As Isaac Humphries talked about how he got in better shape through better eating habits, reporters had a reason to self-consciously suck in their gut. Humphries did not deliver a blow above the belt, but it might have felt that way.
“Let’s be honest,” Humphries said at UK Media Day Thursday. “It’s not the most healthiest food here.”
In his native Australia, there’s a greater emphasis on fresh food and healthy living, he said.
“Coming over here was kind of a shock to my body.”
When asked what American foods produced the greatest shock, Humphries said, “It’s just that everything’s covered in cheese. Virtually everything.”
For instance, Humphries said hamburgers are different in Australia. The beef is fresh, he said, and accompanied by “real” buns.
“Whereas here, you’ve got buttered buns full of grease and cheese,” he said. “Everything is lot more oily here (and) processed.
“My mom likes to explain it as, ‘Be careful because they have an extra layer of fat that we don’t have in our country.’”
There may be similar wide shoulders and imposing height, but freshman Bam Adebayo did not welcome being compared to NBA center Dwight Howard.
“I just don’t see it,” he said. “Honestly, I just don’t see it.”
Adebayo seemed to take the comparison, which came up more than once at Media Day, as a suggestion that he resembled Howard.
“I just don’t think we look alike,” he said.
Adebayo also pooh-poohed the notion that he played a similar style as Howard.
“He plays back-to-basket,” Adebayo said before reconsidering, “He’s shooting jumpers, now, though. I have to give him credit. I can see the resemblance a little bit.”
Adebayo suggested another NBA player as more fitting for a comparison.
“Kevin Garnett,” he said, “because of his passion and his demeanor toward the game.”
John Wall speed
De’Aaron Fox watched ex-Cat John Wall play in college. He’s followed his career with the Washington Wizards. So Fox knows it’s a good thing to have his speed likened to Wall’s.
“If he gets a rebound or an outlet (pass), it’s nearly impossible to stop him,” Fox said. “His end-to-end speed with the ball is amazing.”
Fox said he gets a similar sensation watching himself on video.
“It’s crazy how fast I’m moving,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t even notice I move that fast.”
No, Fox said, he has not raced Wall to see which player is the fastest.
Several UK players said that speed will be the signature weapon for Kentucky this season.
Fox vs. Briscoe
Isaiah Briscoe and Fox have been matched up against each other in practices, where the scrimmages have largely been set up as veterans against freshmen.
Both players said the competition has been mutually beneficial.
“It’s fun,” Briscoe said. “He’s a great player. He’s helping me with my defense playing against quicker guards. And I’m helping him because I’m physical and I’m stronger than him.”
Fox lauded Briscoe’s ability to defend.
“In the half-court, it’s just so tough to get by him just because he’s a big body and his lateral quickness is crazy,” the freshman said. “You don’t think someone that big and strong should be able to move laterally (that well).”
But, Fox added, he has an advantage, too.
“In the open court, it’s harder for him to guard me,” he said. “It goes back and forth.”
Derek Willis and Fox provided entertaining responses to the standard Media Day question about craziest fan request.
Willis said he’d been asked to sign “someone’s kid,” a motorcycle and the inside of a truck.
Fox recalled walking out of Wildcat Coal Lodge at 10:30 p.m. with teammate Dillon Pulliam. They were looking to get a snack.
The players noticed a car with its motor running and its lights off.
The occupant of the car jumped out, took a “quick selfie” with the players, Fox said, and then ducked back into his car.
“It kind of frightened me,” Fox said.
Freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones acknowledged the aches and pains associated with the increased intensity that comes with the transition from high school to college basketball.
He said he was making the adjustment.
When asked how sympathetic UK Coach John Calipari was to this soreness, Killeya-Jones said, “He doesn’t care. He always says next man up. If you can’t go, someone else will.”
Killeya-Jones said he’s feeling much better now.
Reporters noticed a bruise on redshirt freshman Tai Wynyard’s left cheek.
“I got hit in the face, actually, in the Combine,” he said of last Sunday’s televised UK practice, which included NBA personnel observing from the sideline.
“Which really (stunk),” Wynyard said. “I broke my cheekbone.”
A pass from Wenyen Gabriel crashed into his cheek, Wynyard said. He wasn’t sure if he’ll have to miss practices.
When asked if he would wear a protective mask, Wynyard said, “I will now. I’m going to be walking around like Batman.”
Friends and family in Humphries’ hometown of Sydney, Australia, know next to nothing about Kentucky.
“Honestly, they’re just not really informed,” he said. “Like the only thing they know is what I tell them.
“As of now, they think it’s a crazy place full of screaming fans and the Big Blue Nation. Pretty much that’s it. Which essentially Kentucky is.”