Shagari Alleyne Q & A

BBN Media sat down with Shagari Alleyne the day after he committed to UK. The tallest recruit in UK history discussed his relationship with Tubby Smith and his decision to attend UK.

BBN: Shagari you recently committed to UK, how do you feel about that decision?

SA: I'm committed to UK. I plan on signing with them before the end of the signing period. I'm very excited because they just came off a successful season where they were ranked #1 in the country. They also had a pretty good run in the NCAA tournament. Hopefully Sheray, Bobby, and myself will add to the nucleus they have returning to get UK past the Elite Eight and into the Final Four.

BBN: You originally committed to Rutgers. What made you change your mind and commit to UK?

SA: It was a choice I had to make on my own. As the recruiting process goes along, you receive a lot of pressure from coaches to sign. As far as Rutgers goes, I had to step back and look at it from the outside. I realized that Rutgers wasn't the program that could help me the best in the long term.

BBN: Shagari you are one of the tallest recruits in UK's storied history. What does that mean to you?

SA: It feels great. I just hope I can live up to that expectation. I want to come to UK and do well.

BBN: Your shot blocking skills are your strength. How do you see those skills fitting in with Coach Smith's defensive style?

SA: I'm not just a shot-blocker. I'm also a great scorer and I run the floor very well. I will add other dimensions to Coach Smith's system. I think I will do well.

BBN: All the recruiting gurus have labeled you a "project." That has to effect you, how do you plan on fighting those critics?

SA: Let's put it this way, Coach Smith doesn't believe I'm a project. If he did he wouldn't have recruited me in the first place. So tell all those recruiting gurus as you call them that I'm not a project and I'm going to play well at UK. I'm going to prove them wrong.

BBN: How are your expectations for next season? How do you see yourself fitting in?

SA: I'll do whatever I have to do to make the University of Kentucky very successful whether it's in the regular season or in the NCAA tournament. I'm going to bring a big shot blocking and inside scoring presence to UK next season.

BBN: With Marquis Estill not returning to UK next season, is that a role you can step in and immediately fill?

SA: Well, Marquis was a great player and it's hard to replace a great player right away. I would have to learn the systems first. Hopefully my teammates and myself can fill the void.

BBN: How did Coach Smith and his staff persuade you to turn down Rutgers and commit to UK?

SA: Coach Smith just told me that if I ever changed my mind that the University of Kentucky would still be available. Coach Smith never pressured me and that really influenced my decision to come to UK.

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