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Billy Clyde Press Conference Quotes

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From UK Athletics:

Opening Comments

“It’s been a long time since we’ve played. That’s kind of bad and good. We wanted to be playing last weekend but we didn’t. We’ve moved on from that. We’ve gotten a lot of good practice in. We’ve got a long way to go just like every other team. I think we’re getting better and I think we’re understanding how hard it is to compete and how important it is to compete. Hopefully we’re going to get better in that department.”

On what the team has improved on since its last game…

“I think we’ve gotten better at everything. We’re still inexperienced and we don’t make decisions as well as we need to, but we’re getting better at that. We just need a ton of repetitions. It’s a young team and our seniors are taking more responsibility in leadership roles. I think they are understanding that until you go through the season and until you play games, you don’t always understand how much responsibility you should shoulder as a senior. I think they’ve started to realize that and I think we’re starting to make changes as far as how we’re going about taking care of responsibilities.”

On what the biggest change has been over the past few weeks…

“I think it’s just a mindset change just understanding what the responsibilities are and understanding that we’ve got a bunch of sophomores out here and we’ve got some freshmen that are playing. We have two seniors and they need to understand that they just need to do a little more.”

On the team’s injury status …

“We’re getting better. We still have too many key components spending too much time in the training room. I think, as time goes on, hopefully each day can get a little bit better and we can get one day closer to getting a full complement of players.”

On the status of players who have missed practice time due to injury…

“They say Joe [Crawford] is completely healthy now. I think he’s gotten in better condition. He’s still not where he needs to be. The guys that are out there have been pretty healthy. Jared [Carter] has improved, but still has a long way to go. He’s more confident now, probably. Those are the only ones who have missed practice time because of injury.”

On the team’s reaction to the loss to Gardner-Webb…

“We didn’t practice the next day. We were off because it was our mandatory day off. They don’t like to lose. Whether you win or lose, you have to continue to work to get better, especially at this point in the season. I don’t think that anybody was too happy about it, but I don’t think that they’re going to let one game — whether it’s a positive or a negative — determine the outcome of our season.”

On how the team compensates with its injuries…

“Everybody has to do a little bit more. Some different guys will be playing a little bit, probably. Not having Ramon [Harris] out there hurts us. That’s another added depth guy. [Jodie] Meeks and Derrick [Jasper] are perimeter guys who would probably be playing a lot of minutes — they’re not out there. But, everyone has to do a little bit better. We have to post better in the post and we have to make it easier for more guys to feed the post from the perimeter. I think you have to have everyone on the team do a little bit more and hopefully that will be the case with us.”

On sitting out two weeks without a game…

“It’s bad because we lost. We didn’t want to have a two-week break. The good part is that we used that time to our benefit to become a better team.”

On Ramel Bradley’s turnovers in the past two games…

“I think it’s misleading to blame Ramel [Bradley] for all of the turnovers that he has had. It’s one thing for a guy to have everyone at the right spot going at the correct speed and a guy to turn it over at that time, but turnovers are usually charged to one guard who makes the mistake or turns the ball over, but it’s usually a whole team thing. You have to make better cuts and you have to have your hands ready. I haven’t been worried about Ramel’s turnovers. His decision-making has improved drastically. He’s got a long way to go. I think all of us do and we have to help each other more. We have to get open on the wing better and that cuts down on one turnover a game. I think we have to get open in the high post better and that cuts down on the turnovers in a game. I think turnovers are more team oriented than they are individual.”

On how comfortable Bradley seems in leading the team on the floor…

“I think he’s accepting responsibility, but I think that there’s a lot that he has to learn about the amount of responsibilities that we are placing upon him. His effort is great, his attitude is great and I am really proud of those two things. I think that’s the only thing you can ask at this point — to start the offense and start the defense for a lot of young players and not turn it over. We’re asking him to do a lot of things and he wants to do those kinds of things. He probably wants to do those things a little too much right now, but he’ll get better as we go.”

On whether starting the season early in November was a reason for UK being unprepared vs. Gardner-Webb…

“That’s not an excuse for why we got beat. The teams that we played had the same amount of days of practice that we did, so that’s not an excuse. That’s just my philosophy. I think the season’s too long if it started on November 20th, which it used to start around that time. Hopefully we’ve been able to make some changes. We’re going to make a ton of mistakes tomorrow. As far as having more things in offensively and defensively, we could have a lot more flexibility if we had all of our personnel available. I think that we’ve done a lot of stuff. We’ve tried to put in a lot of stuff offensively and defensively.”

On whether Derrick Jasper will be healthy this season…

“We’ll assess that as we go. I think Derrick definitely wants to play and I think we want him to play and definitely need him to play. The most important thing for us is the health and safety of each individual player. He’s injured and he’s doing all he can while he’s injured. It’s not like he’s hurt and doesn’t want to play. There’s a big difference between hurt and injured. He’s rehabbing and hopefully he’ll become available for us.”

On Wednesday’s game vs. Liberty…

“I expect us to play well. I always expect us to play well. No game is easy. Liberty came out and won a game at the buzzer the other night against a team in Conference USA. I know they’re going to be playing with great excitement. Everybody gets exited to play Kentucky and they have some good players, so just because we lost our last game doesn’t ensure success this time. Just because you get mad about losing, you have to perform on a daily basis and you have to get better to understand how good your opponents are. We’ll have proper respect for them and hopefully we’ll play well.”

On his thoughts about Liberty…

“They’re hard because they spread the floor and they back-cut you. They have a post player who is very, very good. They have a point guard who can control the tempo of the game. They’ve got three or four shooters that make it tough for you to try to guard penetration and pitches. They can shoot it and they’re a very well coached team. They stay between you and the basket on defenses and they change defenses up pretty well. They’re very well organized and it will be a difficult contest for us.”

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Kentucky Players

#23 Jodie Meeks

On his health…

“I feel a lot better, and I’m just taking it easy right now. I don’t want to reinjure it. It’s the first serious injury I’ve had in a long time. I just want to get better and get ready for the upcoming games. At the same time, the coaches told me I need to be a cheerleader for my teammates.”

On the team’s reaction to the national reaction of the Gardner-Webb loss…

“Give Gardner-Webb all the credit. We felt like we were prepared, so give them all the credit in the world. They came in here and beat us on our home court, and I don’t think we underestimated them at all. They just came in here and beat us. We’re just going to try and move on.”

On the time-table for him to come back…

“I’m just trying to stay positive. I’ve been resting, and I want to get back as soon as possible. I’m not exactly sure when it happened. I think it was sometime in the second exhibition game. I didn’t really feel it when it happened. It’s been tough to play through it, but I’m just doing what I can. The doctor said I would be out four to six weeks. It might be shorter, it might be longer. I just don’t know. I trust the trainers, doctors and coaches to know what’s best for me.”

#21 Perry Stevenson

On improvement in the past two weeks…

“We came in and have worked hard since that loss. We are going to work hard after a win or a loss, but especially after our last loss. We feel pretty good going into this game. Coach is trying to get to know us better and we are trying to get to know him better. It helps going into the office everyday and talking to Coach Gillispie and the assistants. I have learned what to expect and what they expect of me. That is true for everyone else on the team also. It takes time to get to know each other but we are all coming right along”

On what practice has been like the past two weeks…

“We have been practicing harder. There wasn’t any kind of running or punishment but more of a case of everyone trying to get better. We have been coming together more the past two weeks. We have been talking more on defense and coming together more off the court. If we can come together better off the court then we can do a better job of communicating on the court.”

On Gardner-Webb…

“I don’t think we overlooked them but they are a pretty good team. When you play good teams and you don’t play well you get beat. Tomorrow night’s game you will see us playing a whole lot harder. Losing a game is always embarrassing. That is especially true when it is on your own floor and we don’t want that to happen again. We learned from the Gardner-Webb game and we are ready to go out there and play again and I think we are all ready for that.”

#42 Mark Coury

On practice since Gardner-Webb…

“Obviously, we didn’t get a chance to go to New York, but it has been good to have a week and half of practice and hopefully that will make us better in the long run. “

On getting to the next game…

“I am very anxious to get back on the court. We have to get back on the right track and start climbing and getting better every game.”

On how practice the past two weeks has helped out…

“I think we are getting better and the conditioning will help us keep our man in front of us and have better help side defense. I certainly want to work on the flaws we had last game.

On reaction to the national hype of the Gardner-Webb defeat…

“We saw a lot of that on ESPN and it helps to drive us to get better to not let that happen again. It helps to motivate us in practice to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We lost that game and we can’t look at that now. We have to prepare to play the rest of the season and move on. Since that game we have learned a lot from our mistakes and worked to correct those in practice.”

Article written by Matt Jones