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SEC coaches' teleconference quotes (Feb. 27)

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Kentucky head coach John Calipari

On the upcoming matchups against Georgia and Florida ...
"Thursday night game, late, against Georgia, who just went and beat Florida and is really playing a lot different than they played in the beginning of the year. Lot more pick and rolls, lot more spacing of the court. They still run some of their flex stuff but they're only sprinkling it in. They're playing some good zone and doing that, and Florida is Florida. They're at home. They're going to play and shoot the ball. Both games are going to be difficult games for us."

On Bradley Beal's impact and how ready he is for the NBA ...
"What he is, is a truly prototype two guard in that league. What he can do is, he plays above the rim. Obviously (he's) a knockdown shooter. When you space the court and do pick and rolls with him in the game and he's out on the floor, you've got to play him, which opens up the court for everybody else. And he rebounds the ball. He's good. One of the issues for us when we play them is his rebounding. Now you want to talk about scoring and all the other things, he rebounds, he goes after the ball. He's a terrific player."

On the difficulties of player turnover when guys go to the NBA early ...

"It's not my rule. I don't even like the rule, one and done. It's not my rule. Right now, whether it's (North) Carolina, Duke or Florida, we're all in the same boat. If a kid plays really well and that's what he chooses to do, you can either try to talk him out of it or the option is don't recruit good enough players that can be drafted. And so, until the rule changes, we're all dealing with it. For me, I just think as long as you have the players' well-being in mind, even if they leave, if it's right for them - what I try to here (is), during the year it's about our team. When the year ends it's about each individual player. Right now we're trying to be an efficient team, we're trying to play together, we're trying to have low turnovers, we're trying to defend, we're trying to share the ball, which means no one is taking more than 10 or 11 shots. And then you have people going publicly saying, 'Well, the guy can't be an All-American. He's not scoring enough.' What are you talking about? You must have been a volleyball player. I don't understand. We're trying to get them to share and do the right things, but when the year is out, now it's about each individual player. I imagine Billy (Donovan) will do what I do and give them the information and let me know what you're going to do."

On the specific changes Georgia has made and how much better the Bulldogs are playing ...

"They're way more confident. They're shooting the ball extremely well. They're spacing the court and doing much more pick and roll. They're playing off of handoffs, which I've not seen them do before. They're bringing their four man and making him almost like he's a three man in pick and pops and (isolations). I told my staff today, what I get impressed with in other coaches is, as the year goes on, they start adjusting to their team. It's not, 'This is how we play here.' It's like, 'OK, this is  my team, we've got play a little different.' And that's what Mark is doing. They're playing different than they did at the beginning of the year and he's getting results. They're winning games. Winning at Mississippi State and winning against Florida, those are huge. Those are two ranked teams when they played them, and they won those games. So I know we're going to face an opponent that's ready and is coming in here to win."

On what Eloy Vargas has done for the program as he heads into his Senior Night ...

"He's been fabulous and a great teammate and all those things. Anytime we've needed him he's been there. He's in the same position Josh (Harrellson) was in. The difference is, because of an NCAA ruling, Josh ended up being thrust into the limelight and he was ready. He was the first Jeremy Lin. He was ready for it and now he's gone on to an NBA career. I've had NBA personnel call me about Eloy and say, 'Is he another Josh Harrellson playing behind Anthony Davis?' And if you watch Anthony Davis you know he's going to play behind Anthony because any player in the country would be playing behind Anthony. What I hope is he gets a lot of minutes, he plays well. I hope there is a game or two that he gets a great opportunity to play and he plays so well that he has an opportunity post-playing here to do what he chooses to do. He will be a professional player. He's got great size and all those things. He's going to be fine. He and Darius (Miller) will both have their college degrees, staying the four years, and have opportunities to play professionally."

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's comments that he is going to stay at Kentucky and get his degree ...

"He says, 'I want to get my degree from Kentucky,' and I agree, I want him to also. Basketball wise, he's just got to wait until the year is out and figure out where everything is. He is a young freshman. He is very young. But at the end of the day, he and his family have to get together, and we'll get him information and he can make that choice. I'll be with him whatever he wants to do. Obviously if he wants to stay I'm going to be very happy, but in the same sense, it's too early to tell what anyone's going to do right now. And so my thing to all guys (is), worry about being a great college player. And everyone of them, whether it's John Wall, whether it's DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, they all come back and say, 'Man, I wish I could have stayed three or four years.' So the group we have right now, these freshmen, 'Man, I'd love to be here four years,' but there are opportunities that arise, and just like Bill Gates, Bill Gates says, 'I'm done with school, I'm going to chase my dreams,' and then in his case changed the world. Steve Jobs did the same thing - left school and went out and changed the world. You have opportunities, you've got to look at them and figure out what's right."

On if he would wrestle with Kidd-Gilchrist about his decision if he was the No. 1 overall pick ...
"If Michael is the (No.) 1 pick in the draft, yes, I would wrestle him to the floor and say, 'What are you thinking?' And the reason is, he's got to come up with some reasons he's coming back and convince me. Here's why: What if he got hurt and I'm out there convincing him to come back? What if that happened? Or something happened to him that all of a sudden really hurt him in his draft-ability and future? It's hard to live with yourself unless you're just trying to win five more games and how many games can I win before I retire and all that (stuff). This is about these young people, and you can't make a decision until the year's out and see what all the information is. Right now I want him worried about our team, I want him worried about being the best college player and best team they can be, and at the end of the year we'll worry about all that. Right now he's not worried about it. I'm not worried about. We're just worried about our team right now."

Georgia head coach Mark Fox

On what the win over Florida might do for his team going into the Kentucky matchup ...

"I don't think it will do much. I feel that our team has been pretty focused on taking things one game at a time and not trying to take the previous game into the next game. Obviously a win over a great Florida team gives us some confidence, but it's not going to have a whole lot to do with the outcome on Thursday. Obviously we're going to play a different team and play on the road, and we'll have to play extremely, extremely well to have a chance to win the game."

On what has changed about Kentucky since the first meeting ...

"They're better and they're better in probably every way. I think offensively they appear to be playing extremely well together. Defensively they were dynamite before. They're a team that can beat you so many different ways and I think Jones appears to be playing pretty well, where maybe the first game he wasn't as hot coming in. When you look at Kentucky you have a hard time finding any weaknesses. They have size, guard play, shooting, great defense, high finish rate offensively and obviously a terrific home-court advantage to go with all that."

Florida head coach Billy Donovan


On Georgia's improvement ...
 "I told Mark (Fox) after the game that the one thing I really, really respect and a lot of times we have a tendency maybe to look at a team's won-loss record and determine maybe how (good) of a job somebody is doing coaching. I think that when you're coaching a team that's really struggling, and I went through that my first two years here at Florida, where you're having losing records inside your league and potentially losing records for the overall season. I think Georgia's team continues to improve and they continue to play very hard and they continue to play with very good passion and energy. I have great respect for that and I would say the same thing for Tony Barbee and what he's done at Auburn. Both Mark and Tony are starting off in programs a couple years into it, but they have gotten better and improved. They play very, very hard, very physical and I think it's a great tribute to their kids, regardless of what the record is that they continue to battle like that every game."

On the Kentucky-Vanderbilt game this weekend ...
"Certainly it was a really, really well played game. I thought it was played at a very high level. I thought both teams played really exceptionally well. Vanderbilt I think gave themselves every opportunity to win the game. I thought Kentucky did a terrific job on Jenkins most of the game, but he's got great ability and Kevin (Stallings) puts him in situations where he can free him up with different things they're doing offensively and obviously he went through a four-minute stretch there where he made some really tough shots. Once he gets going, if he gets it off with a good chance, it's going to go in. I thought Kentucky really answered the bell. (Anthony) Davis had some incredible plays down the stretch and certainly made a real big 15-foot jump shot there late in the game. I thought the game was played at a very, very high level by both teams. I thought both teams played exceptionally well and obviously Vanderbilt ended up with the loss but I think Vanderbilt played a very, very good and maybe even more so that anybody in our league, has played them the most difficult considering the teams on the east who get a chance to play Kentucky twice. They've given themselves an opportunity both times playing them at home and on the road."

On Davis' shot-blocking ability and how he stacks up historically ...

"I think he's definitely one of the best of all time. You start talking about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain and guys like that, I can't probably go back that far, but certainly here in recent times, the last 20, 25 years he's as good as anybody that's out there. I think the thing with him that's very, very unique is he's not 7-foot-1 or 7-foot-2 but he's obviously a quick jumper and he's got long arms. I think the thing that is very, very difficult with him is there's times when guys shoot balls with him or when guys go to the basket or guys have jump shots is he has an ability to become a lot longer than he appears and very quickly. It's different I think than most guys. I remember when Shaquille O'Neal was in the league, he's 7-foot-1 standing back there. You can see the enormous size. He's not a guy that's 7-foot-1 and he's not also a guy that's like 285 pounds so he can be a little bit unassuming physically, but I think he's a tough kid. I think he has great timing and I think he's very, very deceptive in how long he can become when he leaves the floor. He is as good as I've seen shot-blocking as I've seen in this league for a very long time."

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings


On whether Vanderbilt gets a boost from playing Kentucky close for the second time ...

"I don't know that we get any boost from that. We expected to play them well and quite honestly we expected to play them better than we did. I thought Kentucky played very, very well. I thought they had to play well but I thought they did. I thought they played extremely well, especially on offense. Obviously we were just beaten by a better team but I don't fault my team's effort in any way and I thought we competed and we didn't execute always the things we were trying to execute, but nonetheless, overall I was fine with how we played for the most part. I just hope that we have a good week this week. I don't know if it will give us a boost. I don't think it does because I don't think losing gives you a boost. Hopefully we'll play that hard but play better this week."

On what makes Kentucky so dangerous on offense ...
"Really, really, really good players. Their scheme is good but their players are really good. In our case, Anthony Davis was terrific and we didn't provide a lot of resistance for him I didn't think. It's just more that they're good. They're set up well, they play together, they're big and long and skilled and they pass the ball to each other well and they share it. They're a hard cover for anybody, but again there were some things we could have done that we normally do that we just failed to execute which I thought could have given us a little better chance anyway. The reason you don't play perfectly or real well against a team like that is because they put you in position to make mistakes and that's happened.

On whether Kentucky is different on offense compared with recent seasons ...

"They've adjusted their offense quite a bit and (Calipari) suits it to his personnel, which is what good coaches do and they put their guys in spots to be the most effective that they can be. I think that's what all of us are trying to do. We're all trying to put our guys in the best spots we can put them in in order to have the most success. Certainly that's what John has done and they run offense very well."

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