Cat Scratches
Interactive Twitter Facebook

Notable quotes from Monday's SEC Coaches Teleconference

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Kentucky head coach John Calipari joined the SEC's weekly teleconference to answer questions and talk about his team's upcoming week. Here's what he and some of the league's other coaches had to say:

Calipari

On UK's upcoming week off before a game against Ole Miss on Saturday...
"We get a little bye week here so we're not playing midweek. We're going to do something here on campus but that will Wednesday. Mississippi's playing well. You're talking about a team that's very, very physical. They were up 20-4, ended up getting beat. They have played well and done some really good stuff and we expect it to be a tough battle."

On the possibility of going unbeaten through SEC play...
"We're not talking in those terms and it might happen, it might not happen. My concern is: Are we improving as a team? What I'm seeing right now is we are. I expect our game at Florida to be very, very difficult to win. Our game here against Vandy, very, very difficult to win. We still have hard games with Mississippi State on the road who may be as talented as anybody we play this year. Very, very difficult to win. Even now Georgia, who's playing better and Mississippi obviously gives us matchup issues because of their size. It will be very difficult for us. It's not about running the table. What it's about is putting us in the best position at the end of the year to make a run. Last year's team, at the end of the year, was the best team in the country at the end of the year. We lost six league games on the road during that stretch that you're talking about and we became a very good team so we did what we were trying to do. We're trying to do the same with this team."

On Kyle Wiljter's improvement...
"He's getting better and there's no question that he's understanding defensively what he's going to have to do. He's rebounding the ball better, which leaves him the game. You and I know, with him in the game, boy does he stretch defenses. Wow. That means now you've got four guys, you've got slashers, you've got people that are shooting 3s. His offensive skill, his ability to pass the ball and what you're going to find out with time as he gets stronger from the waist down, just able to hold his position, able to stand in a stance longer, able to bust through where he can bump and play, you're going to see him go to a completely 'nother level. Some guys come in and are physically...like a Michael Gilchrist is physically advanced. Even though Michael's the youngest player on my team, he's physically advanced where Kyle is not physically advanced. Anthony Davis wasn't physically advanced so he's trying to figure out with where he is physically, 'How do I have to play to survive?' Kyle is doing the same kind of thing."

On how valuable Wiltjer can be if he's able to play 10 to 12 minutes per game...
"Hopefully more than that and I'll you why: because his ability to score the ball makes us a totally different team when he's on the floor. It really does. Now all of a sudden the other coach is saying 'Oh my gosh. If he has Darius Miller, Doron Lamb and Kyle Wiltjer on the floor, you're talking about three 45 to 50 percent 3-point shooters on the floor. Oh my gosh, what do we do here.' It makes us a better team when he's out there."

On plans for Wednesday's possible event for fans...
"We're right now in the process of putting it all together. We were meeting and we'll have some information...It's not completely out yet."

On what the format of the event will be...
"We don't know yet. We're putting it all together and we're trying to figure out exactly. I want it to be a great experience for our students and then possibly, if it's not just students, maybe there's some way that we recognize that there are 3,000 students or 5,000 students that are coming and we open it up to whoever else doesn't get to see us play. There are so many fans in this state that never get a chance to feel the experience and see the players and see them up close. If we can get three or four thousand in here to watch them, then that's what we'll do. We're just walking through this morning on exactly how we're going to do it. It may only be students if it's 8,000, but if it's 4,000 students and 4,000 fans that don't get a chance to see us play, it may be that too."

On Florida head coach Billy Donovan's praise of Darius Miller...
"You know what, what's happened is against Florida, Darius has had his best games, truly. In the conference tournament this past year. I mean, he plays his best basketball and I don't know why, but he does. Darius Miller to us, he made an unbelievable stride last game. He played poorly in the first half. He fouled, he just didn't play well. The second half, he played OK and got another foul. I put him in with four fouls and I said, 'Kid, just play. It doesn't matter now.' He went in and then the last five minutes of the game, he basically won the game. He made the 3 that got us close, he got the assists, he came up with balls and then when Marquis Teague was falling and tipped him the ball, they ran two players at him, he went between two, jumped about 35 inches, got hit twice and laid the ball in which basically gave us the gap we needed to win the game. In a way, he is as important as anybody we have on this team."

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy

On whether his team has improved recently...
"I wouldn't say better. We're kind of who we are and I think our team continues to compete. I think our team continues to try to win the effort areas as we refer to them. We've got to be good on the glass, we've got to make timely shots and try to value the ball a little bit better. Most every game, we've competed and we've put ourselves in a position where, if we make the necessary plays, we have a chance and that's not going to change. It's who we are and I've accepted that. My hope is that we can finish strong."

On his impressions of Kentucky...
"It's ironic, I saw the tail end of the game live against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Obviously Vanderbilt being first opponent and Kentucky being our next opponent, it would make sense for me to watch that tape and I did this morning. I think they're scary good. When you look for holes that maybe you can have an opportunity to exploit, they don't have many. Tremendous defensively and I think that they play as a cohesive unit, which is really a tribute to Cal. When you're mixing in freshman along with a couple of upperclassmen and you're doing it at that level where they really look impressive. As impressive as they are as individuals, I think they're even better as a team which, again, is a tribute to Cal and his staff."

On whether he was surprised to have to play Vanderbilt and Kentucky in a three-day span...
"I didn't think like that honestly. I just kind of take it for what it is. I've said before that I understand the dynamic of television and it's what I think is going to help SEC basketball moving forward. I think it's helped the exposure of our league. Whenever we're supposed to play, that's when we're going to play. I didn't think anything more of it than that. Our guys like games anyway. They don't really like to practice. This extra day of practice leading into the Thursday game, they're not very fond of that. They would rather play games like every kid would. From a preparation standpoint you could probably give me a month at least heading into Rupp and I'm not sure how much help that would. We don't think much about it. We're going to play two of the best teams in not only in our league, but in my opinion in the country. My hope is that our guys will come out and meet the challenge."

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings


On comparing Kentucky to some of the SEC's best teams in recent years...
"They're certainly very good and I would put them right up there with some of the best that I've seen, yes. Particularly on the defensive end, I think they're outstanding so, yes, I think this Kentucky team is as good as a lot of the really, really good teams, great teams that I have seen in our league in years that I've been in it. I would expect that they will continue to do very well and will have a great chance to make a run for a national championship."

On how difficult it is to go undefeated in SEC play...
"I think it's very difficult. Very, very, very difficult actually and I don't recall it being done one time since I've been in the league. That would speak to the difficulty of it. Because of the way they defend, they'll have a chance to do it. They're really a terrific defensive team. They're a good offensive team as well, but I think it's their defense that gives them a chance to win every night."

On Anthony Davis' candidacy for national awards...
"I would be surprised if there was anybody out there that was any better. I can't profess to say that I study all the top players around the country and who even would be the best candidates for Player of the Year or any of those things. I have a hard time believing that there is anybody that's having any more of an impact on the success of their team than Anthony Davis is. And that would be whether it's a freshman or anything other classification for that matter. I can't imagine that there's a more impactful defensive player in all of college basketball than he is. It would not surprise me in the least if he swept all those awards and I think he would be very deserving. Again, I say that and I can't really say that I pay attention to what people in other leagues are doing."

Florida head coach Billy Donovan

On Darius Miller...

"I love him. I've always loved him. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for him because I think just what he's been through.I think he started off with Billy Gillispie there as a young player and then John came in and then he's playing with Wall and Bledsoe and Cousins and those guys and then they basically lose a lot of guys to the NBA and then last year, comes in a new crop of guys. I just think he's a 'steady Eddie.' I think he's an incredible core glue guy that probably in a lot of ways is overshadowed by maybe Gilchrist or Davis or Teague. But he is a really I think a guy that presents a lot of problems because, one, he's highly intelligent. He plays a lot of different position. He's a mismatch when you play him at the three. He's a mismatch at the four. He can even play the two. He's battle-tested, he's been through it. He's got incredible leadership qualities but I just there's a lot of intangibles that come. He just seems like he always embraces the new faces that come in there. John knows better than I am; he's with him every day but I always just see him doing whatever he has to do to help his team win. I just don't think on any team you can have enough of those guys and I also think he's very talented. He's a very talented player but he adds a different element to their team."

On the element he adds to UK's team...
"I think his versatility. I think being a senior, an older guy. Playing on a lot of different teams.  I would assume that he really understands team chemistry and understanding how to work. He doesn't seem to be an 'I' guy. I never see him with a bad attitude out there. The thing that I had mentioned about Kentucky after our game was I love their disposition. Even their younger guys, they've got a great presence and a disposition when they play and I respect that and I think Darius has got that kind of disposition as well."

On comparing Kentucky to some of the SEC's best teams in recent years...
 "I thought Coach Pitino's team was really, really good my first year here (1996) when they won the national championship when they had (Antoine) Walker and (Tony) Delk and (Ron) Mercer and (Derek) Anderson. I mean, they were really, really good. I think depth-wise, talent-wise I think John's first team may have been as talented as any team that's been there. They had incredible depth in the frontcourt with (Daniel) Orton and (DeMarcus) Cousins and (Patrick) Patterson and then you obviously had incredible depth in the backcourt with (Eric) Bledsoe and (John) Wall. I mean that was a pretty talented team. These guys are very, very good. I think every team brings a different element and wins in different ways but this Kentucky team is a very, very good team and has played very impressively."

On how difficult it is to go undefeated in SEC play...
"I think anytime, in any league, it's very, very difficult. Very hard because you're always going to have, there's always going to be games where you're maybe not going to be at your best and things are not going to go well. I don't know how many games they've had like that but there's always those games. They've been able to have the ability to I think win. When you have an ability to win in a lot of different ways, when one of those ways is not working for you, you can rely on something else to help you win. I think they're a good shooting team but they're not a great shooting team. They shot it very well against us but if they have a bad shooting night, they can still do it with other things: defensively, posting up, getting to the free throw line. There's other things they can hang their hat on and I think what makes really, really special teams is when you have a variety of different ways you can win. I think they can win in a slow-down game, a fast game. I think that they can win if they're not shooting the ball well. I think they can win in almost any kind of situation that they're in."

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/31162

Leave a comment




Recent Comments

Rotating image