Q: what video games?
KA: FIFA and NBA 2K. That's it. That's all I play.
Q: who's the best?
KA: I'm the best at FIFA. Not 2K.
Q: who's 2K?
KA: I don't know. That's pretty much up in the air, really.
Q: Ben [Howland] said Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] talked to you guys?
KA: yeah, that was a great experience to speak to a legend. Not only in the game of basketball but in UCLA history. It just goes to show the legacy here at UCLA and the great players who came through here.
Q: was there any particular message, basketball-wise or maybe something off the court, that he tried to impart to you guys?
KA: yeah he had a lot of things. A few things to say to us. But I think just his presence humbles us. It just goes to show what we have to go out there to play for. We have to keep the tradition going and play our hardest every time we put the UCLA across our chest. Just his presence out there blessed us enough with knowing what we're playing for.
Q: when did you guys find out when he was going to be here?
KA: we didn't, actually. At least I didn't know. We just walked out there this morning to get some shooting in, and he was out there. I was pretty shocked, yeah.
Q: have you met him before?
KA: I've never met him. But he actually spoke at the NBA camp when I was in high school so I had a great chance to hear him speak.
Q: in terms of rebounding, did you have any goals coming into the year that you were going to lead the team in rebounding or is it something they talked to you about or is it just how things came about?
KA: well, it's just something that the people that are in my life basketball-wise, just told me that rebounding is a form of playing hard. And in order to play hard, you have to get on the glass. So it's a focus I wanted to come into the season with. Every game, going into the game, fighting hard on the glass and get some rebounds.
Q: is it a different mentality you have to have? You're known as a point guard. Now you have to lead the team in rebounding?
KA: yeah, it really is a mentality and you have to really focus on it. As soon as you don't focus on it, you might miss a rebound that's pretty costly to your team. So you have to stay focused throughout the whole game and make sure your intensity on the glass is up, really.
Q: do you think being able to lead a break or get an outlet pass inspires you to get a rebound?
KA: yes, it does. I think that starts the offense much quicker, faster. And we're able to go off that. That's happened many times this year where I was able to get a rebound and pass ahead for a score. So it definitely inspired me to get on the glass.
Q: are you feeling comfortable in the zone offense, flashing at the top of the key?
KA: yes. The middle is always been effective in a lot of zone defenses. The middle is where most of the offense comes from. To be put into that position, I think it's great. Because I think it's the most open spot on the floor, and I think it comes naturally for me.
Q: do you think this was a step forward, the last game that you played? Your zone offense seemed to execute pretty well.<
KA: yeah, especially with me hitting my first jump shot in the middle of a zone and then having great shooters like Shabazz [Muhammad] and Jordan [Adams] and Norman Powell on the wings. It's just pretty much a pick-your-poison for the defense. Because if they collapse, I have such great options to go to the perimeter to.
Q: starting the season, it looked like your shot was tentative. Was there any residual from your thumb, from the injury at all?
KA: no. I think it was just confidence. And getting in the gym at night time helped me out a lot with my shot, and confidence carried over with taking the shot. And I'm happy it fell this past game.
Q: have the coaches done anything to tweak the mechanics of your shot or anything?
KA: umm, no, not really. Just more repetitions, really.
Q: where do you feel your shot is right now?
KA: I think it has a long way to go, but I think it's coming along. I think I shot the ball well the last game. I just have to keep it up with the extra time in the gym. School not being in session has really been a big help because we can definitely get into the gym on our own time and work on our shot, really.
Q: is it all about confidence? Because you seemed to shoot the ball better in AAU ball and in high school.
KA: yeah, I think it has a lot to do with confidence. That was what I was struggling with in the beginning of AAU and high school basketball. I just didn't feel comfortable taking the shot. It definitely has a lot to do with confidence.
Q: I feel like your defense has come along. Coach said you will have to guard a guy that's a 3 that's playing at the 4. How comfortable do you feel about it?
KA: I feel really comfortable playing defense in the post or in the perimeter. You just have to stay ready and stay disciplined. And defense is another thing that you have to focus on. Knowing the player's tendencies and refreshing your memory during the game. It's something that's really hard, but it all comes with being focused and remember what the coaches told you in the scouting report.
Q: what have you seen? Have you watched any tape of Long Beach State?
KA: not yet. I think we're going to get that today. We should. We'll definitely get to that today [12-17-12], and we'll just carry it over to the game tomorrow.
Q: how hard would it be if you went into this game with 3 [Long Beach] guys that weren't eligible, coming in? You have no tape on them. No real scouting on them. How difficult is that or does it not matter that much?
KA: that is pretty difficult because it's going against what we've been doing the whole season as far as preparation. But it's something that we'll have to just buckle down and go through it really.