Kentucky-Clarion Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Men’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
Kentucky vs. Clarion [EXH]  
Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky.
Oct. 30, 2016


Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari


Q. I think a lot of us were surprised – and Clarion's coach said he was surprised – that Malik (Monk) didn't start. He obviously played well.
JOHN CALIPARI: I wanted to -- look, if I played those three together, the front line rotation was going to be screwed up. So I did what I did.

Q. That layup with about five minutes into the second half with those three guards and Bam (Adebayo) and (Isaac) Humphries really looked --
JOHN CALIPARI: I got to watch it on tape.

Q. They played well together.
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, Isaac was out there -- come on, Coach. Greg White called the first play of the game. It didn't work. He called the lob.

Q. Your friend, Coach Marcess Williams at Clarion, said the sky's the limit, we'll see these guys at the Final Four. Talking about you guys.
JOHN CALIPARI: It's really early. I told them after, the one thing that I was happy about with Clarion, athletically, they could hang with us. They had speed enough to hang with us, they had quickness enough to hang with us, and they were physical.

They weren't as big, so we got a bunch of easy baskets. But I told my team, if we give up nine 3s in a league game, we will lose. And you know we're pretty -- that's our thing, we're not giving up 3s. They made nine 3s. They had three out of bounds plays where they threw right by people for layups.

So, and they weren't afraid now. They played, they were talking, they're -- I was really looking at them saying, “They were a little more athletic than when I played there, Coach D.” We played a 1-3-1 and I played on the back line and I said, “Why am I back here?” He said, “Because you don't have to guard anybody. Just go guard the guy in the corner.”

Q. First time out, how well did they defend and get out in transition the way you guys wanted to play?
JOHN CALIPARI: We had 29 assists to 15 turns. So for the first time out of the gate -- but you got Derek (Willis) as a veteran, Dom(inique Hawkins) is a veteran, Isaiah Briscoe -- and Isaiah was outstanding. He was five assists, one turn at half, and I looked at it, I called him, I said, "Come here. Score the ball, man. You're going to score the ball for us. If they go under pick and roll shoot it. If there's an inside out 3 and you don't take it …" He says, "I got you." So he comes out in the second half and -- I don't see his numbers here, but what did he have at half? One? Yeah, so he has 10 points in the second half and he, and in 22 minutes scores 11. I mean, he is the key to the team. And the greatest thing is it’s kind of like having John (Wall) and Eric Bledsoe, you got two point guards with he and De'Aaron Fox. But it was -- again, we got to defend better, we got to defend the 3 better. But I like that we ran our stuff. Now we didn't run it all, we just, we really narrowed what we were going to do and limited, there were a couple things that we had been working on that I said we weren't doing. We didn't do anything on the out of bounds, really, so.

Q. How quick do you want your team to get the ball down the court. You said at the coach's clinic yesterday that within five seconds you would be fine if a shot went up?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well here's what happened today and this is old school. We bypassed the point guard and threw it over his head up the court and that guy shot a layup or a dunk. So as I watched it I said, “You know what, maybe we focus on that. If I can get it ahead, I'm throwing it to half court. If I can't throw it to half court, I'll get the point guard looping.” Like he can loop. But if Isaiah or Malik are ahead, throw it right over the top to them. If that team runs wide and we loop, De'Aaron Fox has the middle of the court. I like the fact that they trapped us, I like the fact that they showed heart and trapped on some pick and rolls. It's a hard matchup, we, what bothered me in the first four minutes, we didn't post the ball. Come on. You can't start a game shooting all jump shots. Post the ball. And as the game went on I thought we did a good job.

Q. Clarion's coach said his favorite was probably Wenyen Gabriel and he might be the best of them all. Why do you think he says that?
JOHN CALIPARI: Motor. Every coach likes a guy with a motor and the kid's motor -- I tell you who else is really good, Sacha (Killeya-Jones). He's really good. Wenyen, Derek, Isaac, you got those guys with size who can play fours and fives and threes. And you got those guards and they -- Dom, I thought Dom was outstanding. Dom on the ball guarding and he went after one steal, gave up a basket or fronted or did something. But I thought that Dom was good today.

Q. And then what was it like to sit there and hear the crowd roar, not once but twice, for your son?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, I had my back to the first one and I kind of just turned and saw him shoot it and it went in and I was happy for him. And then the second one, which was kind of a lucky one, but he had the courage to try to shoot it. And I may even get a kiss from my wife tonight.

Q. You talked a lot about your players. What Clarion player opened your eyes?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, number 0 (BJ Andrews) was making shots and 3s, the little point guard is quick and fast and not afraid. And again, I don't know all their names. Who is the kid making the layups? Who was making the layups on us? Driving. Cameron Grumley. Not afraid to play. These are all seniors and juniors, they got a veteran kind of team. He was good. And then they fought. They weren't afraid. I hope this was a great experience for them, that -- it's funny, I walk in this building and we're playing an exhibition game, and I look in the upper deck and I'm like, “These people are crazy.” And only behind us, where there were some students, which we should sell the tickets, forget it, students you got to get here. But that was it. That was the only part of the building that had any emptiness. And for those kids to walk in and see it, I would hope they would say, this is what I live for, doing this in front of this many people. And sometimes we take it for granted here that -- and let me say this to the Rupp Arena people and the group that -- the scoreboard, the ribbon board, I mean, it's like a new arena. Sounds different. Looks different. The videos. It just presents the game even better. It really does.

Q. Can you talk about the balanced scoring attack? Six almost seven players in double figures.
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, I like the fact that we had 29 assists and everybody had some opportunities. But again, it starts with Isaiah Briscoe, and he's coaching De'Aaron Fox, he's coaching these guys, he's talking, if you listen, you hear his voice more than you even hear mine, which is perfect, which is what I want. But it starts with him. But again, he made the 3, makes the free throw. Come on. And that, when you think of his game, if that's who he is, make some 15-footers, he's as good as anybody in the country now. He's as physical, he's a beast. And he defends and rebounds. 

(Laughter.)

#3 Bam Adebayo, Freshman, F


On how it felt to play against someone other than teammates…
“It felt well. I was going to war with my teammates instead of going against them.”

On Isaiah Briscoe’s leadership…
“We all look up to [Isaiah] since we are all freshmen. We go with whatever he goes with and just follow in his footsteps.”

On how he felt he played today…
“We just all played hard, played together and shared the ball. Cal let’s us play free so we just had to play hard and play together.”  

On the pace of the team today…
“Cal wants us to play like that in practice every day. When you do it every day in practice, it becomes repetition and then I guess you could say it becomes a habit.”

#35 Derek Willis, Senior, F


On how the team played…
“I think we did fine. It’s the first game this year, so people are going to be a little nervous, our freshmen especially. So, it was good to just get a feel of the atmosphere here at Rupp Arena.”

On giving up 3-pointers…
“We gave up nine 3s and I think that can be attributed to freshmen playing at Rupp Arena and still trying to get a feel for it. We’re going to make mistakes, but we still have a long way to go and we see the potential.”

On being quick vs. being fast…
“On defense, we were trying to switch everything so that it would get our big guys out there playing more and allow them to get the feel for things. So, it was good in that aspect.”

On the different line-ups…
“I think it’s going to go game-by-game and week-by-week. Coach will be able to see who’s playing well, who’s playing with the most energy and who’s being the most efficient on defense. It could change.”

On UK’s unselfish play…
“It starts with our chemistry over the summer. Everybody got to know each other really quickly and everybody liked each other. Not that it hasn’t been like that in the past, but we just play well together and we’re working on communicating on the court. That’s just how our team is.”

#1 Sacha Killeya-Jones, Freshman, F


On expectations for playing with multiple combinations…
“Coach told us yesterday, and he’s been telling us, to try different lineups and everything and just see how people play together. I think pretty much every lineup we had worked. So I don’t think there were any lineups that didn’t work.”

On the importance of getting the post play going early…
“We can play inside-out, and that gives our guards lots more opportunities for open shots. If we started scoring on the inside, they got to double down and you’ve got guys like (De’Aaron) Fox and (Isaiah Briscoe) who get wide open shots.”

Clarion Head Coach Marcess Williams


“Well, they’re as good as advertised. They’re really long and really athletic. We knew we were coming down here and playing against five or six potential pros. So, we just wanted to kind of come down here and bring our stuff, execute our stuff and get better, and I thought we were able to do some of that. Second half, I thought we kind of readjusted and got our legs back under us and were able to do some things, but they were able to take us out of some stuff. We thought they might deny the pass lanes a little bit more, but they really didn’t. They were really climbing in us with the guy with the basketball. They were, like I said, as good as advertised. They were really long and really talented, and really warranted all the hype. 

On his thoughts on Isaiah Briscoe’s play…
“Yeah, I glanced at the stats before. Eleven assists – that’s special when you’ve got one of your lead guards that could distribute the ball that well. I know there’s been a lot of talk about his jump shot. You know, I always tell my guys, ‘If you shoot it, shoot it, but shoot it because you want to shoot it.’ And he shot a couple shots tonight that he looked comfortable and confident. I thought he was strong. He’s a really good player, you know what I mean? And he’s just really physical for a point guard. I think that kind of separates him from most point guards. But with him and (De’Aaron) Fox in the back court… That’s a great combination.”

On what he thinks of Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox all playing together…
“I was expecting Monk to start. So when he didn’t, they went a little bigger than we thought. But they’re super talented. It allows them to play a little more full-court. I’ve been watching Cal coach over the years, especially with the connection with Clarion and everything. I’d seen in the preseason that they were going back to the dribble drive, so I knew right away he felt comfortable with his guards that he went back to his dribble drive offense that they ran several years ago. Like I said, they’re explosive. I mean, they really get out and challenge you a little bit more than they have been since (John) Wall, (Eric) Bledsoe and those guys. They’re tough. Those three guys on the floor, I think they’re all three first-round draft picks.

On his thoughts on Kentucky early in the season…
“It’s tough because I know we all start around the same time, but the resources they have you can kind of progress your players a little quicker than a Division II or Division III school. We kind of didn’t know how far along those freshmen would be. Them being 18 years old, I thought that was one of our only advantages coming into the game, that we had some older guys. We didn’t know what their bodies would be like, but when you walk through the practice facility, you see a state-of-the-art this, and a state-of-the-art that. There’s no reason why those freshmen can’t progress quicker. I mean, that’s what it is. They’re ready to play. If the SEC started tomorrow, you know they’re going to be able to compete for a championship.”

On what he thinks of UK’s potential to be an up-tempo, transition team…
“In my past, I always kind of look at championship teams as being able to play in different ways. To win a championship, you’ve got to be able to do a little bit of both. Like the gentleman said earlier, when you put those three guards on the floor that makes you one of the most athletic back courts in the country. But then you go and put Bam (Adebayo), and my favorite is (Wenyen) Gabriel, I love that kid. That kid, he might be the best one of them all. So, you get long all of the sudden, and you get big. You can put (Derek) Willis in and stretch the floor, but you don’t lose size. So, he really has the opportunity to play any kind of way against any style in the country. I mean, the sky’s the limit for Kentucky basketball right now. You’ll probably see them at the Final Four this year.”