Monday, February 20, 2017

Video/Transcript: UK Players Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder Pre - @Missouri Press Conference Interview


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

#25, Dominique Hawkins, Senior, Guard

On his confidence …

“I would say it’s probably the highest it’s ever been since I’ve been in a Kentucky jersey.”

On how he feels …
“I feel real comfortable on both ends, offensively and defensively. I feel like the ball’s going in for me now.”

On his role on the team …
“My role is definitely just being an energy guy. Come in and make open shots, play great defense on great ball-handlers and pressure them.”

On his offensive growth …
“It feels really good. I’ve been here for four years. I really haven’t gotten to show my offensive side that much, but definitely being able to play in big moments and play big minutes and actually being able to change the game around, make a few shots our team needed, it feels good to do that and it lets Coach know that he can count on me down the stretch as well.”

On the prospect of Calipari playing him more …
“That’s up to him. It’s whatever Coach wants to do.”

On looking for his shot more than at any other time in his career …
“I would say that I’m more aggressive than I’ve been before, off the drive definitely.” 

On what has helped him build his confidence …
“I think going to the rim. I really didn’t know that I could drive the ball so easily and get a floater or a shot off by just making a play myself.”

On if he’s been working on driving the ball to the basket more …
“It’s something I’ve been working on in practice. I just wasn’t confident enough to do it in games, but now my confidence is sky-high, like everybody has been saying and I’m just doing it in games now.”

On building his confidence against other great players in practice for four years …
“I definitely look at it that way. I definitely have said, ‘I’ve done this against all types of guys that came through here.’ And I should be able to do it against other college elite players as well.”

On who has been his stiffest competition in practice over his four years …
“I would say Tyler (Ulis), definitely. Ball handling, all of the little shaking – with him guarding (me), I had to master my ball handling. And also on offense, on defense, it’s pretty tough guarding Tyler too. I actually learned a lot from on him on pressuring the ball. I’ve never seen anybody pressure the ball like he did.”

On why he stuck it out at Kentucky …
“This is my dream school. I definitely wanted to stay here and I felt like my time was going to come. I didn’t want to be one of those guys that would leave a school that I love. I never even thought about leaving, actually. I’m just blessed to be able to be a part of this.”

#11, Mychal Mulder, Senior, Guard

On if he feels like he’s playing his best basketball since coming to Kentucky, as Coach Cal said …

“Yeah, I’m feeling confident. I think as the team continues to grow we’re all building our own individual confidence, so I think that’s where that’s coming from.”

On what’s brought on his own confidence …
“It’s just having the coaches have trust in me and performing every day on the practice floor. We’ve had a really good few weeks of practice and I feel like that’s where everybody builds their own individual confidence.”

On how things have changed with associate head coach Kenny Payne working more on the offense and assistant coach Tony Barbee working more with the defense …
“It’s good. Cal, he’s wanting to take a little step back and have KP take over the offense, Coach Barbee take over the defense, some with Coach Joel (Justus) too, so I think it’s really good. It’s good to have multiple perspectives, different coaches telling you different things. It’s always a good opportunity to learn when you get it from a few different voices.”

On why it’s a benefit to hear from different voices …
“It’s really beneficial. If Cal wants something done a certain way he’ll tell you a million times. I feel like sometimes hearing from a different voice is an opportunity for you to understand what’s being asked of you a little bit better. I think it’s been beneficial.”

On if he took it as a challenge when Coach Cal was talking about shortening the rotation …
“I didn’t even see anything about that. I don’t know if Dom had, but no I wasn’t paying too close of attention to that. The only challenge we really face is time at this point – me, Dom, Derek (Willis). We understand that our college career is winding down. We’re really just working against the clock and trying to keep our team alive as long as possible on our run in March.”

On how motivating it is to realize his college career is almost over …
“It really motivates me. You reflect on the years past and all the experiences you’ve had as a basketball player. Just being able to stay in the moment and understand what’s coming ahead of you still, what you still have left to accomplish while you’re still here, that’s something that’s been really important to me. I want to keep striving for those goals and make sure I can accomplish as much as I can while I’m here.”

On if his current role is what he envisioned when he came to Kentucky …
“I was just really willing to take on any role that was asked of me. I just wanted to play a role that helps the team win, get as many W’s as we can for the remainder of the season. Whatever is asked of me is usually what I’m aiming to do.”

On if he feared he’d get left behind in the rotation while he was sick …
“No, I knew as soon as I got back on the court I was confident enough in myself that I was going to be able to perform and get back to performing at a high level. I wasn’t really worried about that. I wasn’t really focused on that. I was more focused on what I needed to do to help the team grow. And when it was time for me to step back in, how do I help the team get W’s?”

On how the second unit is pushing the first unit in practice …

“I feel like it’s important for us to continue to push the starting group. He puts us in situational stuff and we try to simulate the game as best we can, simulate the second half, how we play when we’re tired, things like that. It’s really important for the second group to be able to push the first group. Having someone working with you and helping you get better every day is really important for a basketball player.”

On the coaches looking for more consistency from the players each game …
“Just what they’ve been saying all year is to be able to play hard, fight, battle and maintain focus for 40 minutes. I think we’re really getting close to that point, not quite there yet, but we have strides to go and I feel like we’re working in the right direction. I think they’re looking for consistency in that aspect. Just being able to be the team that is fun to watch, the team that everybody knows we have the potential to come and be that team for 40 minutes instead of just 30.”

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