The Kentucky players spoke on media day about countless topics including the attitude points that coach John Calipari is awarding the opposing team in practice when someone gets out of line. Also some Big Blue Mandess talk and some discussion on how practices are going.

PJ Washington 

Ashton Hagans 

EJ Montgomery 

Immanuel Quickley

Jemarl Baker

Keldon Johnson

Nick Richards

Quade Green

Reid Travis 

Tyler Herro 

Player quotes from UK Athletics 

UK ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
MEN’S BASKETBALL

MEDIA DAY

OCT. 11, 2017

JOE CRAFT CENTER – LEXINGTON, KY.

UK Student-Athletes

#0, Quade Green, So., Guard 

On what you tell new players about Big Blue Madness …

“They’re going to be shell-shocked. They come out there – they think they’re going to be dancing. They come out and they’re going to see they’re not going to be dancing anymore.”

On if you have something special planned for Big Blue Madness …

“Umm no. I’m just going to come out and point and that’s it. I might do something. I don’t know yet.”

On what you’ve seen from the team since the Bahamas …

“Everybody is willing to work, I think. Everybody is willing to be coached by Coach Cal be, willing to put in work in the gym. We all just put it together, and it’s going to work on the court.”

On the excitement for Big Blue Madness …

“Very excited. Second go-around. Very excited.”

#2, Ashton Hagans, Fr., Guard 

On why you like playing defense …

“I just like it. It’s easier for me to steal a basket. If my team needed it bad I’m going to give it up on the floor and give it all I got and just play defense. Try my best to get the easy steal.”

On attitude point s…

“Me and Keldon (Johnson) do a lot of talking and you know we’re on separate teams. If we get to talking the other team will get a point or our team will. I would say me and Keldon are tied with trash talking. It just comes with my game and picking up the ball, so that’s just what comes with it. I know how to control it so it’s just practice; it’s what comes with it.”

On challenges at UK …

“Really, about being here and separating yourself from others. We’re not like regular students on campus. We have to put in more work as an athlete. Then we have classes, tutoring, mentors. Have to time manage. Figure out what you want to do, eat, sleep and get your body right for the next practice.” 

On faith in Coach Cal …

“It’s not about having faith. He’s one of the greatest coaches that has ever did it; it’s just trusting him and everyone that has already done it.”

On your role …

“Whether you start or not, it’s just come in and leave everyone on the floor. Play for my brothers and just give it everything I got. Just excited to get here and play.”

# 3, Keldon Johnson, Fr., Guard

On the team’s growth after the Bahamas trip …

“I think the team is doing pretty good right now. We’re playing together and doing what we need to do to win. I think defensively we can be really good. We are all very competitive and we like to get after each other. Each day we’re working harder and because we know what we want.”

On his personal improvement …

“All around I want to get better. There’s always room for improvement. I’m just getting in the gym every day, working hard and continuing to try to perfect my craft. I’ve expanded my game a lot since we’ve started practice. I think that’s come from playing against my teammates every day. This good of competition has made my game better and better.”

On his competitive nature …

“I’m just a big competitor. This is my passion I love basketball. When I’m on the basketball court that’s my happy place. I don’t like losing regardless whether that’s basketball or not.  So when I get out there I want to win regardless of the situation. That’s just the person I am; when I get out on the basketball court I’m working towards a bigger goal.” 

#4, Nick Richards, So., Forward 

On playing Duke …

“We are just happy to play them for the first game of the season. It is going to be one of the most televised games of the year. It is two really good programs, Duke and Kentucky. When people think of basketball schools, they think of Duke and Kentucky. So we’re really excited and I’m just happy to be playing basketball for Kentucky again.”

On playing against Reid Travis in practice …

“I wouldn’t say he bruises me up. We usually go back and forth with each other. We play to make each other better.”

On someone being the leader on the court …

“It’s really just the three veterans from last year – me, PJ (Washington) and Quade (Green). Reid helps along the way. We just try to help the freshmen catch up. It makes life easier. It was tougher last year because we had nine freshmen on the team. We didn’t have anyone to look up to.”

#5, Immanuel Quickley, Fr., Guard

On what part of his game he is working on …

“Just working on everything. You know, you can never be a perfect basketball player – ball-handling, shooting, defense. Playing the point guard position is a lot different from high school than college, so I’m just working on everything.”

On if the team openly talks about a possible Final Four or national championship …

“A little bit. We try to focus on the here and now, which is getting better each and every day – individually first and then as a team. I think that’s going to put us right where we want to be.”

On what separates them from other teams …

“I think right now our depth. We probably could go 10 deep, I think. In practice, we’re going five-on-five. Everybody is really good and that’s making us a really good team.”

#10, Jonny David, Sr., Guard

On the Duke game and if they are excited to start the season playing them …

“I mean, we’re all excited to start the season as in any other year. I wouldn’t say it’s too different. We’re still working on ourselves right now. It’s a game. We’ll still have our preseason games before that and it will be a good test right out of the gate.”

On if guys in his generation think of UK and Duke as a rivalry as much as people who live here do …

“I feel like people in the state, I say they do more. As a player you kind of just think, ‘OK. It’s a game.’ You try to just play the best you can and win, but I’d say people like to build it up and stuff like that. We’re here just getting better every day and it should be a good game.”

On if he has noticed more physicality in practice with the new big guys …

“I’d say so, yeah. Reid (Travis) adds a big aspect as you can just see by looking at him. He brings a lot of physicality. Guys aren’t shying away from it. He’s definitely bent up a little.”

#12, Brad Calipari, Jr., Guard

On the strengths of this team compared to last year …

“We’ll be able to push the ball, you know. We play at a high pace – most of the teams do here. Our shooting ability this year – we have a lot of guys that can shoot the ball, which is also very important if we want to play how we want to play by getting in the lane, get layups and being able to shoot the ball up the court for guys to get the basket.” 

On former teammates that have moved on to the next level …

“They have all been good guys. They come here and work hard. That’s why they come here and get out in one year. They’re talented but if they come in here and don’t put in the work, then, you know. If you come in here and listen to what (the staff) is telling you, then you’re able to get out of here in a year.” 

On the crowd yelling ‘shoot’ every time he gets the ball in a game …

“It is what it is. I can’t control that, but it’s nice that they’re happy for me when I get in.” 

On if he could choose Coach Cal’s potential Big Blue Madness song …

“Soul Sister by Train.” 

#13, Jemarl Baker Jr., So., Guard

On why he chose to play basketball …

“While I was growing up we were just always surrounded by and playing basketball. My dad played basketball and my sisters played basketball growing up, so I just kind of fell into it.”  

On referencing his fashion sense as being simple as well as his play on the basketball …

“I’m a simple guy. I don’t do anything really. On the court, I’m simple – I don’t do a lot of movement, I’m not flashy. It’s just all put together.”  

On the help he’s had overcoming his injury …

“My family, the coaching staff, the players, just everyone helping be positive and telling me to stay positive, keep smiling and be myself. I’ve just been working hard and now I’m where I want to be. I’m happy.  I’ve been motivated my whole life but, the injury just put a big chip on my shoulder and I’m ready to get playing.” 

#14, Tyler Herro, Fr., Guard

On his role on this team …

“Being whoever Coach Cal wants me to be. Right now, I’m competing in practice against Keldon (Johnson), so I am just making him better, he’s making me better. Whatever it may be, just competing every day and getting better.”

On the team’s work ethic…

“It’s been crazy. We have 13 guys and everybody is working hard every day, getting in the gym, practices and being 100 percent competitive. Everybody is trying to make each other better.”

#21, Zan Payne, Fr., Forward

On playing for such a great fan base… 

“It’s amazing. The crowd gets really loud and excited.”

On the strength of schedule… 

“It’s going to be tough, but I am pretty sure we will be able to fight through and play well.”

#22, Reid Travis, GS, Forward

On something Coach Cal says in practice every day … 

“Catching the ball with two hands. It’s one thing I had to learn coming here. He’s really big on that. You don’t stick one arm out to catch a pass. You catch it with two hands every time. I guess he has some stories about losing games because a guy tried to catch it with one hand. (The ball) got taken away, and I guess they lost off of that.”

On losing weight over the summer …

“I worked really hard those two months to get where I was at. I think the thing I learned through the process is it’s not so much the weight at the end of the day; it’s getting the body fat down and moving a lot better and moving a lot quicker. So, I feel like this week’s it’s starting to click a little more as far as feeling more comfortable on the court.”

On becoming a team leader … 

“I think it’s going to be by committing definitely, but (Calipari) is definitely looking for somebody to step up and be a vocal leader but also lead as far as your performance on the court – be a guy that can take over in different segments and stuff like that. For me, it’s trying to be sound and confident in what I do and just know that it’s not always about trying to tell guys what to do but just leading by what I do on the court.”

#23, EJ Montgomery, Fr., Forward

On the level of intensity he has experienced at Kentucky

“I was definitely surprised. It’s definitely another level of intensity. All these guys work, and we’re going to be a good team this year.”

On what he is doing to become a standout player … 

“Just working every day and improving my craft is going to help me get better.”

On the team’s defense … 

“We just pride ourselves on defense. We don’t want the other guys to score. We just want to go out there and play hard.”

On forming a relationship with former Wildcat Anthony Davis … 

“It was a very special experience meeting him, especially because he’s one of my favorite players. I just look up to him a lot and just wanted to play like him a little bit.”

#25, PJ Washington, So., Forward

On his play in the Bahamas …

“In the Bahamas I tried to display my energy, how my body is different, my ability to play both sides of the floor and also play outside on the perimeter. I feel like I did a better job than last year and I’m going to try to continue to build off that.”

On the Kansas State Sweet 16 matchup last year …

“I don’t feel anything about it. It’s in the past; I can’t change anything about it. So, I’m going to move forward and have a great season this year.”

On the maturity of the team …

“Everybody’s more focused. You can tell these guys want it more. Everybody is in the gym every night. We all want our craft to get better, which makes the team get better. We just want it more I would say.”

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