“This press conference has nothing to do with the NCAA or what’s down the run. I appreciate you not mentioning it because we don’t have anything to say about it, nothing is going on with it.”
“The tri-captains were elected by the coaches and the team, they all voted. I was very surprised but excited that Anas got the most votes. It was near unanimous with Anas. Then obviously Deng Adel and Q, also getting votes were Ray and VJ. We’re going to need that type of leadership.
“Our practices, our conditioning have gone great this summer. It’s been very exciting and refreshing to see such an incredible attitude of guys gaining strength and losing body fat. They’ve dedicated themselves over the summer like nothing I’ve seen.”
“Were really excited that coach Crum got back safe and sound and in good health and that it wasn’t anything overly serious. Our prayers have been answered as far as that’s concerned.”
Recruiting & Changes since NCAA Investigation
“It’s strange sometimes when you face adversity; it’s strange how it works out. We’ve had our best recruiting in my 17 years here, the last couple of years here and it’s only getting stronger. We also got very lucky with Steven Enoch, a 6’10, 255 pound, very talented young man transferred from Connecticut; we couldn’t have recruited a high school basketball player as talented as him”
“Sometimes there’s no explanation, I think that, everybody realizes, when they take their time and do research on what were all about, they see the potential in the program right now.”
“I think what changed is a little bit of a culture. I think Damion and Trey came in here and they had a lot to do with the changing of the culture. They were such a breath of fresh air during difficult times, we said let’s get guys like that, who were very humble but very confident in their abilities. We’ve done that with this freshman class, this freshman class is outstanding and I know moving forward it’s going to take on a new level. When adversity hits you really got to make sure it doesn’t affect moving forward, you learn from the past but you don’t live in it.
Ray Spaulding has gone from a good basketball player; he’s about 80% of the way to greatness. The 20% isn’t the physical; the 20% is personality on the court. When he’s open commanding the ball, yelling for the ball”
“Jordan Nwora has been great of late. Tugs has been awesome of late. Malik is coming on. Obviously Lance and Darius are a little bit behind because they’re learning different positions right now”
“Q you have to give him a lot of credit. When we met at the end of the year I said look said you have to develop some quickness to your game. He got together with his family and hired a speed coach.”
“VJ has now entered the realm of Donovan Mitchell as a sophomore”
“Deng Adel is a dominating basketball player in our practice”
“As I told you ray Spalding is 80% of the way there.”
“They’ve all gotten significantly better with a very strong freshmen class”
“Most athleticism I’ve had since I’ve been at Louisville. Now I’m not comparing it to the national championship team or another final four team, I’m talking about pure athleticism, this is what I had at my last 3 or 4 years at Kentucky in terms of athleticism, length, speed, quickness. Now they have to learn to play basketball together and I believe they will”
“He’s (Anas Mahmoud) about 232, 233. Now we have to maintain it. We’re trying to get him to 235 by October 1st and just maintain it, which I think we can do.”
“Sometimes injuries help certain players, he (Deng Adel) went a good month just dribbling with his left hand, and it has really made him a complete basketball player, I believe he goes more left now than he does right. Injuries sometimes can help in the development of a basketball player.”
“Last year we had the #1 schedule in degree of difficulty in the country, this year I think it’s going to be much the same with the ACC conference being very strong as well as the nonconference schedule with the likes of Seton Hall, a top 25-30 team, Indiana, Memphis in the Garden, and certainly Kentucky, and at Purdue in the big 10 / ACC challenge”
“It’s a great conference; there is no easy path in this conference. Believe it or not the tougher the more I like it.
“If you look at the end where you play at Pittsburgh, North Carolina, at Duke, at Virginia tech, Virginia, and at NC State. That’s a tough finish, but I’d rather have it that way. I’d rather end tough.
“Last year we were thinking we’d get a 3 seed, some people were predicting a 4 seed, but because we were #1 strength of schedule in the nation we got a 2 seed. A great schedule is something every commissioner is trying to promote in their conference. We’ve got another great schedule. “
2017 Recruiting Class
“It’s a great class. What I like most about Jordan & Tugs is that for freshmen they know how to play the game, they understand. Jordan was completely out of shape, I said last time, he came in with an extremely high about of body fat. He’s 9% now; going from 20 to 9 is a great summer.
“Malik is learning how to play the game, but is very gifted and talented”
“Darius and lance just need time. Darius has to learn a position, multiple positions and Lance has to get stronger”
“Steven Enoch was one of the best pickups of the summer; you’ll be very impressed with him. Here’s a young man 6’10, 255 who goes out to the 3 point line and shoots it better than any front court player we have on our team and is 255 pounds and is a great young man. The people who have watched us practice are blown away with his improvement and his development.”
“We haven’t been concentrated on our starting five because I think it’ll change 15 times this year. I can see either ray or Anas at the 5, and then Deng at 4, VJ at 3, tugs at the 2, Q at the 1, or Jordan at the 3, you know it’s just going to change. We’re so athletic we can switch at all 4 or 5 positions, which is exciting, because Ray can get out there and guard anybody.”
“We’re so young, we’ve never played this many freshmen at once. We’re trying to get them endoctrined to what we’re trying to do.”
“We could go three different ways, right now if you said to me Ryan McMahon has a leg up on the position because he knows everything, and Darius is just feeling his way around, but Tugs has played the point at 6’8 in high school, he can move back there depending on who you’re play. If you a play a team that’s pressuring you full court, you may not go, but if you’re playing a half court defensive team, Tugs can get it up against anybody.”
“He’s (Brian Bowen) the type of basketball player that you can’t go into one practice or one game and have a great appreciation for him. The more you see him the more you realize he has a great aptitude for the game, he can post up, he can score, he can pass, he can handle, he really is multi-dimensional in terms of his skill level. But so is Jordan Nwora, he probably never played defense in his life and yesterday he had six steals in a 40 minute practice. Both Tugs & Jordan have a very high basketball IQ, and you need to-to play as a freshman.”
“There is not a whole of difference between our starters and Dwayne, I could see him starting every now and then because he is a physical presence, he’s improved his offense”
“The other two guys, Jo (Griffin) and Jacob (Redding) are going to be like David when he was a freshmen. They are going to add a lot to our practice, but they won’t play a lot.”
Playing UK at an unconventional time
Friday at 1:00? Most people in Lexington don’t work, they just are into basketball all the time, their weekends start on Thursday night, so they’re going to take off, believe me it’ll be packed”
“It’s holiday season, it is a strange time I didn’t even notice it. It’ll be a great game they have a terrific team”