UK Basketball: Liggins says he still has work to do for Wildcats
DeAndre Liggins, shown during Kentucky's win over North Carolina on Sunday, said he confidence that has helped him make clutch shots for the Wildcats this season. (Victoria Graff)
“It feels great, but I still have a lot of work left to do to win two more games, and that is my main focus right now. But it is an honor to be thought of in that category,” Liggins said of the tournament honor.
Liggins shared his thoughts on a variety of other subjects Tuesday before the Cats departed today for Houston and the Final Four:
Question: What has it meant to no longer be known as the player who refused to go back into a game for coach Billy Gillispie two years ago?
Liggins: “It meant a lot to me, from not going in the game ’til now shows that I have matured a lot.”
Question: What does freshman Brandon Knight mean to this team?
Liggins: “He is just very intelligent and a guy you like to be around. No matter how he has played throughout the game, you know he can make the big shots in the end.”
Question: Who is a harder worker, you or Knight?
Liggins: “I think Brandon is, but I am right on the edge. We have the same passion about winning and trying to get better each game. The thing is, anybody can step up and make a play, but Brandon always has the ball in his hands at the end of the game, and he just happened to make the plays.”
Question: What impact has Enes Kanter had on the team even though he couldn’t play?
Liggins: “Of course (he has a big impact on the team). He is unstoppable down low, hard to guard, and I think that he is making Josh better.”
Question: Did it change Josh Harrellson when Kanter was ruled ineligible?
Liggins: “I think he just wanted to try and do his best and see what would happen. I think when Josh heard Enes couldn’t play, he changed his mentality and got better.”
Question: What message does Harrellson’s work ethic send to teammates?
Liggins: “It shows that he never gave up and he always stuck with it. It turned out to be great for him to work hard and never give up. I am sure that his family was supporting him and everything and it is a great situation.”
Question: Can you relate to Harrellson’s past situation because of your lack of playing time at points in your career?
Liggins: “I am a much different person. I have changed tremendously. I just used hard work and learned from the mistakes I made and grew up. My family was there with me through my struggles.”
Question: What do you think the game plan might be to stop Connecticut guard Kemba Walker?
Liggins: “I don’t know what the game plan is yet, but if I have to deny Kemba the ball and make someone else beat us, then I will do that. But if he shoots 25 shots and he makes them, oh well.”
Question: How hard was it for the team to admit if played selfish basketball in its loss to UConn in Maui?
Liggins: “We stopped playing like that after the Maui tournament and after we lost that game. Everybody was selfish that entire tournament, especially the last game. As the season kept going on we kept progressing and getting better as a team and coming together like a group. This is where we are now.”
Question: Why has Kentucky been so good in “revenge games” against teams it lost to during the season in postseason play?
Liggins: “Just going together as a unit and playing great defense. That is how we beat teams we play the second time. We know the scouting report on them and we clamp down defensively.”
Question: Did you envision yourself ever making the clutch shots at the end of games as you have this season?
Liggins: “It is just about having the confidence to do it. Those are the things that I have been working on is working on my confidence offensively, because that is what my team needs me to do. I am trying to carry my load.”
Question: When did you first believe this team could reach the Final Four?
Liggins: “I couldn’t believe it. I was happy (after) the West Virginia game. Once we beat them, I knew that we could make a good run and get to the Final Four.”