Kentucky-Georgia Postgame Quotes

Kentucky-Georgia Postgame Quotes


January 20, 2024 Lexington, Kentucky, USA Coach John Calipari Press Conference


Kentucky 105, Georgia 96



Q What was the mood, what was the reaction when you got the news with Z and then when you shared with him?

JOHN CALIPARI: He was ecstatic. And it was only a few of us there. The team had left. So, you know, we sent them a message and let him send it out. But it was — he was all smiles. He’s got a ways to go. But he’s — you know, I told them, do you know why he was wide open? Because they didn’t think he could shoot 3’s. They hadn’t seen him ever play. So…

But it was a good start for him. And, you know, it took a long, long time, but I appreciate the work everybody did to make it happen. So…


Q John, on your radio show last night you said the fans need to get aggressive. Did you all do anything between then and now?

JOHN CALIPARI: No. I mean, somebody told me they put up a billboard. That probably worked. That’s aggressive. Our fans. How about our fans in this building today? Look, here’s what I would tell our fans. I love our fans. Everywhere we go, that’s what the building is like. The building we play on the road is just like that. It may not be as big.

And I’m saying when we play, just come and bring it, like you did today. It was ridiculous. And I know some of it was Z made a shot and everybody was standing and dancing and all of that. But so what? Have fun. Enjoy it. Don’t just stand there and try to analyze and criticize. Just have a ball at the game. And then after, go watch the tape and figure out what you think the game — what happened in the game.

But I thought our fans were unbelievable today.


Q John, I mean, are those the things Z was doing in practice?




Q And were you surprised at all that he came right in and looked like he had been playing all season?

JOHN CALIPARI: No. He’s — but he got pushed around. There’s things that he is doing in practice the same way that we have got to work on. But he rebounded. He’s 7-foot-2. But they were sealing our bigs. And they could not move to get around. And I said, then file them. Just do anything to get around. And they — he got caught, Aaron got caught, Ugo got caught. And they ended up shooting a bunch of lay-ups in the second half because of one thing, the guy standing in the middle of the lane for five seconds and doing that (indicating). I don’t know if it was five seconds, it may have been seven, but I think it was around in there.


Q Coach, Tre got in a little bit of foul trouble in the first half and you had to play the two 7-footers. They were honoring the ’84 team today. Do you think Joe B may be smiling down a little bit, seeing that in the first half?

JOHN CALIPARI: Well, he was smiling because we played a zone one of the possessions late in the game. Because he was always after me,

1-3-1. I didn’t get a chance, we have a recruit in, so I couldn’t go to the function last night. But I would like to know how much of the 1-3-1 they played.

But Coach Hall, one of the great human beings. You know, what he had to do here and then doing it with that team and the ’78 team and, you know, following an absolute legend, winningest coach in

42 years. And, but, he came in and did it with class and worked. And, so…

But I can congratulate the ’84, and I appreciate them all being here and, you know, Sam and the guys, and good people.


Q John, speaking of Sam, at half time he made a little speech and he said that if your team doesn’t win the national championship we have you to blame. What do you think about that?

JOHN CALIPARI: He told me he was going to say that. I said, go ahead, everybody else is throwing darts, you might as well be in there, too. If he watched the second half, I don’t think he would be saying it.


Q John, anything in particular? D.J. seems to be getting better and better each game. Anything he is doing that’s allowing him to come


through a little more?

JOHN CALIPARI: I mean, he had 18 and 10. He had a double-double, two turns. And, you know, what I am saying to him, you know, he had that high ankle sprain and it kind of lingers. I’m telling him, and a guy like Tre, if I play you too many minutes, the next day don’t do as much in practice. We have a really smart team, a team that I really trust and believe in. They tell me I need a day off. They are not trying to not practice or get out of something. They are not. Trying to get themselves right. But…

Offensively, we were really good. Defensively, in the first half we were pretty good. Then the second half, with eight minutes to go, we were awful. And they kept coming. Every game I watched of Georgia, whether they were down or up, they play and continue to play and they don’t stop until the horn sounds. They just keep coming.

So I congratulate them, too.


Q Cal, I think, obviously, it is easy to get lost on what big Z did offensively, he hit the first four shots and having that behind the back no look pass to Antonio, do you think that kind of overshadowed how good he was defensively and how he affected shots and had two steals?

JOHN CALIPARI: Well, you know, he rebounded the ball, five rebounds. But, again, he is like the rest of us. The end of the game we turned it over, like, for no reason. Why didn’t you just look at the guy and throw it to him? He threw, what are you doing? This isn’t

like — we’re not in the gym playing a pickup game and it doesn’t matter. I mean, you want to finish people off. And he made a pass,

D.J. made a pass, Robert made a pass. I mean…

I’m just — you know, I look at it and sometimes I probably expect too much. And, you know, I want them to be at their best every moment and that’s not going to happen. We have got the youngest team in the country. I’m out there with 5 and 6 freshmen at times.


Q Thanks, coach.





JANUARY 20, 2024

UK Student-Athletes

#4, Tre Mitchell, F


On what Z adds to the team…

“I mean, you saw it. You know, Z [Ivisic] brings a lot to the table for us, and him being free, finally, is great. Obviously, we love to have him out there. I don’t know if he expected to come out the way he did, but he was ready. Props to him on that. He’s been patient throughout the whole process, and just stayed ready the whole time. So, his play speaks for itself.”


On the team’s reaction of Zvonimir Ivisic being declared eligible…

“Oh, man, we were excited. We were all over him in team meals, and we were just so happy for him because we know how the process has been for him and what that can do to somebody’s mental. On top of that, we do add another really good player to our team that gives us even more depth.”


On playing amongst a large and loud crowd…

“I think tonight’s energy was the most it’s been this whole season. It could be because of Z’s return — we definitely felt the energy, and we appreciate everybody for everything they brought tonight. I mean, if we had something like that every single time we play at home, I can’t see a lot of teams that aren’t going to be rattled by that.”


#44, Zvonimir Ivisic, F


On pregame nerves…

I was nervous at the beginning while sitting on the bench and before in the locker room. When I got in, I was cool.”


On impression of Kentucky teammates…

“We are some dogs, like we want to win. No matter what, no matter how, we just want to win, and the chemistry is there and everything’s there.”


On the crowd energy in Rupp…

“It’s all amazing. It felt amazing. It was really cool. I was enjoying the moment, I enjoyed the crowd.”

#21, DJ Wagner, G 

On what was working for him today… 

“Just really my teammates and my coaches helping me out a lot. Every time I would find them, they were getting shots, so it really wasn’t me. It was really all my teammates just making open shots and just making it easier by being open when I need it.”

On him knocking down several shots in the second half, if there was anything he did different… 

“No, just shooting, just playing basketball. Some shots are going to go in some shots are not going to go in– you got to shoot it. It just happened to go in for me today.”


“On his reaction to Z’s (Ivisic) text telling the group he was eligible… 

“We were excited, we were all happy for him. Between how much work he’s been putting in and how bad he wanted to play with us and how bad we wanted him to play, we were all happy. He definitely deserves it. He’s been working very hard, and he’s been working a lot– it showed today.”




JANUARY 20, 2024


Georgia Head Coach, Mike White

On what you thought about the talent of Kentucky and your comeback effort …

“This team is resilient, and this team is going to continue to fight and respond. It’s a competitive team that plays with pride and we’ve seen that all year. I was very surprised we dug ourselves that big of a hole, I did not see that coming. However, I was not surprised at the way we continued to fight. I thought Jabri [Abdur-Rahim] was amazing. I thought our guys did a great job of finding him and getting him shots. Silas Demary played with a ton of physicality and mental toughness, and I thought Russel Tchewa, despite the fact it says he got four on the scoresheet, did a great job sealing and utilizing his physicality on the interior, getting guards shots at the rim. There are some positives to take. We outscored Kentucky in the second half, scoring 61 points in Rupp, that’s a positive. Kentucky, as you asked, is as skilled of a team as we will play all year in terms of shooting and passing. 14 of 25 from the 3-point line is not something you are overcoming on the road.”


On the atmosphere of Rupp …

“A few times it got about as loud as it gets in college basketball. It was incredibly loud. When a big fella [Zvonimir Ivisic] comes into the game, a guy who hasn’t played all year, and makes a couple of shots, those were unique moments. I noticed the fans who were anticipating his [Zvonimir Ivisic] ability to contribute to the team made it especially loud out there. We didn’t handle all those adversities out there as well as we need to in order to stay within striking distance.”


On if you expected Zvonimir Ivisic to be cleared by the NCAA to play tonight…

“We read it, probably like everyone else did, and we gathered some film in a hurry. We knew he was very talented and skilled player but to anticipate him coming in and firing from the deep immediately with the confidence level that he did was something we did not see coming.”




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