By LARRY VAUGHT
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what Kentucky junior Eloy Vargas had to say about his play while the Wildcats were in Tampa last week for NCAA play:
Question: Do you feel like your play improved late in the season?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The coaches have been telling me I have played more better than I did before. I try to play harder to help my team than I did earlier. I do have more confidence. At times early I kind of let my ego get in the way and I was afraid to make a mistake. Now I just go in there and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think about anything except playing hard.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Was it hard to understand just what your best role on this team would be?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was at first. Then I had a lot of things on my mind, too. Now I just play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Are there more things we can see from Eloy Vargas next year after a full offseason to improve?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“For sure. The summer will be great for me. I can come back and play more minutes and do more things.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Did not being here last summer when you were finishing junior college classes hurt you more than you realized at first this season?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It probably did. I missed the three games when they went to Canada (for exhibition play). If I had been here and gone on the trip, it probably would have helped me a lot.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: What things do you want to work on during the summer?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have to work on my lower body and get it stronger and get more quicker toÃ‚Â jump higher. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I really need. I think my offense is pretty good. I just have to concentrate more on what I am going to do. This year I have concentrated on defense and trying to help my team more than offense because we have a lot of people who can score. I just go into games and try to get rebounds and block shots. If I get an offensive rebound, then I put it back up.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Does practicing with Josh Harrellson and Enes Kanter help you?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It helping me a little bit. They are big guys and make me play tough defense.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: With Harrellson graduating, do you truly expect to be a major contributor for UK next year?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, I have my mind set for that and think I will be fine for next year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Are you always happy? Do you ever get down or depressed?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always be happy. That is way I am. I like to keep people happy, including myself. I talk to teammates and make fun of them to try and make sure everybody is having fun.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Do you get to talk to your family often?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I talk to them more like every day on the computer so they know what I am doing. They keep up with our games and watch them. The games are on over there, too, or if not they go online and watch.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Will you get to go home this summer?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will be going on right after the season is over for a couple of weeks.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Question: Has it been harder on you or your mom, especially with your fatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death, to be away from family?
Vargas: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is kind of hard on me because I want to see my mom. She be fine and she tell me not to worry and all will be fine and she is fine, too. But I am a mammaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s boy.Ã¢â‚¬Â