Bryan Bartley doesn't get to watch Randolph Morris play nearly as often now as he did when he coached him for four years at Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, Ga., just outside Atlanta. However, Bartley, now an administrative assistant at Auburn, still knows plenty about UK's talented junior center.
Here's a short question and answer with Bartley about Morris.
1. Does Randolph have a mean bone in his body?
"I think he has a mean streak. The question is how do you push that button to get the mean streak out of him. Part of the maturity I saw this year is that he has come out and done more and started pushing himself more. That is good for him and Kentucky both"
2. Has he always had big expectations on him?
"He has, and he handles it well. He is very intelligent, too," Bartley said. "He is at a high profile program. When you look at the program and progress of the program, I don't know if it will ever be enough for everyone no matter what he does. I think if the wins and losses were different at Kentucky this year, people would not be as hard on him. But right now, you look at his progress, and he's done fine."
3. Do you have much contact with Randolph now?
"My job is to be there spiritually for him and also to make sure if he needs any future support after this that I am there for him," Bartley said. "I hope to get to talk to him while we are both in Atlanta. I try to send him notes as often as I can just to help inspire him and let him know I am thinking about him."
4. Randolph doesn't show a lot of emotion at Kentucky. Was it the same in high school?
"No, he didn't show much emotion even when he played for us. But that's the kind of guy he is. He is not very emotional on the court. He is more like Tim Duncan. He is not the kind of person you will see doing the rah-rah stuff," Bartley said. "Every now and then he might, but not often. I think the only game he really, really put forth like that was when we played Dwight Howard on ESPN. Other than that, the way he is and kind of personality he has, he is laid back and doesn't show his emotions as much as a lot of other players."
5. Did he always dream of being a big-time college player and NBA player?
"He wasn't talking about being a pro as much as talking about going to a program to win a national title. That was what he talked about the most," Bartley said. "His family has always pushed academics first. He has always done a good job in the classroom. I commend him for being concerned about his academics. He understands that the NBA is only a career. It has a short life to be in there. It is an opportunity, not a career. And I've always told him that. He's always understood why academics are, and should be, important. That's part of what I like best about him."