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Takeaways from Matthew Mitchell pre-Miami presser

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Lexington Regional-Kentucky vs Washington Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Hoops team begins the games that count this Friday at 7 pm against Miami, and will again Saturday evening versus Albany.

On Thursday, UK Head Coach Matthew Mitchell met with the press to discuss National Signing Day, the Hurricanes, and much more.

Signing Day

Yesterday, five young women signed their college letters of intent to play basketball for Kentucky and head coach Matthew Mitchell, something that Mitchell said he was grateful to his staff for.

The quintuplets’ future coach sounded positive about what they will bring to a program recently hit by mass attrition.

“We signed five really high character young women who fit what we do here at Kentucky. Really, really excited about them”, said Coach Mitchell.

On Miami

Kentucky Hoops opens the regular season on Friday against the nationally ranked Miami Hurricanes.

Coach Mitchell knows that the team from Coral Gables, Florida will be a stiff test for his new look team early in the season.

“Miami has a veteran team, NCAA Tournament team. Katie Meier is a great coach. Really respect how they play. They will pose a lot of challenges for us. They are extremely aggressive on the defensive end. Bring a lot of pressure. They press, and they can do that in multiple ways.”

The Hurricanes are also an explosive, athletic team on offense with outstanding guard play, Mitchell said.

Work in Progress

Coach Mitchell offered an honest assessment of where his team stands on the cusp of a new season: they are a work in progress. He also said that he and his staff are still figuring out what the starters can do as well as the bench players.

Mitchell is confident that his team “will make mistakes” as the game wears on, but he believes that their knack for making hustle plays on defense will negate some of those potential errors.

On a positive note, Mitchell said that his team has the ability to “score some points.”

Maci Morris on the Grind

At Media Day, sophomore guard Maci Morris admitted that she felt too slow at times on defense last season.

Coach Mitchell agree, albeit in a tactful way, that they often had to hide Morris on that end of the court.

During the off-season, Morris put in the hours in the gym to increase her strength and speed, something that Coach Mitchell said defines the Bell County native.

“It is very, very hard to coach desire. Coaches can motivate, but if a player doesn’t have desire, all the motivation is going to be temporary. Maci has such strong desire that you just have to tell her what she needs to do, shower her what she needs to do, and how she needs to do it.”

You can watch Coach Mitchell’s full comments in the video below.