Kentucky coach John Calipari met with the media Wednesday for the first time since the season ended to discuss his new signees and the Wildcats' roster for the 2013-14 season.
Here's what the UK boss had to say about each player:
"Jon Hood, by the end of the year, for the first time had a breakthrough. I was excited for him. He was one of those guys that played, he had fun playing, he didn't feel the weight of the world on him, he didn't have anything to prove. He went out and played."
6-2/189 Point Guard
"Jarrod Polson ended up being one of our better guards at the end of the year."
6-10/239 Power Forward
"Body's got to change. Sixth man of the year has to get better physically. We all know what his skill set is. He has to take his defense and all those other areas of his game to a new level, which I think he will. My hope is he makes the national team, the Canadian National Team, and it takes his game to another level."
"Willie Cauley has a chance at being one of the better players that I've ever coached. Is not delusional at all (if you) understood how far he had come, understood how far he needed to go, understood he could have been a first-round draft pick. He knew, but he came back anyway because he wasn't delusional."
"Alex Poythress learned a lot about himself and where he's going to have to take everything to be the player that he wants to be. That being said, he would have been in the first round if he put his name in the draft. He knew he wasn't ready. And again, he was being pushed by some corners to put his name in the draft but he knew. Again, he wasn't delusional. He knew, ‘I have to change, I've got to take this to another level.' If he does, the competition brings out the best in him. It is scary how good he's going to be. He's not close to where he needs to be."
6-8/225 Power Forward
Ranked No. 2 in Scout's updated rankings
"Truly a hard worker who can play multiple positions, who can play inside and out. He's a beast. He's an alpha beast who will drive the team. Has a little bit of Michael in him in a different way. In my mind, there are good players out there; he's as good as any of them."
6-5/205 Point Guard
Ranked No. 5 in Scout's updated rankings
"My hope is, by the end of the year, he's just like some of the other point guards we've had. You look at him and say, ‘Hey, he can do things that other point guards can't do with his size, his scoring ability.' And both of them are terrific drivers, which kind of tells you that we're going to go back to a lot more dribble-drive. I've talked to a couple of my friends and were talking about dribble-drive into pick-and-roll, pick-and-roll into dribble-drive because of the team."
6-5/205 Shooting Guard
Ranked No. 6 in Scout's updated rankings
"Big guard, can score the ball, should be and will be and is expected to be and will be demanded to be a lockdown defender. With his size, with his athleticism, one, we can play a big zone. Two, we should be able to press because we're going to be so big with our guard play, whoever we put up there. But it'll start with Aaron. We know what he can do scoring the ball, but we want him to do other things and, again, help define his game."
Rochester Hills, MI
6-6/190 Small Forward
Ranked No. 11 in Scout's updated rankings
"James Young gives you that 6-7 wing who flat can shoot the ball. We shot a high percentage (last year). When you look at our numbers from last year – our defensive numbers, our shot-blocking numbers, our offensive percentages – you would say we should have won more games, but we weren't as skilled as we needed to be, especially at crunch time. We weren't as skilled. We weren't as physically dominating as my teams in the past. This team should be."
Ranked No. 17 in Scout's updated rankings
"I watched him two summers ago, and I'm going to tell you, he had a knee issue and I looked at him and said, ‘I'm not so sure.' And then I watched a little bit later and said, ‘Wait a minute.' And then I watched him later in the season and could not believe it. The line of improvement for Dakari is like that (points in an upward diagonal direction). He's a kid that will get up six in the morning and work out. He's a great student. He does all the things and he wants to be better. He was on a team that there were times he wasn't getting the ball and he never said one thing. Ran that court, posted up, when he did get it he did good things. He's got great skills and he's 7-foot tall."
Ranked No. 24 in Scout's updated rankings
"Marcus Lee averaged a triple-double for the season – like 11 blocks, like 15 rebounds and 18 points. Pogo stick, active, high-energy, 6-10, 6-11, long-armed. I mean, another player who, again, wanted to be here. These kids all wanted to be here. They wanted the challenge of this and they wanted to do it together. So when you look at Marcus Lee, you say, ‘He could have gone somewhere (else).' He didn't to go somewhere (else). He wanted to come here and take on this challenge."
Mount Washington, KY
6-9/200 Power Forward
Not ranked among Scout's top 100 players
"Six-foot-9, 6-10, long, skilled big man from the state. Again, where his game goes – he wanted the challenge of this. ‘I want to go every day against players this good to see how good I can be.' Isn't that the greatest part of this? It's not, ‘Well, I want to go here so I can be the guy and the only man. I want to go here so I can be challenged. How good can I be? And the only way I can find that out is by going against the best. And I'm going to go against the best every day.' Well, he's really got a chance of being good and being special."
Not ranked among Scout's top 100 players
"A young man from in state that just kind of blew me away with his will to win, his temperament on the court, his demeanor in helping his team win a championship. You always want to coach guys who understand. By winning a state championship and being down 16 two games, it shows what a tough mentality (Hawkins has). What I just went through, I wanted a tough point guard. I wanted one more tough, physical (guard). How about this? Not just fighting, physically tough. How about mentally tough? How about not break down? How about ‘I'm bringing it and I'm not afraid to be 16 down, it has no effect on me?' That's what I saw in Dominique and why we recruited him."
Calipari talks about Cats' 2013-14 roster
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