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Vaught’s note: Ashley Scoby spent Media Day on Thursday with Kentucky freshman Willie Cauley-Stein. Enjoy what he had to say.
By ASHLEY SCOBY
Question: What do you expect tomorrow night (Big Blue Madness)? Do you have expectations for what the scene will be like?
Cauley: I came here last year. That was one of the deciding factors, right when I saw that, those 23,000 people at a scrimmage, and I went to K-State’s (Kansas State), and it was kind of like that, but only half the size. Here, the whole place was packed. So it was like, ‘Oh I’m coming here.’ I got that gut feeling about it.
Question: Do you have something planned for the spotlight tomorrow?
Cauley: I can’t tell you.
Question: You working on some dance moves for Madness?
Cauley: No, not really. I have some, I don’t know if I’m going to do them, but I have some.
Question: Obviously you were at Madness so you know what the experience is like but what did they tell you just living here, seeing all those people camp out that week, what did that tell you about people’s anticipation for it?
Cauley: Like ourselves, people were ready for it. After winning the national championship last year, people were just ready for basketball season. We’re all ready for it, I know Coach Cal is ready for it. Just seeing people camp out that long, I wouldn’t do it. It was cold, sleeping on the ground, no thank you. But it was great as a player to see how your fans are like that, camping out for a scrimmage.
Question: You’ve said it’s kind of haunted you, the thought of Madness.
Cauley: Yeah, it’s just building up, and it’s finally here. I remember when I first got here, it was like 90 days until Big Blue Madness. And then you’re like, ’90 days?’ That’s a long time. I’ve got time to settle in. I didn’t even have time to settle in, it’s already here. It feels like last week coming here in the summer. The pressure’s crazy, I’m already starting to get anxiety from it.
Question: Did you play pick-up ball with the campers over on the blue courts?
Cauley: I was there but I never played.
Question: Did you see Nerlens take that fall?
Cauley: Yeah, I had to leave right after that. I was done with blue courts.
Question: Forever, are you done with the blue courts?
Cauley: I will never play on them. I’ll go and watch people play but I’m never going to play on them.
Question: Is there a big man in college you’re interested in going up against once you start playing?
Cauley: Not really. I really don’t know that many people. At Addias nations, I went against Mason Plumlee and Pat (Patrick Young) and they were beasts. Pat’s big and I was real skinny, I was a little freshman. I know Pat from our recruiting trip so it was kind of nice seeing him again because I Haven’t seen him since then. I’m anxious to play against him and the Plumlee brothers.
Question: Cal’s talked a lot about you playing with Nerlens and even Kyle in there, going three bigs, I know you guys have been limited with how much you can practice, but have you guys worked on that at all?
Cauley: A little bit in open gym, we’ve played together on the same team and we’ve been working a lot on pick-and-rolls.
Question: What do you think that lineup would look like, with three bigs out on the floor? How much would that work together with three bigs?
Cauley: It would create a lot of matchup problems. Even on the defensive side, not a lot of people will be able to get in the paint, they’ll have to settle for jumpshots. We’re all pretty good at rebounding too, so it’s just going to create havoc for everybody.
Question: Do you know anything about the local rivalries, Louisville, Tennessee, etc… Florida?
Cauley: I don’t know a lot about them, I just know we’re supposed to hate Louisville. That’s really all I know.
Question: Have you started yet?
Cauley: Right when I got here. I hate Louisville.
Question: With Harrow, with some of his mixtapes, do you expect a lobs this season, kind of like last year?
Cauley: Absolutely. We work on that in practice. Every drill in practice has to end with a lob, so everything we’re doing is lob-based. I feel like a lot of our points are going to come from lobs.
Question: What about the transition game? With your speed, how much has Cal talked to you about getting out and running the full court?
Cauley: He says that every practice. That’s how you play anyways, the running is pretty much natural to how we’re going to play anyways.
Question: Nerlens said that he was something of a football player himself when he was younger. Do you think he had your kind of skills?
Cauley: (Shakes head)… No, I heard a little about him when I first got here, some of the coaches were talking about him, but I don’t know.
Question: How hard will it be to get a shot off against you two in the lineup together?
Cauley: Depends on who’s shooting I guess. If you were to see the lineup on paper, you would say no one’s getting a shot up. You really don’t know though. It’ll be tough.