LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Part II of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith's comments Tuesday during the Cats' annual basketball media day...
On the frontcourt players:
"At the forward spots, Erik Daniels... Erik has taken off. He's picked up where he left off last year. He's gotten off to a great start. As you saw in Midnight Madness the other night, he was making great passes, making good decisions with the ball. His outside shooting has improved, and he's gotten stronger and taller. He's going to be tough. He's going to be challenging a lot of people for playing time, and I expect him to play a lot this year."
"I mentioned Chuck Hayes earlier... Chuck is as good as advertised. I think Chuck's personality is one of being aggressive. He's got a physical body to play inside, and the skills and shooting ability to play on the perimeter. I've been very surprised by his outside shooting, his 3-point shooting. Chuck is a young man who's going to play some 4, but eventually he'll probably be a 3 man."
"Cory Sears has really improved his shooting. He's getting his shot up. He had that problem last year where his shot was a little flat. He's continuing to improve his athleticism, and he's really gotten stronger. He's actually grown this year as well. Also, from a maturity level, we have gone from seven new players to four who are pretty skilled. Cory was one of the seven guys last year, and he did a good job for us in practice, and he's doing a good job now."
"I mentioned Tayshaun earlier and what he's meant to us. He's shown a lot of leadership out there."
"The big people, our big guys in the frontcourt... In Jules (Camara), he took a year off. I think it helped Jules appreciate what he had and the opportunity to be a basketball player here at Kentucky. He's come back. He lost a little weight when he went to Africa (to play with the Senegali National Team), but he's put that back now. He's playing extremely well in practice."
"Marquis (Estill), we kept him off his knees all summer long. We did a lot of conditioning with him, a lot of strength training to get him more flexibility and mobility with his knees. We really watched him closely... So we expect Marquis to be a real force. Marquis is a very skilled offensive threat. Now he's got to match that with his defensive ability, and he'll be good."
"Marvin (Stone) has trimmed down. He's lost some weight, and I think that's helped him. Helped him a lot. He's going to play a lot. Marvin, like I said last year, is probably as intelligent a post player as I've ever had a chance to coach. He knows how to play the game. What I want him to do is to be more aggressive and more physical, to have more of a physical presence inside and dominate the paint at both ends, which he's very capable of doing."
"Jason (Parker) will not be playing this year. We're going to be working with him pretty closely and having the doctors follow him pretty closely. He's probably going to get another opinion on what needs to be done on his knee. (The first evaluation called for a complete reconstruction of the knee he had surgically repaired this summer). It's probably going to be another couple of weeks before surgery is done. But the key now is to stay psychologically motivated. Right now, it's just making sure he understands for the long range that he is going to play basketball again and he's going to be fine."