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VIDEO: Players Discuss The SEC Tournament

Today, the players met with the media to discuss the upcoming SEC Tournament.

Below is the video and the full transcript:

 

#2, Ashton Hagans, Fr., G

On deciding not to go home for a break …

“We’ve just been in gym working. That’s really all it is. Not too many people wanted to go home. They wanted to better their craft, stay in the gym. Other than that, that’s all we’ve been doing.”

On his progression …

“I think I’m at the peak where I’m getting better. Just gotta keep staying in the gym, keep working on my game. But I feel, like all along, it’s all come together in the long run.”

On being recognized with SEC defensive honors …

“It’s a great accomplishment. That’s probably one of the goals that I had coming into the University of Kentucky. Just gotta keep it going from here. We got some big games coming up, a big tournament coming up that we need, so that’s really all it is.”

On how much work he did to improve his outside shot …

“A lot. Doing all type of drills with Coach KP (Kenny Payne), Joel (Justus). Coming in late at night just working on my craft and just getting in the gym, getting up shots. That’s really all it is: just routines, repetition and just keep on getting up shots.”

On pride in the team’s accomplishments …

“With Reid going down, Nick (Richards) and EJ (Montgomery) stepping up, we finished out the regular season very strong, but we got a lot run to go. We just gotta get better as the season goes along.”

On how he views the start of the postseason …

“Just keep going hard in practice until everything is done. Other than that, just stay focused, stay all together and just stay on the same page.”

On their approach to the postseason …

“They told us at the beginning of the season when we came back from the Bahamas, they told us March will be here in no time. And it’s here. So it’s like, ‘Dang, is the season really almost over?’ I love all my boys and we’re just trying to finish out strong.”

#14, Tyler Herro, Fr., G

On earning SEC Newcomer of the Year Award …

“I’m honored to win the award. Me and Keldon (Johnson) kind of split there, so it was cool for that. But I think both of us are deserving of Freshman of the Year.”

On if awards are just a byproduct of playing well …

“Yeah, it was cool to see it, but obviously, we have bigger things on our mind, as a team and individually, so we’re just going to keep working and prepare for the next couple of weeks.”

On if there are things the team can work on this week that will help down the road …

“Yeah, just continue to improve. Obviously, we’re building for the last tournament of the year, the NCAA Tournament, so just keep taking each game one by one and see what happens.”

On where he can improve his game …

“Just being more consistent defensively and offensively. Just playing the full 40 minutes with high energy.”

On how Reid Travis looks and if he will have to shake off any rust …

“I think he’s going to fit right back in. He was injured, but he was still getting workouts in and stuff like that. I think he’ll fit right in, as he was early in the season, and we’re excited to eventually have him back.”

On what Reid Travis did in practice …

“Just running up and down, layup drills, stuff like that. He was just getting his reps in. It was a good workout, though.”

On if it’s important to win the SEC Tournament …

“Obviously, we want to win. We never want to lose any game. But we’re building for the last tournament, the NCAA Tournament, so we’re just going to keep taking each game at a time and try to improve.”

On Reid Travis’ intangibles …

“I think he does a lot of things that don’t show up in the stat book. Offensively, setting screens stuff like that. Just being a leader. Obviously, we’re going to be happy when he comes back because he’s a huge part of our team.”

On if the postseason is different than the regular season …

“I don’t think so. I think if we just play with the same energy and same focus that we’ve been playing with, I think we’ll be fine.”

On how the team is playing right now …

“We’re playing pretty good. Just continuing to improve is really where the focus is at right now. Just playing the full 40 minutes, just continuing to improve over the next couple of weeks.”

#3, Keldon Johnson, Fr., G

On his postseason honors …

“I worked hard. I definitely think I put in the time to deserve an award like that. The hard work’s paying off.”

On his chemistry with Tyler Herro …

“Just moving the ball. That’s it. We just tend to be in the right spots at the right time for the next pass.”

On what Coach Cal means when he tells players to act like a man …

“If you act like a child, they’re going to consider you as a child. If you got childish actions, you’re a child. Reacting to a referee’s call like that or over exaggerating is definitely something a child would do, so you gotta grow up and be a man, accept it. Move on to the next play. It’s over with.”

On where he is in that process …

“I’m pretty far along. Nothing really affects me now. I just go out there and play. Just trust my work and play to the best of my abilities.”

On pride in the season they have had so far …

“I’m definitely proud. Proud of me and my teammates. I think we’ve been through the ups and downs of college basketball. We’ve been in places where they thought we were the worst team and we’ve been in places where they thought we were one of the best teams in the nation. We just gotta go out there every day and do what we do. We do what we practice every day.”

On the next few weeks …

“Just ready to go. It’s go time. Let’s get it done. Let’s do what we do. That’s what we’re here for.”

On splitting freshman and newcomer of the year awards in the SEC with Tyler Herro …

“It’s cool. We work for this. We worked hard for it and just seeing it pay off is a big relief.”

On whether it will be difficult to work Reid Travis back in …

“I don’t think we’ll miss a beat. I think we’ll be fine whenever he comes back.”

#25, PJ Washington, So., F

On the SEC honors that were announced on Tuesday …

“I’m just happy to see that we got some recognition. It’s definitely exciting for all of our guys. We’re just happy to be able to play Friday against the winner of Ole Miss and Alabama.”

On what’s on his mind as the team prepares for the SEC Tournament …

“Just some stuff we need to improve on in practice. Definitely happy to have Reid (Travis) back, that’s a big thing for us. We’re just looking to get better on the defensive end as well as the offensive end.”

On what the freshmen don’t know about the SEC Tournament that he does know …

“That every game matters and the games are back to back to back, so you’ve got to be healthy and go out there and just try to have fun.”

On if it’s important to the players to try to win the SEC Tournament …

“Every game we go into, we try to win it. There’s no point in going in and trying to lose, I don’t believe that. We’re definitely going in trying to win. At the end of the day, I don’t really think the SEC Tournament really matters, it’s the NCAA Tournament, and we know that.”

On having Reid Travis back …

“Having him back is great. Not a lot of teams can double (team) us because we definitely have another post player who can really score the ball. It’s going to be harder for teams to guard us. He’s great on the defensive end. He always knows what we’re in, he’s vocal and he’s a leader.”

On how he thinks the team is playing heading into the postseason …

“I think we’re playing pretty good. Without Reid, we’re playing really good. It’s definitely great to be winning at this point in the season. We’re just trying to go in and keep winning.”

On Alabama …

“Alabama is a really good team. They have pretty good guard play and their bigs are good as well. They’ve had a great season. We want to play them or Ole Miss, it really doesn’t matter to us. We’re just excited to be able to play.”

On Ole Miss …

“Terence Davis really had a great game against us. They were really making shots. They can shoot the ball really well. We’ve just got to go out there and play defense and I feel like if we do that, we’ll pretty much beat any team we can.”

Photo by UK Athletics

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