Cameron Mills Radio – September 29, 2019
September 29, 2019
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Media Day Highlights 2019

The 2019-2020 Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Team. Photo by Elliot Hess | UK Athletics

It was no surprise to see the media room at Memorial Coliseum filled on Tuesday afternoon while waiting for John Calipari to arrive and kick off the 2019 Media Day for Kentucky’s Men’s Basketball team.   Also, no surprise was Coach Cal preempting any questions about the law just passed in California about college athletes.

Let me address this before we get started. Five days of, five practices in three days, I
traveled yesterday on the plane last night. A guy said to me, hey, that California law passed and I’m, like, what California law? And he kind of told me. I have not looked at it, read it, haven’t spent any time, don’t have a full view of it so I’m not really going to say anything. And I really don’t have an opinion yet because I haven’t really got to digest what they’re trying to do. So I would say to you, I really don’t know yet.

Coach Cal answers questions for 2019 Basketball Media Day

Of course, there were plenty of the usual questions about specific players, how Cal’s recruiting philosophy has changed over the years, and what expectations would be for this team.

  • Dontaie Allen – “doing things in the gym, not practicing yet”  Cal estimated he was “about a month away”
  • Keion Brooks, Jr. – player. He’s got a good feel for the game. Physically he has to catch up.
  • Nick Richards – Well, right now he’s really playing well and he’s playing confident and, obviously, the
    expectation is this is his time. Until we start playing games, who will know? Now, my hope is he’s ready for it. He’s been here, has a smile on his face, he’s a beautiful kid, he’s one of the nicest people we have had here. There’s no one rooting for him more than me.
  • Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley – Every kid that comes in here, their first year there’s anxiety. At times there’s, I call it a fake swagger. You’re scared to death but you’re acting like you’re not.  Ashton has a different way about him.  Immanuel Quickley walked in the court, we practiced, a guy grabbed me and said, he’s not even the same kid, he’s not the same — forget about basketball-wise look at how he walks and carries himself. And as a coach that’s what you’re looking for. But I’ll say it again, it’s nothing I did. It’s that year, the anxiety’s gone, the work kicks in, you trust yourself, you know you deserve to do it.
  • Johnny Juzang and Kahlil Whitney – The best thing is, when Johnny shoots it, everybody thinks it’s in. He shoots the ball — look, there are shooters and there are makers. We have had some makers, we have also had shooters here. Go 1-for-8. When he shoots it, you think the ball’s going in. And he’s a natural scorer. Kahlil (Whitney) scores the ball naturally. Now, with those two we got to get them to just every once in a while like pass the ball. Throw it to somebody.
  • Nate Sestina – To be honest, he’s like a stretch 4, he shoots it, good with the ball. It’s nice having a
    veteran that talks. I mean he overtalks, he tries to get the guys to talk.

Cal was in an upbeat mood and threw in a few one-liners.  One that got the biggest laugh was regarding his wife Ellen and her emergence on social media this past year.   A reporter asked Calipari if he had gotten the automatic trash can that he had tweeted about and his response was classic Cal:

The automatic trash can, it was unbelievable, you just see this thing go right down and
then it goes and parks and it opens. It’s unbelievable.  And I also, when we were at UMass, just so, you know, she was — it snowed. So she was shoveling and we had gravel. So I blacktopped it so that she could shovel easier (smiling).
You have to think of your wife. I mean you have to.

Speaking of Mrs. Cal, she made her “media debut” today and was spotted interviewing players in the Joe Craft Center.

Tina Cox and Michele Brown were on hand to speak with all of the players, so be watching for some special videos soon!

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Michele Brown
Michele Brown
Writer at since Feb. 2015 Co-host of Big Blue Views podcast. Mom, Christian, sports junkie, golf addict and speed typist. I can cook your mama's food better than she can.

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