always be there. He’ll be there. He’ll be at most of the away games. Any chance he gets.”

On how confident he is as a shooter …
“I’m really confident in the ability to shoot the ball. I’m still growing as a whole basketball player, but shooting the ball I’ve become a whole lot more confident since last year. I’ve been focusing on getting more consistent and just being ready to catch and shoot. So I feel pretty confident.”

On the difference in his confidence from last year …
“I think experience definitely helped. Just having a year under my belt in Coach Cal’s system, understanding what’s expected of me on offense as well as on defense. And I feel like along with that, just having confidence really just comes from being comfortable on the floor and understanding what’s expected of you.”

On whether Calipari has talked about playing at Clarion …
“He hasn’t talked about that too much with us. I’m sure it’ll come up at one point. We’re just really focused on ourselves right now. We’re still a couple days out, so we haven’t focused too much on the opponent. But just right we’re focused on getting better and just making sure we don’t beat ourselves, first and foremost.”

On what team has improved the most this offseason …
“We just really mesh really well together. We all have a really great relationship as a whole and it’s been great to watch us come together on the basketball floor. You see us competing and I feel like a lot of the young guys have learned what it takes to fight really early on in the season. So I’m excited to see where we go from here, but we’ve learned a lot in the time that we’ve spent together.”

On the biggest difference in him personally …
“I think it’s like I said: just being more comfortable in the system, understanding what’s expected of me and just being more ready, being more consistent.”

On how hard he’s working to earn a spot in the rotation …
“We fight every day. Everybody’s battling for a spot and we all understand that. It’s a battle between the lines and when we come off the court we’re all great friends. We’re really close, but we understand there is that competition for playing time and stuff like that. I feel like that’s what keeps the level high in practice. It keeps the competitive level high and a lot of energy is shown between everybody.”

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