At midnight, the embargo was lifted on the preseason Kentucky Basketball interviews, meaning your timelines were flooded with interviews with John Calipari and the Cats. Matt, Ryan, and Drew’s interviews with the players took place about a month ago. I listened to the recordings and came away with so many observations, I had to break them into two posts.
Here’s Part I:
Tyler Ulis isn’t over The Loss yet either
One of the most poignant and telling quotes I’ve ever heard from Tyler Ulis came after the Wisconsin game when he told reporters that because of one loss, none of UK’s 38 wins that season mattered.
“It takes everything away,” Ulis said. “All the wins, to me, mean nothing.”
Five months later, Ulis said the loss still haunts him.
“I’m still not over it,” Ulis said. “I feel like we should have won that game. We fell short of our goal and it still haunts me today.”
The team is talented, but may take some time to gel
This team kind of came together at the last minute, and in turn, fans should expect some bumps and bruises early on as team chemistry forms. Have no fear, the players say, the wheels are already in motion.
“It’s happening, we can feel it,” Skal said of the team’s bond. “The guys really like each other. We just make each other better as a whole.”
“They’re a really cool bunch of guys that I think I’m going to really like getting to know,” Isaac Humphries said. “I think they’re all such great players. I’m going to learn a lot from them, and to be able to go up against them everyday in training is great. Off the court, they’re just very genuine people. We always talk about becoming brothers and I think that will happen once we gel to know each other a bit more.”
Alex Poythress is embracing his role as a mentor
I feel like I’ve written “Alex Poythress is ready to lead” a lot in my blogging career, but I finally believe it. Tyler Ulis will be the vocal leader of this group, but as a senior, Poythress, who is currently working on his masters in sports leadership, has finally found his niche as a mentor.
“I embrace it, I welcome the challenge,” Alex said of his role. “I’m comfortable doing it now, talking to people, doing what I need to do. A couple of years ago, I don’t know if I was comfortable with it, but now I’ve matured and I’m real comfortable with it.”
Excellent to hear.
Isaac Humphries’ friends from Australia may come to the Louisville game
The Big Aussie hasn’t been a Wildcat long, but he already knows how important the Louisville rivalry is; in fact, he’s telling his buddies from Australia they need to come see it for themselves.
“The Louisville game is just going to be crazy,” Humphries said. “I’m telling all my friends from Australia ‘You have to come over for that game, it’s going to be a big one.’”
Humphries said his friends finish high school in November, making the trip a real possibility, and they’re excited to check out the basketball culture in the Bluegrass, which is unlike anything they have at home.
“They really have no idea about much that is happening over here. They don’t understand because basketball isn’t really a big deal over there–well, it is, but it’s not like this.”
The only thing Charles Matthews doesn’t like about college is walking to class
Matthews is pretty soft-spoken, reminding me a little of Alex Poythress when he first arrived in Lexington. He did liven up a little bit when Matt asked him if he likes college so far. He loves it — except for one thing.
“I don’t really like walking to class,” Matthews laughed. “I’m used to being in a building. It’s crazy, I used to complain about having class on the third floor and having to go all the way to the basement. Now imagine having class in one building and having to walk 15 minutes to get to the next building.”
No wonder he’s on that scooter so often.
You’re going to love Mychal Mulder
Mulder reminds me of Julius Mays in that when he talks about being a Kentucky basketball player, you can hear genuine appreciation and gratitude in his voice. Mulder played at Vincennes University, a junior college, before enrolling at Kentucky, and he already loves the spotlight that comes with being a Wildcat.
“I love it,” Mulder said. “You don’t go anywhere where nobody knows who you are, right? Everyone loves basketball. I love it. It’s not something that makes me uncomfortable at all. It makes me grateful. I’m in a great city with great people and amazing fans and that’s truly special.”
Don’t worry guys, Mychal Mulder appreciates this.
More coming tonight…