Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Video/Transcript: UK Players Derek Willis, De’Aaron Fox Pre - Cleveland State ~ Bluegrass Showcase Press Conference Interview

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

DEREK WILLIS

On whether moving out of the starting lineup has any effect on him …

“Yeah, in practice I’ve been trying to focus more on defending, rebounding and playing with a little more energy. I feel like that was kind of an issue, so just trying to get things going and just go from there.”

On his defense so far this season …
“I’ve had breakdowns and lapses on pretty much every game, so I’ve just been trying to minimize them. But I feel like for the most part if I can improve on that then I’ll stay on the court a lot longer.”

On what a lineup with both him and Wenyen Gabriel gives to the team …“I think it’s just a lot more length. I feel like we’re both energy guys. We can play the three or the four, guard both of those positions. Sometimes in practice when we are on teams together, I’ll tell him, ‘Yo, whoever gets down the court first, just someone will be the three and whoever’s trailing will be the four.’ We both know those positions, so it makes it a little bit more versatile and we play similar. It’s real good.”

On why they rebounded better on Sunday …
“I think it was just keying more on it. We’ve been doing more rebounding-associated drills, so we’ve been getting a lot more physical with each other in practice. Like going and hitting each other, making contact and then going up and getting the ball. I feel like that’s kind of carrying over the games. I feel like if we’re not really focusing on something like that we’ll do it in practice and then it translates to the games. So I feel like it translated to last game for sure.”

On whether 3-point shooting is still one of the things he can bring to the team …
“Oh yeah, without a doubt. Like I said, I feel like it was also a thing too where I was trying to be focused on defending and rebounding where I wasn’t really keyed on as much with getting shots and stuff. I just figured those things would come along as I played. My focus was just more on other aspects of the game.”

On this upcoming stretch …
“It’s going to be pretty fun. Cleveland State’s a good team. I haven’t really seen what they have or anything, but from what we’ve heard they’re a pretty good team. Friday—we play a game Friday, right? So don’t even know who we play. I haven’t looked at that. That’s just how our team is. We kind of just go game by game and focus on that. And after that’s over, then it’s the next team. I’m looking really forward to going to the Bahamas. That’s always a fun trip. It was fun. I think it was my sophomore year we went. I had a great time and a great environment and just looking forward to being back there.”

On how last season prepared him for the highs and lows of this year …
“I just think that—it’s kind of like motivated me, just to work on the things that I need to work on. I’m happy for Wenyen. I’m glad he got to start. I feel like he’s deserved it. He’s played with high energy. He’s played with a really high motor, so it’s just hard to want to keep a player like that off the court. I get that. But it’s also kind of helped me too. It’s pushed me in practice and stuff, made me focus more on the things I need to work on.”

On how Fox is doing at point guard …
“He’s doing pretty good. He’s doing a lot of stuff. He’s so fast. He gets up and down the court great and he’s been rebounding well. He’s been one of our guards that’s rebounded well. He’s been doing his job fine. There’s always stuff we can work on, but I think as the season comes along he’ll kind of start recognizing that stuff and he’ll start to play into it.”

DE’AARON FOX

On how Bam Adebayo is coming along …

“He’s coming along well. At the beginning of the year, first couple games, he was just fouling a lot so it was kind of hard to get him the ball without there being an offensive foul. But he’s adjusted and he’s starting to play well.”

On how he’s played so far …
“I feel like I’ve run the team pretty well. My assist numbers are up, I haven’t turned the ball over too much. One thing I know I haven’t done well is shooting the ball. My percentage is pretty bad. I’ve shot free throws well, but I’m not shooting the ball from the field well. Just something to work on.”

On Coach Cal’s joke that he should go back to old hairstyle after three missed free throws …
“The hair wasn’t different, it’s just something that I have to do to make my hair look like that. The first one I missed was the front end of the (technical) foul free throws. I missed and I was like, now I don’t have to worry about going perfect anymore.”

On if he was prepared for the level of attention his hair got …
“I kind of expected it. A lot of people always say they like my hair how it was. Some people actually liked it the way I had it last game. I see people talk about it, but it’s not that big of a deal, at least to me.”

On if he pays attention to his shooting percentages …
“No, I don’t look at the percentages. Get to the free-throw line, shoot as many layups as you can. Just do whatever to help my team.”

On how his game has changed …
“I mean, I’m shooting the pull-up more. I’m playing a lot faster than I was just because that’s what Cal’s been preaching to me.”

On what he thinks has been off with his shot …
“I don’t know. I mean, a lot of them have just been in and out. Just repetition, getting in the gym. I haven’t really changed much. They’ll start falling eventually.”

On Coach Cal saying he wants him to shoot more floaters …
“Yeah, yeah, he wants me to shoot more runners in the lane.”

“I don’t really have a reason not to. Sometimes I’m just not thinking about it. Sometimes a pull-up is just the first thing on my mind or get to a layup is the first thing. Not too many people have that in between. It’s just something I have to learn to use more.”

On Isaiah Briscoe’s ability to finish around the basket …
“It’s ridiculous the way he can just put English on the ball (at) any angle on the backboard. Kyrie (Irving) is one of the only people – Steph (Curry) has the high layup, but the way Kyrie finishes around the rim through contact, either hand, doesn’t matter if he’s on the right side with left hand, he just puts crazy spin on it and it goes in. I heard Kyrie is Isaiah’s cousin. I didn’t even know that, but I think that’s who he learned it from.”

On if he’s tried picking that up from Briscoe …
“A little bit. I think I did it before and Zay was like, ‘Man, your spin’s not like mine.’ I mean it’s cool. I would love to add that to my game.”

On if his communication on the court is natural …
“It’s getting better. I mean, honestly, it’s hard to talk while playing just because you’re using a breath and you might get tired quicker. It’s just one thing to be in shape. Just talking sometimes when you’re tired you just don’t think straight, you’ don’t know what to say so some people just stay quiet. It’s a learning curve for me and I’m still getting better at it.”

On what he looks like when he watches himself on film …
“Just a young kid who doesn’t really know what he’s doing but is trying to make it look like he knows what he’s doing.”

On what he doesn’t know and is trying to gain more knowledge with …
“I’m still trying to learn how to run a team. I mean, I haven’t even turned 19 yet. It’s been difficult to run a team with people who are much older than me, but I think the respect level is there so they listen to what I say, I listen to them, and it’s honestly made it easier.”

On what he’s learned about how to run a team …
“Just be talkative. You have to know all five spots as a point guard. You literally have to know the point spot, both of the wings, the power forward and the center. It’s just being able to learn the plays from every position to help our guys.”

On how fast he looks on film …
“Honestly, I joke about it with friends. They’ll be like, ‘Have you seen this?’ and they’re like, ‘Send it to me.’ I don’t realize I run that fast until I see it. Sometimes I feel like I’m jogging and I beat people down the court. I can’t really explain it.”

On being the point guard for Coach Cal …
“It’s been extremely tough. He’s been on me a lot. Sometimes I don’t put guys in the right positions and he lets me know. But I’m still learning. He’s helped me a lot. I mean, it’s still early on. We’ve only played four games so I feel like I’m continuing to get better.”

On if he looks different on film than when he arrived …
“Yeah, yeah. I mean, now I’m watching film a lot and the film doesn’t lie. Sometimes I’ll think I’m doing something and I did the complete opposite. Now it’s like, I know what I did, I know what I have to continue to work on. A lot of it, honestly, is just effort.”

On what he’s improved on the most defensively …
“Just being able to move my feet and stay in front of college guards, and just being stronger. A lot of college guards are extremely strong and some of them are smaller than me, so it’s just being able to get low, stay strong and stay in front of them.”

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