The Kentucky Wildcats won big in their 2022-23 opener against Howard, 95-63, and it was thanks to some great performances by players making their UK debut.
True freshman Cason Wallace almost finished with a triple-double at 15 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds in his first regular-season game as a Wildcat.
Antonio Reeves led the team in scoring with 22 points on 6 triples, which was a record for a player in their first game as a Wildcat.
Then, John Calipari raved in his postgame presser about CJ Fredrick and the fact that he didn’t turn the ball over one time in 30 minutes of play. He also finished with 20 points on the night.
Guard play was the theme of the night for Kentucky, and they were still without preseason First-Team All-SEC guard Sahvir Wheeler.
Myself and other media members talked with all three guards after the game.
PART 1 of 2: CJ Fredrick talks about his performance and his ability to limit turnovers, how playing with Antonio opens the floor, the strengths the having Cason and Savhir, and more! pic.twitter.com/9moHuQT8SH— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) November 8, 2022
Antonio Reeves talks about his performance, how the shooting ability will open the floor for this team, Casons performance, and more! pic.twitter.com/xW5Kjfq0cv— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) November 8, 2022
Cason Wallace talks about his performance, CJ and Antonio opening the floor, almost having a triple double, playing with Sahvir going forward and more! pic.twitter.com/M55UIgDT4Z— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) November 8, 2022
The Kentucky Wildcats look to keep that same energy this Friday against Duquesne at Rupp Arena at 7 pm ET.
Now, here are the player transcripts via UK Athletics.
#22, Cason Wallace, G
On if he knew he was close to a triple double…
“I didn’t until late in the game. Lance [Ware] was like ‘yo, everybody box out, let Cason get the rebound.’ That’s my man right there. But he made both free throws. I’m getting one this year.”
On how he felt looking at Coach Cal after his dunk …
“If you all noticed, I gave him a little grin running back down the court. He’s been on me about dunking the ball and going left. So I did that, dunked it and gave him a little smile.”
On how he felt he did running the point…
“I feel like I did pretty good. Going against Sah [Sahvir Wheeler] in practice really helped me in this situation- going against quicker guards, using my body, and hitting the open man when they’re open.”
#1, CJ Fredrick, Guard
On Calipari talking about how CJ had no turnovers and if that affected how he played …
“I got really lucky with one. I got caught in the air, I saw Ugonna (Onyenso) and I thought, ‘He’s tall, so I’m going to try to throw it to him.’ It just tipped and got in his hands, and he got a layup out of it. I try to make it really easy for myself and my teammates.”
On what impresses him about Cason (Wallace) as a point guard …
“It’s crazy. It’s his first college game, kid’s 19 years old, that’s not normal. There are not many people in the country doing that, let alone as a freshman. He brings such a different dimension to our team. What he’s doing at his age and at his first college game is special.”
On how having more experienced players on the team this year makes for a different game …
“I think the difference is we have guys that saw and felt what last year was like and that’s a little different. You have that experience and have guys who came back from a season like last year and are hungry and motivated. That adds a little bit of dimension.”
#12, Antonio Reeves, G
On his confidence in shooting 12 three-pointers…
“Just keep shooting. Stay in the gym – get up shots every day. You know, your confidence comes with it.”
On how the team gelled during the game …
“Chemistry was definitely out there. We all moved the ball pretty well. [We] ran the floor pretty well – rebounded and got a couple of assists through there. So, I think the whole team had a great game today and we just have to move on to the next game.”
On being able to adjust to the big stage as quickly as he has…
“It didn’t shock me. I knew my game. I knew what I was here to do. So, you know - the confidence comes from the team, family, and coaches.”
On Cason Wallace’s performance(s) so far…
“He’s a great player. You know, he’s well beyond his years – I feel like. Coming in as a freshman, doing the things that he does … that’s what we need on the team and he provides that.”