Lee K Howard is a Texas native that has made the capital of college basketball his home. He is the second person of the interview series we are doing. We spoke to him about the upcoming basketball season and got his opinions on the team. His opinions come from an unbiased perspective as he isn’t a Kentucky native or Kentucky born fan.
Describe your background of college sports growing up in Texas.
Well, in Texas high school football is king. So, whether your a casual fan or a big fan, it seems like everyone is a fan of high school sports. The school I grew up cheering for growing up honestly was Texas Tech. It was the university I grew up closest to and would go to games as a kid.
Have you gotten to be around this team and if you have what were your impressions?
Yes, actually I have quite a bit. The thing that I notice most about this group is that they all have a lot of personality. We’ve had teams in the past where you could pick out one or two guys on the team that had big personalities like Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl Towns. This team seems to be a team full of those guys. They’re all really well spoken, we really haven’t had the chance to see them play yet but if they play as big as they talk and as big as their personalities they should be fun to watch.
What do you think is the key for this team to be successful?
I think that they need to be a defensive team , I don’t think that they have a ton of offense compared to some of the teams in the past. Even last year, you knew what you could get from Malik Monk and the year before that you knew Jamal Murray could give you points if you needed them. This team it’s not as clear cut who that knock down shooter is, so, what I think is going to be key for this group is, since they are so long and opposing that way, to turn defense into offense. I really think they could be one of Calipari’s defensive teams.
Who do you think will step up and be a leader so to speak?
The most vocal guy is actually Jarred Vanderbilt and it doesn’t look like he’ll be playing for quite some time. Aside from him, there are two guys who I think will be the vocal leaders. That is Quade Green, which is good because Cal always wants his point guard to kind of be that vocal leader and I think Quade has no problem being that guy. The other would be Hamidou Diallo, Diallo talks a lot more than I ever imagined, we didn’t get to really see him last year at all.
Which player will get drafted the highest after this season?
I’d say probably Hamidou, just because he’s been through the process and maybe the NBA knows what they’ll be getting from him. Maybe a Kevin Knox… I’d say one of those two. It’s really going to depend on how they play and how the minutes get divvied up.
Is there any games you’re really excited about covering, and why?
I want to see how they play against UCLA. I think that’s one of their first big test. I think the Louisville game is a little less meaningful than it was two weeks ago. Then you never know what you’re going to get in SEC play.
How many losses do you think we end up with?
Without looking at the schedule and counting games I would go with 5. We don’t know what we’re going to get yet but I do think that all 5 games will be close. I don’t think this team will get blown out in any game.
How much longer do you think Cal will be at Kentucky?
I’d say he’s got another 5 years. The thing is with him I don’t think he will go anywhere else in coaching. He’ll find some other interest that he wants to do, I don’t know whether that’s running for office or it’s doing something in broadcasting. I’ll think he’ll find something that he wants to do in about 5 years and go in that direction.
Favorite UK memory?
I’d have to say the 2015 team and they were playing Notre Dame and it comes down to the last shot. Jerian Grant missed a three at the end and Kentucky won. The game ended right as the 11 o’clock news started, so, it was a rush coming out of the arena to do the 11 o’clock. It was such an emotional high because that group looked like it was finally going to get caught and unfortunately they got caught that next game. It looked like they were going to lose the game and the emotional swings of that game. It was such a highly competitive game and somehow Kentucky was able to pull it out, so, I’d say that one is on top of the list.
I thank Lee K for agreeing to take the time to talk to us. I hope you all enjoyed the interview, make sure to let Lee K know if you enjoyed it by tweeting him @HowardWKYT.