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Florida Basketball

Basketball Media Day: Player Q&As

September 25, 2019
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WCC: Mike White Media Day Q&A Transcript

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During Florida men’s basketball team media day Inside the Gators caught up with some players who talked about high expectations going into the season, practical jokes and new additions to the team.

  • Kerry Blackshear Jr., Forward, Graduate-transfer from Virginia Tech

Q: Coach said you’re a bit unselfish, were you like that before you got here?

A: I think I’ve always been like that. I’m the oldest of three kids. So, I always learned to share. I had five good years of being an only child and after that I’ve always been somebody who likes to share and spread the wealth as a teammate.

Q: Even though it’s your first year here you’re kind of the veteran. Mike [White] is going to ask you to take over at times don’t you think?

A: I feel comfortable with the ball in my hands in crunch time, whether that be me scoring, whether it be me making a play for somebody else. I feel comfortable in that role and I feel comfortable with the group of guys that we have around me as well.

Q: Can you talk about the two freshmen coming in? What’s your take on them?

A: Elite energy. They bring an influx that I think is comparable to any team in the country. So, I think those are some guys that are going to be ready to play this year, and some guys that are going to help us win some games.

Q: Coach said that you’re the best passing big he’s ever had. Where does your passing ability come from?

A: So, I had the opportunity to grow up overseas and watch my dad play basketball over there. And those guys, no matter what size they are, no matter position, they can dribble passes through. I think that just became a natural instinct of mine. I like making plays for other people. I like having the ball in my hands and being able set guys up.

Q: Mike was talking about the story of when you committed to UF and you gave him a phone call and made him think you weren’t going to Florida. Can you tell the story from your perspective?

A: So, I had already called each of the schools (that recruited me) and let them know that I wouldn’t be going there. So, I called him, and my dad was like “let’s play with him a little bit.” So, I was like “yeah, coach, I think I’m going to go in a different direction.” Then I told him right away (that I was coming to UF), I didn’t want to have him dangling out there too long.

Q: What it is about him (White) as a coach and as a person that attracted you to Florida

A: I just like the culture that he wants to build here. It’s something that I feel I can fit into really well. We have really good players, but they’re also really good people. So, that’s something that I feel like I could really be a part of. He’s someone that will give me confidence to do what I need to do, and this is just an environment that I want to be in.

Q: It was possible that you could have had gone pro over the offseason. What made you want to stay in college?

A: So, based on the feedback I got from the NBA, it was like a good opportunity, I probably could have left. But I also felt like I could heighten my potential if I came back and took a pro-like mentality in a non-pro environment.

  • Scottie Lewis, Guard, Freshman

Q: What’s been your favorite thing about Gainesville since moving here?

A: Probably just the campus lifestyle and being able to have a certain amount of time and some of the freedom on my hands.

Q: You talked about how you’re close with your brothers and how your mother raised five children by herself. Do you ever feel pressure to “make it” for the family?

A: Not necessarily for the family, mostly for myself. I put countless hours in, so much time and so many sacrifices growing up my entire life. My willpower to want to be one of the best players ever in basketball is something that drives me.

Q: Is that drive where you get your ability to defend at such a high level?

A: One hundred percent. On the defensive end I feel like I can start things off with my team individually and for my team collectively. It’s going to carry over to my offense and that confidence just builds, and you know, I kind of take joy in stopping a player and guarding their best player and taking the soul out of him.

Q: How do you manage expectations? Do you guys embrace it?

A: Like I said before, Mike White doesn’t care what other people say. That kind of trickles down to us about what we want as a team and what we want to achieve and taking things day by day and getting better.

  • Keyontae Johnson, Forward, Sophomore

Q: Since this is your second year, have you been giving any advice to the younger guys?

A: Yes, I try to tell the other guys in the locker room what do, like what the coaches like and everything. Just to focus on themselves and don’t worry about scoring. You can score but it’s not really what scouts are looking for.

Q: In terms of on the court, what have you worked on personally to get better?

A: I’ve focused more on hitting open threes and working more on my floaters.

Q: Coach White mentioned that the biggest improvement you’ve made over the past year was your maturity and your leadership. How do you feel you’ve grown in that respect?

A: I just feel like last year I wasn’t taking what the coaches were saying, I was just taking it to the heart. I just felt like the coaches weren’t out to hurt me they were just trying to get me to the next stage. So, I just focus more on what they’re saying and try to study the game while I’m here.

Q: Who do you think is the best defender on the team?

A: I’ll say me, Scottie (Lewis), Andrew (Nembhard) and Noah (Locke) right now.

Q: How does the addition of Blackshear help you guys in terms of interior scoring?

A: He will help us out spacing the floor out and hitting more threes. He’ll be a mis-match with other bigs. Say he plays the five, he can dribble, he can shoot, and he’s just a great passer as well. I feel like that can help us out in spacing.

Q: If there was a shooting contest between Tre (Mann) and Noah (Locke) who’d win?

A: I’d say Noah.

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Basketball Media Day: Player Q&As

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