June 13, 2011
This is the third installment of a multi-part series highlighting the 2011-12 Tennessee basketball newcomers. In this edition of "Hello My Name Is," UTsports.com chats it up with sophomore transfer Ryan Kilmartin, a guard from Charlotte, N.C.
Q: You redshirted at Appalachian State in 2009-10 then spent your freshman year with the Mountaineers last season. Tell us about your decision to come to Knoxville and walk-on at Tennessee.
A: "Well, my dad's my role model. And if I was going to be away from my father (who lives in North Carolina), I wanted to learn under someone who would be like another father figure. I feel like under coach Martin and the rest of this staff, I can grow and develop into a mature young man off the court as well as on."
Q: Talk about your initial impressions of your new teammates and coaches here on Rocky Top.
A: "I like them all. They're all really welcoming. The other guys on the team are willing to lend a hand if I need a ride or need directions getting somewhere on campus. They offer for me to come hang out or get some food. They've been really open and just cool, fun people."
Q: Taking part in last weekend's Habitat for Humanity event with the team must have been a nice way to get to know some of the guys. Did any of them show a surprising knack for carpentry?
A: "I feel like Skylar (McBee) was pretty good at that sort of thing. That was the first time we got to talk, and his accent kind of threw me off for a second (laughs). (Assistant coach Kent) Williams... he had a pretty good knack for it. I should have brought some suntan lotion with me that day."
Q: What's your favorite meal?
A: "I really enjoy Indian food, like chicken tikki massala. I've found a pretty good Indian place here in Knoxville, already. It's different. My mom's Welsh, and for some reason Indian food is big in Wales, so she kind of grew up on it. We sometimes visit Wales as a family when we can, and we started eating Indian food at a young age. You just get accustomed to it. If you're not used to that sort of food, your stomach might get upset. It just depends on what you get."
Q: Can you dunk?
A: "Yes. My first dunk was in a pickup game with some of my friends at the Y. I had a fast break, and I figured `I'll just go for it.' And I dunked it."
Q: In your opinion, what is your biggest strength on the basketball court? And what area of your game do you most want to improve upon?
A: "I feel like my shooting is my biggest strength, and also just being a team player and having a good work ethic. I feel like I have a high basketball IQ... being in the right place, helping on defense. And I guess explosion would be my weakness."
Q: What's this we hear about you playing for Wales in the 2007 FIBA European Championships?
A: "Like I said earlier, my mom's from Wales. The FIBA rules allow for players who have a British passport to qualify for the National Team, so over the course of three tryouts back and forth to the UK, I made the U-18 national team. We won the silver in the European Championships in 2007, then we won gold with the U-20s--my brother, Alex, was on that team--last summer in Belgium. I led the team in scoring with 15.4 points and also averaged 5.8 rebounds. This summer, I was invited to play for the men's national team. It's an honor to represent a country."
Q: Your mom is Welsh, and your dad played basketball at Appalachian State. So how exactly did your parents meet?
A: "When my dad finished college, he played basketball overseas a little bit. Later on he was working at a health club at a hotel in Mallorca, Spain, and my mom used to model--she was Miss Wales in 1984 and she was in the Miss Universe pageant that year--and I guess she was on a tour there or something. They met each other, and right away my dad called his mom--my grandmother--and told her he just met his future wife."
Q: So the question on everyone's mind is, did you get invited to the Royal Wedding this spring?
A: "I wish! A lot of people say I look like Prince William. I've heard that a couple times. But, no, unfortunately I did not. I'd love an invite to the next one, though. My mom did make me watch it that morning. It's a huge deal over in Europe."
Q: We hear you're a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Talk about your background in that sport.
A: "It started when I was a kid. Once I got involved with it, my parents really liked it for me and my brother, Alex, who's going to UNC Wilmington next year to play basketball. It gave us a lot of discipline, respect for others and it put us in position to see things in certain ways as mature young adults. But respect and discipline are the main things we took from it."
Q: Better movie, Karate Kid or Karate Kid II?
A: "The one that pops in my head is the original Karate Kid. Wait, you're not talking about the new Karate kid, are you?"
UTsports: "Heck no! Anyone other than Ralph Macchio is an impostor!"
Q: Did you play any sports other than basketball while you were growing up?
A: "Tae Kwon do was about it. I mean, we played all sorts of stuff in our neighborhood, but I didn't get too serious into anything else. Oh, I was part of my neighborhood swim team before I left for college."
Q: Who is your favorite pro athlete in a sport other than basketball and why?
A: "I really don't have one. My role model would most definitely be my father. That's why I chose my number (here at Tennessee, No. 21). His number was 41 in college. If could be half the man he is, I would be so happy."
Q: What's the one non-sports TV show you can't miss?
A: "I'm stuck between the Graham Norton Show and Doctor Who. They're both British shows. They come on BBC America. It's kind of a family thing. I watch them on Netflix. The Graham Norton Show is kind of like a British version of Jay Leno. They have a lot of celebrity guests. And Doctor Who is an old sci-fi show."
Q: What kind of toys did you play with when you were little? Were you a Hot Wheels guy or an action-figure guy?
A: "I don't know... I think my friends and I usually just went outside and did something active."
Q: What three words would you use to describe head coach Cuonzo Martin?
A: "Genuine. Caring--because he cares about more than just basketball. He wants to see us mature off the court, academically and as young men. And the last word... knowledgeable. He knows a lot about the game and it shows through his resume."
Q: Have you ever "swept the leg?"
A: "I have no idea what that means..."
UTsports: "It's a Karate Kid reference. In the tournament at the end of the movie, the Sensei from Cobra Kai Dojo tells his student to target Daniel's injured leg...
A: "Oh! (laughs). No, I play within the rules."