Monday, January 09, 2017

Video/Transcript: UK Players Dominique Hawkins, Isaac Humphries Pre-@Vanderbilt Press Conference Interview

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

#25, Dominique Hawkins, Senior, Guard

On the team progressing …

“I feel like everybody is buying into their role. Everybody is playing together. Coach Cal, we had Camp Cal, definitely made us better as a team.”

On how the team is progress … 
“Defensively and communicating more. That’s what we did in practice, communicate and practice on the defensive end. We just focused on better defense.” 

On winning by big margins …

“We just come up and play to the best of our abilities. Coach always tells us that it’s somebody’s Super Bowl game against us, so we just want to play our game and make sure we perform as well as we can.” 

On confidence in his shot …
“Well, I feel like my confidence coming into college, I thought it was high. In high school, I took any shot I wanted too. Then I came in as a freshman and I had a new role. I was playing defense and I needed to get in the gym more because I was not taking 10 shots a game like I was in my high school years. My confidence has risen every year and I feel like it’s just me getting in the gym and shooting more, so I can perform in the game and knock down shots.”

On his time as a UK player winding down …
“It’s true. I have a few more months here and I just want to leave it all on the floor.”

On enjoying every day left at UK …
“It’s a blessing to be on this team. We’ve got great guys around me that everybody loves. I’ll probably never find a brotherly love like Kentucky has once you come to this program.”

On the brotherhood of Kentucky players not being what he expected ….
“No not at all. I thought it was more of a ‘Hey, hi,’ type of deal because a lot of one and dones come. I didn’t know when someone leaves they would be actually be your brother and when they come back you’re excited to see them and hope they do well in the future.”

On what the team worked on in Camp Cal …

“Defense and communicating with each other. At the beginning of the season we were letting (the other team score) easy baskets because we weren’t talking to each other. Now when we are in practice the coaches are getting on us about communicating.” 

On buying in to the team …
“It’s pretty difficult because when you come here you don’t know what role you are going to get. Once you buy into that role, you figure out that the team will win and be successful. For me I feel like it wasn’t hard and it wasn’t hard for anyone else because everybody wants to win.”

On De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk’s play …
“They’ve been unbelievable. We know that De’Aaron can do that anytime and so can Malik. I’m pretty grateful to have a backcourt like that, that can score at any moment, can push the ball down the court and make hard plays look easy. 

#11, Mychal Mulder, Senior, Guard

On the four-guard lineup …

“I think it went well. Those guys were getting in foul trouble a little bit so I went in to play the four a little bit. Got to guard some bigger guys. It was a good opportunity. I think we pushed the lead open a little bit at that time and I think it went well.”

On guarding a forward …
“I mean, it was fine. In junior college I got to do that a little on that team. I had that kind of experience in the past. But having that opportunity to guard a bigger guy and show I can play defense down there – I think it was just a good opportunity for me to show what I can do down there.”

On what the key is to defending opposing forwards …
“As a guard trying to guard a big like that, especially that guy, he was a pretty big guy, I was just trying to keep the ball away from him. Try to front him as much as I can, fight for rebounds, fight for position. As long as you’re fighting I think you’ll be fine.”

On how much he did that in junior college …
“I played the two-three in junior college, primarily, but in my second year I played the four a little bit. We didn’t really have a huge team that year, so I had the opportunity to play the four a little bit and see what I can do down there.”

On what the best part of that four-guard lineup is for Kentucky …
“I think the good thing – not just me, but with all our fours actually – they stretch the floor pretty well. So, when I went in as the four I tried to do the same thing, stretch the floor, pull the four man out and make it easier for drives. As long as you’re fighting and stuff like that you’ll usually do fine in a situation like that. It’s usually a guy you should be quicker than. He’ll be a little bigger than you, but you’ll have the advantage with speed and quickness. As long as you’re fighting and working for rebounds, rebound the ball, everything will be alright.”

On what the film said of his performance against Arkansas …
“We went over all the film. It wasn’t specifically me or anything. But we’re getting better. There’s always a bunch of defensive lapses, but I’ve noticed there’s a lot more clips at this point in the year than earlier, of us turning defense into offense. Whenever you see us do that we’re really flying down the floor, and that’s really when we look our best on film. That’s something we’re learning, and to see it happening more on film it shows we’re really working on that.”

On if he’s surprised about UK’s big wins to start SEC play …
“Every game is a challenge. You’re going in knowing these guys want to beat you. I think we just approach every game the same way and we’re really focused at this point in the year mentally. And just really trying to focus on discipline. Trying to have as many good possessions on offense, as well as on defense, as possible.”

On Vanderbilt playing four-guard lineups as well …
“Vandy has an interesting style of play. From what I remember last year, they have lots of plays to run, lots of situational stuff, so that’ll be a good experience for us to focus on defense and work on our discipline.”

On adjusting to the benches being on the baseline at Memorial Gymnasium …
“It’s not crazy, it’s just a further walk to the scorer’s table if you ask me. It’s nothing too crazy. Interesting way their court is set up, but what’s most important is what goes on between the lines, if you ask me.”

On if players are more reliant on each other than the coaches in this situation …
“Yeah, I remember last year he was telling us – the guys who hadn’t been there – don’t turn around looking for guidance. That’s a kind of interesting way to do it. Last year we had Tyler (Ulis) and he was a great leader for us. This year we have Isaiah (Briscoe) so I’m sure we’ll be just fine in that communication aspect.”

On how much more trust he feels from Coach Cal this year …
“I feel a ton more trust from Coach, just this year to last year. Lot more opportunity to show I can defend and rebound, do those sort of intangible things that some guards don’t do. I feel a trust level rising, that’s for sure.”

On how Kentucky’s guards have played …
“The guards are so impressive. Since preseason I’ve said these are the best guards I’ve played with. It’s really great to see them racking up the accolades. I saw De’Aaron was freshman of the week again. It doesn’t surprise me when it comes from guys like that. These guys work so hard and I’m just glad to see them reap the rewards from that.”

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