By LARRY VAUGHT
Mychal Mulder doesn’t need media members or fans to tell him that he needs to make 3-point shots if he wants playing time this season.
“On this team you have to know your role. I know that I’m expected to make open shots, be a finisher, be a good defender, rebound the ball, play like a big guard. It’s important to hit shots, but it’s probably more important to play defense, rebound the ball, fight, battle, understand things like that, because he (John Calipari) expects you to hit shots in that situation,” Mulder said.
True but with the competition for playing time on UK’s perimeter, making shots has to be something Mulder does on a regular basis.
“I feel confident on the court. I’m happy with how we’ve been playing as a whole,” Mulder said. “You really see us mesh. You really see us come together.
“If you’re at our practices you can tell that we gel really well, and we really know each others strengths and play to that. Really tight knit team this year, just like last year. I’m just really happy with the direction this team is going.”
Calipari daily stresses defense and believes he can have one of his best defensive teams this year. Mulder understands why.
“At this level everyone can make a shot, everyone can finish at the basket. It’s about, can you get that last stop? Can you stop the other team for the last three minutes of the game to really grind that game out and win it?” Mulder said.
This year Mulder is one of three seniors on the team. He’s much more confident than last year after he transferred from junior college to UK.
“Having that year of experience under my belt really makes me feel calm and poised on the court. I just feel confident in what I’m supposed to do and what my role is for the team,” Mulder said. “When it comes to shooting the ball, that’s something I’m supposed to do. I just really focus on my work on the defensive end and trying to get to the glass as much as possible.”
He’s also helping freshmen like guard De’Aaron Fox.
“He’s a really skilled point guard with the ball, great off the ball even. He understands the game really well and in that you can kind of see a little bit of Tyler (Ulis) in him. His will to win is really high, so I feel like he will be really successful and play a really big part for us,” Mulder said.