Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Video/Transcript: UK Basketball Player Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo Pre - Georgia/Tennessee SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals Press Conference Interview


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

MALIK MONK

On how he feels about all the awards he’s received …

“I mean, I really can’t feel (any other) feeling but be happy and blessed God put me in this situation. Just me listening to Coach put me in that situation too. I’m just blessed to be here.”

On splitting SEC Player of the Year with South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell by the league coaches and AP …
“I’m not going to say nobody is better than me. I’m going to say I’m the one. But he’s a great player. We played against each other. We both competed against each other. So, we’re both great players.”

On how well he can keep track of all the awards he’s received …
“Today, I came into practice awhile ago and they told me I had like five awards from yesterday. I didn’t even know. Deb (Moore) and Eric (Lindsey) do a nice job of keeping me well-grounded with all that information.”

On how he thinks he’s played this season by his standards …
“I feel like the overall year was pretty good, had some ups and downs. I think I could have done better, but the new season is here, tournament time. I just gotta focus in even more.”

On if it’s bad news for opposing teams that he just had his worst game of the season …
“It’s bad news for every team coming up because I think our team is focused. We’re all focused and we’re coming in focused from the jump. I think it’s going to be a new team the whole tournament.”

On Coach Cal saying he wasn’t “engaged” against Texas A&M …
“Oh yeah, no energy. I didn’t have any kind of energy or none of that. Basically, yeah, I was not engaged. But young players, every player has up-and-down games, so I just gotta move from that, learn from the mistakes and try to get better.”

On if he will change anything with UK’s SEC Tournament games starting at noon (CT) …
“No, our personal preparation will be the same. We’ll just get up even earlier than we’re used to, have shootaround and stuff like that earlier. I think we’ll just do the same things.”

On if he thinks his game suffers without a shootaround …“We didn’t have one at Texas (A&M) and we didn’t have one (versus) UCLA. Those are the only two games we didn’t have shootarounds, but UCLA I think I played pretty good. Then the Texas game was horrible. I think we need shootarounds, for sure. I think we need shootarounds.”

On what he gets out of shootarounds …
“More focus. More focus on the game plans and stuff like that. People aren’t sleepy or anything like that. I think shootarounds are best.”

On what time they get up for a noon game …
“We’ll have to get up at 6 (a.m.). It’ll be 7 here. Gotta get used to it. But we’re going to have to play at 12, so it’s just something we have to adjust to.”

On how he remains patient despite having a green light from his coaches …“I think being patient is the biggest key. If you’re patient you’ll see the open play. So, me being patient, I just try to make the best play all the time. That’s all I try to do.”

On what will be different this time when they face either Georgia or Tennessee …
“It’s hard beating teams two or three times if you play them. But they’re going to be way more game planned than we were and we’re going to be way more game planned than we were before. We’re just going to have to come down and compete and listen to Cal and I think we should be alright.”

On why his shooting has been off lately …
“Probably my preparation. Probably my preparation in practice. I just gotta take way more game shots. I think that’s the biggest key, and focusing in warmups too.”

On how aware he is of potentially finishing the year as the SEC’s leading scorer …
“Cal sets me up well. He gets me the ball as much as I want. I’m just trying to execute out there because I’m getting the ball. It’s a great honor. A lot of greats have come through Kentucky, and me being named one of the best, like I said, I’m just blessed to be here.”

On what he’s heard about the SEC Tournament and postseason …
“We don’t even talk about the postseason. We’re just worried about this practice today and figuring out tomorrow and whoever we’re playing Friday. We don’t talk about anything like that.”

On if there’s any urgency about their many close games with the postseason now here …
“Yeah, for sure. The SEC Tournament and tournament time you always have to tighten stuff up. Cal told me if you’re down 15-2 in the SEC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament we’re not coming back because that’s a team that grinds the ball out, knows how to stall. We just gotta come in there focused.”

DE’AARON FOX

On if keeps track of all the awards he has received …

“No. I didn’t come here to win awards. I am just trying to win.”

On Kentucky tweaking between now and the SEC Tournament …
“Well, this is our first practice coming back together. We’ll see. Just things to talk about. That’s about it right now.”

On Kentucky playing to get to this point …
“Nah. Every game is still–I just wanted to go in with every game being important. Now the stakes are higher so I just want to approach every game the same right now.”

On what the veterans of Kentucky have said about the post season …
“Just it’s different. Everyone plays harder just because, I mean, not this tournament, but the next tournament, you know, it’s win or go home.”

On his push to get to 100 percent …
“Well, we had a few days off. So, just being able to get treatment and just try to get as healthy as I can.”

On playing Georgia or Tennessee …
“Both Georgia’s games, the one I didn’t play in and the one I played, were both close. Tennessee, they beat us up there and came here and we blew them out. But, it doesn’t matter who we play. We just are going to be ready for whoever wins that game.”

On getting things turned around after slower first halves …“Just the level of intensity some. Even the games we started off slow, we picked up the intensity somehow, someway and I think just in this winning streak, it is just how hard we have been playing.”

On focusing in on the slower starts in practice …
“Well, in practice we have started off as slow as we have the three games. But, it is really just something that happens in a game. You can work on as much as you want in practice. Just, getting in the game is different than practice.”

On Kentucky being worried if they start off slow in the tournament …
“Well, the coaches talk about, you know, getting down like that in the tournament. It is a lot tougher to come back. But, it is just something that, we are trying not to play from behind. ”

On rebooting for the tournament …“Just come ready to play. Got to be ready to play every game. I mean, like I said, not this tournament, but the NCAA Tournament is win or go home. So, teams are just going to come play harder and we are not trying to match their intensity. We are trying to come out with more intensity than they are.”

On what he has to do differently at this point in the year …
“Just being able to control the pace of the game. KP (Kenny Payne) has always got me watching like guys like John (Wall), Kyrie (Irving), Kyle Lowry and how they just control the game, control the pace of the game. It is just something I have to work on trying to do, especially at this time of the year.”

On how close the team is to its peak …
“I don’t know. I’m not sure how good we can be. I mean, we know we can be great, so we’re just trying to practice and keep getting better.”

On what the team has to do in order to be “right” …
“I mean, (Calipari has) been through this a lot and he keeps saying sometimes we still don’t know who we are yet, even this far in the season. We’re still young. We’re still figuring out who we are and we’re just trying to keep getting better. And once we figure out who we are, I think that’s when we’re going to be able to peak as a team.”

On if he can tell Coach Cal is in a great frame of mind …
“Yeah yeah. When he’s talking to us he seems excited. He seems upbeat, so we all know he’s excited. We can’t let him be too excited or more excited than we are just because we’re the ones out there playing. We’re the ones out there having to execute. “

On if the older guys have given any advice for the SEC Tournament …
“They talked about it, but I’ve seen it on TV watching it. It’s always a lot of blue there.”

On the difference in Adebayo …“It’s just the way we’ve been playing. It’s just so he doesn’t have to fight the bigs all the time, and that’s what kind of got him a lot of offensive fouls earlier in the season. It’s just the way we have him play. He’s able to catch the ball without having to fight so much. It’s just him working on his game. He’s been able to put the ball in the basket. He’s hitting his free throws. After putting him in the position, it’s what he does and he’s been able to. He’s been playing well.”

On the new system the team has to get Adebayo the ball …“We always talked about it. When we get in the lane, it makes everything easy for us rather than just kick out 3s. Getting layups, dunks, or lobs to Bam, it just makes the whole game easy when our guards are able to touch the paint.”

On how his shot is right now …
“I mean, I’ve always been confident with it. Just I haven’t been going in most of the season, but I know I can shoot. I shot the ball well in high school, so it’s something to just keep working on and eventually it will fall.”

BAM ADEBAYO

On whether he keeps track of all their awards …

“No, we just worry about the next game. Just worrying about this practice today.”

On what he expects in the SEC Tournament …
“I expect it to be loud, fun and full of passion.”

On what the veterans have told him about the SEC Tournament …
“They said it’s just like Rupp when we play. We’re just going to go out there and have fun and compete.”

On what they can get out of the SEC Tournament …“Just get a good experience from it since it’s a neutral site. We’re going to have fun, we’re going to compete and we’re going to figure out what we need to do.”

On whether practice is different with Coach Cal talking about tweaking …
“Not that I know of. We switch our practices up a lot from different teams we play, so I couldn’t tell you.”

On what he expects from UK’s first game in the SEC Tournament …
“We’re just going go out there. It’s going to be a hard-fought game and we’re just going to go out there and play.”

On whether he’s had a moment this season when things clicked …“No, I just felt myself getting better, making more shots and I was getting more comfortable in our offense. I was just having fun with my teammates.”

On the difference in his rebounding of late …
“I changed my diet a little bit, lighter on my feet. I got more stamina and it’s helping me.”

On whether there’s anything he’s personally working on for the postseason …
“I’m just going to keep my same routine, work on everything that I can while I’m in the gym and hope it keeps processing.”

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