Men's Basketball

Dec. 28, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Q. John, there were a couple of times in the early going where Darius (Miller) dove on the floor, got loose balls, you guys scored.

COACH CALIPARI: I loved it. That’s as good as he’s played in a long time. And the main thing was he got aggressive. I left him on the court because he was playing so well and aggressive, he got a little tired, I think, at the end and he got beat on some dribbles and some of that stuff.

But the reality of it is if he’ll go rebound and battle like that, you’re going to see his game blossom. That’s what we’re all looking for.

Q. You went with a smaller lineup to start the second half, what did you think about the way those guys played?

COACH CALIPARI: Not bad. I didn’t think Terrence (Jones) had the energy of the other guys, but what you end up doing is you switch everything. You can switch pick-and-rolls. You’re just a different kind of team. And they kind of stymied that a little bit.

Q. Twenty-one assists, can you talk about the way they shared the ball tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, again, Brandon (Knight) had eight and two, the two turnovers I called one timeout because the one was so ridiculous. And I just said you’re forcing it — you don’t need to. You’re going to get plays just playing basketball. But the other guys, DeAndre (Liggins), and I got on DeAndre a little bit. I’m like saying, ‘Man, shoot the ball.’ Take shots. I want you to score, too. We do pretty good when you have five guys coming at you that all can make baskets. We are passing. I mentioned this the other day, when you’re playing the dribble drive and you’re really playing it, you’re not going to have as many assists.

And here’s why. I’m going to drive in the lane and throw you the ball and you’re driving for a layup, the minute I bounce the ball twice, there’s no assist even though I created that shot for you. Know what I’m saying? So 12 assists in the dribble drive is like 20-21 in the regular pass and screen and move, you know what I mean?

You don’t have as many. Now, the reason we had 21 tonight, they didn’t play much man. And when they went man, we didn’t get assists. We drove it. We got layups but we did not get assists. They played zone which made us pass the ball and get guys shots.

Q. We saw you play a little zone defense tonight, how did that work for you?

COACH CALIPARI: Not bad. We had a couple breakdowns, but not bad. And we were going to stick with it. And now what it does to the game, did you see what it did to the game? What did it do to the game? Slowed it down. I don’t like coaching that way. That’s what it did. They had to pass. They almost had shot clock violations, I don’t want that. I want them to shoot it in 15 seconds so we can come down and play.

I mean, I don’t know if there were people here that said, ‘Boy, this is fun to watch them pass the ball 22 times.’ I mean, I don’t know. I wasn’t one of them.

And what I told my staff, ‘Now you see why I don’t like playing zone.’ But we have a game coming up Friday (vs. Louisville). Maybe we want the game to be slower, do what Drexel did. So maybe we play zone. But we’ll see.

Q. Coach Mitchell talked about your guys’ patience against his zone, not taking early shots. What did you think?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, what I was happy about was we were 3-for-14 from the 3-point line in the first half. And we still were scoring the ball.

You know, you’re not going to — how about this one? Doron Lamb couldn’t make a three in the first half, but had five rebounds so you can leave him in the game. He defended; he rebounded. Don’t have to worry about making shots. Said it at halftime. He comes out the second half, he makes shots. That’s how it is. Defend and rebound. If you cannot come up with balls, I can’t put you in the game. Just can’t be in there. You’ve got to come up with balls. And I don’t care what your excuse is. They had me in a choke hold, I don’t care. Grab the ball, and he did.

So he played well again. I thought DeAndre played well. Darius hustled. Josh (Harrellson) did some good things. We’ve got to play — I’m looking for more. I’m looking for more. I said this, ‘Individual players, from year to year and from the beginning of this year until now, you know they’ve all gotten better. Every one of them have gotten better.’

The question is, as a team, are we continuing to get where we need to go? Because we’re not where we need to go right now. We’re just not. I mean, we have too many breakdowns.

Q. What did you see from guys like Jon Hood and Eloy Vargas in terms of their play, and are you getting more confident that your rotation can grow beyond seven if you have to?

COACH CALIPARI: Six. I mean, they have to do more. I mean, you watched it. Stacey (Poole), Jon and Eloy, they’ve got to perform.

And it’s hard, but here’s what I would say. Doron is coming off the bench and playing his butt off coming off the bench. But Jon did okay. But he missed shots. Got beat on some plays — Stacey defensively. What I said to those three after the game, ‘You get every minute and you get with the coach and watch the tape and you tell me how you think you played. You come back at me.’ So that’s what they have to do.

This team, I played teams with six guys before. That’s what I’ll do. And you put them in. If they play well you leave them in. If they’re not playing well or they’re tentative or not talking or whatever or they can’t come up with balls or the guy they’re guarding is scoring baskets, you play with six.

Q. You said the smaller lineup gives you a different type of team. In what ways? What can you do with that group?

COACH CALIPARI: I really like how we would be defensively in pick-and-rolls. I kind of like if they try to play zone now we have two inside active scorers. It makes it a little bit different and harder to guard. But we’ve got to play harder. We’ve got to give more energy. You’ve got to play with some emotion and passion.

And it can’t be three guys doing it or four and then one not. Because the one that’s not, that’s the guy that’s getting scored on. And it takes the wind out of our sails.

We can press more. We can be more active. But it gives us a look. We did a different press today. I wanted to give that a look. We worked on it. I wanted to give the zone a look, I wanted to watch some tape, see what I like. We did a little box-and-one, probably didn’t notice it to try it in case we’re playing somebody and they get it going and we want to go box-and-one.

So there were some different things we were trying.

Q. What would be obvious to us once you guys get from where you are now to where you want to be? The difference that we’ll see.

COACH CALIPARI: You’ll see a team that bounces on defense the entire time, that’s talking and yelling to each other. The gang rebounds with two hands and comes up with those 50/50 rebounds and balls. Shot goes up. They put a body on somebody. And offensively you see a sequence which is people are flying down that floor and if they don’t have it, that ball swings and we’re trying to get it in gaps.

If it breaks down, Brandon (Knight) gets that ball back and we run something to get the ball where we’re trying to get it. And we do it for 40 minutes. That’s what you see. That’s my vision of where we’re trying to go.

That turns it over anywhere from 10 to 13 times. That’s okay. That means you’re being aggressive. Today we had 12 turnovers but we had probably three of them that were, you know, like why did you do that? Terrence ball faked a guy. The guy’s there. He didn’t need to ball fake. Come to a jump stop and throw. The two that Brandon had. So, I can off the top of my head, I saw three that were not necessary at all.

And then the other thing is we only create nine turnovers. That team is turning it over like 17 times. We’re not turning anybody over either now.

Q. You’ve been playing with emotion and passion. When you look at the Kentucky/Louisville game last year, what’s the right balance of emotion and passion when those two teams play?

COACH CALIPARI: Just don’t want it to get dirty. Doesn’t need to get dirty. Doesn’t need to be amped up any more than it is which are two good teams playing each other. We’re going into a ranked arena. They’re ranked. That’s a ranked team. It’s hard to win on the road versus a ranked team or they wouldn’t be ranked.

So we understand it’s going to be a hard game for us. We know. Now, we haven’t talked about them. We haven’t watched tape, haven’t prepared, haven’t done anything, because every game we play, we’re someone’s Super Bowl. We have to prepare each game as they go.

I also don’t want them to think one game’s more important than any other. They’re not. They’re all important. Every game’s important. So we’ll start tomorrow with preparation. I will watch this tape tonight and I’ll probably watch a tape or two tonight or at least one and then a couple tomorrow before we practice and have an idea of what we’re going to try to do.

But it will be just like the preparation we always have. No different.

Q. Is this the ideal line for Darius Miller to have a little bit of everything, or is there something you want — anything different from him or what?

COACH CALIPARI: I would tell you, I think he should be scoring more. And he should be attacking the basket more. But the reality of it is you know those kind of numbers, in 27 minutes, that’s pretty good numbers.

I mean, I’d like to have a few more points, a few more rebounds, but then, again, I’d like to have everything. But what you had is a player that showed some (aggressiveness) — he wasn’t passive at all. That’s all we want to see. I mean, you’re missing some shots — that’s okay, just be aggressive. Be tough. Come up with balls. Don’t let them jerk them out of your hands, you jerk them out of their hands. If he’s in that frame of mind you’re going to see a different player.

And so I think Brandon Knight again running our team, he had two or three other assists that were like kind of bobbled or the guy missed a dunk and the two turnovers he could have had 10 assists and no turnovers today, is probably what he should have had. He’s playing better. Running our team better. I like the balance of our shooting. We had a lot of guys getting a lot of shots and no one was in there trying to get numbers, they were just in there playing basketball. That’s what we want.

Look, for this date, this team being this inexperienced and young, we’re doing all right. We’ve got a tough challenge. Are we up for it? I don’t know. We’re going to find out, though, because it will be a war. And it’s on the road and it’s a ranked opponent. And so it’s the next challenge for us to find out what we’re made of and what we are, and really learn from the game.

We have to learn. We just played one of the top 10 non-conference schedules before this game coming up with Louisville on the road, which probably puts it in the top 10 non-conference. Non-conference. So we’re learning about our team, we are.


Kentucky Players

#20, Doron Lamb, G

On his overall thoughts on the game…
“We played good today. We played good by switching screens and [keeping] the big men guarded. We played good on defense and offense in the second half.”

On what the smaller line-up brings to the table…
“I think that allows us to switch all ball screens. Coach [Calipari] likes that group of guys out there a lot, so we played well the last couple of games.”

On what Coach Calipari was looking for in the small line-up…
“He was just wanted to see how we looked. We might play against that [defense] in the next game, or the game after that. He just wanted to see how that line-up worked and how we would switch ball screens.”

#3, Terrence Jones, F

On how he felt after being sick this week…
“Right now, they say it’s just a cold. I have had it since I came back from Portland. I took my medicine before the game and it helped me.”

On the small line-up…
“I love it. Just as I am posting up or getting the ball, I got all shooters around me. All of those guys are knock-down shooters and unselfish shooters. If they don’t have it, they will swing it to the next guy. We had one play when we swung it three times to Doron [Lamb] in the corner and finally got a wide-open shot.”

On what has brought on the change of unselfish play…
“We are a young team. Now we have to have a lot of practices and everybody is getting a feel for what each player can do, and has the ability to do. I say it is just more fun. We are talking on defense, and everybody is getting back, more blocked shots and team rebounds. Everything is just more of a team than one person.”

#1, Darius Miller, F

On his play against Coppin State …
“I think I played pretty well. I just came out and played with a lot of energy, and I took opportunities when I had them.”

On playing aggressively …
“It’s something that I have really been working on. It’s important to play with high intensity and that is what I tried to come out and do today.”

On the idea of the Louisville rivalry meaning more since he is a Kentucky native …
“It means a lot to me because I am from here and I know what this rivalry means to the program. We just have to come out and play it as another game and prepare that way for the next two days.”

#12, Brandon Knight, G

On what he liked about playing a smaller lineup …
“We were able to switch on everything defensively. We could switch all screens and it made our defense flow a lot better.”

On the play of Darius Miller …
“He was aggressive and made some great rebounds. He was able to get rebounds in the paint and play as the aggressive athletic Darius.”

On not sleepwalking through games you are expected to win…
“It shows that we are coming in to practice preparing the same way, so when we do play great teams, we will be prepared and have great habits. We are focusing on our team, and what it takes to get better individually and collectively as a team.”

Coppin State Head Coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell

Opening statement…

“I thought that we would be a lot more competitive than what we were today. I think that the lights got to them and we never really got started. We never really had a flow into the game like we were supposed to and give credit to Kentucky for putting the pressure on us for 40 minutes. They made big shots and penetrating and created problems for us defensively as well as offensively. It didn’t go as planned. We tried to shut one of the guys down but it was just too many guns and it wasn’t 22s either.”

On all of Kentucky’s weapons …
“They had a few big one out there. I have a lot of respect for what coach (John) Calipari does and the type of players that he brings in and the quality of them. We understood form the beginning that we were going to have to come in aggressive and with a mindset of being aggressive. We didn’t show that tonight. It might be next week but tonight we didn’t show. Basically, it was embarrassing to me. You have to give credit to Kentucky, when they have you down they keep you down. We struggled all night long and I look forward to the next game.”

On which player on Kentucky’s team they were wanting to shutdown …
“We understood that Doron Lamb was coming off the bench and scoring a lot of points, so we just tried something different. We came in and boxed him for awhile and I think that we did a pretty good job of keeping him down. But, like I said other people came and did their due diligence and it created problems for us. When I look at the end results, he had 17 points so he took care of his business but we didn’t take care of ours.”

On Kentucky’s trio of Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones
“It was one of the best guard combinations that we have run into this year and in many years though really. They were impressive and they were aggressive. They shared the ball a lot more today than I thought that they would. One of the reasons why we wanted to stay in the zone because it created a situation where people rush a lot or might just try to take the first thing coming but they were very disciplined and it was a very impressive trio penetrating as well as shooting.”

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