Men's Basketball

Dec. 22, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

COACH CALIPARI: He (Doron Lamb) was good, huh? And you know what else, he was good defensively. We started the game, and they were getting looks because they were back screening the defense, and the man who was guarding that screener wouldn’t leave his man to help. So they were open and they didn’t make them, but they were open under there.

And so then Doron (Lamb) just shut it down. He just left his man, stayed on under the basket until his man could go back and get his man and then he found his own. He played great. He was in control and had a couple of assists. You know, big-time game. He didn’t miss any shots. I mean, he missed one three.

I told them at half time, I said, ‘Guys, if we shot 50 percent from the three-point line, this would be like an eight-point game, you do understand. You’re seven out of 14, instead of 10 out of 14, ridiculous which, all of a sudden it’s a ten-, nine-point game. But he played well.

Happy for Eloy (Vargas). Maybe he sees some light now; how he’s got to play. He finally performed. And believe me, confidence is demonstrated performance. It’s not what I say, what I want him to do. It’s you’ve got to demonstrate it to yourself and your teammates on the court, and he did it today.

I thought DeAndre (Liggins) was ridiculous (meaning good). He was so good. We were going at him, just so you know, because I wanted him to score some points, because he defended — he didn’t rebound like we wanted him to because he didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities but he dove on the floor, he’s tipping balls and he’s throwing nine assists, and so we went at him to get him some points but he deserved it.

I thought Brandon (Knight) did a fairly good job of running the team. Again he broke down on a couple plays but he scored when he had to. There was only one or two plays where he broke down, and again, I’m expecting him to play flawless, which probably isn’t fair to him. But you know we need him to really play well. And we did it all and Terrence (Jones) didn’t play particularly well.

Q. You win like this and you seem fairly happy with it, when Terrence is not a big part of it —

COACH CALIPARI: It’s good. It’s good. I mean, and then letting them understand that, you know, I’m going to start these other guys that have been playing better than you, you come off the bench and now start performing and it puts things in a different light. It’s hard coming off the bench. It’s a little different game.

Now, Doron (Lamb) has got it mastered. He’s loving it. No pressure on him; when I come in, I’m lighting this thing up. He’s like, let me just keep coming off the bench, I like this. He doesn’t feel the pressure of it. Other guys want to try to do too much.

What I told Terrence (Jones) be the leading rebounder, try to be the leading rebounder in the country, not just the SEC. And so he went out and took five shots and got no rebounds. And that’s what I was mentioning to him; so obviously you’re not listening to what I’m saying to you.

And so, you know, I addressed with the team after; if everybody else is scoring, just do something else, defend and rebound. We are not quite there now yet, folks. We are not quite there with our team.

But you know what, we have got a young team. I’ve got three really good freshmen. Three really, really good freshmen, and if there’s maybe a handful out there with these guys, maybe a handful, but I’ve got three really good freshmen.

Q. What did they tell you was the extent of Brandon’s injury? Obviously he came back. What were your thoughts?

COACH CALIPARI: All I did was I said, “Was it knee-to-knee, or did you twist it?”

He said, “Knee-to-Knee.”

I said, “You’re fine.” And then I went back to the huddle. As long as there wasn’t a twist or anything like that, I knew they hit knees, but it wasn’t, you know — yeah, the thought wasn’t a pleasant one when I was leaning over him to ask him. But after he told me, I was fine, bang, let’s go, get him to the back. He’s a good kid, he is. You know, it’s really neat.

Q. Can you talk about the play of Winthrop University tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, you know what this was a scary game. And one of their best players was out, I don’t know if their coach told you, Randy, if he said to you. But I watched the Wake Forest game and I said to him prior to the game, “Randy, you guys smacked them.”

He said, “We killed them.” And then I saw their game with Jacksonville who beat Florida, they beat them. They were up 18 on those guys. The Dayton game on the road, they had a chance to beat Dayton. There was another game I watched, and again, it’s one of those teams that’s going on the road — it’s hard. He has a good team.

No. 5, Corbin, who had not played — or I’m sorry, Matt Morgan, who had not played like that, just absolutely, we had no answers for him. We had no answers for. He squared up and we couldn’t get a hand in his face and he was going crazy.

But you know for a young team, an inexperienced team, a team that’s thrown together for two months, we had 11 turnovers and we had a bunch in the first half, didn’t have hardly any in the second half.

Q. You mentioned the other day about a big seven-man rotation, looks like you have six; how important it to get more than that or can you live with a six-man rotation?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, seven would be Eloy. And if Eloy does what he did today, we have got a nice little rotation of seven. In the old days, that’s what they played. They played seven guys. The eighth man was a spot throw-in and if you were not in that top seven, it was for a long year. That’s the way it used to be.

Now you have to play guys when they leave when they leave and blah, blah, blah. I like my seven, I really do. I would love for us to get that eighth man, whether it’s Stacey or whether it’s Jon. I’m even ready to try to go with Jarrod a little bit. Maybe he’s the one that will go in there and fight at the guard position and we’ll play him some. But it’s safer if you have eight.

The other thing I’ll tell you. You have a lot of room for error if you have ten, 11 like we did a year ago. I’ll give you an example. The couple of games Terrence has played like he’s played, he would not have played 25 minutes. He would have played ten minutes. That’s it. We have no choice.

So you have to kind of cajole and grab and hug and yell and you know, but you’ve got to have somebody out on the court, and that’s the issue we have right now. But I like my team. We have got good players who are starting to play together. They listen.

Darius has got to get a little tougher. Told him today, the two plays at halftime that epitomize what I’m talking about with Darius is the one where he drove right and the guy kind of nudged him and he almost fell into the bench. He didn’t hit you that hard. And then the second one was he drove middle, and he came to a grade (ph) and lost that ball. Now those are the plays, man. That you’ve got to be tougher than that.

You’ve got to be stronger than that, both mentally and physically. Now he wants to do it. He is such a great kid. But we have got to — the only way you change is if it’s out there and you accept it, you’re right.

But we have flown out there a few things on a couple guys, like, you do this, we can’t play you. And now, it’s magnified and everybody see it is and now it becomes change, you can do this. You’ve got to be mentally tough. But if you’re not mentally tough, you’re not making it, anyway. Not here at Kentucky. So you have to get that going.

Like I said, I like my team. Josh, ten rebounds and I’m like mad at him because he stopped playing in that stretch. So I made him come off the bench like he did a year ago with three minutes ago and I said, how do you like that now, you want to go back to that, that’s what you played last year, the last three minutes. Because you don’t want that, having a stop.

We do that in a league game and it’s a 12- or 14-point game and all of the sudden it’s six, and we are on the road, what are we doing? Taking an L. So we can’t have those lapse, which we are still having.

Q. What do you think turned the switch on Eloy the last two games that he’s much more spirited.

COACH CALIPARI: He’s doing it in practice. One of the things I said prior to the game was, Eloy, play like you’re playing in practice. Jon Hood, play like you’re playing in practice. And there was one other, I told somebody else the same thing, there were three guys I said it to.

I said, you guys have had great practices, we went twice on Monday. We had a great practice on Tuesday, the day after the game, Sunday, we had a great practice for an hour and a half. I was stunned. I said, not many teams do what they just did which is go in there, climb a mountain, go to a battle comeback the next day without sleep or eat and climb the hill and do another battle, and that’s what they did for an hour and a half. They really got after it. So I’m just saying, do what you’re doing in practice.

Q. You’re familiar with Jamal Mashburn obviously, that’s the record that Doron broke, game points; what does that say?

COACH CALIPARI: I’ve got three really good freshmen. Because the other one of the two may break it again. You know, they are all playing 30 minutes. And we are playing freshmen.

You know, it’s really funny. You know, John Wall last year got the academic award and finished the term. John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins could all have comeback and gone to school and been in school academically.

DeWayne, what happens if the guys stop going to class here at Kentucky? What if they miss five classes? How many? Do you understand, when someone says, well, when guys don’t go to class after the second term, not here at Kentucky; you don’t go to class, you don’t play. Is that right? Is it either term in both terms, right? And who checks the classes, me?

So it’s the university. Are they tied to the athletics or the precedents office? (Laughter).

Okay. Just so you know, and let me just say this. I hope, I hope Brandon Knight has opportunities when the year is out. Either way, next term, he will have six days. It doesn’t matter. I mean, these kids, what we are trying to do is do right by these kids within the framework of what it is right now.

Now if you don’t know what I was talking about, I hope so.

Jamal Mashburn, whether it’s someone scores more points than him or not, it does no matter. He changed the dimension of this program, no one else. Jamal got everybody together, did it together and all of a sudden it took off.

I said what about the guys that weren’t playing? By him making it cool to come here and play here the way he did, the rest of it — (inaudible off-mic). Thanks, have a great holiday.

Kentucky Players

#20 Doron Lamb

On breaking the freshman single-game scoring record at Kentucky …

“It’s an honor to break the record. Kentucky basketball is the biggest program in the country. I give thanks to my teammates for finding me on the court and giving me the ball.”

On how he felt shooting throughout the game …

“It felt good because first of all we won it by a lot. It feels good making shots and us winning and coach being happy and playing defense well. It feels great.”

On what he was thinking during his scoring opportunities…

“I didn’t even realize I was hitting a lot of 3s. I knew I had hit a lot but didn’t know how many I had hit. I knew we had made a lot, and we had 10 as a team at halftime.  We had 15 or 16 at the end of the game, so we did well as a team.”

On who told him he broke record …

“You just told me.  I just found out.”

On the layup he passed up in the second half that would have broke the record …

“Brandon (Knight) found me before so I wanted to get him back and let him get some points. I want to help my teammates score.

On playing off the bench in place of Brandon Knight

“I knew Brandon (Knight) would come back, so I wasn’t really worried about the injury.  He’s tough, so I wanted to come in the game, be aggressive and find my teammates and make open shots.”

On his shooting during practice …

“I’ve been working hard in practice and taking extra shots after practice.” 

On breaking the record previously set by Jamal Mashburn …

“We played on the same AAU team, but I’ve never met him before. It’s an honor. I’m from New York and he’s from New York. I’m happy to break his record.”

On the flight home after breaking a record …

“I can’t wait but I’m going to go to sleep. I’m going to go to sleep and wait to see my family. I haven’t checked my phone yet.”

#1, Darius Miller, G

On how fun it is to be a part of this team…

“Yes, its definitely different (than last year). But at the same time, we have a lot of fun just like last year. The way we play, and the type of people we play are different, but we still have just as much fun.”

On his conversations with Coach Calipari..

“Coach pushes me hard everyday. We talk a lot about what he wants from me, and stuff like that along the way.”

On  Coach Calipari motivating him…

“(Coach Calipari) does it in practices, he does it in games. Every time we are on the court, he pushes me. It’s just a consistent thing every single day. ”

#55, Josh Harrellson, F

On how things change on the floor with the absence of Terrence Jones

“I don’t know. I don’t think it changes that much. We know someone else is going to step up. Tonight Terrence struggled, and Doron (Lamb) scored 32, so we have too many weapons for one person to hurt us like that.”

On Eloy Vargas’ performance…

“He (Eloy Vargas) played out of his mind today. I was so happy for him. Finally, we are seeing him play like that, and I hope we see him continue to do it. He has been playing well in practice, doing extra stuff like I have been doing with coach Orlando (Antigua) and it is starting to pay off, and I hope it continues.”

On the importance of winning this game before the Christmas break…

“No, I think we all approached it as if we have to approach this as a game we don’t want to lose before we go home and have a miserable Christmas. I mean, we just prepared like that, but everybody was ready to go home, and get a little vacation. By tomorrow, or the next day, we are going to be the same thing of ‘we are ready to be back playing basketball’, everybody is ready for a little break.”

#4, Jon Hood, G

On playing like he does in practice …
“The second time I came back in I thought I played like I played in practice. The first time no. I mean I gave up seven points. I just have to get better.”

On what changes with the team when Terrence Jones is struggling from the field …
“Terrence (Jones) is a game changer. When he is on it is so hard to stop. When he is not you can go to Darius (Miller), or go down low to Josh (Harrellson). It changes up when he doesn’t play like he capable, but we are still OK.”

On how he feels on the court …
“I felt ready to go today. You have to come in here the day of the game, the day before you go home and take care of business before you go home.”

#12, Brandon Knight, G

On being concerned about the team wanting to leave for the break before the game ended …
“Not really, it is always in the back of your head, but the way we have been practicing I felt that we would come in and everything would translate. When you work hard, practice hard, have a good shoot around and are mentally focused you put yourself in a situation where you can come in and play well and I think we did that.”

On Doron Lamb’s idea of coming off the bench …
“He is buying into the team. That’s what coach feels is the best thing right now. Doron (Lamb) is just buying into the team and to what we need as a unit.”

On Doron Lamb’s game tonight …
“He is playing great. He knows when he comes in that he has to perform. He was very hot today. I knew he had it going.”

Winthrop Head Coach Randy Peele

Opening statement…

“First, let me say that this was certainly a great opportunity for us to come here and play the University of Kentucky. I know that those of you don’t know me, I am probably a border-line maniac from a basketball standpoint and absolutely love the environment here. I think the fans, the way they support the program and everything that is going on here is really tremendous. It is a tribute to the university and to all those people that are involved in the program to make this one of the elite programs in the country. I am going to have to think about calling John (Calipari) back about scheduling again (laughter).

“With our game, we just played Dayton on Monday and you get into a whirlwind where you start playing some games. Coming into the game, quite honestly, I was really more concerned with ourselves. I think that when you get to December, you can’t worry about who your opponent is. What I will say is that I thought they played very well. We really focused early on trying to defend dribble penetration and we got down in a hurry. They were 10-for-14 from the three-point line and part of that was quite honestly, that we weren’t being big on the ball. We didn’t have enough presence defensively on the basketball. For us to come in and win this game, the only chance that we had was if they didn’t make threes. You have to kind of pick your poison a little bit. I really felt that we had to stop dribble penetration and I thought we did a pretty good job of that at the end of the second half. It was 2:38 to go and a nine-point game and they really went on a tremendous run. Part of that was that we took quick shots which put us in transition defense. The other thing that I would say, and you guys know them better than I do, is that looking at them on paper and seeing them in person they seem to me to be a team of runs. When you play them, you have to be cautious of that 10-0 or 12-2 run at some point. I don’t have everything in front of me but when they score they score in bunches. I thought that they played very well, obviously. Lamb and Knight (played well) and they spread us out and are very hard to guard. The problem is that we are trying to take away the three but their quickness to me (was hard to guard.) Some teams you have physicality issues but to me the hardest part to guard Kentucky tonight was their quickness. I thought that their speed and quickness was very difficult for us to contend with.” ”

On Doron Lamb
“He is special. I think that he is special. I like to play this game, so I will let you guys play it. When I evaluate I say, ‘How many guys on my team can start for their team?’ When I did that I thought, ‘I don’t know. How many guys on my team can play on this team?’ I will say this, I felt like when I evaluated them and this is totally unbiased, you try to look at who you think to be guys that can play at that quote, unquote next level like elite level guys. I think that they have three guys quite honestly that have that kind of ability. We told our guys that he had a great motor. We told our guys that he could really play. We thought that he was a tremendous shooter.”

Winthrop Players

#4, Reggie Middleton, G

On how he thinks he played today …
“We didn’t guard the ball well and let them get up too many threes. We could have played better on the defensive end.”

On what he thought about playing in Rupp Arena …
“It was a great experience playing in Rupp Arena. You don’t get that experience every day. We just didn’t play too well.”

On what he can take away from this game moving forward …
“We just have to play harder and smarter. We got caught up in their game, shooting threes and things like that and that isn’t our game. If we had just played our game we would have been fine.”

#42, Charles Corbin, F

On how he thinks he played today …
“I feel like we couldn’t make a lot of shots we usually make. Like Reggie (Middleton) said we could have played better on defense when guarding the ball. I thought we could have guarded the ball a lot better and we would have kept it closer.”

On what he thought about playing in Rupp Arena …
“It was a great experience and I don’t think we will ever play in an environment like that ever. Rupp Arena is one of the best experiences you can have.”

On what he can take away from this game moving forward …
“We just have to build. We’re going to watch film to see what we didn’t do well and to see what we did do well.”

On Doron Lamb’s performance …

“The guy is a pro. If he’s open he’s going to make the shot. He had a good game and had his career high so he obviously played really well.”

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