Nike Hoop Summit helps prepare De’Aaron Fox for what lies ahead at Kentucky

De'Aaron Fox (USA Basketball Photo)

De’Aaron Fox (USA Basketball Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

He’s had plenty of high school honors, but playing for Team USA for the first time in the Nike Hoop Summit is something special for Kentucky signee De’Aaron Fox.

“It’s a great accomplishment. It’s my first time finally on a team,” said Fox during a telephone interview from Portland, Ore., where the Nike Hoop Summit will be played Saturday afternoon with future UK teammate Wenyen Gabriel. “I want to make an impact in this game.”

Fox, a point guard from Texas, played in the McDonald’s All-American Game last week with UK signees Malik Monk, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Bam Adebayo. While he impressed everyone with his practice performances, he had an off game shooting.

“I don’t look at that as a big deal,” Fox said. “It was just an all-star game. This game has more structure. I feel it will be a much better game for me in this type of setting.”

Fox thinks the game also does one other important thing — it will give him an idea what it is like to lead a talented team that has not played together before. That’s a similar scenario to what he will face at UK next season now that Tyler Ulis has declared for the NBA draft.

“Just being able to lead a team that has not been together for a long time is something that will really help me get ready for Kentucky,” Fox said. “The point guard has to step up. If I have to score, I will. If I have to defend, I will. If I need to lead, I will.

“This could really help prepare me for next year. We only have six practices to get ready. Next year I will have more time, but it is the same concept.”

He says not having Ulis puts pressure on him, but he welcomes it.

“I’m doing what I love to do. So I won’t see anything as pressure. I just want to play point guard for John Calipari,” Fox said. “I want to win a national championship. We all do. We want to get to Kentucky, do what we know we can do and then if we are able to leave for the NBA, then we will.”

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