By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Cam’Ron Fletcher loves to play defense and doesn’t back down from a challenge.
“I’m a dog,” the Kentucky freshman forward said. “I’m going to get on the floor. I’m going to get dirty. I’m going to do all the little things.”
Those little things involve chasing loose balls and making other hustle plays, but the main thing for Fletcher is stopping the opposition.
“I’m going for all the loose balls — I’m playing defense,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to score on me. I’m just an animal. … I love defense myself. Before anything else, I love defense. Defense wins games.”
Before he could get started on his collegiate career, Fletcher was diagnosed with COVID-19, which he said left him “exhausted and tired” and a period of isolation away from his teammates.
“I had to sacrifice going out and stuff because I don’t want to catch coronavirus,” he said. “Like going out and stuff, I don’t really go out no more. Just trying to be safe and inside. I don’t want to get nobody else COVID and the season’s right around the corner. It’s (was) just best for me to stay inside.”
Once cleared to return to the court, Fletcher said the practice sessions have been an adjustment from high school to college.
“I knew it was going to be challenging and hard,” he said. “I’m just doing what coach asks me to do. Practice is going good right now.”
Growing up, Fletcher’s biggest influence was his brother Jalen Fletcher, who played at Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis. Fletcher said his older sibling was a “very good big brother.”
“He taught me a lot on and off the court as a young man because my father really wasn’t around,” he said. “He was like a father figure to me, so he taught me off the court and on the court. He’s a big influence on my life. …He would just tell me not to worry about anybody else. Just worry about myself and how I’m working.”
Because of his brother’s influence, Fletcher took his game to another level, leading him on a path to Kentucky.
“Some people thought I would never be here, but I just worked my tail off to get here and I just want to prove everybody wrong,” he said.
In addition to proving a point every day, Fletcher also wants to make sure Kentucky coach John Calipari is pleased with his progress as he adapts to his new surroundings.
“He’s very energetic,” he said. “I just know that he likes to win. He don’t really like doing all of the extra stuff — he just likes to win. He’s very hard on us. Some of the stuff is confusing right now, but he takes his time with us because he knows we have never played this type of basketball before. So, he’s just taking his time with us right now. But he’s a very good coach.”
Now that preseason practice is at full speed, Fletcher said developing team chemistry is a work in progress.
“It’s a process, but we are working,” he said. “We’re still working right now.”