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March 16, 2016

Tyler Ulis

Jamal Murray

Alex Poythress

Isaiah Briscoe

Des Moines, Iowa

THE MODERATOR: We are joined on the podium by our Kentucky student-athletes. We are all set. We would like to welcome, Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Alex Poythress and Isaiah Briscoe. Questions for our student-athletes?

Q. This is a question for Tyler: At one point when you were being recruited before you chose Kentucky you were being recruited by Iowa and Fran MacCaffrey, how close were you going to Iowa before you went to Kentucky, and what's it been like for you to be back in the state again?
TYLER ULIS: I was choosing between Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan State and one Kentucky came in I knew that is where I wanted to me. I was close with Coach McCaffrey and Coach Izzo, I wanted to go to both of those schools because they were what I had in my top three, but at the end of the day I felt like Kentucky was the best for me.

Q. When you decided to go to Chicago, what intrigued you? Was it the players that were there? The overall high profile reputation of Chicago high school basketball and what were you hoping to get out of the whole experience?
TYLER ULIS: With Chicago being such a big city, it's more exposure, better players and more competition and coming from Lima, Ohio, it's a small town and I wasn't getting as much recognition as I wanted, and moving there helped me a lot.

Q. Isaiah, tell us about why you chose Kentucky; but more importantly, what can you tell us about Jameel Warney who you grew up with in the same town?
ISAIAH BRISCOE: Growing up I always watched Kentucky basketball along with Duke and North Carolina, but my senior year coming around and Coach Cal came down to PCM and when I went and took a visit to Lexington I had Tyler and Booker as my hosts and when I went there it felt like family and it was something I wanted to be part of.

Q. Jameel?
ISAIAH BRISCOE: Jameel is a great player. We went to the same high school and that's it.

Q. Have you played against him?
ISAIAH BRISCOE: Everybody, in the summertime we play pick-up games and things like that.

Q. What can you say about his game?

Q. Jamal, can you talk about yourself? What kind of a player were you at the beginning of the season and how would you describe yourself now? What were some of the biggest adjustments you've made?
JAMAL MURRAY: Overall just trying to fit into the system, early in the season and the time Coach Cal was starting to figure out how to play our three aurides and where we would play so new I'm just comfortable with where I am and not just playing after these two great guards over here, so now we've got a great chemistry going.

Q. Obviously, playing for Kentucky every night people are gunning for you the reputation of the program. What do you think the unique challenge is going to be of playing a team that's never been in the tournament and literally has nothing to lose?
TYLER ULIS: Well, this being their first time they're going to come excited, they're going to be ready to play, a lot of them are seniors so they're going to come out ready and give us their best shot so we can't try to look past 'em, we have to focus on this game and come out ready to play.

ALEX POYTHRESS: Like Tyler said, they're going to come out real loose, try to compete real hard. It's going to be a battle from the start of the game and we can't take 'em lightly. So we've got to compete and play hard tomorrow.

ISAIAH BRISCOE: This is my first time in the tournament also, so I'm just excited for the experience.

JAMAL MURRAY: Same, just excited to be out there.

Q. Jamal, I know you started doing the bow and arrow thing and now all across high schools and college basketball people are doing it. I don't know if you know, a player got a technical in a regional championship game doing it. What's it like to do something like that and watch it explode in a state like that?
JAMAL MURRAY: I really don't know where it came from, didn't know who started it and I get to be one of the first people who started it. But I'm not focused on that. I'm just kinda focused on my team, and this is how we play. I ain't gonna say nothing anymore (Laughter.)

Q. Where did the bow and arrow come from?
JAMAL MURRAY: First started in the Ohio State game. EJ Floreal started doing it on the court, and from there on Mychal started doing it and Jonny after a while the team started to do it after, and now I started doing it back to them.

Q. Tyler, the game -- South Carolina game where your coach was ejected and you took over the play calling, did that kind of show you the trust your teammates have in you? And for any of the guys up there, talk about your trust factor in him and just how much maybe he's improved or where you've seen him grow in that type of leadership.
TYLER ULIS: Me? Yeah, it's great that they have the trust in me to, like, run their offense, and I just came out there and tried to do what I saw the defense was doing and try and put everybody in the right position and they all put their trust in me and I just did what I had to do.

Q. Can you talk about the trust you have in him and maybe even that game or beyond the season, his leadership style on the court?
ALEX POYTHRESS: He's just so poised out there when we play, never gets rattled, always knows the right position to put you in and where to be at, he takes the game, slows it down to a great pace and helps everybody else get better.

ISAIAH BRISCOE: He's a great leader on the court. I think he sees everything from a point guard position and, you know, they made it to the Final Four last year and he was a key part of that team, so why wouldn't you trust him when Coach is not there to run the team.

I don't think he would steer any of us in the wrong direction because he wants to win just as bad as everybody else do on the team.

JAMAL MURRAY: He's a great point guard. He not only does that game, but every game he's leading the team. And he brings energy to the team and keeps us organized and like they were saying he's a great leader and keeps everybody together.

Q. Jamal, how would you describe yourself as a player and if you could talk about that, plus the attention that you do get basically from a nation as you are from Canada. Do you thrive under that? Do you enjoy the attention that you get?
JAMAL MURRAY: Yeah, I have a lot of fun being here and playing the game that I love and playing in the best university in America. So coming from Canada, I make some noise and have my friends and family back home watch me and see what I'm doing, and it's just a lot of fun and I'm proud to be where I am.

Q. For the rest of the players, I understand that it was a bit of an adjustment for Jamal. How would you describe him at the beginning of the season and then now after Coach Cal and you guys as well have worked with him?
TYLER ULIS: Well, you know, he's a completely different player from the beginning of the year. He's starting to buy into everything that Coach wants him to do. It probably was difficult for him having three guards. We all are used to having the ball in our hands, and he's just a great scorer. So he scores from anywhere on the court, and he's start to go try to play defense and we're getting the best out of him as a player and he's helping our team out a lot.

ISAIAH BRISCOE: I think it was hard for all three of us coming into this year knowing that we all was used to having the ball in our hands, but it takes a lot of pressure off each other and I think once Jamal bought into what Coach was trying to tell him, just to play winning basketball, once he figured out that when he started playing winning basketball he just took off.


ALEX POYTHRESS: You can just see the improvement he's made each and every day. He's getting better and just paying more attention to skill work, playing better defense, paying attention to scouting reports, doing the little things to help us get better.

Q. To the older guys, how beneficial is it to have an open practice to get the nerves out moving forward into March Madness?
ALEX POYTHRESS: It's real beneficial, get on the court, get shots up, get used to the rims, the arena, and everything, so you get used to it better.

TYLER ULIS: Well, yeah, you know this is big for us to get in the gym and used to the arena, seeing everything for the thirst time, having a little fun with the fans out there.

Q. Tyler, you were asked before about the prestige of playing for Kentucky. What is that like? What's the pressure like knowing that there is such great expectation on you and also about your leadership? Are you going to be a coach someday?
TYLER ULIS: I don't know about the coach someday. I love playing right now, but there is in pressure. I really don't feel pressure. I feel like it's something I have to do for this team and leading and something I've done all my life. As a team we're not trying to live up to anyone else's expectations. We have our own frills and which is probably the same as everyone else and we just try to lead and reach our goals.

Q. Tyler, you've had Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics bring you up a bunch. He's tweeted you. How does that feel to have a guy like that watching you and rooting you on from the NBA?
TYLER ULIS: That's great for me because I'm looking up to him at what he's doing at my size and height in the NBA, so knowing he's talking about me and saying good things about me is always a good feeling.

Q. Thanks, gentlemen. Good luck tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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