Kentucky Basketball Previews UCLA
Head Coach John Calipari
Q. Playing at Pauley Pavilion, have you done that before and is it a, not thrill, I guess, but does it get your attention to play in an iconic place like that?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, I've been on that campus a few times. It's unbelievable. UCLA is just, it's one of those schools that has the opportunity to do everything and basketball and football and every -- if I'm not mistaken and somebody can check it out other than Jerry -- but I think they have won more national titles in all sports than any other program. The campus, which is, you know, it's kind of landlocked, because it's in where it is, and in Westwood, but they redid Pauley, I've seen it, really nice building. The Hall of Fame there, they have John Wooden's office, the way it was encased. The history of that program. And I think us, having an opportunity to go there -- and we're going to have a couple days to practice, to see if we get some stuff fixed here -- it's going to be neat. A neat trip.
Q. Did you have any relationship with Wooden?
COACH CALIPARI: You know what, I did. And it's funny, I played in his Classic. We were the first team, I was at UMass and they had the John Wooden classic. And I believe it was '95. And the three other teams were Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA. So who was it again? Who doesn't belong in that bunch? And I got to spend time with him and I later called him in 2010, he had a great thing he said to me, I said, are you watching my team, he said, yes I am, coach. And I said, what do you think. And he said, well, you may not agree, but I think you're playing too many people. He said, they should earn their minutes in practice and you should play six or seven guys and that's who you should play, because that's how you become a good team. And you know what, Jackie Leaman told me the same thing when I was at UMass, who coached Julius Erving. And they are right. My best teams that I've coached have always been playing five and six guys. By the end of the season, they're unbelievable teams. He said, but I understand why you do it, recruiting and transfers and all the other things you got to do. But understand that the way you're going to build your best team is play less people.
And that was in 2010. I can still remember it. I was in Florida, getting ready to play Florida when I called him. And he had watched. But I had talked to him a couple different times and after that event and so.
Q. Last year you guys got out to that 24-0 run on UCLA. Can you take anything from that game going into this one?
COACH CALIPARI: No. I tell you what, if they watch this game, they're going to post us up. Tony Parker is, every time they throw it, they're going to go at our bigs. So we better have some ideas what have we're going to do. Steve's terrific at what he does. He's figured it out. I've coached against him a couple times. Last year was an outlier. I had a ridiculous team. And they would go into a game like that to smoke somebody, like they did Kansas. They would go in with that mentality. This team is, we don't have that mentality.
#00, Marcus Lee, Forward
On if he grew up wanting to play for UCLA while living in California …
“Oh definitely. It was always a dream wanting to play for those teams like UCLA, California, Stanford. Those were all the teams that battled and had that big hype around the games. Growing up, those were always the teams you wanted to go to after living in California.”
On playing UCLA …
“I think they’re ready for it. They’ve played many games before. It’s not going to be different than any other day. They know they have to get ready the exact same way and just do it themselves. That’s how we do it as a team."
#23, Jamal Murray, Guard
On playing UCLA ….
“It’s our first true road game. I’m looking forward to see how we play and how guys step up.”
On if playing UCLA is a big game for them or if it’s just another team …
“For me it’s going in there and playing a good team. I don’t how good they are, but we’ve got to go get the job done. Tthey’re going to be ready for us so we’ve got to prepare.”
#13, Isaiah Briscoe, Guard
On the significance of playing UCLA …
“Every game’s a big deal. They’re a good team from what I hear. We leave (Tuesday) and just practice and just hope to get better day by day, and then when we play UCLA we hope to get the win.”
On what he knows about UCLA ….
“Only thing I know is that we’re going to UCLA to play a game. I don’t know any of the history. I’m just going to play basketball.”