University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference
Saturday, February 25 2017
JOHN CALIPARI: He has a mentality of ‘I’m going to fight for balls.’ Just going after it, and if he’ll go after rebounds with two hands — Derek had nine rebounds today. Again, let me say this. This team out rebounded us by 25 rebounds a month ago. I think we got them by 18 or 20 today. So that’s — Wenyen still goes after balls with one hand. You can’t help him. You got to go after all balls with two hands. If you can’t get them with two, you’re certainly not getting it with one. And we just got to keep working with him.
Q. How much do you think Malik develops muscles to where he gets it going to where —
JOHN CALIPARI: What happened to Malik, we were on him to drive, to get fouled. Don’t drive to release and throw some crazy thing, just try to get fouled. That’s why I grabbed him. We have been doing it all year and harder to play that way and Florida’s an obviously a highly ranked team. They’re tough physically, they had won nine in a row, they were confident. You’re not going to beat them shooting threes or fadeaways, you got to attack. If you attack, you’re going to get beat up a little bit, you’re going to get grabbed a little bit, you’re going to get hip checked some. I was really — we didn’t want to try to beat them shooting threes and I said it before the game. I said, if you think you’re going to beat these guys by shooting threes, you will not. You got to get to the glass, you got to get to the foul line, it’s how you got to play.
Q. A lot of your big men late in the season kind of turned the corner, has Bam done that do you think?
JOHN CALIPARI: I hope so. I hope so. Had a smile on his face, we did some things different to go at him where we’re saying, look, we’re either going to go at Malik or we’re going to go at Bam, and then we’re going to play off that. We’re not going to try to make this fancy, let’s just do it. I like how we played when you’re one man down. I thought Isaiah Briscoe, nine points and eight rebounds playing the point. I thought Dom was outstanding again. We just got to get a team full of guys really locked into what we’re doing. At the end, okay, okay, there’s just two plays, Malik went baseline and tried to — why would you do that? There was a man in the corner. The shot was taken on the perimeter. We don’t have to score another basket to win, and Isaiah went flying in there and gave them a breakout. Why did you do that? Now, those are the things that were costing us up 18, those kind of plays and we got to get away from them. But the biggest thing this team did is they fought in the second half. Think about it, we shot 28 percent at halftime. 28 percent. We must have missed nine layups. And we’re in a tie game. That means you’re fighting, that means you’re giving yourself a chance to win.
Q. Did we see today maybe kind of again but more than ever why even when it’s really bad for Malik maybe early you got to ride him and give him a chance to do what he did.
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, but I’m still learning about him. I’m still learning. I’m still learning about Bam. I keep coming back to the same thing. This is different here. I have a brand new team every year. So when you’re trying to put that team together, sometimes it takes you the entire season to figure out how should we be playing. It takes the other teams half a season to figure out how to guard us and then they lock into, here’s what we’re taking away, these four or five things, and we’re going to make them play to these things. And then we got to regroup and say, okay, now what do we do? And that’s, a lot of times, by the end of the year. I mean, to be honest, next year will be the same way. Beginning of the year, oh, high flying, shooting dunks, oh my gosh. And then you get to the middle of the year and, wow, they’re not getting as many easy baskets. Ooh, they’re having to work, they’re having to be patient, they’re having to set screens. Yeah, you got to play basketball now. But I like the fact that we fought and I said, and for De’Aaron Fox, hey, man, when you come back, you better be to the level of these guys fighting. That’s where you need to be.
Q. You mentioned the last game, the difference in rebounding, it was almost a 40 rebound swing between last game and this game?
JOHN CALIPARI: Their big kid got hurt and he’s out. So that played a part of it. But were you at the game down in Florida?
Q. No, I was not.
JOHN CALIPARI: Okay, well we got beat to every 50/50 ball, we got shoved and pushed and we accepted every block out and they just man handled us. That’s what they did. And we just, one of the things is you talk about you can’t be that team. And my thing in this game and the games coming up, it’s not — look, I want to win every game I coach. It is about getting us right for this late season run. And you all know, the second half we showed, wow, if they play that way, they’re going to be fine. Now can we play, can that be us? Or are we not locked into each other. Or are we not this team. If we’re this team, I like what I’m seeing.
Q. So six straight wins since the reboot, are we right?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, we still are tweaking a little bit. There’s some tweaking going on right now.
Q. To win a game like this without De’Aaron, what did you learn anything new about your team?
JOHN CALIPARI: I’m saying this, because if he had played he would have been 70 percent. So what I’m saying is, I knew that. I really wanted us to play the game without him. For us and for him. And now it’s like, okay, but we made runs in the middle of the game with Isaiah on the bench. He wasn’t in. That’s good for this team to know, you could have foul trouble, you could have an injury, something could happen. You can still win if you’re playing the right way. If you’re creating good shots for each other. If you’re defending and rebounding like crazy, flying to get easy baskets, if it’s not there, I will be patient. If it takes me the whole shot clock to get a shot, I will. We’re getting closer. But when you’re playing all freshmen and sophomores, it’s — thank goodness for Dom and Derek and thank goodness for Mychal. Mychal’s playing better.
Q. When it’s rocking, Rupp is a big advantage for the team and today felt like one of the bigger atmospheres for the event. Did the crowd really bring it to this team today, did that help carry them a lot more than the past teams?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, it’s every team. I can remember games that were so electric that I was just happy that I had a chance to coach in the game. This was one of those kind of games and I thought our fans were great. You know what’s great about these fans? When we had that bad start, they don’t boo. They’re like come on, you can do this. That’s a Kentucky fan. That’s a classy fan. If you notice, when they introduced Florida, they didn’t boo Florida. They didn’t boo. They didn’t boo the other coach. Now if they did that to me and didn’t boo, I would probably retire. I want them to do that to me. But these fans are about our team and our players. And that’s why I love walking in. It was jammed in there. Jammed. That has to be — when I looked to the upper deck and people are sitting like this (Indicating) I know we got a lot of people in the house tonight.
Q. How do you hope it benefits De’Aaron to not be part of it and you guys win?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well just, he watches and you better step on the gas. We defended. We defended. You know what we guarded pretty good? Pick and roll. We guarded, because we fought over every pick and roll and then we switched a couple times and we went back to fighting over. No one died in any screen. I mean, okay now, this is what it is when we’re doing it the right way.
Q. There was a point in the game when Humphries had a wide open shot —
JOHN CALIPARI: Who?
Q. Humphries. And he didn’t take it. And he gave it up and they gave it back to him and he took a shot and drilled it. What was your reaction to it and what was his?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, my reaction to the shot at Missouri that he missed, he’s making in a five minute drill, 70 to 75 shots in five minutes. He misses five to six shots. Those kind of shots that you saw him take. And then gets in the game and misses and it drives me absolutely crazy. So, I expect him, because I watch him every day, to make that shot. And to take that shot. He’s built his own confidence. Again, he’s doing way better, but Bam’s, you got to keep him on the court. He’s a dominating presence.
Q. In your 50 years of coaching how many times have you had a kid get 30 points in a half?
JOHN CALIPARI: Oh, he got 30 in a half? No wonder when I got on him about a couple bad shots he looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t know he had 30 in a half. So, good for him.
Q. Have you had a kid do that before?
JOHN CALIPARI: Jerry will look it up. He’ll tell you.
Q. (No microphone.)
JOHN CALIPARI: He had 50 in a half.
Q. They beat you by 10 at their place, y’all beat them by 10 up here.
JOHN CALIPARI: They beat us by 20 down there.
Q. What would round three looked like in the SEC tournament?
JOHN CALIPARI: A war. Believe me, we got Vandy coming up and we got to go to Texas A&M. They got two tough games. I don’t think either one of us are looking to, oh, we want to get them again. Honestly, I hope we don’t have to face them again. Because they’re that good. They got guys that can go crazy and make shots and they’re athletic and long, they can block shots. They had two blocks today, but we only had two. That’s unusual for them and us.
Q. What did you say to Briscoe when you took the ball from him after the technical?
JOHN CALIPARI: I didn’t want him to go back after — I saw the push. I didn’t see the first push. I saw the push and I thought he called the technical on the kid. And I did not want him — you got to be a man in those situations and walk away. That’s what a man does. A child immediately has to go push back. When you just won. Why would you push back? Now you just lost. So I grabbed him, and he has a way at times, you say something to him, I’m a man, I’m not going to — what? No, you walk and we win the game and you laugh after the game. So that’s what I grabbed the ball for. I didn’t know there was a push and he was coming over to me telling me, look, I didn’t try to push him. So then I said you did push him then. Yeah, but I didn’t try. Okay. Try harder not to try. How about that one?
#25, Dominique Hawkins, Senior, G
On how the game plan changed without De’Aaron Fox …
“Everybody knows once you get on the court you have to give it your all.”
On the difference between the first and second half …
“I felt like everybody picked it up a notch. Everybody was communicating on defense. Malik and Bam wanted the ball to score. They went all for it. So it gave us, made us relax, the guys that didn’t need to score as much.”
On the difference between the game at Gainesville vs. Rupp …
“I feel like that we knew we needed to fight. I feel like we didn’t fight as much in Gainesville as in Lexington. So we definitely talked to each other in the huddles and said we need to get stops and communicate on defense and just continue to fight.”
On the difference in rebounding …
“Pretty much boxing out because they run at least three guys to the rim and if we would have just kept them boxed out we were able to get rebounds.”
On the motivation early in the game when Kentucky was down …
“We were just saying don’t let this happen again because it looked like it was about to be a rerun of what they did to us at their place. We just said that we’ll be able to get stuff going. Just be patient and everything will fall together.”
#3, Bam Adebayo, Freshman, F
On another impressive double-double …
“My confidence just keeps building. My teammates believe in me and I believe in them. We keep winning, so you know, I’m having fun.”
On being in better shape …
“I think I lost like 10 pounds. I think that has a big factor to it. Just keeping my body right and I’ve starting eating healthier. And, I’m watching my diet.”
On making a comeback after the second half …
“Just having fight and just having that heart. You know, keep playing and keep fighting. We fought back into it, and we came out with a W.”
On his boost in confidence …
“When you lead the whole way, some people start getting relaxed, but just fighting back, and we get up, it keeps building our confidence, it keeps pushing the lead.”
On a win like today …
“It builds our confidence; it builds Coach Cal’s confidence. We are going to the tournament, you know, looking forward.”
On missing Fox …
“We were missing a player, but it helps us build our confidence. When he gets back, he needs to have his confidence built, and we are going to the next game with a lot of confidence.”
#5, Malik Monk, G
On if he felt “hotter” today or during the UNC/ first Georgia game…
“I think I was hotter North Carolina than I was today. I had a great first half but I think I was pretty hot today though.”
On having 30 in the first half…
“I didn’t know that until after the game. I was just playing, but it was crazy. ”
On what was different in the second half…
“I was way more patient in the second half than I was in the first half. I was, like I said, getting to the lane.”
On if he has ever had a game where Coach Calipari was as mad at him in the first half as he was happy with him at the end of the game…
“It ain’t no telling with him. He’s all over the place.”
On what Coach Calipari thought of his defense early in the game…
“No, he didn’t say anything. I think I was contesting all of his shots; he was just making tough shots.”
On playing without Fox tonight…
“I think we did that Georgia game, too — we didn’t play with Fox. So it was the same thing, kind of. ”
Florida Head Coach Mike White
On Malik Monk scoring 30 points in the second half and what options he had trying to contain him …
“We had a couple of options that did a good job on him in Gainesville. We just didn’t do quite as good of a job (here), especially down the stretch. Both of the guys, Chris Chiozza and Kasey (Hill), had four fouls. He took the game over. He was amazing. It was probably the best performance against us all year.”
On Bam Adebayo’s performance and rebounding the ball …
“I thought those were the two biggest factors by far. I thought they played with tremendous physicality – led by him. Even on some of those rebounds that he didn’t get, he was making contact with somebody. They were the better team. They defended at a high level and rebounded at a high level.”
On Florida’s defense breaking down in the second half as opposed to the first …
“I don’t mean to give you the coach cop-out here – we didn’t have a bunch of glaring mistakes that we made. Malik Monk has an ability to get (a shot) off anytime he wants. He has incredible speed off the ball. They do a good job of setting screens, putting him in positions to be successful, and putting him in space. You have to crowd him. We were hanging all over him two or three times. Just hanging all over him. We were called for a couple of fouls, of course, fouling the jumpshot. That’s how aware you are of how good of a shooter he is. We’re literally hanging on too much with contact. Then he has blow-by speed. He has an incredibly long first step and explosiveness. When he didn’t score, he drew fouls on us. His 33 (points), if you add the amount of fouls that he drew – he was better even than 33.”
On his reaction on De’Aaron Fox not playing …
“I found out right at the tip, I guess. Honestly, I said ‘Okay,’ and that was really it. I mean it was. I think he’s obviously a terrific player, and we really struggled to guard him in Gainesville. But I thought, just in my opinion, I could be wrong, but when you play here, when you’re playing at Rupp, I think that’s just a much bigger factor. Obviously, I hope he gets healthy. I said it to somebody yesterday, I hope he plays, of course, not only for Kentucky but we want to have an opportunity to play the best. It’s a great opportunity for us. It’s unfortunate. Our game plan, it didn’t change much, it’s just a matter of different personal, that’s all. You know, if we scouted 10 guys, we’ve got nine to lock in on. That’s all.”
On if he felt an opportunity was missed when tied with Kentucky at the half …
“Absolutely. The way we finished the first half, it just wasn’t, we weren’t very solid. We made a couple decisions there with a couple of our fouls. I think we had two fouls in the last 11-12 seconds, which led to three points that were both very ill advised by older guys. We needed to be the more mature team, and we didn’t take advantage in that regard.”
#5, KeVaughn Allen, G
What could you guys do more if anything to stop Monk?
“We could’ve, you know, tried to play defense without fouling him. You know just continue to just move our feet but, I think what hurt us was defense. We didn’t get a lot of defensive rebounds and they got like second chance points.”
How handicapped were you guys (Florida) because the guards were in foul trouble for most of the game?
“It’s very tough for them being in foul trouble but, we just got to keep moving our feet. You know just try to not to put our hands on the defender and just move without fouling.”
On if he was surprised by Malik’s (Monk) performance…
“No, it didn’t.”
How hot did Monk seem to you?
“He was very hot to me. It seems like every shot that he shot just went in.”
On how difficult was it to start out the game hot then get in foul trouble…
“Early on just getting in foul trouble, just, I think we just got to adjust to how the ref is calling the game and just can’t let them get to us.”
On how surprised was he that De’Aaron didn’t play…
“I was very surprised. But, I don’t know what’s going on over there.”
Where you prepared to not face him today?
“We were really prepared to face him, yes.”
What was the difference in the run they (Kentucky) went on in the second half?
“The difference was they were getting to the free throw line way more than we did and they were getting a lot of rebounds and second chance points.”
Is this the first-time Monk (his team) has ever beaten you?
How many games have you beaten him?
“I think we played four games and he beat me once.”
Does that include two state championships?
Did you guys (Malik Monk) talk after the game?
“Yes. He told me good game or whatever.”
On the relationship between Allen and Monk and whether there friends or just competitors…
“We’re friends and competitors. You know when we see each other, play against each other, you know we just going to go at each other and push each other.”
On the difference between today’s game and the one in Gainesville…
“I say the difference was they got to the free throw line a lot. At our place we outrebounded them. Today they outrebounded us which kind of hurt us.”
On his explanation for the rebounding difference between today’s matchup with the last matchup against UK…
“We just got to play hard and got the opportunities to fight for the 50-50 balls and just got to want it more.”
#23, Justin Leon, F
On the difference between the first and second halves …
“We had a lot of guys in foul trouble so that kind of lowered our intentions on defense. They were able to take advantage of us being in foul trouble.”
On why Kentucky rebounded better…
“To be honest I don’t really know. Probably just us not going for boards like we did when we played at home.”
On letting Kentucky slip back into the game at halftime…
“Like I said earlier, we weren’t trying to foul so that lowered our aggressiveness on defense. When you have a lot of players in foul trouble there’s not much you can do because you don’t want multiple guys to foul out.”
On taking turns guarding Malik Monk…
“The main guys guarding him were [Chris] Chiozza and [Kasey] Hill and they were both in foul trouble so we would have had maybe KeVaughn [Allen] on him if any of those guys fouled out. We would’ve just had to move to the next man.”
On ending their streak and the possibility of it having a hangover effect…
“You just don’t dwell on it—let it go. The game is over there’s nothing we can do to change it so now all we can do is focus on the next game.”
On future SEC games …
“Obviously, we wish we could have gotten that game but right now we have to just keep playing and focusing on the next games. We have to just let things happen and not worry about what goes on.”