After the airsoft gun incident last season and the Richmond incidents in the offseason, it’s an understatement to say redshirt freshman Drew Barker faced a lot of questions at Media Day.
I’ve been following Drew since his commitment to Kentucky in May 2013; in fact, I spoke to him every week of his senior season for his diary on KSR. When he picked UK over South Carolina, many believed Drew would be the future of the program; a bright, talented kid who had his head screwed on straight and was determined to lead Kentucky in the right direction. Unfortunately, he stumbled in his freshman year in a way most of us — especially this blogger right here — could never have imagined. Like Shannon Dawson said, growing up in today’s social media world can’t be easy, and I definitely wouldn’t want my mistakes as a 18 or 19-year-old to define me, which is why I wanted to hear from Drew himself.
As the horde of reporters around Drew thinned, I stepped in and finally got to ask him the questions I’ve wanted to since last year. The coaches praised Drew’s maturity all morning, but I wanted to know if Drew had a message for the fans after his disappointing off-the-field drama. He did, and looked me square in the eye, reminding me of the polite kid who was the first person to ever call me “ma’am” two years ago.
“All that stuff’s behind me. I’ve really matured as a person, taking all the resources that I could from the university,” Barker said, mentioning the open-door policy Stoops, Dawson, and the entire staff have for both on-the-field issues and off. He even said he’s been seeing the team’s sports psychologist Ben Conmy to work through his problems, and it’s made a difference.
“I got off the road a little bit, the beaten path, but I feel like I’m back on it and just becoming more mature, using all the resources that I can, same stuff,” Barker told a group of reporters.
What about Drew’s relationships with his teammates? Anyone who saw the video of Patrick Graffree sucker punching Drew noticed how his teammates Dorian Baker and Tymere Dubose didn’t even help him, which isn’t exactly a good indicator of team chemistry.
“They’re really good, they haven’t changed at all,” Drew said of his friendships with his teammates. “I would probably say they’ve been strengthened. My teammates are awesome, I’m friends with every one of them. I try to be a guy who can get along with everybody. I think the rapport is really good with the team.”
Like everything Drew says, it sounded great, albeit a bit scripted. Judge for yourself in the video below: