Thursday, March 02, 2017

Transcript: UK Basketball Players De'Aaron Fox, Isaac Humphries Pre - @Texas A&M ~ T-Shirt White-Out Press Conference Interview

DE’AARON FOX

On why Kentucky has started slowly in games lately …

“I don’t know. Sometimes we just have slow starts. We just gotta learn how to play desperate the whole 40 minutes. We’ve been getting down and having to fight back and it being a close game. So, I feel like if we play desperate from the start we don’t have to worry about 10-, 12-, 15-point lead that we have to cut into and then try to get up ourselves.”

On what they should do to get this desperation …
“I don’t know. Sometimes we just don’t have energy at the beginning of the game and then we kind of kick it in a little bit too late. I think if we can start the game like then it’ll be much easier and better for us.”

On why the players may not always listen to the coaches as intently initially …
“Sometimes I guess the players think they have a better feel for the game since you’re out there, but then other times you realize Coach is right.”

On if the lack of desperation at the start of games can be attributed to the players knowing they still have another game to go whether they win or lose …“Not necessarily. At this point, postseason is creeping up on our minds. Most of us haven’t gone through it yet. I can’t really say for other people.”

On how close his knee is back to normal …
“It’s really close. I’ve been in treatment every day. No telling, but I’m able to play, I’m able to run, so I’m fine.”

On if the season has been a humbling experience for the team …
“Yeah, yeah. We have a few losses we probably shouldn’t have. That’s when we really learned. After, I guess, those three losses in four games we kind of tried to turn it up, we changed practice a little bit, flipped a switch and I feel like we’ve been playing a lot better since then.”

On what they did to flip a switch …
“It’s just effort, things like that. Like I said, trying to play with desperation from the beginning to the end of the game. Some games we’ve done that and win by 30, then some games we didn’t, we get down and come back. If we can do that for the full 40 minutes it’s hard to beat us.”

On what he’s learned from being an observer during his injury …
“You just kind of see the game differently. It really slows down when you’re not playing. Just seeing stuff, being able to talk to my teammates and knowing what I need to look for when I got back.”

On what he picked up from the Florida game on Feb. 25 that he missed …
“Just playing hard out there. I think we were down 10-0 or something like that, and just watching my guys fight back and being able to win a tough game like that against a team like that. It just made me want to come back and fight more, fight with my team and always play hard.”

On being more animated on defense in the last game …
“Yeah, it’s something I know I have to do as a player to get where I want to go.”

On if there are any parts to his game where he’s still trying to knock rust off from his injury …
“Well, I haven’t gotten layups that I was getting before that. But then when I have I’ve been missing them. Just trying not to worry about that. Just trying to keep doing what I’m doing. I know it’ll all come back.”

On how much he’s changed his conditioning in light of the injuries …
“The first practice I was back it was pretty difficult, but just trying to get through it all, try to work out a little bit more, get more conditioning while we’re practicing. We’ve been running a little bit more just because I’ve been out a little bit. I know I’m going to have to just to be able to pick up and run the point guard for most of the game. But I’m still getting back, probably not 100 (percent) yet, but I’ll be there.”

On going back to Texas …
“It’s going to be fun. We’ve played this team before. Trying not to worry about family and friends being there. But at the end of the day it’s still just a game.”

On UK’s first game against Texas A&M …
“We won that game pretty comfortably, but it’s a different team (and) we’re a different team now. We’re just going to try to go in there and do the same thing.”

On how well he knows Texas A&M freshman forward Robert Williams …
“We played together last year on the AAU circuit, so I know Rob. I know Rob really well.”

On assistant coach Joel Justus saying the staff asked the players why they’ve gotten off to a slow start and if he had an answer …
“No, I don’t remember really what anybody said because it was an early Monday morning when we had those meetings.

“We have those meetings at 8 a.m.”

ISAAC HUMPHRIES

On the improved rebounding effort …

“After the Florida loss, we kind of emphasized that we weren’t doing well and to try and really work on that a lot more and stuff like that. We’ve just definitely been emphasizing rebounding more and we have been rebounding really well lately. We’ve just been working on it.”

On the team’s slow starts …
“We’re still trying to work that out, to be honest with you. I feel like today is going to be the day where we’ll definitely talk about it a lot. We’ll try and figure that out. We’re just trying to get to a point where we start how we finish, if that makes sense. We kind of finish desperately and we’re playing with desperation and stuff like that. We want to get to a point where we start like that too.”

On how hard it is to play desperate for a full 40 minutes …
“I mean, yeah. But, we have a rotation. That’s what a rotation is for, I guess.”

On Texas A&M being a big game for the frontcourt players …
“I mean we’ve played these guys a couple of times before. I played them a couple of times before. We played them once earlier in the season, obviously. We know what to expect. Their big guy is good, (Tyler) Davis. We like the challenge and stuff like that, so it’s just going to be a fun game in that sense that we can have a challenge and fight through that sort of thing. We have to be ready for it.”

On the difference for him from this time a year ago to now …
“This time last year I didn’t really know what to expect from me in a game. I didn’t have a set rotation, I didn’t know when I was going to go in. This year I know the time I’m going to go in and come out and stuff like that. I just go in and try and work hard while I’m in there. That’s the biggest difference, just me knowing when I’m going in and being ready for that.”

On returning to Texas A&M where he had one of his best performances, and remembering how the game ended a year ago …“I’ve tried to move on from that (the technical foul for spiking the ball.) Obviously, it’s going to be brought up again every A&M game. No thoughts, really. I’ve forgotten about it.”

On if he has mixed feelings about the game after playing well, but it having a bad ending …
“Obviously, I’m going to try and go in and do as well as I did last year. That has nothing to do with the team, I try and do that every game. It was a good game down there last year. (I’m going to) just try and emulate that.”

On if the team is looking for Malik Monk in the second half of games …
“For sure, yeah. When he gets on a roll, it’s time to get Malik the ball because he’s our scorer. He knows how to score really well, and he just gets it done. But in saying that, when it’s not happening for him people are there to do the same job. Yeah, we definitely – when we think he’s hot and if he’s going we definitely try to get it to him.”

On Bam Adebayo staying out of foul trouble and what he’s doing differently …
“He’s just kind of figured out how the game is refereed and how for a big man it’s – for a big man it’s kind of different for everyone. Different for our position because we are very contact-driven at the five, so I just think he’s figured it out. It’s a sensitive thing in the paint. Sometimes they’re fouls and sometimes they’re not. So, I think he’s found out what is and what isn’t and he’s just more comfortable.”

On if the players watch other SEC games to get a sense at how big of a game it is on other team’s schedules when Kentucky comes to town …
“No, we don’t really pay much attention to how they’ve played other teams. Obviously, we scout the other team when we play them, but I don’t pay that much attention (to the crowds). I think there’s a lot of truth to it how big it gets when we go to play another team on the road. It happens every game. It’s always sold out. It’s always shirt day or whatever. We’re used to that, and I think there is a lot of truth to it.”

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