Kentucky Wildcats Tyler Ulis, Alex Poythress Address Media at Camp Rondo


After last nights historic NBA Draft, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats had plenty to celebrate. Of course, so did Big Blue Nation, as most everyone stayed up until the final pick to see if Aaron Harrison could sneak into the draft and make it a record seven players taken in one NBA Draft. Of course, that didn’t happen, and the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats duplicated the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats with six players taken in one draft. Now that the season is officially over, at least the official end according to head coach John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcat faithful can start looking ahead to next season. And what better way to do so than checking out what current Kentucky Wildcats Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress had to say to Steve Jones and the Courier-Journal about last nights draft and next season while addressing the media at Camp Rondo.


On participating at Camp Rondo

We came just to stop by a little bit, show our faces, sign a couple autographs for the kids. It doesn’t really take much to make someone’s day, so we came out here to do that.

On close friend Devin Booker going in the draft to the Suns

It’s a great feeling for me and him. That’s my boy. I’m happy for him. He’s out in Phoenix. I wanted him to be in Miami for the weather and to go out and visit him. But I’m really happy for him. He worked hard for it. Coming into college, he didn’t really think he was a one-and-done player, but he worked throughout the year, kept playing, stuck with it, believed in Cal and did what he had to do.

On Karl-Anthony Towns going No. 1 overall

I think Karl is a great player. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen. I knew Karl was going to be the No. 1 pick when he first came in. I was telling everyone how good he is and stuff. Karl just does a lot of special things that he actually didn’t get to show this year.

On Trey Lyles (first round to Utah) and Andrew Harrison (second round to Memphis)

Trey, I feel like, he’s so versatile that he’ll fit in really well. He can play the ‘3’ or the ‘4.’ He’s got a great midrange game, and he can post up smaller people. Andrew, I feel like he’s a lot better than anybody knows. (Memphis) I think is a great fit for him with (Mike) Conley there, and he can come in and back him up. He’s a big body, and he’s a great point guard. He’s more of a point guard than people know. I’ve played in practice against him every day. He’s going to be good.

On Aaron Harrison (undrafted)

He’s a great player. Not being in school now, he can work on his game all day every day now, so I feel he’s going to do nothing but good things. He’s a great player, great scorer. He can shoot the ball. When he’s hot, he can run the numbers up there. He has a big-time shot, so I think someone will pick him up.

On adding Jamal Murray and the backcourt

That’s very big for us because that gives us another guard, more depth. Last year we have 10 guys, and we don’t know how many we’re going to have this year. Me and (Isaiah) Briscoe, he’s a crazy dude. He’s funny. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Playing with them in the backcourt, I can’t wait.

On if he feels pressure on himself for next year

I don’t really believe in the pressure because I’m not trying to live up to anybody’s expectations, just living up to mine and our team’s. I’m just going to do what we have to do to win a national title.

On the offseason

It’s been great. I’ve been trying to get stronger and bigger and working on my game, trying to get better so that we can finish off what we didn’t do last year.

On if his role changes

It changes a lot. I was able to hide behind Andrew a little bit, so more of the pressure is on him. I’m the top point guard, so I have to come out and play and have to lead the team on and off the court. It changes a lot.

On playing with the newcomers

We’ve played all together. I’ve played with Charles (Matthews) before and all the other guys. The only guy I didn’t know what Mychal (Mulder), and Jamal is not here yet, so everybody is working out together. I like what we’re doing now.

On chemistry with Briscoe

That’s my boy. We’ve known each other for a while from camps, and he’s real silly, childish. He needs to grow up a little bit. (laughing). I’m going to try to show him the ropes, how to follow me. (laughing)

On the point-guard dynamic with Ulis, Briscoe and Murray

I feel like it’ll work a lot. It gives a different type of look of guards. Briscoe is more of a slashing guard, scoring at the rim. I’m more of a shooter and facilitator. Jamal, I haven’t seen much of him, but I know he dropped 30 on Briscoe (in the Nike Hoop Summit in April), so I know it’s going to be fun for us.

On the several recruits who didn’t pick Kentucky this spring

It was surprising that everyone went their different ways, but some guys want to make their own path, and that’s what they’re trying to do. Their decision is great. That’s their decision. We just have to worry about our team.

On Cal reestablishing as maybe the king of recruiting by getting Murray when few expected him to

I don’t know if he re-established himself; I don’t think he, being who he is, has to re-establish himself. He’s Cal, and everybody knows his resume.

On the style of play of having more guards and fewer bigs than last season

It’s probably going to be a different game. We’re probably going to speed it up a little more, but we have guys in the paint still. Skal (Labissiere) came in. Marcus (Lee) is playing really well right now. I didn’t even know he could play how he’s playing now. We’re looking really good.

On Charles Matthews

He’s a sleeper. He’s a very athletic guy, and he can defend really well. He’s going to finish at the rim for us. His jump shot has gotten a lot better. He’s going to show the world a little bit of something that he hasn’t yet.

On Labissiere

Skal is legit. He’s the real deal. I had the same feeling about Karl when he came in. I’m not saying he’s Karl, but he’s a great player. He’s really got a pro type of game.

On Poythress coming off a knee injury

I really think he’s going to be motivated, not being able to play last year. (If not for) him not playing, he’d probably be gone now, so it’s great that he’s back for us. I think he’s going to come out hungry and ready to play, and he’s going to have a big year.

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On Towns

I’m happy for him, all the hard work he put in, all the late-night workouts, how hard he went in practice and games, how he stepped up for us big. I’m proud of him.

On close friend Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 6 to Sacramento)

You see where Willie started off. Willie was a football player, and now he’s the sixth pick in the draft. It’s just crazy how much progression he’s made. It’s the ultimate goal, so anytime he makes it, I’m happy for him. I’m happy for all of them.

On next year’s team

I think we’re going to be a good team again. We’re going to have great guards. We’ll still have a couple bigs. Cal will put us in the best system, and whatever offense we run, I feel that we’ll be good again.

On his health and if he’ll be 100 percent by the start of the season

Yeah, close. They’re trying to say I’ll probably be cleared by the end of August probably, so I’ll just keep on doing my rehab, keep on doing what I need to do and trying to get healthy and trying to get back out there.

On how much he’s able to do right now

I’m doing all the lifting and conditioning with the team. I’m not playing with them, but I am running on the track with them, doing footwork drills with them.

On Marcus Lee

I think he’s realizes now is his time to step up. He’s working at getting better, starting to mature, getting a little stronger, just mentally he’s better.

On the difference of the new team from last season’s

We’ll play different. We’re not going to be last year’s team. Last year was a great team. I don’t know that we’ll be that team, be 38-1. We can try, but last year was a great team. We just have got to make our own mark, make our own stamp.

On Jamal Murray’s commitment

Just depth to our backcourt. He should be great once we get him.

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