Vaught: Postgame Q&A with Kyle Wiltjer

Kentucky Sports Report's Larry Vaught interviewed Kyle Wiltjer after his 13 point performance vs Ole Miss. Wiltjer finished with 13 points.

Larry Vaught interviews Kentucky freshman Kyle Wiltjer.

Question: What brought out the emotion in you after Darius Miller's big dunk that made Miller even notice how you reacted?

Wiltjer: "I was pretty pumped, especially since the crowd was pretty crazy. I am blessed to be part of this team and this fan base. It's pretty amazing that we can sell out every game and when a player makes a play like that, it makes your juices really get flowing and gets you excited. I like to try and keep myself calm but you can't after a player like that, especially when the game was close like that and got us going."

Question: What improvement still needs to be made by this team?

Wiltjer: "We just have to continue to get tougher. That was a pretty strong team. We have to rebound better and come up with more loose balls. We can always get better on offense. Coach believes if we are a good defensive team, that is how we will be successful in the tournament. If we are a good defensive team, we can stop people and make it tough. Even if they are making shots, we can put hands up and make it harder for teams to score in the (NCAA) tournament."

Question: Would you win if players played a game of HORSE (a shooting competition)?

Wiltjer: "Yeah, we goof around a lot and do play HORSE a lot. I don't remember the last time I?lost."

Question: What does it mean to you to have played such significant minutes in back-to-back wins over Vanderbilt and Mississippi?

Wiltjer: "It is just a blessing.?I have put in a lot of time just to have an opportunity. I want to go out there and play confidently and to get the minutes feels pretty good."

Question: When you got on that offensive role the first half when you scored 10 points, what do you think the reaction was in the Wiltjer house back in Portland, Ore.?

Wiltjer: "I am pretty sure you could have heard them screaming. We are a pretty energized family. We watch every game.?I even watch my sister online play volleyball. I bet they were pretty excited."

Question: Was that first half as good an individual stretch as you have had at Kentucky?

Wiltjer: "Yeah. I?have put in a lot of work before and after practice. I put up a lot of shots and really has got my shot to improve. I just wanted to go shoot my open shots and I?am blessed for some of them to have gone down."

Question: Are you prouder of the 10 first-half points or the charge you took, which was only the second one of the season for you?

Wiltjer: "I would probably say the charge just because I am learning defensively from Coach (John Calipari) and from the coaching staff as well. They are really good at describing where I?need to be for my team. It just feels good to make a play like that because we practice that every day."

Question: What did you think of Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy comparing your team to the dynamic Nevada-Las Vegas teams of the early 1990's?

Wiltjer: "That was a little before my time. I was born in 1992, so I don't know. We just want to be a good college basketball team and it is an honor for him to compare us to a great team like that."

Question: What keeps this team focused game after game?

Wiltjer: "We just want to continue to get better. Our main goal is to get better for the (NCAA) tournament and peak at the right time. There are still a lot of things that we need to work on and that's what keeps us going."

Question: Was it a good lesson for the team to have to play 10 minutes in the first half without Anthony Davis after he got two fouls?

Wiltjer: "It felt good for us to be able to play good with Anthony on the bench. Terrence (Jones) really stepped it up in the paint. It was good for us to get a good team win and it just shows our depth when one of our best players is on the bench and we continue to play well."

Question: How good can this team be when it is hitting 3-pointer like you did against Ole Miss (10-for-18)?

Wiltjer: "We have a lot of great depth and I feel we have a good offensive team. If we keep shooting, we will be a tough team to beat."

Question: Has your confidence as a shooter grown as you get to play more as your defense has improved?

Wiltjer: "Definitely Coach emphasizes defense and that is something I?really try to listen and hone in on. I think my shot comes from confidence I have built up during practice and workouts. The more you practice, the more confident I?am to go in there. If I?am playing good defense, then coach Cal leaves me in there for longer stretches. I just want to make the most of any opportunity that I have."


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