Kentucky-Florida Postgame Quotes
Kentucky Men’s Basketball
UK-Florida Postgame Quotes
Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 6, 2016
Q. In 15 minutes, Isaac Humphries had six rebounds, two blocks. Did he earn some potential playing time in the future?
JOHN CALIPARI: Yes, he earned his space, and I'm so happy for him because he has worked so hard and hasn't had the opportunity, and what he did was he took advantage, and we all look and say, he needs to play. Let him play. And then you've got to stop waiting on some other guys, you've got to say, hey, he deserves it.
I thought Marcus Lee was really good today, very active. Derek was a little in and out today. He wasn't himself, but he made the shot that we needed, the gap to help us win. He didn't end up rebounding the first half, but Isaac was terrific. I thought Jamal, other than two or three plays that he just can't help himself, the way he played was really good, and then Tyler Ulis, I told Tyler this is a 15-assist game for you because of how they play. It's old school. You're not getting to the rim.
And he had 11 assists. I said, you didn't quite get 15, but you had 11.
Q. You guys obviously have some issues, some warts, some things you're still trying to work through, but when you have guard play like that, when you have Tyler (Ulis) and Jamal (Murray) capable of doing those things and you look towards tournament time down the road --
JOHN CALIPARI: You've got to have somebody next to basket, maybe it's Isaac, maybe Skal (Labissiere) keeps coming. But I do know if Marcus Lee will do what he did today, we have some room. But it's good.
What we did Thursday, and there were people in the building, we went for two and a half hours, and it was a body-to-body, mano-Ã¡-mano, rebound, defend, play. I was mean at times, but that wasn't what it was. It was the bar was raised of what we were accepting. And I thought guys were terrific. And then yesterday was more of a clean-up day. You can't blame these kids. I said it, I got away from defense because I was trying to get us better offensively because I thought you cannot be a team that's scoring 38 percent and not have enough offense, which we were for a while. Now we've gotten better offensively, and we started stinking on defense and rebounding, and I went back to it.
This is one of those teams that I've probably got to spend the time, more time than I'd like, to make sure we don't get away from rebounding and drills and teaching and defense and how we're going to play.
Q. Did Jamal have beer muscles today? Is he susceptible to that sort of thing, because he got off to a good start.
JOHN CALIPARI: No, he was ready to play. Again, they're still learning how to win. Like Isaiah (Briscoe) drove the lane, has the guy in the corner but he has to look away and throw it underhand, and I went bonkers. Why would you do that? Jamal went on a drive right and had a lay-up, but he had to finger-roll it. He had to do the ice man, whee. The problem was it was an airball, and that's the kind -- why would you do that? I don't know.
Like we still have defensive plays where guys are getting beat back door or where we're not running back and forming a wall. There's just so many little things that you cannot be what you all want us to be until we can play 40 minutes of basketball, dig in and play. Every possession matters on defense. We're not close to that right now.
But we've got a month, so within a month, I've got to get them convinced. They're fighting me. They don't think we have to, and I say, well, let's think back to Tennessee. Maybe we don't have to. I mean, you cannot play sometimes. You've got to play. But it was nice today -- I thought Charles did okay, but again, Charles misses a couple shots, and then he can't play, breaks down on defense, one-hand rebounds. He's just -- he's a young kid that's learning.
Q. Two quick things for you: Mike White talked about how disruptive Tyler was on defense, just blew things up for them, and you did notice Jamal had 35 points, right?
JOHN CALIPARI: I didn't know until after. I knew he had a lot of points. He knew he had a lot. He tried to make that last one.
Q. What about Tyler's play?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, I like what Tyler did, and I like what Isaiah did. When Isaiah goes and goes six assists, one turn, and I'm telling him, do not drive to get fouled, you either pass it or shoot a lay-up, do not go in there and throw your body into somebody and think you did something good. You're missing free throws, so don't do it, just drive it and pass it or drive it and shoot a lay-up. So he's getting better.
But it was a great bounce-back game. You think about it, we just had two tough games. Going to Kansas and losing and how we lost, and then having a 21-point lead at Tennessee, and I said, Rick Barnes just did a fabulous job of having his team ready, and they never quit; they played like his teams do. They defend, they rebound, they're tough, they're physical, and when it got close, we had some guys fouling out and I don't want to be in this, and we learned.
But to do this against this team -- and again, you have to understand, this team beat West Virginia by 20, and they had won five of six games. So they had been playing well. But this was good for us, good win.
Q. Cal, this team was the best offensive rebounding team in the league, and you've addressed somewhat about what you've done in practice physically. (Florida head coach) Mike White said that he was surprised by your physicality.
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, well, we beat the crap out of each other for two days, so hopefully it carried over, but the other thing is, I had to take Derek out in the first half. He had three offensive rebounds, so nine of those offensive rebounds, three of them were on Derek Willis, and then in the second half you saw that he rebounded the ball. So they couldn't make that run. And I keep telling him, you don't even have to make shots if you'll rebound and defend. I can leave you on the floor. You can go 0 for 5, which he won't, but you could if you rebound and defend.
The first half, it didn't matter that he made shots; he had three rebounds where he didn't go be physical.
Q. I think Tyler, seven or eight of those assists went Jamal. How much over the course of the season have they learned to play together?
JOHN CALIPARI: Still learning. Still learning.
Q. It's been an adjustment a little bit?
JOHN CALIPARI: We're trying to get Jamal to either catch it and take the thing to the rim -- any inside-out pass to him we're telling him shoot it, don't hesitate. If it's inside and it comes out to you, let it go. If you're coming off a screen and you want to drive, drive it coming off a screen. We're trying to tell him, do not back it out and do the animal on tape. You just don't play that way. You don't get by anybody. It's an offensive foul. It's a turnover. Just off a screen, catch it and go, which he was doing better today.
Look, we've got a lot of things we've got to teach a lot of players, and it's to be able to do this -- I was hoping Dom (Dominique Hawkins), he didn't feel healthy enough to play. It's funny, five minutes before the game, (knocks), all right, I thought I was going in to talk to the team, and it's the trainer, "Alex isn't playing today." Who did he step on in the warm-up line? I'm going to fire somebody this time. No, no, his knee was just been bothering him, so he can't go. I walked in and laughed and said, Isaac, you've got your chance, here it is, go have fun, and he did. I was happy for him.
Q. The game was never really in doubt, but it seemed to get a little bit tight. It seems like this team struggles a little bit at the end with shorting the game. Is that something that when they learn how to make winning plays will help, or is it something that you can correct?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, the game got close because we broke down on defense, and they executed the crap out of some lobs, some back doors, some different play, offensive rebounded twice, and all of a sudden you look around and it's 14. And when you're up that many points, you're going to massage it and take a shot late. If you can get it in transition, you do. If you don't, you grind it out. And that's why historically my teams get up 20, they win.
We didn't do it at Tennessee. We shot quick shots. We broke down defensively. We didn't come up with any tough rebounds, and all of a sudden it went from 20 to 4. This thing never got under 14, and so I thought our kids did good. I like how they responded. 10 turnovers in a game. You know, we had a couple games there we were 14, 15 turnovers. We're not going to win because that's another three or four baskets for that other team.
Q. What is the outlook on Alex (Poythress)?
JOHN CALIPARI: I don't know. He'll go get X-rayed tomorrow to see.
#3, Tyler Ulis, PG
On how much the team has focused on defense…
“That’s all we have been focusing on because in the last couple of games we have broken down a lot defensively. We’re trying to get back to what we were doing earlier. We understand as a team we can’t win with just playing offense.”
On what he has done differently on defense…
“I’m just trying to be more vocal and make sure I have guys in the right spot. We worked on a different type of defensive scheme and make sure we run it.”
On how much he is looking for Murray…
“That’s all I look for. Once he’s hot, he tells me he’s got it going. He just wants to play off of me so I just try to get in the lane and make it happen for him.”
#23, Jamal Murray, G
On being aware of his career high score while playing …
“I really didn’t know anything about records or anything, I was just playing. Coach wants me to shoot. I did that tonight and shot a high percentage.”
On falling into his rhythm …
“You find your rhythm, hit all of your shots, and let the game come to you.”
On his family being at the game …
“It means a lot. I love the support. They’ve put me in this position and worked very hard to get me here to a great school. I’m just trying to make the most of it and make them proud. Hopefully they enjoyed the game instead of critiquing it and had a good experience. ”
On his father helping him work on his shot …
“It was just a couple minor things that we have been going over so many times. Having him here instead of talking to him over the phone was a big difference. I love to have him here and involved in the game.”
On this being a “bounce back game” according to Coach John Calipari …
“Everybody stepped up and played. Everybody had each other’s back and we all communicated very well.”
#15, Isaac Humphries, F
On his play today …
“I was on a mission to prove myself out there. I did well in my opinion.”
On how to stay motivated with limited minutes …
“It’s all mental. I’ve got to keep at it every day. Even though I haven’t been playing I still work every day and honestly just becoming so much better.”
On being patient this season …
“Mentally it’s one of those things where you question and doubt yourself but you just have to push through it. Coach has been telling me all season that I will get my chance and today was it, and I think I proved myself out there.”
On physicality during today’s game …
“It was tough out there. We needed that game. We worked really hard after losing the last two games. We all were aggressive with each other and I feel that it paid off.”
Florida Head Coach Mike White
On Kentucky’s Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis …
“They were incredible. I thought Ulis really controlled the entire first half, offensively and defensively. He didn’t allow our guards to even get into ball screens defensively. I thought he put on a clinic, some of those things that won’t show up in the box score offensively. He runs the show. He makes you defend on the ball, off the ball. They do a good job setting screens for him. But Jamal Murray stole the show with his ability to make shots. I think he’s still open right now. I’ve never been apart of anything like that; very, very discouraged. It’s like we didn’t know that he’s a good shooter. Not a very good effort. I wish we would have given Jamal a better effort. He was unbelievable. He’s a really good shooter and they did a great job of getting him open.”
On the plan for guarding Murray…
“No separation, I’m sure. Any coach in the league will tell you that. With all of the screens being set for him off the ball, you have to take care of that first before you even think of defending him with the ball in his hands coming off the ball screen or driving it or what have you. But all the screens are being set for him. If you get out of the stance and he’s got separation in the paint before he even comes off the screen, you’re already beat. He just did a good job of creating that separation. He did. And then we over-helped on some penetration by Ulis. And Ulis always knows where he is, of course. And just lost our mind a few times. I believe his first one was a wide-open one in transition. We had three guys stop the basketball. Something that every college team works on every day. We did a ton of transition defense. It was arguably our biggest key of the game and when you have three guys stop the basketball, somebody’s open. And unfortunately for us, Jamal Murray was open. And it’s not a great way to start the game offensively with him.”
On how Kentucky’s guard play can carry them through the season…
“I think guard play is extremely important. I think it masks other issues. I think they have a really good frontcourt, personally, but I think they have an even better backcourt. And if those guys play like this every day, they’ll have a chance every night. They were fantastic today, those two guys (Murray and Ulis), and Briscoe is a really solid piece too. Played with a lot of effort and intensity. Defensively, you could hear him out there chirping a bunch. Really strong and tough. He’s a problem on the offensive glass at times, and he’s got a great ability to get in the paint and playmake as well.”
On falling behind 24-5 early in the game…
“I’ve lost my mind about eight timeouts since then. So it’s hard for me to remember the first five minutes of the game. Transition D killed us. Missed blockouts. I know we had a live ball turnover early that resulted in a layup or dunk. Looking back, man, I just remember it was a lot of Jamal Murray. The second half is a little more clear in my mind, but he just did whatever he wanted to do any time he wanted to do it. And Tyler Ulis was equally as effective defensively as he was offensively in the first half.”
On if Kentucky’s team looked different than the past two games…
“They were so good against Tennessee early, and I could see that we just saw that for 40 minutes. And again, I think we had something to do with that. Not to take anything away, obviously they were really, really good. But they’re really capable. And if you let a guy like Jamal Murray really get going early and he’s got his mojo going, and Ulis is playing like he did today, they’re capable of beating anyone in college basketball.”
On Kentucky’s physicality…
“To be honest, I was a little bit surprised. I hadn’t seen these guys in person, and there was more girth that I thought. They were really physical, and I thought that we might have, at least certain plays, we might have some success inside or some success on the offensive glass or even driving it in there, at times at least. Not that they were weak on the interior. But I was surprised with how strong they were. Even Skal (Labissiere), he’s so long when you see him in person. He’s such an athlete. When you see him on TV, he looks thinner than that. And I thought (Isaac) Humphries did a good job too, just throwing his body around. Those guys on the interior were very good.”
On if giving up 80 points in two consecutive games is a wake up call to the team…
“Yeah, definitely. Not that we would have won the game by any stretch, but it’s just discouraging that we weren’t even competitive. At times this year, really until the last week, our defensive numbers were really good. I want to say a week ago, maybe 10 days ago, we were like sixth in the country in defensive efficiency. And that’s not the team that was out there today. That’s not who we were. We’ve talked about the identity that we play through all year. And if we’re thinking about how many 3’s we’re going to hit at Kentucky and ‘I wonder how many I can score at Rupp Arena,’ ‘I wonder when I’ll be open,’ and ‘I wonder if coach is going to put me in;’ whatever we’re thinking about, if we’re not thinking at a really high level on a consistent basis we’re thinking about the wrong thing. That’s got to be our identity. We’re not good enough offensively. We’re not good enough in several areas to not be great defensively.”
On Kentucky’s defensive effort…
“I thought that they were locked in. I thought it started, again, with Ulis. There were three or four plays that we called that were quick hitting or with some movement in the first half that Tyler just blew up with the pressure on the basketball. I thought there were, again, six or eight ball screens that we set for our point guards in the first half that Tyler didn’t even allow us to get to the screen, didn’t even allow us to get that rub which would lead to the next action. When he’s picking you off at halfcourt and using that and sitting in that stance and using his quickness he’s got, and he’s got the ability to do that. So I think it started with him and on the interior, they took a big charge early. I remember our guards flying in there a couple times in the first half, and they showed their length and their bounce. That lane was clogged up. There weren’t a lot of places for us to go when we put our head down and drove it. And I thought they did a really good job, as well, of stunning and recovering on the perimeter when our guy did get by them, they knew where our shooters were. I thought they did a really good job on KeVaughn Allen, but especially on our quick guys. Our speed guys, Chris (Chiozza) and Kasey (Hill), it wasn’t their best day, and Kentucky’s defense had a ton to do with that.”
15, John Egbunu, C
On the mentality when Kentucky was ahead …
“It was pretty tough. We didn’t come out with the intensity we should have to be playing on the road. Coming out In the first half was a tough place to come out of.”
On what contributed to core start against Kentucky …
“Sticking to the game plan. I feel overall as a team we didn’t really stick to the game plan we had coming in and I think that kind of hurt us a lot.”
On the right mentality to come play Kentucky on the road ...
“I think we had the right mentality coming in. We came in with the right intensity and energy ready to execute the plan that coach asked us to.”
10, Dorian Finney-Smith, F
On thoughts about the game against Kentucky ...
“They just out played us. They jumped on us quick and came out and played well. Jamal Murry had a good night tonight. It seemed like he couldn’t miss a shot.”
On what were Florida’s intention of the game...
“Just run them off the line and try not to give them open shots. We get a couple good looks at the basketball and everything will fall into place.”
On coming into an atmosphere game like Kentucky and what contributed to getting down in the game…
“They just kept making shots. They turned us over and got out of transition early. They made a lot of open 3’s. We have to do a better job on our end to guard the shooters.”