Men's Basketball
Kentucky-South Carolina Postgame Quotes

Kentucky-South Carolina Postgame Quotes

University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Lexington, Kentucky, USA

John Calipari

Press Conference


South Carolina – 71, Kentucky – 68

JOHN CALIPARI: Offensively we looked better. But, you know — and in the end a loose ball we don’t get. We do a great job of guarding them and a guy runs in and gets a tip. We didn’t block him out.

Those are winning plays. Those are the difference between win and losing. And making some free throws. But it’s just — you know, this is a long season. It’s a marathon. Am I happy? No, I’m not happy. I hate losing. We were undermanned, but it doesn’t matter. You’re still playing to win.

The first half I was just like, you know, come on. And look, this team, I got to be a little bit of everything with this team. First of all, I’ve got to build them up. But I’ve still got to hold them accountable. And you’re looking at guys, like going nuts on people right now is not the answer. It’s just not the answer.

Now can I be tougher on them in practice and all that? Yeah, I can. But, you know, again, there were things today that I look at and I just say, We’re better than that.

Now, for me, this is a marathon. I still think this team could be good. Got to have a full roster and then we got to go.

I thought offensively we did some good stuff today. But defensively, you know, again, you have six turnovers in a game and you lose the game. I’ve not heard that before. But, again, you know, they outrebound us. So, questions?

You say it’s a long season, but is there a sense of urgency that there comes a point, hey, we’ve got to get this thing turned around?

JOHN CALIPARI: Today. Today was a sense of urgency. So now we got the next one. It’s a hard game up at Tennessee. They’re really good. All right, let’s go. Let’s see where we are. You just keep marching.

You got teams that will play us that have nothing to lose and all of a sudden they’re making shots and banking and doing things that they’re not normally doing.

But let me give South Carolina credit, they played well. In the first half, their start and the plays they made, some straight-line drives. I mean everybody’s going at Oscar so we’ve got to figure out some stuff. We’re trying to do it different ways but we’re going to have to see what we do to keep people from running downhill. Because that’s not, we’re going to have to figure it out.

Four three-point attempts in the first 35 minutes. How did it get to that point? How does that happen?

JOHN CALIPARI: They didn’t trap as much on Oscar (Tshiebwe) where you could get more off. We were running some things to get threes, but they were running us off the three-point line and we were taking twos.

We shot almost 51 percent for the game. We took 10. We only made three. And the guys that were supposed to shoot them were shooting them.

Right before the Michigan State game you put out a statement and said that this team’s going to take time, that they had some issues that you were seeing. Are you still seeing those same issues this far in the season or is it a new set of things that this team’s just kind of evolved into?

JOHN CALIPARI: I thought that we would be a hell of a defensive team and we’ve got to shore that up, because that’s the basis of what we do.

Again, having the right guys on the court — because we can play with guards and, again, undermanned without Cason (Wallace), without Jacob (Toppin). But now Chris (Livingston) gives you a toughness that we need. So, they’re going to have to carve up time.

You talk about some of the fans piling on players and they’re piling on you big time. What do you say to the fan base at this point?

JOHN CALIPARI: Stick with these kids. If you want to get on me, that’s fine. I’m the coach. If we weren’t ready to play, then I’ve got to look at me and say, well, what, why, where were we mentally.

And I was trying things today to get them in a positive mindset. Because it’s hard. It’s hard here. I mean, I always say, this isn’t for everybody. Including coaches. It’s not for everybody.

When things go bad like this, there’s, you know. So, if you want to be mad, be mad at me. These kids, they’re trying. We’re still not quite in sync.

Again, talking about three, I thought we passed up some, but we’re not in a pick and roll with a point guard that’s going to launch threes like some of the teams we’re playing. That’s not who we are.

But we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be better than this. And that’s on me. Got to be better.

I’m on a mission. I was into the game today. I was being as enthusiastic as I could be watching some of the stuff. Because, you know, just like you’re going to get mad, I get mad. These kids need me to keep teaching and keep working with them and keep believing in them. That’s what they need from me.

I don’t listen to any of the clutter. None of it has any effect on me coaching these players. And are fans mad? They should be. We lost at home. We don’t lose at home. We lost at home. And we were down 10 at half. I expect fans to be mad.

And we have the best fans. And I love our fans. I know they may be mad at me right now, but I’ve been here a long time teaching and working and having our fans be a big part of this. And all I’m saying is, just be with these kids. They need you now more than they need you when they’re 4-0. They need you.

And like I said, I’m going to keep working, keep fighting. The kids are going to keep fighting. Are we all disappointed? Yeah, you should be in there. We’re all disappointed. But this happened in the first half.

And really when we got it close and some things happened in the second half that it went back to, like, what in the world? Miss this, miss — I mean, there were things that like you want to shake your head. But listen, I’m coaching a team. I just had to keep being positive. We can do this. Let’s go.

And we had our chances. It would have been — I would have liked to have won the game, but we didn’t deserve to win it, but let’s try to steal one anyway. That’s what that would have been.

What is the situation with Cason?

JOHN CALIPARI: Said he had back spasms. I just, when I saw him in the locker room. What was up? He said, back spasms.

Had it happened before?

JOHN CALIPARI: He’s had the issue at times.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


JANUARY 10, 2023 

UK Student-Athletes 

#4, Damion Collins, F 


On the slow start…
“I think we have to come out and player harder. We started out slow, so we need to start off how we started the second half—playing hard, fighting, rebounding and defending. I think we could have came away with the win but we have to go back to practice, focus on our mistakes and getting better and get ready for the next game.”


On moving forward through a tough SEC slate …
“Every game we play is going to be a dogfight with us being Kentucky. Everybody is going to come with everything we got. We just have to fight, work hard, rebound and defend. If we do those things we’ll win some games.”


On South Carolina’s shooting…
“That’s good for them—hitting shots. We have to a better job of defending and staying locked in throughout the shot clock. We have to limit our mistakes and fix what we messed up on.”


#34, Oscar Tshiebwe, F 


On situations like this what do you say to your team …
“I just say we have to be willing to play. Some of us coming in are taking things for granted. I give credit to the coach he did a great job. I just tell them, the coaches, they cannot do it for us. They just come out with the game plan with who we are going to depend on and how we are going to play offense. They can’t do it for us. We need to go out and fight. We come to Kentucky for a very good reason, we come chasing greatness. And if you come not willing to fight it’s going to be tough.”

On improving defensively   …
“We just got to go fight. I was down a little bit because that was really tough for me. First thing we can start on defense. I mean defense wins the game.”

On having to coach up some of his teammates?  …
“I just come in and fight. You came for a very good reason.


#1, CJ Fredrick, G 

On what was his perspective was every time Kentucky tried to claw back and South Carolina hit a shot… 
“They came in here ready to play. They punched us in the mouth early they were hitting shots, so we’ve got to give them all the credit in the world.They came in here and beat us and I thought we did some things at the end of the game. Things that we did well to try to get back in the game. We didn’t close it out.” 

On how hard it is to stay focused…

“It’s on to the next. I mean this sucks, there’s no other way to say. You know it stings, you never want to lose on your home court so this one is going to stay. Tomorrow it’s back to work and get ready for Tennessee, that’s all you can do. It’s a tough league. It’s always got to be the next game mentality.”

On what happened in the beginning of the game and if there was any carry over from Alabama… 
“You’ve got to give credit to them. They came out here, punched us in the mouth early, they got up 13-2, got comfortable made shots, got in the rhythm. We just couldn’t claw back, and they were feeling good. They were moving the ball well, hitting open shots, hitting shots, so just like I said, you just got to give them credit. They came in here hit shots and beat us.”  

JANUARY 10, 2023 


Lamont Paris, South Carolina head coach 


Opening statement …
Sometimes in this whole process, very way beneath all the hard work and sweat and in doing that and all that stuff, we tell our guys all the time that there’s fun in disguise buried somewhere in there. And it showed its head today, that’s for sure. I don’t think it was in disguise. But a lot of credit to their guys. Both teams were coming off of a of a tough loss and I expected both teams were going to give everything that they had and their best effort, and they did. They caused the scrap and we were hot early. We ran some good offense and made some shots. A couple from way out on the moon even, but they came back which we knew they would, the crowd got into it. I couldn’t call plays anymore. It was deafening, but credit to their guys for competing the way that they did and playing really hard and credit to our guys for doing the same. It was just, it’s fun. To have a front row seat for all that stuff, I thought this was a great college basketball game with just two teams that inside felt like they really had to have the win. And it looked like that as we played.


On scouting Kentucky and successfully executing….
“Yeah, the ball screens. I wanted to try to get into the ball screens and just, you know, it appeared in the last game that there was some, you know, maybe a little indecision on what they wanted to do on the ball screens. That’s an outsider looking in, of course. So, I wanted to get into some ball screens, we probably ran more than what we normally do. But I also wanted to have Tshiebwe have to move and make decisions, and if they were going to switch this or if they were going to go under this or what they were going to do, so I thought the ball screens and attacking the rim was a big part of what we wanted to do. They have such tremendous length and athleticism that when we did, you know on our board before we went out, the gameplan was to be aggressive. We have to be aggressive, but then you have to be intelligent when you get around the basket, and you know ‘can I challenge this guy at the rim? Do I have an angle? Am I the first jumper or the second jumper?’ Or because these athletes come in there and they crowd the paint, are there going to be some guys open that we could find, so those are a couple of things. One was getting into the ball screen and attacking and then we wanted to spray it out if we did get around the basket and couldn’t finish ourselves. We wanted to try and find some other guys, I’ve had you know ten toes pointing towards the room. I thought early especially we found somebody else.”

South Carolina Student-Athletes

#5, Meechie Johnson, G

On his performance tonight…
“First, I want to say all glory to God, man, because obviously, it’s been a long summer. I said, I put in a lot of work to be in this position. But I just wanted to do anything I could to help my team win. And my Coach Paris has a lot of confidence in me, my teammates have a lot of confidence in me and it was just one of those nights man. Hopefully I can have a lot of more nights like this. But honestly, coming out with a win was all that really mattered to me during this whole game. Coming off a loss like we did there, and they were 9-0 here. My team came out victorious, and we did that.

On his range…
“Coming off last game, I don’t know if you watched Tennessee, I had some similar shots that I felt were in and out and honestly. Coach every day he is always talking like, “Your percentages would be so much better if you just get a little closer.” I’ll be honest, like, I don’t know how sometimes I just see rim and I just shoot it. You know, it goes in, you know, and today it was going in. So, now I’m actually working on that trying to get a little closer. But it’s gift, I say it’s a gift that I can shoot that. Obviously, I want to keep helping the team.”

#10, Hayden Brown, F

On what it means to be able to cap your career by going into a legendary place like this and coming away with a win…
“I appreciate you pointing that out. Because I was thinking about that today on multiple occasions. It Means a lot. I kind of just spent some time reflecting on my own career, even just today. I’m counting down the days really, until this whole thing’s over. I’ve been doing it for the last six years. So, each and every opportunity is an opportunity to do what I feel like I’ve been doing, you know, successfully for the past five years. And to do it on the biggest stage, Rupp Arena, historic place. I’ve been able to do it at Cameron Indoor, I’ve been able to go across the country. So, it means a lot for you personally. I love seeing each and every one of the people, men specifically, in that locker room smile. That’s what I came to South Carolina for. However, I could help and assist to make that happen. [Coach Paris] is in his first year here [Meechie Johnson], it is a lot of people’s first year here. That’s what I came here for. And I knew no basketball season is ever going to look pretty. I think we’ve seen, and I said, last game that it didn’t define our season. And so, we were coming off a loss that obviously wasn’t pretty. But we had the internal character to look each other in the eyes and be like, ‘Okay, yeah. Now this is not going to define us. We have an opportunity here.’ So that’s a long-winded answer. For me personally, yes. But I think for us collectively, as a group, man, it means the absolute world.”


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