Kentucky-Ottawa Postgame Quotes
Head Coach John Calipari
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Did you know that Jamal [Murray] was an assist shy of a triple-double? Did you get any lip from him when you pulled him out with three and a half minutes to go?
COACH CALIPARI: I didn't know. I knew he was rebounding the ball. Let me explain to you. He hadn't done that in any practice. Like it's a mistake that he did it because if he doesn't rebound now, I'm going to be all over him.
I told Isaiah [Briscoe], three out of four from the foul line, I'm good, even if one's an air ball. You go eight out of ten, shoot two air balls, I'm good. I'm not going to say anything.
They passed to each other today, which was nice to see.
Q. What does that mean in a game that's so one-sided that they shared the ball and didn't go for the fancy stuff too much?
COACH CALIPARI: Again, to play eight fast as we did and have 12 turnovers... Again, Jamal and Isaiah had six of them. That means the other guys were strong with the ball. Jamal did have nine assists. 3-1 is fine with me.
We shared it. I thought we did a fairly good job of executing, being a brand-new team. The spacing was pretty good. Had opportunities for drives on the second and third drive.
Again, Ottawa is a team we should beat and we should beat by a lot. Again, our numbers, the shooting percentages, the only thing we didn't do well was shoot free throws. What you have is a couple guys go 0-2, 0-2. All of a sudden, you know, one went 1-3, one went 0-2, the other one went 0-2, that's 1-7. You're not going to shoot a real good percentage if three guys do that. But the rest of the guys I think did pretty good.
Q. Does Alex [Poythress] have any sort of minutes limit early in the season?
COACH CALIPARI: That's about what it was. I was trying to let him play through. I kept telling him he's got to stay in practice, stay off the bike, and get into game shape. Like you saw him behind the action a bunch.
Like catch it close, don't try to lay it in, try to dunk it. They miss a dunk, I don't really care, just try, get yourself back.
He is I'm guessing 80% of where he needs to be for us to be good. But he's 80% and he's coming off the injury.
I love the fact that the fans went crazy when he went in. It lets him know we're all here for you, we want you to do well.
I thought Derek Willis did well. How about Derek Willis rebounding, blocking shots? He did well.
We got to find that eighth guy right now. Think Charles [Matthews] was a little nervous but did okay. But Derek and Charles, who becomes our eighth guy? Do we play a smaller team?
I thought Isaac [Humphries] did a couple good things, but defensive rebounding, he didn't get any balls. When you're that big, you got to go get some defensive rebounds.
Q. You started the three guards. How did you feel like they performed together?
COACH CALIPARI: Good. They're unselfish. They're all skilled. They can attack the basket. You can play a little more random yet be organized. Again, we needed to press. We did it for two reasons, conditioning. I wanted us just to keep guys in and let them try to see where they are if we had to play a full game. Obviously not there yet.
But the other press, I ran that press a little bit my first year here. Haven't really run it since. I'd like to run it with this team. You know me well enough. If we're giving up layups or open shots, I can't take it. We won't use that press.
But that's a press that should be good for us because of our personnel. Now I have to go watch the tape to see where the breakdowns were. We probably gave them 12 points in the first half where they threw over the top and got a three or a layup or a shot, and probably a couple in the second half. In a big game, you can't give up, in my opinion, 16, 17 points in a press.
Press, they throw it up the court, you get back into your man-to-man. That's what we'd like to be able to do. We're not there yet.
Q. You talked about sort of establishing what [Marcus] Lee is. Was it good to see him have a burst?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he did some good stuff. He did some good stuff. I just thought Skal [Labissiere], you look at the numbers and say... Still I thought let go of the rope a few times. Had balls tipped from him for no reason. Rebounds he had, didn't grab. But he's made unbelievable strides. Believe me, he is way better than he was a month ago.
But we have to see. You know, I like Marcus and Skal. You have two athletic, active guys. But you have to have some girth. Someone is going to have to fight.
If our guards rebound the way we did today, we'll be fine. Jamal gets 12. Tyler [Ulis] gets four. Isaiah gets three. That's 17 rebounds amongst our guards. 19, I'm sorry, 19 rebounds.
Q. John, you talked about opponents playing a lot of zone you think against you guys. You guys shot the ball well in blue-white. Tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: They're playing zone. If we run the dribble-drive, you're not allowed to put your hands on it. You can't come up, hand check, hip check, forearm on a drive. They're saying you can't do it.
If they call it that way and we're running this offense, they're going to go play zone. That's what they'll play.
The reason this team didn't play zone, because I asked them not to play zone, because we don't really have much zone in right now. We worked 45 minutes on one offense two days ago, like 45 minutes of a practice on one. That's where we are right now. We're behind.
But we passed the ball and I got good forwards, so it doesn't look bad. But believe me when I tell you we're behind.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Derek's overall performance. Is this the type of thing he's doing in practice that we don't see?
COACH CALIPARI: Sometimes. Sometimes not. What I'm trying to get from him is to understand rebound. He had seven. Blocked shots, he had two. He could defend, make open shots. He missed a couple free throws, which surprised me, because he's a pretty good free-throw shooting.
He's 6'9", 6'10". We play him, we could end up being 7', 6'8", 6'9", 6'10". That's another huge front line. I want to play Derek Willis. But he's going to have to take minutes from somebody. Whether I want to play him or not, does anyone give him minutes?
But I think he should be playing. I was proud of him today. I was really on him pretty hard yesterday. I was hard on him to say that, You're not playing doing this, this and this. My point is, you might as well keep it real with the kids, tell them this is what is going to get you on the floor, this is what's going to take you off the floor.
Got a great group of kids. I mean, competitive, great basketball IQs. But they're also great kids that care about one another. They're passing. Going forward, it bodes well for what we could be. But we're not there yet, believe me.
Q. You've talked about Isaac and his development. What did you like about his limited time on the floor tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Again, he's a skilled big man. Missed free throws today. What did he do from the line? 1-3. Missed some free throws. But he has a way of getting the ball in the basket. He missed that one. He was exhausted. Isaiah was exhausted. Did you see him defensively? He could be the best defensive guard in the country if he chooses, but it's really hard to be that.
Now you have Jamal out there guarding. Think about it. You got Tyler still. You got those two guarding. Now you have Charles Matthews who is long, active and can block shots. Now you get Derek Willis who can do it.
But who is your beast? You better have a beast. That's why I'm saying, we really need Alex to make strides now. I think he's 80% of what he should be. He made some shots. Don't care. It's all energy. It's playing people before they catch it. It's being where you're supposed to be early. Staying in a stance, flying up and down the court, having unbelievable energy when you play. He doesn't have that right now.
But some other guys died today, too, let go of the rope.
Q. At the pace you play, how many minutes realistically can guys expect, your starters?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, today we played a little just keep playing for conditioning. Like just keep going. I wanted to see who would drop first.
But I would tell you that I would say we're going to have probably three guys play 30 minutes, and then probably a couple other guys play 28, 27. Then the question becomes, Do we play six, seven or eight? Who fights for those other spots? Do we get to nine? I don't know.
Right now if I went in and said, Tyler, you want to give up your minutes to anybody?
Like give two minutes up.
Jamal, will you give up some of your minutes?
Jamal, give up five.
Isaiah, you going to give up minutes?
If guys deserve to be out there, that's what I'm going to do.
Let me just say what was harder today. The great thing about the platoon, All right, go in. All right, you guys go in. Five guys in. I didn't have to worry about who was this, who was doing that. If they as a unit didn't do well, we all saw it. You know what, go get 'em.
Now I'm like, How many minutes did he have? How many minutes has he been in there?
What you're asking, you can't keep guys in seven straight minutes the way we're playing if we're going to press and run. But I have played guys. I think Brandon Knight played 37 minutes a game. I had two guards at UMass that played 38 and 39 minutes. Edgar Padilla, Carmelo Travieso.
I'll do that, oh, yeah. I will do that. Like if someone else doesn't deserve to play, you're not playing. Earn your minutes.
But it's mean (laughter).
#13, Isaiah Briscoe, G
On his individual performance tonight …
“I think I played well. It was a great first game for me. There are some things that I need to improve. I think, as I watch film with Coach, I’ll be sure to fix them.”
On adjusting to three-guard lineup …
“Coming here, we knew we would have to check the egos at the door and just sacrifice for one another. I think all three of us (Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis) don’t have a problem with that and it shows on the court.”
On the emphasis on defense …
“I knew coming here I was going to be pushed to play defense. Being coached by Coach Cal, I took on the challenge.”
On competing against Jamaal Murray and Tyler Ulis every day …
“They are both great guards. Jamaal and I guard each other every day. He loves to compete and I love to compete. We just go at it and make each other better. We know once we are on the same team, nobody is going to guard him as hard as I do in practice.”
On importance of Alex Poythress returning to full strength ...
“Coach reminds him every day in practice how important he is to the team. He’s the group guy and we need him to rebound and do things like that. Once he knows his role, everything else will fall into place and we will be that much better.”
#00, Marcus Lee, F
On starting to share the ball…
“Just a little bit. Tyler is definitely killing the game with those assists. He is just figuring everything out, and it is not really hard to find people and pass the ball if you see them. There is nobody that is really selfish.”
On Jamal Murray almost having a triple-double…
“We need like three more minutes so we get him that triple double. But he’s a killer, that’s what he does. He makes sure he does everything possible to win a game and that’s what we needed.”
On running more this year than previous years…
“100 percent, yeah. It is tiring though. But, yeah I am trying to run the court a lot faster. Gotta keep the pace up with the whole team.”
#23, Jamal Murray, G
On if he knew that he was one assist shy of a triple-double …
“I know now. I didn’t know during the game. I just wanted to let my team play. It washes well. I had a lot of fun playing today. I’m sure the team had a lot of fun playing too. I’m looking forward to all of the games that we get to play.”
On if he expects stats to fluctuate for each individual throughout the season …
“I just think we have to find something that we’re good at and consistently do it. Everyone is going to have his day, whether it’s points, assists, rebounds, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is going to have their day where they’re just locked in. There are a lot of opportunities.”
On sharing the ball and playing with three guards …
“It’s a lot of fun. That’s what makes this a special place to play at. We’re very unselfish. You can see it from the assists here today. We all know we can score and we’re all great passers. We look to play off each other. Our offense is always in sync when we’re on the court together.”
Head Coach Aaron Siebenthall
On what playing Kentucky was like for him …
“Unless an NBA team calls us to schedule us that’s the best team we are ever going to play. Right now I feel like I’m back in college and I just took a really hard test, and I didn’t do very well on it, but it’s over with. It was a fantastic experience from the second we got out here. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our guys and I can’t think Mitch Barnhart and Coach (John) Cal(ipari) enough for hosting us.”
On comparing their first game with tonight …
“Saturday we had a home football game, a home basketball game, a home men’s soccer game, and a home women’s soccer game, and I would say that all those people at those games combined was probably a twentieth of what was here today. We wont see this many people for five or six more seasons. It was night and day compared to Saturday, but I told our guys at halftime that we scored 35 points at half against a Kentucky team that was pressing us most of the time, and we scored 33 points against Baker who wasn’t pressing us on Saturday so we felt pretty good about that.”
On how he felt about this Kentucky team …
“Their preseason rankings are probably pretty accurate. Weaknesses, they missed a couple free throws, they are a pretty good team. I was really proud of our guys. We had a little stretch at half where we really boxed out, I mean all five guys boxed out, and it didn’t matter. They’re bigger, faster, and stronger than us. So I told our guys ‘just keep fighting’, and they really did that. I’m very proud of our team, we got everything we needed out of this.”
On what his team got out of this game …
“I think this game is always something that we can bring back if we are having a hard game, it’s something that I can bring up at halftime and say ‘hey, we aren’t at Rupp Arena playing Kentucky, guys, lets calm down.’ It gave us that edge that this is the hardest game we will ever have, so lets have some perspective when we are back at our level. Seeing a press, we are a team that actually likes to press at our level, so being pressed was good for us. It showed that we can hold our own, so I think that’s what we got out of it.”
#33, Marshon Norfleet, G
On the atmosphere in Rupp compared to the team’s first game ..
“Totally different, going from a little school to a big school. Just a bigger platform to play on.”
On his performance tonight …
“It meant a lot to me, to just go out and play hard. After all I’ve been through with three knee surgeries. To go out and perform the way I did was just a blessing.”
On having Division I aspirations coming out of high school and getting a chance to prove he belongs tonight vs. Kentucky …
“Yeah, it showed me I could have played at that level but God put me where I needed to be.”