Kentucky-South Carolina State Postgame Quotes
University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Kentucky 106, South Carolina State 63
Q. How much has Lance’s improvement rubbed off on the other guys and where specifically do you think he’s improved last year to right now?
JOHN CALIPARI: He’s way more confident but I told Ugonna, what did he do that you didn’t do? He sprinted. So he was in a position to go make baskets.
Where specifically do you think he’s improved last year to right now?
JOHN CALIPARI: He’s way more confident but I told Ugonna, what did he do that you didn’t do? He sprinted. So he was in a position to go make baskets. I took Ugonna out because the big kid got two balls from him. You’re out, other guy is in — had a knee, arm — just give me numbers. Give me 7 and 2. Doesn’t matter what you say. He got the ball from you.
Lance went in and did it. Now I think we are going to have a lot that have this year and they are going to have to accept it game-to-game. I told them, I think the best way we can do this — seven minutes and then we’ll figure out, you may play 18 because the guy playing 26 or 27 is playing really good. Then we’ll let him go and you’re next game.
I also have to figure out who is going to finish the game, who are the five that are on the court the last five minutes. Part of that is making free throws. Part of that is execution. Part of that is grit-and-grind and toughness. But who is it?
I don’t know yet. But you know, a lot of good stuff today, and you know, we shot the ball, we ran. You say, well, why didn’t we run against Michigan State? Well, they made a great effort to get back to not give that to you.
But the second thing is, there were no clean rebounds. We were rebound and celebrating. What? We were rebound and celebrating. What? Rebound and get rid of it. Let’s go. That’s how we play. But sometimes when a guy is tired, he will rebound it and tell the guy, come back. You know, we’re a team that we’ve got to get something in transition, not two points. We’ve got to be 15, 18 points in transition. And we should be. We should be.
You had the chance to play a lot of different combinations tonight. What do you really like about having two point guards on the floor at the same time?
JOHN CALIPARI: Antonio (Reeves) played some point for us too, so you really could have three at one time but that’s what happens when you have guards that are unselfish. And the other thing is, it’s not just about shooting, it’s about making, okay, and that’s how you get 25.
And you know what’s funny, I watched South Carolina State. I watched a bunch of tape. And the stuff they are running, and how hard they are playing, I knew the press, they wouldn’t be able to press us like they had these other teams because we’re, you know, we get — we’ll get shots and we play in a very aggressive — if you press us, we are trying to score a hundred.
So I knew that would be out. But what they did offensively, the hard cuts. You know, the end of the half, making two threes. You know, they never stopped and they won’t. So I was — you know, but I was happy.
Oscar, we weren’t going to play him today but the reason we played him is it’s a different game for the rest of our players when he’s in. One of the things we did a really poor job of Michigan State is post-feeding. Now, you tell me why that would have happened.
We aren’t posting a ball when he’s not in there. Now all of the sudden he’s in there and you’re trying to post it and you’re not a good post passer. We worked on that yesterday and today at the shootaround, how to throw it and make sure you’re ready to get it to the post, and you’re ready, where are you spaced to.
We had not thrown it to the post. I needed them out there today just so we get — we’ve got to be a team and play together. We’re going to give them off, and I said, why don’t you play five, eight minutes a half. Now, what about that makes him really unselfish? Stats. Yeah, okay, you’re going to play 12 minutes and you want to be the leading rebounder in the country and all — and you accept doing that? That means you’re unselfish. You’re about your team.
Because I left it up to him. I said, you’re not going to play more than 18, 15 minutes. But — and then I said do you want to start the second half, play five or six and then I’ll take you out. So I don’t know exactly what he played, 13 minutes.
Think about that. Player of the Year in the country. Has 20 and 10 — or 20 and 18 first game and he says, yeah, let me play less.
You play Tuesday, short turnaround, play tonight, leave tomorrow. How do you feel about your team heading to Gonzaga and the areas you need to improve?
JOHN CALIPARI: What I told them, you know, I want your mentality to be, and I’ve done this before, the mentality is we beat Michigan State, where would you be feeling right now, an out-of-bounds play, a free throw, a missed shot here, late game, not executing and — but all that stuff, we didn’t play great. Still should have won, could have won. I give credit to Michigan State, Tom Izzo is a great friend but I want them to have the mentality, you played well enough to win that game.
Let’s say you won it. How would you feel going to Spokane right now. Because half of this is the mentality. We needed to make shots today. You know we made only how many threes up there. Today we made shots. We only took 24. But we made shots. And you need that going in to that game. But there’s — there’s going to be a lot of, you know, they are going to be a lion right now because they just lost at Texas. So they will be — this will be a hard game for us to win. This is the great thing about November, trying to learn about your team and I still a.m. learning about my team. But I like the group. I liked them after Michigan State. Missed some shots. Did some stuff. Had some — we had not practiced together. How about Oscar, he didn’t play for four weeks. Played one practice and did that? Supposed to be out two more weeks if you’re a normal human being, it’s six weeks. He came back in four.
We’re pretty high up, I can’t really tell but is this team talking to each other enough? How are they vocal-wise and who are the talkers?
JOHN CALIPARI: They are but you have guys like Adou who doesn’t, so a lot of breakdowns that we do, someone is assigned the basket the other team scores. And it could be two guys or three, you all get two points or three. So at the end without knowing, in Adou’s time, he gave up a lot of points today.
Now, I told him, when we play a ranked team and I put you in and you’re in and there’s two baskets, you’re probably not going to play the rest of the game. Now these kind of games, you’ve got to talk. But he’s a young freshman. Chris Livingston, exactly the same. They are young.
Now they are trying, but it takes time. It takes experience. I was happy with Chris today. Driving the ball, making his shot. He started a little shaky like he was up in Michigan State. He was shaky. But we need his toughness. I put the challenge to both Jacob and Daimion, we need offensive rebounds. If you’re not getting them, you’re going with one hand, I’m taking you out and I’m playing Daimion, I don’t care the other stuff. Rebound the ball. Jacob had nine rebounds today. I’m looking at Daimion, you’d better get blocks. If you don’t get blocks, I’m not playing you. I’m playing Chris at fur. I’m holding them accountable — wait a minute — to things they can do. I’m not asking them to do things outside of the realm of what they are. So telling Antonio, score baskets. It’s what you do. I don’t care how you score them. Score baskets.
And I told those two. So one game, CJ has it going, he’s going to play more than you. The next game, you go crazy, you’re playing more than him. If you’re a good teammate, you’re fine with that. I gave him three things today: You want to be a great teammate, you’re humble, you have humility. Here is what that means. I can be part of the problem. We had one guy after that game say: Show me the tape of my errors and my breakdowns; I want to see one.
Why didn’t I have a whole team? Were you looking like it was somebody else? Humility. Take responsibility and be a part of what went wrong. Accept responsibility and say it’s on me. I try to teach them that and what I’m saying, I think what they do is they look at it and say, you’re right it, was you.
Second thing is, you ready, you’ve got to be hungry. If you want to be coached, if you have an answer every time we’re coaching you, how can you be a good teammate? What’s your work ethic? That’s being hungry.
And the last thing is just being smart, not book smart, could be both. But knowing what’s important for this team and what can’t important. Well, I’ve got to do this. Is that important for the team? No. But I’ve got to do this. No. What do you need to do for this team, what’s important. That’s being smart.
And so I told them, this is — we’ve got to be great teammates, and then we can be a great team. We’ve got pieces. But if you’re not great teammates, you’re not going to be a great team. Not happening. Done this a long time. We’re teaching kind hearts. You know the stuff we do. We are teaching servant leadership. Yes, that’s part of being a great teammate, being that mentality. You know, Sahvir today, ten assists. I mean, we’re passing the ball to each other. So it was a good win and we’ve got this one, we’ve got the next one and we got another one Wednesday. And then I think we leave for London, when? The following week? Michigan only won by 40 last night.
Looking at the game on Sunday, Oscar, Player of the Year last year; Drew Timme First Team All American as well. What can we expect to see, it’s more than a one-on-one matchup but Oscar and Timme, two of the best players in the sport going at it on Sunday?
JOHN CALIPARI: I’ve had this before. It was Marcus Camby and Tim Duncan. We played Wake Forest, those two played. You would have thought no one else was in the game and there were no coaches. It was one-on-one. I’m telling you.
Now, they ended up the score being 52-46, I believe, and I’ve been wrong before, I think it was 1978, 1977, but that — it ended up not being — neither one, they played okay. But the hype of that was ridiculous. So I’ve been through it.
I don’t think, like Oscar, they like each other. I’ve been at events with them. They will both like each other and Mark Few and I, we talk once a week, every two weeks.
So you know, it’s going to be a great challenge. It will be a hard game, in Spokane, 14,000. I’m getting calls all over the place, I live in Montana, can you get me tickets? I’ll drive over — I mean, it’s — I can’t even imagine. And I love it’s on an NFL Sunday. Perfect. Let’s go. What do you want to watch? Steelers or are you going to watch us? Steelers won last week, too.
JOHN CALIPARI: 60-46? What did I say? You heard me wrong. (Laughter).
Talk about guys holding themselves accountable, is that something that’s come naturally with previous teams or is that something you have to pull out of guys usually?
JOHN CALIPARI: It’s kind of — it kind of rocks you when I’m saying, we’ve had only one guy call about the tape and show me my breakdowns, why wouldn’t the rest of you have done that? So are you saying, well, I had individual meetings with each. How do you think you played?
My second question: How can I help you?
My third question: Okay, what do you do to help our team?
And some of them, how you played, the answers weren’t right. You know, because I watched the tape and there were guys that I thought I should have played more, I watched the tape. They shouldn’t have played more. And it’s not about missed shots and you know, the way a fan will watch. Are they impacting the game the way they need to.
And you know what I’ve been so impressed. How about Cason. Cason has a clear mind. Told the guys, clear mind. Before the game, I told them. The reason he has a clear mind, he’s not playing to live up to — like you didn’t here about him. I saw him play. I’m like, Holy Cow. He has a clear mind. He just plays. If he has a shot, he shoots it. If I have a drive — it’s not like, I’ve got to score now. I haven’t scored in the last — he ain’t playing that way. But we’ve got to have a team full of guys. I’ve already told you with Jacob and Daimion, you’re better offensive rebound or I’m putting the other guy in and if neither one of you do, I’ll put Chris in at four. Now offensive rebound. Now they are going to check you and do it. That ain’t an excuse. You’re out, he’s in. Figure it out.
The same thing with our guards. If you’re breaking down defensively left and right, the other guy’s going to play. And we’re working. I told them, part of the reason we are behind in some areas, not only didn’t we have our team together to really do late-game situations, we just didn’t have team together.
But the second reason is, we’re spending a lot of time helping them develop the skills they need to be successful defensively, offensively, and you can’t go five hours a day.
So appreciate it, guys.
KENTUCKY BASKETBALL POSTGAME QUOTES
KENTUCKY VS. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
RUPP ARENA – LEXINGTON, KY.
NOVEMBER 17, 2022
#1, CJ Fredrick, Guard
On how the game can change by opening up the offense…
“It changes everything. It opens up everything for our guards if they’re driving and miss layups. It really opens up the floor, opens up the game and puts pressure on the other team.”
On how it felt to play with different teammates as everyone played under 25 minutes on the court…
“It was awesome. Coach said going in that was going to be an emphasis, getting a lot of guys in and giving a lot of guys opportunities. Obviously, it helps a lot of people too because we have another quick turnaround, we have a four-and-a-half-hour flight to Spokane to get ready to play a really, really good team. Just to play with different lineups and for me to play with Oscar (Tshiebwe) was fun.”
On how important it is with a big game coming up to see shoots making it in the basket…
“I like to think of myself as a good shooter. My job is to make shots and I didn’t make shots Tuesday. I wish I could’ve made more shots, obviously, but you’ve got to deal with that. That’s how it is as a shooter, you’re not going to make them all. You’ve just got to trust yourself and trust your teammates.”
#55, Lance Ware, Forward
On the team’s mood after the Michigan State game and how they approached practice…
“I mean we didn’t really have a full practice – it was kind of a walk-through type of situation, but we kind of had a bad taste in our mouths. Some stuff that we did, we kind of gave away the game. You know – you can’t do much after the game is over besides watch film and get better. Yesterday was a big film day – watching film, going over some of the mistakes we made, and fixing those things.”
On Coach Cal suggesting to use the mentality that they beat Michigan State…
“Yeah, I man it’s over with. You know, some people say we lost, [or] we gave away the game – different things like that but [we] can’t go back and rewind time. Just learn from our mistakes that we made. I think that was the biggest thing between everybody on the team – 1 through 15, just learning from our mistakes and what we did.”
On changes being made with him coming off the bench…
“It’s different because usually if I’m coming off the bench, I can see the way the game is being played. Kind of how physical it is – when you start you’re just thrown right into the fire. You just gotta adjust and run … it’s fun either way.”
#44, Chris Livingston, F
On being able to bounce back at Rupp Arena after the loss to Michigan State…
“I think it was very important, just for the teams’ morale. We needed to get back, especially after a disappointing loss like that. And we owed it to the fans also, so I think it was really good.”
On how important the versatility of his game is…
“It’s very important. I think it is one of the reasons I came here. I can fit in a lot of different line ups with a lot of different people. My teammates and I can just gel and work together. Me being able to slide around in different positions allows us to really show our depth as a team, so I think that’s good.”
On how they plan to match Gonzaga’s high energy after their loss to Texas…
“When any top team takes a loss like that, they’re going to bounce back. They’re going to come with energy and they’re going to come with fight. They’re not just going to lay down. So we’ve just got to come out, understand who we are, play like against ourselves, play up to the competition and play up to the level that Gonzaga is going to play with, because they’re definitely going to come out, high energy, locked in and ready to play. So we’ve got to do that too.”
KENTUCKY MENS BASKETBALL POSTGAME QUOTES
KENTUCKY VS. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
RUPP ARENA – LEXINGTON, KY.
NOVEMBER 17, 2022
South Carolina State Student-Athletes
South Carolina State Head Coach Erik Martin
Opening Statement …
“When you’re playing Kentucky at home, from coming off a loss, you know they’re going to be focused. We’re coming off losses too. So, I thought our energy was better today, but whenever you get a chance to play in a gym like this, it has so much history. I tried to tell my guys to take advantage of it. I told him before pregame, ‘I’m so jealous of you guys because I never got to play here.’ There are a few places in America where you want an opportunity to play. Probably one is Allen Fieldhouse, with Kansas and one at Duke, which is part of a billion. I thought we showed a lot more energy than we did versus Duquesne. We were dead verses Duquesne and I told them I was disappointed in their effort. I think we lost but, in their effort, today, they were a lot better, and we got eleven games on the road. We’re four down and seven to go. So, the goal is to get through this and make sure our spirits are still up and we’re still a team. Losses can rip you apart but hopefully being on the road a lot my team bonds.”
On Oscar now as a player verse when he coached Oscar at West Virginia…
“He still looks like Oscar. One time tonight, he missed a shot and by the time the ball was coming off the rim, he was already back up at the ball and getting it on the glass. I tried to tell our guys, you’re going to have to hit him. That doesn’t mean you’re going to stop him but at least he’ll know you’re there. And he’s just so much. Just seeing his smile, Oscar, he’s a great kid. Although, I wasn’t happy that he left West Virginia, I’m happy that he’s doing what he’s doing. At the end of the day, when you’re a coach, you want these kids to be successful. You want them obviously to be successful with you, but if they leave you still cheer. So, I’m glad he’s doing well here. I wish he wouldn’t have played tonight, but I don’t think that would have changed the outcome.”
On challenge of playing these many games on the road, then to play UK…
“Well, before I took the job, I knew what the schedule looked like. So, I’m not going to say hey, ‘Let’s give them a home game in here.’ It is what it is. Next year, I’ll be doing the scheduling. So, we’ll have a home game or two. I’ve always been a glass is half full guy. What we get out of this is to get up, be on the road, grind, and bond. So, now when we go play the MEAC schedule, we have to play at South Carolina, at Kentucky, at Wake Forest, and we have to play at Western Kentucky. So maybe then we’ll be better at being on the road. But ideally, at least most of the coaches I’ve talked to, head coaches, you don’t want to start your career with eleven straight road games.”
#42, Dallas James
On Kentucky as physical competition …
“I’ve never been hit so hard before in my life. At the very beginning, even on plays they were taking off, it felt like they always had an arm on you. So, in all honesty, it encouraged me to hit them more because I’m not just going to sit here and take it but it wore me down very fast.”
#24 Shaman Alston
On Kentucky as physical competition …
“You can really tell they are really physical and that’s what they preach in practice for their team. They are really athletic. I’ve never played against players that tall and athletic in my life before. It’s a good experience, so now I’m ready for high major or mid major games. I’m ready for it.”