Kentucky-Albany Postgame Quotes
Head Coach John Calipari
COACH CALIPARI: Let me just start by saying I was watching this stuff in Paris and couldn't get my mind on the game. And, because you're sitting there thinking what it was, why it was, just don't understand. And then you have people, innocent people, knowing that, I'm going to die, I mean now they say there's 160 people.
I mean, coaches are like come on, come on, I said just hold it for a second. So I think we all tonight say a prayer for all those families and those innocent people. I just don't get it. But, yes?
Q. What did you see, what change with Jamal [Murray] from the first half to the second half. Seemed like when you guys needed him, he started doing all the crazy things we have seen him do?
COACH CALIPARI: Well he's got a ways to go. Our team has a ways to go. I liked what I saw with Marcus Lee because he just fought and played and tried.
I liked what I saw with Derek Willis, because that's all we did. Derek made a lot of mistakes in the second half. But you know what? You watched and said, man, he's just playing.
We have other guys that are more worried about what it looks like or we just don't have the fight or the grit to really beat a good team. We don't.
And I say that Albany, if they make any shots, like any, they beat us. They didn't make any shots now. And that's a team that's a good shooting team. They're well coached. They had less turnovers than us and we pressed the whole game. And they played zone and backed away and played pack line.
We had 20 turnovers. We had five from Tyler [Ulis] and five from Jamal. Think about that. 10 turnovers from my guards. Not going to get it done.
If Derek doesn't play in the first half, it's probably a one bucket game at halftime. And it, literally, they couldn't make a free throw or a shot. And then when they started playing they realized, oh my gosh, we can beat these guys. We got them down 20, instead of going to 25. We don't have that kind of Will.
So you got to have grit and toughness and fight when you get somebody there, you just put them away. We're not there yet.
But they tried to tell me after, other than Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee a little bit, no one else on that team has played. Alex [Poythress] was injured.
So now all of a sudden we're trying to do this from scratch and I'm happy that we won. We beat a team that, in my opinion, will be another NCAA tournament team, Albany. Will [Brown] does a great job with them. But they just didn't make shots. He's probably sick right now saying we could have beat them, all we had to do was make a couple jumpers.
Q. Do you think that Derek was just more relaxed, more aggressive, combination of the two or what do you think exactly?
COACH CALIPARI: Instead of trying to make crazy plays, shoot the ball. If it doesn't go, it is my choice to leave you in or take you out.
And then be active defensively. And he didn't rebound in the second half. He didn't defend the way he was supposed to in the second half. But he still was active enough to come up with a couple plays that broke the game open.
One dribble pull up. “But you don't understand my game, because when I spin and throw it behind my ear, it's a dime. You got to watch” -- no. Just shoot the ball, one dribble pull ups, defend blocked shots. You're as long as they get -- our press with him out there is pretty good, with him not out there is not very good. But I'm proud of him. I'm proud that -- he's fighting for minutes.
Q. What was the good and the bad from Jamal tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Again, five turnovers and they were all of the, why did he do that? Like I don't want to say they were casual. Like this game isn't casual. Like every game we play is a fist fight. The other team is trying to beat us. It's the biggest game on their schedule. If we can do this and win in Rupp Arena, then la la la la. And they fight to the bitter end to try to beat us.
He doesn't have that yet, but he made some big plays that stretched the game out. And, again, we got to play better, got to fight.
They played a little zone, we looked a little confused.
They played a little 1-2-2. A little press and we, especially in the first half. But I will tell you, as far as some of the stuff, there's a lot of stuff we just haven't been able to work on because you just don't have the time. Can't try to work on everything. We're going to be good at five or six things and that's about it right now. Hopefully, we can win games playing that way. But I'm not so sure.
Q. This is a tweet from Jon Hood, I'm guessing, but I don't know, you're talking about the officials, "I'm going to watch this tape, and if you're lying, you're done." Did you say that with the technical fouls and some of the stuff?
COACH CALIPARI: I may have said it that way and I said, if I'm wrong, I'll call you and apologize. I said both.
And my point was, if you're going to tell me one of my kids cussed, you better not be guessing. Don't do that to me. Don't say that to this kid, unless he did. You say he cussed. Now my whole team said he didn't. You said you saw him. That was my point. I said, if I'm wrong, I will call you and apologize.
Q. What did you miss tonight not having Isaiah [Briscoe] and will he be back tomorrow?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't know if he'll play tomorrow, but it gives you another -- a tough kid that's going to defend, come up with balls, make lay ups, get to the basket.
Right now, we're one short. Dom [Hawkins] tried and did okay. But he was running people over and he just hadn't played. He's been hurt for a month and a half, two months, whatever it is. But we'll see.
Q. Is the toughness and grit, is that a contagious thing where if one guy really is doing it, it energizes others?
COACH CALIPARI: Sometimes. But the other thing is, if you want to play, be that guy. Because if it's what we're missing, well I want to play, well be that guy. Well I don't want to be that guy. That's really hard. That's like the dirty work. Let somebody else do that. I just want to play. If you watch our team, if -- what if we have a beast out there that's just a fighter a gritty guy that comes up with balls that's around the basket and that guy's going to play on this team. This team. We're just looking for who that is.
Q. When you look at Marcus Lee's line there, if you ignore the free throws, is that the numbers you would like to see all season from him?
COACH CALIPARI: He's 2-7.
Q. Just ignore that for me. If you look at the rest.
COACH CALIPARI: Oh, no, he was good. But 2-7, come on. Now I ask you this, can he be in the game in the end? Unless you're up 30. What if it's a four point game and there's a minute and a half to go and he's in. The minute -- they will foul him when he doesn't catch the ball. He can't be 2-7. He's been shooting it better. Now you got to do it when the popcorn's popping. Do it now.
And you know what? The other stuff he did, he was active, blocking -- I got on him about the last ball, he didn't try to block it. I mean, we're a team that we don't want to leave the rim to block shots, but when they're shooting a layup, you block that. We don't want to block 12 footers. Let them shoot those. They keep coming and they're at the rim, block that.
We did a couple times and didn't rebound. We only out rebounded this team by six rebounds. Why? Grit. Fight. Any 50/50 ball we didn't get.
Q. Did y'all expect Labissiere to get double teamed every time and how do you think he handled it?
COACH CALIPARI: He did okay. We talked about it. We have been working on it and he did not do exactly what we're trying to do. But this is his first college game. He didn't play high school ball for two years. He had work out guys. What you saw is what you're going to get right now for a while. But he also did some good things to score and that. But if they double team, he's, it's more of a scheme. If they double, and that's supposed to be their strength, we're going to make it their weakness by doing these things. And he didn't, he just, he couldn't react to them. He just held the ball.
Q. What did you think of Alex tonight and is this one those games --
COACH CALIPARI: Alex, he didn't play particularly well. He fouled and he just was behind the action again. And he has been so good in practice. I mean, really like the old Alex. Dunking balls and rebounding above the rim and for some reason, something is holding him back mentally from being that guy. I don't know what it is. But he has practiced really good. I expect tomorrow that we'll see a different Alex. That's my opinion, because of how he's been practicing.
#23, Jamal Murray
On his performance in the second half …
“We were just trying to get used to the feel for the game and the atmosphere, and I felt like I had to step up and bring some energy and get the fans into it.”
On his dunks …
“It was fun. That’s what I like to do.”
On how this experience was different from other games he has played in …
“It was a lot of fun. I have played in situations like that with Team Canada but this kind of atmosphere is always fun to play with and I had fun with my teammates today.”
On if Coach Cal will get on him for his five “casual” turnovers…
“Coach already has brought them up. He said to take care of the ball and use every possession to our advantage. Lets take care of the ball more and realize how important every possession is. That’s something that I realized today and I will make the adjustment tomorrow.”
On the biggest adjustment he has had to make so far in college basketball …
“It’s been a busy adjustment, learning how these guys play and where they like to shoot from.”
On the “toughness” and “grit” that Cal wants to see from them …
“I think that’s part of getting the energy and riling ourselves up to build momentum during the game.”
On Derek Willis tonight …
“He’s been stepping up and playing good. He’s putting up some shots and he’s passing the ball and running the floor. That’s what we need him to do, to stretch the floor and rebound balls. We just have to go out there and play as hard as we can for as long as we can.”
#00, Marcus Lee, F
On being ranked in the top two in the country …
“It shows that we have a long way to go, real long way to go. It took awhile to get going, took almost a half of a year to get all of our players going, but it shows that we have a long way to go.”
On his free throw shooting …
“We are going at least 80 percent for this year. I am heading to the gym after we talk. ”
On shooting free throws in practice …
“Definitely, that is something I really stress. Being a big man, you can’t shack free throws, so that is something you really gotta focus on, and that is something I really focused on in the summer and tried to get better at. It definitely wasn’t showing tonight. ”
On Coach Cal saying this team needs more “grit”…
“He means we need more fight. We need to battle. We can’t just like take a hit and just back up where we gotta figure out rebounding wise. We need to take that ball and just keep fighting for the position or fighting for the extra ball and fighting for that extra possession. That’s something we’re still trying to figure out as a whole and as a team.”
#35, Derek Willis, F
On his first half performance …
“I was just trying to get the team going and bring energy when I was in there. I was open so I shot it.”
On his mindset for the season …
“It’s not about minutes for me. It’s about winning the game. If I need to not play, that’s fine. If I need to play 13 minutes, I’ll play 13 minutes. Whoever needs to play 30-to-40 minutes, that’s fine. I just want to win the game. I don’t care about minutes or anything like that.”
On the importance of bringing energy to the team …
“Just for me, I want to bring energy. I want to get people excited, get people going and get my teammates going too.”
On his confidence going into this season …
“I feel good about myself when I come out and play. I’m being efficient and I know I’m going to get more minutes.”
Head Coach Will Brown
Opening statement …
“You have to give a lot of credit to Kentucky. They’re obviously very talented and well coached with terrific guards. We knew coming in here that this was going to be a tremendous challenge for us, but it was a challenge that we were excited about. I thought we would challenge them. I wasn’t expecting us to shoot 1-for-14 from the 3-point line and miss as many free throws as we did in the first half. The one thing you can’t do when preparing for Kentucky, or at least we can’t, is simulate their length and their athleticism. You can’t do it. Derek Willis is playing the small forward and he’s bigger than my center. He’s skilled and a good basketball player. They’re good. I said it to everybody that I talked to before the game, Tyler Ulis is the best point guard in the country. Skal Labissiere will go number one or two in the NBA Draft, and Jamal Murray is the best basketball player in the country. Nothing that happened tonight changed my mind. They’re going to have another great year and we’re just hoping to compete for an opportunity to go to a fourth straight NCAA Tournament out of the American East Conference.”
On Derek Willis …
“It’s hard. There are only so many pros that you can prepare for. What are we going to do? You have to pick your poison. We were going to try our best to neutralize Ulis, Murray, and Labissiere as much as possible. Willis did a good job. He’s getting an opportunity. It’s not that he’s not a really good basketball player it’s just that he’s had plenty of lottery picks ahead of him. Now it’s his turn. He has an opportunity and I’m sure he’ll take advantage of it. He’s very versatile. When he plays the power forward for (Kentucky), our power forward has to chase him on the perimeter. When he’s playing the small forward, you have a 6’9 small forward out there. I think against regular teams at our level, we’re getting a lot of those baskets in the lane. The problem is they have guys that are taking turns blocking our shots. Willis is a long and rangy guy. When he’s in there, they’re big.”
On Jamal Murray …
“He was on cruise control. He was hanging out and picking his spots. In my opinion, he’s a combination of Mark Jackson and Andre Miller with a jump shot. He plays at a great pace, has great feel, and great size. He can post up and can score from all three levels. He’s really good. I hope I can get a guy like that this upcoming August. I have Aussies. I’ll take (Isaac) Humphries. He’s really good. I think (Murray) is going to take and make big shots for them all year long.”
On keeping Kentucky out of transition …
“The problem is they just wear you down with length and athleticism. I don’t know that they’re going to play that way the entire year, but I would imagine they would against non-BCS schools and go for the knockout punch early and often. The problem is when you turn the ball over against them, they make you pay. For us, we got to the rim a couple times and had good looks but their guys just blocked them, which led to transition opportunities for them as well. We did not play well. I thought we competed well. One-for-14 from three – we’re a good shooting basketball team. I think a lot of that had to do with Kentucky rushing us a little bit. We took some quick shots that we ordinarily wouldn’t take, but you have to give a lot of that credit to Kentucky.”