VAUGHT: Q&A with A.J. Stewart

Kentucky freshman basketball player A.J. Stewart answers questions from Kentucky Sports Report's Larry Vaught.

Question: What has it been like adjusting to Billy Gillispie's workouts and practices?

Stewart: "It has been pretty cool. He is tough and pushes us a lot. I never worked this hard in high school."

Question: How hard were the preseason workouts?

Stewart: "It is not my favorite way to wake up. After a run of five miles, though, I feel better. Plus, you do lose a couple of pounds that way. I think the conditioning is more mentally tough than anything. We do so much conditioning and not even at 6. during day we do lot. Being in shape is big part of coaching strategy. We all work hard. But also it is mental, too.

Question: What do you do during a five-mile run early in the morning?

Stewart: "We try to make the best out of it. We might talk a little bit. Just trying to keep the pace is enough. Five miles is a long jump. We all just push ourselves. Everybody on the team goes hard. A couple of managers ride and watch us. Everybody on the team just wants to get better and you have to remember that when you are running."

Question: Did it worry you when Tubby Smith, the coach who recruited him, left and Gillispie arrived?

Stewart: "At first it did kind of bother me. Now Kentucky is like a big program. I just stuck it out. I'm glad I did, too."

Question: What can you do to help this team the most this season?

Stewart: "I can grab a couple of rebounds, run the floor, play good defense and I can hit a jump shot pretty good. I think I can help in a lot of ways. I can do a little bit of everything.

"I just want to be in the best shape I can be by November. I want to knock down open shots automatically. We have outstanding guards. If they drive and kick the ball out, I want to knock down that shot. I have to get stronger so I can attack the basket stronger. I have a lot to work on, but for the most part I am in good shape and that's going to help me."

Question: What has life in Lexington been like for you?

Stewart: "It has been okay so far. We don't get to go out much. Maybe grab something to eat and hang out with friends for maybe a couple of hours. I try to get to bed early because we have to get up early. That kind of kills a social life. But I can't wait to play and see what it is like here then. Florida. Louisville. I am ready to play them all right now."

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