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5 Notes From Kentucky’s Session At SEC Basketball Media Day

© Shanna Lockwood | USATSI

© Shanna Lockwood | USATSI

Kentucky’s time at SEC Basketball Media Day has come to an end, which means the Cats are probably already in their private jet heading back to Lexington. I’m about to hit the road myself for Nashville, but first, a few notes.

Calipari covered a lot of old ground

Between UK Basketball Media Day and his interview on KSR last week, John Calipari didn’t cover much new ground during his 20-minute Q&A today. Once again, he expressed his concerns about the potential expansion of the G-League, claimed hasn’t read the California Fair Pay to Play Law, and talked about how EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards need to be more physical.

Here’s his response when a reporter asked him how EJ compares to PJ Washington, who also returned to Kentucky for sophomore season:

Everyone is raving about Ashton Hagans’ defense

Ashton Hagans was named Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year last season, and his name came up plenty today as the league’s toughest defender.

“Big fan of his game,” Florida’s Mike White said. “I mean this all positively, he’s a junkyard dog in my opinion. Pitbull. Tough as they come. Probably as good an on-ball defender as there is in the country.”

John Calipari has had plenty of talented point guards, but said Hagans is the best defender of them all. Like a leader, Hagans credited his teammates when a reporter informed him of Calipari’s praise.

“Just keep doing what I do. Keep trying to do my best each and every day when I go to practice. Compete against the guards, Immanuel [Quickley] and Tyrese [Maxey]. Immanuel is looking ten times better than he was last year, so for him to keep putting in the work that he’s putting in to make himself better, it’s just going to make our team even better as the season goes on. Tyrese is a hard worker. No one’s really seen him play except for high school and the McDonald’s [All-American] Game but I guarantee he’s going to bring the same thing he brought in those games to Kentucky. Johnny Juzang, he came to college a year earlier, he’s ready to work and show everybody what’s he’s got. The guards are just ready to come out here and compete.”

…But he also hit 60 threes in 5 minutes in a recent drill

Ashton Hagans isn’t exactly known as a shooter, but Calipari told reporters that Hagans recently hit 60 threes in the team’s five-minute shooting drill, which is an eye-opener to say the least. Hagans said that last year, he would average around 39-45 threes in the drill, but this year, has hit as many as 65.

EJ Montgomery is back on Twitter

Did you know EJ Montgomery took a Twitter hiatus? Me neither. He’s back on social media as of yesterday, and encouraged fans to follow him @EJMontgomery23.

“I just felt like I needed a break, but I’m back now, so everybody go follow me.”

With no social media to distract him, Montgomery said he spent his extra time in the gym.

“I was just more focused, trying to get myself better, staying in the gym.”

He and Nick have been battling in practice

Calipari has forced his bigs to face off in practice recently in hopes of sparking their competitive fire.

“It’s a lot of battles,” Montgomery said. “A lot of cuts and bruises. We’ve just been trying to go at each other and just fight every possession as we try to compete.”

Cal said he’s noticed a big change in Nick so far.

“Nick is in the best shape I’ve ever seen him, which has built his own confidence now in himself,” Cal said. “He’s like running out ahead and has a smile on his face. Nick now, you’re seeing jump hooks. We did rebounding stuff and he’s getting every rebound. Proud of him. Proud of EJ.”

I’ll have more from SEC Basketball Media Day tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can watch my interviews with Ashton and EJ below.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

9 Comments for 5 Notes From Kentucky’s Session At SEC Basketball Media Day

  1. UKFanSC
    7:56 pm October 16, 2019 Permalink

    Cal has a great collection of talent this year and should take another run at a conference and national championship. But 2020 could be special. If we secure 3-4 of the guys we are rumored to get it will rival any collection of freshman talent we’ve had, think 2009-10 plus. Great time to be a part of the BBN. Cal has returned to super-elite recruiting with a vengeance.

  2. lexattorney
    9:11 pm October 16, 2019 Permalink

    I will always support UK (and Calipari for as long as he is the coach here) but I really wish he would just stop all of tired schtick and simply coach. The Cats will be really good this season but, until he proves me wrong (and I PRAY that he does), I can’t help but think Cal’s ceiling is the Elite 8.

    • 4evrUKBlue
      9:28 pm October 16, 2019 Permalink

      Like RG said….you missed a few seasons obviously. News flash, Cal has been to 3 final fours and won a national title. Consider yourself proved wrong.

      9:29 pm October 16, 2019 Permalink

      His ceiling is a National Championship, you know, since he’s already won one… Please tell me you aren’t really an attorney.

    • 4evrUKBlue
      9:33 pm October 16, 2019 Permalink

      Lol! This ^^^

    • makeitstop
      8:48 am October 17, 2019 Permalink

      Well he HAS proven u wrong: he’s been to 4 Final Fours in 10 years and 2 championship games and but for a certain ref, would hv hung at least one and maybe 2 banners. Plus he went to 2 FF and a NC game before he got here, so to suggest a ceiling of elite 8 is truly Fake News.

  3. lexattorney
    9:23 pm October 16, 2019 Permalink

    *all of his tired schtick

  4. Dark Soul
    2:05 pm October 17, 2019 Permalink

    I wouldnt take another coach in the world over coach Cal