Kentucky-Alabama Postgame Quotes

Jan. 31, 2015

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q: On Karl-Anthony Towns:

COACH CALIPARI: I told them, I don't know what you're saying to yourself at halftime, but you better change. He was so good, he looked like the best big man in the country in the first half. That's what I think he could do. The only issue is he had no rebounds.

So, if he had clipped off three or four five rebounds with that kind of half, it would have been like, wow.

Comes out the second half, the very first play, he gets screened, he falls asleep, fouls on a rebound.

But he's a young kid. That's the stuff he does. That shows you how good he could be. I like the fact that we went at Willie and went at him a little bit and made him do some things offensively. I thought he did good.

Q. After struggling at his dad's alma mater and missing his first couple tonight, were you glad to see (Devin) Booker sort of get back in the groove and is that what you've come to expect from him the way he shot the ball?

COACH CALIPARI: I thought he played good. I got upset that we threw a ball to him in the corner and he didn't have a shot, instead of driving it, he just passed it.

I said if you're going to play that way, I'll take you out. With Trey Lyles being out, this was a good win. I look at it, you look at the stats, we shoot 50-some percent, had five turnovers, and there was, we were just a little bit off. Now think about what I'm saying. Like I wasn't -- there was things that happened out there that -- I may be wanting these guys to be perfect on every possession, but you know what? I just think we have to keep that standard high of what we'll accept and what we're not accepting.

Dakari (Johnson) early in the game. Sorry. Then in the second half I thought Dakari played.

I thought Marcus Lee was good the whole game. Couple one-handed rebounds.

We’re reverting, doing some things that are just absolute sins in this program. One-handed rebounds, for us, is a sin. That is a sin. There's no reason for it. They know that. And it's something I don't accept.

But again, it was a good league win and now we have two days to get ready for Georgia. We'll have a film day tomorrow and practice on Monday and get ready for them on Tuesday.

Q. Obviously with Trey (Lyles) out there were some minutes available, didn't see Derek (Willis), is he still sort of not gotten back to where you want him to be?

COACH CALIPARI: He's going to have his opportunities and when he has them -- I just, I look at it and I tell you that Aaron (Harrison) and Andrew (Harrison) and even Devin (Booker) and these guys they deserve -- now Aaron played 32 minutes, I didn't know I played him that many minutes, I was hoping those guys got around 28 and the others did. Andrew got 28. He probably got a couple of Devin's minutes.

But again I haven't subbed this way this year, so it's hard to keep track of who is in and who is out. But I liked Tyler (Ulis) and Andrew together. I thought that was good. But we're now a different team without Trey. So we change again.

Q. You only trailed by 20 seconds in the entire game today, your team was just seemed highly proficient in the first five minutes. What did you see out of them in the first five?

COACH CALIPARI: We're an efficient team. That's how we play. We're -- we're not -- the issue has been for us is our post play. Today our post play was good, which is why we shot over 50 percent. Because now it opens up everything else.

You either got to double team or you got to dig, you got to do something or the guy's going to score. That's what Karl (-Anthony Towns) and Dakari and Willie should be able to do. Even in a physical game they should be able to do that. We're trying to get them to be confident and we did some stuff with Karl that I think helped him, but that second half is just like, come on now. No way. This should have been a 25 and eight night for him, it really should have. He had 12 in the first half, that's what he ended with.

Q. Do you expect Trey to play on Tuesday and what in particular?

COACH CALIPARI: Don't know.

Q. What did you like about Willie (Cauley-Stein)?

COACH CALIPARI: Don't know if he'll play on Tuesday or not. He's pretty sick. So, but Willie, we're telling Willie, don't settle for just being a defensive player. 4-of-6 from the line, I wish he was 5-of-6, but 4-of-6 is pretty good for him. But he scored around the goal. He's got that jump hook, he's long, he's active, he's big, just jump over people and score. Even when they're pushing on you, want it. Relish that. That's what I want. Push me.

But again, good win without Trey, I thought our defense in the first half was really good, then we fouled and gave up a layup late. Instead of being 17, 18, it's 13, and they got a chance and that's the one thing this team's not doing, putting people away when they get that opportunity.

Q. Apologies to everybody for a non-game question, but rule changes. I know Seth (Greenburg) asked you about it and you said you wanted more practices August, is there anything else, shot clock, anything else that you would do?

COACH CALIPARI: Shot clock would be fine if they put it at 30. It would have no affect on me. But I think that college basketball should own August and do things in August. There's nothing going on. So let's own it. Let's, let us do it. Whether it be play exhibition games, whether it be practice, whether -- you want to go on a foreign trip and they want to televise it, so what? Do what they did with us last year. It was pretty good our games out-rated the USA basketball games most of the time. As least the first couple. So people want to watch college basketball. Do it in August.

Q. What about refs? Would you do anything different with the way the refs are set up right now?

COACH CALIPARI: When you have a good team you don't have to worry about refs. When your team's not good, you really worry about refs. Say put a fourth out there. Somebody said four times zero is zero. Six times zero is zero.

Q. Is it surprising to you when you say post play has been our issue?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. Because it's been rough. We have to get Dakari, you got to make some and ones, you can't miss all those and expect to go to the foul line and then miss free throws. You just can't. We can't throw you the ball.

He's gotten better. He's got to figure out ways, am I not shooting it quick enough, do I need to make a quicker play, am I trying to bully and I can't even bully a guy that's my size or smaller, I'm not getting it to the rim.

But we're getting better at it, but today was great because Willie and Karl, we threw them the ball, they went 8-of-8. Well if you are bigs go 8-of-8 you're going to shoot over 50 percent.

Q. John, Karl lost Kessens on a cut in the second half, did he turn his head or what happened?

COACH CALIPARI: He stood straight up and down. You're standing straight up and down you're just standing there and all of a sudden you get screened you're like, oh my, it's -- by that time the guy's shooting a layup. And by that time, Dakari was back in the game.

Q. The last undefeated team now in the NCAA, I know you said that doesn't matter to you.

COACH CALIPARI: I think South Carolina (Women’s Team) is undefeated and Princeton (Women’s Team) is undefeated, so there's some other teams. I think our rifle team is undefeated. Did they?

Like I said, this team, the question is, how good can we be. And I don't know yet. I'm trying to get guys to go to that next level. I'm prodding and pushing and screaming and yelling, go, because I really do want to see how good can we really be.

You're not going to be great every night out, if you play 30 games in a season, 31, four or five of them are going to be really high level. Four or five of them are going to be so bad you just hope the other team stinks too. And then the rest of them are all going to be within a range of four or five percent. That's the season.

I'm trying to get us to just come out one time -- and we have had a couple now, we had the Kansas game, that was a romp, I mean that was from start -- UCLA -- start to finish, we have had a few of them. But we have also had the Columbia's down 11, we have had Buffalo down five. We have had -- and I would imagine there's going to be a league game or two before we finish we'll be down at half and have to see if we can fight to come back and we're not at our best, it's just how the season goes.

So when you say about undefeated, we're playing every game to win, but if you do -- I told them last night, we lose today, we're 20-1. So?

I said, you lose in March, your season's over.

Right now, you should just try to find out how good you can be. And that's all we're doing. I'm not -- I've had a team at Massachusetts (UMass) that was started the season like this, I had a team at Memphis that started the season like this, both of those teams took an L and by the end of the year were the best version of themselves. By the end of the year.

So, and whether that happens to this team or not, one way or another, I would rather them win it all or win them all, but if they don't, this doesn't. Just as long as we're getting better.

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Kentucky Student-Athlete Quotes

#12 Karl-Anthony Towns, F, Fr.

On playing better in the second half ...
"You have to keep playing through a lot of things that happen in the second half, no excuses and just keep going. I have to make sure I play the same game I played in the first half."

On other teams losing in the season and this team possibly winning out ...
"Everyone loses. We're just happy that we're continuing to win, undefeated or not we still have to keep winning games, but for us most importantly is what happens later in the year."

On the first few possessions ....
"For us it's just about moving the basketball. I just made some shots happen and sometimes your teammates realize how hot you are they just keep throwing you the ball. I just wanted to keep it going and execute."

On the team’s post game ...
" Everything clicked today and we just need to make sure we keep that process going. We just have to become better players every day."

#00 Marcus Lee, F, So.

On his performance …
“I think I did pretty well trying to help my team and that’s all I ever try to do. Sometimes it’s a big impact, sometimes it’s a small impact.”

On playing without Trey Lyles
“He brings so much to the table, so much to the team but as a team, he knows that we’re all here for him knowing he’s not here today.”

On staying motivated to play despite scoring margin …
“When you’re getting yelled at by Cal, you don’t really remember the score. You’re just trying not to get yelled at as much. You kind of forget that you’re up. You actually feel like you’re down the amount he yells.”  

On if he was aware that Kentucky is the only undefeated team left in college basketball  …
“Now I am. Thanks for telling me. Being undefeated really means nothing.”

Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant

Opening Statement…
“Well, give Kentucky credit. I thought they played really well today. You look at the way they shot the ball today, you know, almost 60% from the field. Defensively, I think we’ve been a pretty good defensive team. Seemed like today, any open shots, they were able to get. They rebound…a lot of success on it. I thought, really, the first ten minutes of the game probably proved to be the difference in the game. You know, we had nine turnovers. They were shooting almost 76% from the field in those first ten minutes. After that we were able to get some stops and get ourselves going a little, offensively. I think when you look at…after that it was pretty evenly played game. Thought our guys competed for forty minutes. I think there were some things we can build off as a team. You know, we’re eight games in, a lot of basketball left to be played over the course of the season. We’ll take this game, and try to learn from it. We look forward to getting back on the court here on the next one.”

On Kentucky’s team…
“I don’t rate them. They’re really good. You know, this is a very good team Cal has…obviously number one team in the country.”

On starting Obasohan and Hale…
“I thought they did a really good job for us, today. You know, Retin did a good job at being able to handle the pressure today. I thought Justin Coleman did a really good job coming in and doing it as well. You know, it was good to see Shannon get back to making some shots and playing with the confidence that we know he’s capable of, and if we can get him going for our team, I think it can add another dimension to our team. I think there’s some things we looked at today in terms of what we wanted to be able to do and what we’re going to build on that.”

On Karl Anthony-Town’s offensive game…
“Yeah, I think when you look at Town’s, you got to look at Dakari Johnson. I think you’ve got to look at both of them because anytime you can have those two guys going at you together. You know, we have one guy in Jimmie Taylor trying to go against those two guys with the size and physicality that they’re able to play with, so it kind of wears on you a little bit. I think he’s obviously a very good player, as is Johnson.”

On missing Ricky…
“Ricky’s a very important part of our team.”

On forcing only 5 turnovers…
“I think Kentucky did a good job, you know, taking care of the basketball. As I mentioned, we had nine turnovers the first ten minutes. We turned the ball over after that four times, ourselves. We had three turnovers in the second half. You know, I think, defensively tonight, you know, Kentucky, like I said, they were able to capitalize on the…really, opportunities they got it was in the zone, in the man, in the press. They had an answer for what we threw at them today, defensively. They shot the ball really well. You know, when a team’s shooting it like that and scoring inside and out, like that, they’re always going to be tough to beat.”