Samarie Wallker eligible at Kentucky

McDonald's All-American and U Conn transfer Samarie Walker talks about the team as she prepares for her first game at Kentucky.

Samarie Walker speaks:

On what sitting out has been like…

"Obviously it's been hard not being able to play, but I've been practicing and lifting and working out with the team, so the only thing I haven't been able to do is play."

On when she felt like she was a part of the team…

"I've felt like a part of the team as soon as I got here and was practicing. I was on the practice team most of the time I've been here. I've been on the floor just as much as anybody else has."

On if she believes the transition will be difficult…

"I don't think so. I've been practicing with girls since I got here, so we pretty much all know each other."

On what she can bring to this already talented team…

"I can definitely add some height, be another body out there, rebounding, anything Coach needs I feel like I can give it to him."

On what she's been most impressed with by this team from watching them play…

"Probably how fast they play. It's something I'll have to get used to."

On how slow or fast this past year has gone by for her…

"Now, I feel like it went by very fast, but during the process it kind of went by slow. The last few weeks definitely went by slow – just the anticipation."

On the talent of Kentucky compared to Connecticut…

"I don't think there's much difference at all. I think UConn has always had great players, and I feel like Kentucky is on the rise. We have some great players here now. We'll be up there."

On if she's more excited about her decision now after seeing how talented UK is…

"I was excited when I first got here. I wanted to come to Kentucky a few years back anyway. I feel like it's not much of a difference between UConn and Kentucky. It's just a name."

On the fan support at Kentucky…

"The fan support is great here. We have some crazy fans, but they're good."

On what her game is like…

"I feel like everybody has to wait to see what's going to happen because I don't even know what's going to happen. I've been working on every aspect of my game, definitely my outside shot and my ball handling, and of course posting up."

On what it will be like to play in such a high-profile game for her first game back…

"It's exciting for me getting to come back for such a great game. I've been dreaming about this ever since I got here, to be honest. It's very exciting for me, for my team, my coaches, everybody."

On Matthew Mitchell and what she likes about him…

"He's funny. Kastine (Evans), Bria (Goss) and I just got back from lifting, and he and Coach (Shalon) Pillow were over there – he makes the most noise when he works out. But, he's definitely a funny guy, he's a great guy to be around. He's definitely like a father figure and a mentor."

On his practices being intense…

"They're beyond intense. I was surprised when I first got here. He threw me right in there and I didn't know what was going on. There are times when it's still like that, but he's a great coach and he's always on us wanting us to get better."

On if she's rekindled her ‘passion' for the game…

"There never was really a passion issue. Coach always preaches about how great this opportunity is to be here. He preaches about passion as well."

On if she anticipates starting…

"I'm really not sure, whether I do or don't, I'm just excited to get back out there and play again."

On if she feels like she's done enough in practice to earn a starting position…

"He just always tells us whoever works the hardest and hustles the most will get the most playing time, and we all hustle and work hard. So, it's definitely a fight to get playing time."

On who she has been most impressed with on the team…

"I think everybody has been impressive, especially this season. Everybody has worked their hardest. He's changed the starting lineups a couple times, and whoever is in the first rotation. I've been impressed with everybody this season."

On why the team chemistry will not be affected by her addition…

"Like I said, I've been practicing with them since I got here for the last year. I just feel like I can add to whatever it is and it's not going to change anything or mess up anything."

On what some of the biggest draws were for her in deciding to come to Kentucky…

"I knew Coach Mitchell previously from when he was recruiting me, and I knew Amber (Smith), and I talked to Amber a lot during the whole process and she told me how great of an opportunity it would be. I definitely researched it and talked to Jennifer (O'Neill) because I knew her from the McDonald's (All-America) game. I saw how she liked it and I just liked the family aspect of it. It feels like a great family atmosphere here."

On having already played against Notre Dame before in her career…

"I think they're better than they were last year in some ways. I feel like I'm better than I was last year. Kentucky's better than it was last year. It's just an exciting opportunity for me."

On the challenges of Notre Dame's front line…

"They're all great rebounders, from their point guards down to the last one on the bench. That's definitely one thing we have to do, is rebound the ball against them."

On the size and depth that Kentucky has in the post…

"Every one of our post players is 6-feet tall or above that. We have some very, very athletic and versatile post players. I feel like our post game has definitely gotten better since last year when I first got here."

AllWildcats Top Stories