Friday, November 04, 2016

Video/Transcript: UK Players Brad Calipari, Wenyen Gabriel Pre-Asbury(Exhibition) Press Conference Interview

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV


BRAD CALIPARI

On his two 3-pointers at the end of the Clarion game …“First one was a good opportunity I had and made it. Second one was a little lucky, obviously. Sometimes the ball just happens to fall your way. It was just one of those times.”

On if he got a reaction from fans and friends …
“Yeah, they were all happy for me. They were just telling me how lucky they thought it was.”

On his teammates’ reaction to his shots …
“We all want to see each other succeed. It just shows the chemistry we have and the bond we have as a team.”

On his mom getting such a kick to have him playing at Kentucky …
“Yeah, she’s loving it. I’m sure she’s glad to have me back just because I was away for a couple years. I’m the baby in the family, so I know she’s happy.”

On if it took courage for him to take those shots …
“I guess. It’s one thing I’ve always done and he expects me to knock down shots. I don’t, personally, no I don’t think so.”

On what he calls Coach Cal in practice …
“Dad.”

On what it’s like to test his game against these players each day in practice …
“It’s really helped me a lot. Each day you’re going against NBA-potential players. They’re all very skilled, very talented, very athletic. Just each day coming out and competing, whether it’s offensively, defensively, it really helps you improve even if you don’t realize it. At the end of the day, if you come in to practice and play hard you’re getting better.”

On if it’s as tough as he thought it would be …
“Tougher.”

On being embraced by the Kentucky fans …
“I mean, I’m glad I’m not despised. It is what it is. Big Blue Nation has always been good with supporting the team. That’s good.”

On if he thought he would be a fan favorite …
“I had no idea. Coming into it, I wasn’t sure.”

On what it’s like to finally be a Kentucky basketball player after watching before …
“It’s a good feeling just to know they want to see you do well. They obviously want to see every person on the team do well. But instead of being a part of that cheering, getting cheered for is a different feeling, but it’s good.”

On if Coach Cal still seems excited about coaching this team …
“Yeah, he does, because he knows the potential that this team has. He still pushes us as hard as we can go. He expects a lot (from) us. He has very high expectations. Each day in practice he’s pushing us to our maximum.”

On if he saw this early impact coming from freshman forward Wenyen Gabriel …
“Yeah. Wenyen works very hard. Very good basketball player. You could kind of see in high school the potential that he had. Just seeing him come in and work hard every day, he’s starting to get a hold of that potential and reach how good he can be.”

On how Coach Cal works on the team’s chemistry …
“He’s mixed up lineups here and there, but at the end of the day the chemistry comes down to us being as a team and bonding, whether it’s on or off the court. It’s just us being together and enjoying each other’s company.”

On what he thinks he needs to improve on with his game …
“Defense, obviously. That can always improve. And then just handling the ball.”

WENYEN GABRIEL

On what the team has been working on …
“We’ve been working on a lot of our own stuff, still working on our chemistry and just figuring out working hard right now. Nothing really new.”

On Calipari saying he wants to see more from the post and whether that will happen …
“I don’t know if that’s what we’re going to expect for the next game, but we’ve definitely been getting some more touches down there.”

On whether starting surprised him …
“I wasn’t surprised. I’ve been in that lineup during practice the last few weeks. So it was nothing new.”

On developing chemistry …
“Us being able to play with each other and against each other or different groups every day in practice, we get to figure out where guys like the ball and where our players like to shoot and different things like that where we feel comfortable. I think definitely builds on our chemistry off the court as well. Spending more time together, that’s been really good for us.”

On whether Cal has been mixing lineups …
“Yeah, he made a few different groups together. In the game, he had the matchups kind of already planned and he wanted to see how different players played together. So that’s one of the things we’ve been working on. Still looking for our identity as a team.”

On the lineup that was most comfortable for him …
“I liked playing with everyone. I’m not sure what’s most comfortable for me yet. I just—I like being out on the floor.”

On how his game fits with attacking on defense then fast breaking …
“It fits my game a lot. That’s of the emphasis Coach Cal’s really putting on our team, is our defense. One of the things we work on every day. We make sure we get on that and partially one of the reasons why I came here, why I feel like I can make a big impact here.”

On how he has adjusted his game to UK’s system …
“I had to slow down my mind mentally so I can keep running my feet fast and stop worrying about mistakes and kind of just playing the game. I think that’s the biggest adjustment I had to make.”

On how difficult it is to slow down …“Yeah, it is. But there’s a lot more pressure here at Kentucky too. That’s one of the challenges that I’m up for and I think will make me a better player.”

On whether the amount of pressure surprises him …
“I’m not surprised about it. This is what we signed up for. We know all the pressure. And when you’re feeling it, it’s kind of exciting, too, at the same time. When you overcome that is going to be a big thing.”

On whether he heard about Clarion’s coach praising him …
“I heard about. I just take it as a compliment and keep working on my game and keep playing hard.”

On what he thinks the Clarion coach likes about him …
“I think probably my motor stands out. Some other coaches probably feel like they would like to have a player like that on their team. So I appreciate the compliment.”

On whether he knows how many deflections he gets in practice …
“I don’t know what my numbers are, but that’s one of the emphasis we have during practice with our defense. We keep track of things like that: deflections, steals, how many time you get your hands on the ball, things like that.”

On doing a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score …
“Yeah, exactly. I think I do a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that kind of define my game as well. It’s what gets me on the floor and helps me stay out there.”

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