Kentucky-Auburn Postgame Quotes

Feb. 9, 2013

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Head Coach John Calipari

John Calipari: Let me first say, Tony Barbee came in with an unbelievable game plan. Tony is not a good coach, he is a great coach. To beat Alabama down there with that environment, you're talking about across the country; attendance is going down except at Auburn. They're selling out games. Their students are engaged. It's incredible.

The game plan he put together today was let's be physical and then we're going to change defenses because they're a young team. So I don't know if you noticed because we don't have many basketball bennies in here that really understand the game. They were going man to zone on the same possession, and zone to man on the same possession. That's what he was doing. It slowed us down, it confused us a little bit.

But he is one of the best in the country, and he came in, and I'm telling you what I do every game: If Auburn -- they haven't played Florida so I'm disappointed about that, but I would watch our games against that team and then I'd watch Auburn's game, and I want to see his game plan. His game plan against Mississippi is what won us that Mississippi game. And so -- but like I said, we're so happy with Jarrod Polson, so happy with Willie Cauley(-Stein), and it was nothing but energy. That's all it is. Just come out and ball. Quit worrying about how you're playing for yourself, worry about our team and just bring energy.

And so that's what we've been harping on, and it's just -- we're going to have to keep subbing guys out. You're out. If you don't have enough energy, let somebody else play.

Q. You just talked I think this week about needing to learn to play through the physical, much like last year's team. Was this the perfect game for that, your guys getting roughed up, some antics happened out there but for the most part keep their cool?

John Calipari: Yeah, again, we didn't turn them over enough; we don't have enough pressure on the ball; we're getting hung up on too many screens, ball screens and down screens; we're stopping way too much; and then they played really physical, and I told the guys after, we fought through. But look, we've got to have -- I said this last week and I'll say it again. When guys are trying to establish who they are, you can tell. Instead of a shot is for our team, this is a team shot, not my shot, I'm supposed to take this and I missed it. So what, the team missed, not I missed. That's what we've got to break through, and it's just going to continue to take time.

When we break through, you'll know it. You'll say, oh, my gosh, he got them, he finally convinced them to quit playing for themselves and just be a team player.

We have five, six guys in double figures, so you're not shooting 30 times anyway. You're shooting 12, 13 times; if you make them, great; if you miss them, do some other things, rebound the ball. But you're shooting them for us. It's a team of what we're doing. But Willie was really good, boy. Whoa.

Q. Would you say the turning point of the game was when Kyle Wiltjer hit the three-pointer to shoot the game out from single digits 9-12?

John Calipari: I don't know. I never thought we were going to get away from them because we kept breaking down defensively. We had to change how we played pick-and-roll in the second half on (Frankie) Sullivan. Sullivan was coming off the pick-and-roll making easy shots, so we had to play it different, which we did, and again, a game that we -- we don't block the shots that we normally do, but it's -- like I said, at the end of the day, it's a win and I'll move on. Someone says, well, now you're playing for first place. Are you crazy? We've got Florida twice, we've got Missouri here, we've got to go to Arkansas, we've got to go to Georgia, we've got to go to Tennessee. What? We're just trying to get better. I'm not worried about first place, second place, fifth place. No, just get better. Play for us, get out of your own self's way so you can now not feel the weight of the world on you, and that's where we're zeroing in on right now.

Q. On Tony Barbee's plan for Nerlens Noel.

John Calipari: Well, he did two things to Nerlens: One, he trapped and I could not get our guys to space right. So he went and said -- they didn't lead big to big, which is what they normally do. Tony changed it. They left off of guards. They basically said we're not playing Ryan (Harrow). So they left Ryan's man, and that's who went and trapped.

And then on defense, what we did was they took a lot of threes, and the other thing they were doing was they were spacing the court and getting him out on the court at times. So he did a good job.

There'll be people watching this game and prepare for us off this game.

Q. You mentioned Jarrod and Willie briefly and the energy that they brought. Did that change the complexion of the team and maybe put a spark in your guys?

John Calipari: Yeah. But see, here's my issue. If you're sitting there watching the game and you see what they do and what it does, wouldn't it inspire you to do something, or do you say, well, that's fine, but I'm not going to do that? Wouldn't it inspire you to say, I see what it does to the game, I can do this? But what happens is it's really hard to play that way, and it's physical, and you've got to be tougher. You're going to get bumped some.

And that's where we're trying to get to.

Q. With Jarrod and Julius Mays stepping up lately, how does that affect Archie Goodwin's role in your game plan?

John Calipari: Well, Archie was struggling a little bit and I didn't start him in the second half. But again, I'm trying to get Archie to zone in on his team, what he's got to do for his team and get out of how he's playing because then you can't make a shot, you're afraid to make a play because you're afraid you are going to screw up, versus I'm playing for the team, I know what the team needs me to do, they need me to drive. I need to come to jump stops for the team so I don't jump over. If I miss some shots, it's okay, they need me to be aggressive and score.

But if you're thinking about how you look, how it makes you look, it's hard. And again, this is -- we're teaching life skills. Last night we had Derek Anderson come in and speak to the team for a few minutes, and we went over the book we're reading right now, a couple chapters of that book. But then I read Derek's book last night, the new book he has out that's coming out, and I'm going to tell you what, unbelievable. So at shoot-around today I was reading portions of his book to my team, which are just life skills, life lessons, and that's what this team needs more than anything else.

His story is a great story. "God Never Blinks" is the book that I told you I'd tell you about, and it's not -- it's spiritual but it's not -- spiritual like the whole thing is spiritual, it's lessons, 50 lessons.

Q. Just following up on Archie, you had to find offense with him on the bench for extended periods in foul trouble. Could that pay dividends down the road?

John Calipari: We were fine without him. It's good for him to see it, too. But he'll be fine. He works hard. He's the first one in, the last one out, and he comes at night and he wants to do well. Putting way too much pressure on him because he's worried about how he's playing. But this is -- he's 18 years old. He's supposed to do some of this stuff.

Q. I think most people like to see pretty plays like Alex Poythress' behind-the-back pass and Willie lays it in. But from your point of view, a gritty, tough kind of game, how appealing is that?

John Calipari: I just don't want to get anybody hurt. That was my whole thing the whole game, and you know the whole game if you're listening to me, I'm saying, don't foul, do not foul, don't foul. So if they're listening to me, they're not fouling.

Now, when I see this physical play and it's -- I mentioned this a couple weeks ago, I thought it was getting better, but there's -- if a hand goes on a guy or a body check or a hip versus the press, like you're being pressed and the guy hips you, those should all be fouls. I don't care, they should all be fouls, but they're not and that's okay, so you play through it and you figure out how to play. If a guy body checks you with his chest, you drive and he goes like that, that's a foul. That's just as bad as that.

I mean, I've been saying it, and maybe I say I'm maybe being a little self-serving, I always have a young team that they're trying to beat up. But if I had a big team and a physical team, maybe I'd say let them play, what are you talking about, big baby.

Q. There's a lot of talk now about physical play and scoring being down and what can be done about it. What can be done about it?

John Calipari: Call the fouls. Call the fouls. Call them all. 60, 70, call them all. Call them on us.

Q. Is there a correlation between the physical play being allowed and the lower scores?

John Calipari: Yeah, when you get body checked and you miss a one-footer -- when your team misses 17 one-footers, unless they totally stink, they probably got body checked. Well, we're not calling that, his hands are up. It's still a foul. It's a foul. I keep saying you shouldn't -- this shouldn't be about who wins in the weight room, this is about movement and spacing and that kind of stuff. But it's where it's going, and it'll take time to change. I mean, people have to get together and say if you put this on a guy, it's a foul. If you hip check a guy in transition or it's body to body in transition, it's a foul.

Q. On Jarrod Polson.

John Calipari: He was great. He's just energy. All I need is energy, and you'll say then, well, why aren't the other guys playing with that kind of energy and toughness. Aren't they watching? You know what I'm saying? But again, Jarrod is just doing whatever the team needs him to do. Other guys are worried about how they're playing. They're not selfish guys -- I come back to this. This isn't selfish, it's human nature to establish yourself first before you worry about anybody else. You're trying to get your family right before you start thinking about all the charitable things you can do. It's human nature. It's what they're going through. They're trying to establish who they are, and I'm trying to tell them you can't do this here, you've got to make it about your team. When you make life about everybody else instead of yourself, life becomes easier. If your whole life is trying to satisfy yourself or -- life is hard. Every morning you're up and it's anxiety, but if every time you wake up, it's about everybody else in your life, it's not about you, life is easy. Guess what, as a basketball player, it's exactly the same. If you make it about you, it's impossible because you're out there against five of those other guys. If you make it about everybody else and not yourself and they're doing the same, you've always got four guys having your back on the court. You can play easily and play hard. They're not getting it. It starts with my point guard, Archie; Alex is still learning it. They're not getting it.

Now, we're fine. We're getting better. Are we getting better? Yeah, we're getting better. We're winning games, we're getting better, all that stuff. But to break through what I want them to feel, joy, the only way you have joy is if it's about everybody else. You're grateful to them for having your back and you're complimentary all the time to everybody else. You just brought joy to your life.

I'm trying to help them understand what joy is, and the last part of joy is a group of us come together and do something special, and we're just hugging each other because we knew we did it together and everybody's part was important. And that joy that my other teams have felt, unless they change, they're not going to feel that joy. We may win and we may go and do some special things. You'll never feel that joy. You won't. That's my challenge. It's all about life skills with this team.

Q. All your point guards have been a little bit different, but have you ever had one that maybe lacked that killer instinct?

John Calipari: No, if Ryan -- he can play that way, but he chooses a lot of times not to play that way. When he plays that way, he's as good as any point guard in the country. You look around and tell me who's better. There are a couple guys. But it's a physicalness, it's an energy level, it's an aggressiveness, a winning attitude, talking to his team, touching his team. He can do that, but it's difficult. It's easier to not play that hard, to back up, to back off people, to not pressure. It's easier.

But he's learning, and I think he wants to do well. Like I said, I'm not giving up on anybody on this team. I'm not changing; I'm going to continue down the path, we're going to continue with life skills, we're going to continue talking. The same way I'm talking to you I talk to them, and now it's like everybody knows where I'm trying to go and what I'm trying to do with this team. We do it; we're going to have some real fun. We don't do it; every game is going to be a grind. I just hope we still win them anyway. But they'll be grinds.

Q. On Ryan Harrow's experience prior to this year.

John Calipari: Well, he didn't at NC State and he sat out last year. This is all new to him. Playing here, it's not easy. You're under scrutiny, you're supposed to win every game you play, you're supposed to be way better than the other team. You're supposed to be way better than the other player. So it's not easy here. I think he's doing fine, but we all want him to be better, and we know it's better. Now he's just going to have to go out and do it.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On how physical the game was …
"I think we handled it really well. Coach Cal is good that way. Every game we play is going to be tough like that. (Coach Cal) keeps on saying that last year that is what they tried to do, and it didn't work. This year has got to be the same way, can't let it get to you."

On him being prepared for Alex's Poythress behind the back pass…
"I was not ready for that. I thought he was losing the ball. I came around and I thought he muffed it, I was like 'oh no'. It was a sharp pass. It was a beautiful pass though, "

On his and Jarrod Polson's energy in the game…
"It kind of fell into our laps like that. It starts in practice. Kyle (Wiltjer) does it a lot in practice. He is always the 'hype man'. When you're feeling down, he is going to get in your face and be like 'Come on man, Come on man!' When you're on the bench it's like that. Jarrod and I will be sitting there talking to each other like, 'When we get in this game, we have to be the hype man, we have to get in there and give everybody energy and pump people up'."

#3 Nerlens Noel, F

On the physical play of Auburn…   
"We have gotten used to it, and we use it to our advantage. We are not a team that's going to back down."

On how Kentucky used Auburn's physical play to UK's advantage…
"Use it to wear them out if they want to use that much energy and being so physical besides playing basketball. We played smart."

On playing for first place in the SEC Tuesday night at Florida…             
"That's not our focus right now. Our focus is on continuing to get better and making sure we stay focused on being able to do what we need to do."

On what Auburn did to frustrate him defensively…
"They were just trying to keep me away from the basket by putting the man I was guarding on the perimeter."

#5, Jarrod Polson, G

On Coach Calipari saying he brought energy to the game …
"He has been telling me to bring energy to the games. I have been trying to guard Ryan (Harrow) with that energy in practice and that has helped me out. I really just try to bring energy. That's what (Coach Calipari) wanted from me."

On his production going up …
"I feel more comfortable with the more minutes I get. I don't really have any pressure. I just have to go out there and defend and just bring as much energy as I can. It's pretty fun. "

On the physical play …
"It was really physical. We knew they were going to try and be physical with us. We just had to try and fight back. There were a bunch of fouls each way. We just had to be tough. We have been working on getting tougher, so this was definitely a good test for us."

Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee

On his team's performance …
"I'm proud of the guys and the way they competed. It's the only way as a team that we're going to survive and give ourselves a chance, especially against a team as talented and well coached as Kentucky is. I'm proud of the way that the guys fought."

On not having a post presence…
"It's hard when they're both on the bench, but I talked about going into this game with our team. It was part of our game plan at home. (With) this team, it's so hard to score at the rim against them, that you've got to make 3s. They're going to protect the paint with those two big guys. I thought we did a good job of attacking the rim and getting some baskets at the rim with our guards and our wings. We did something here that we didn't do at home, and that's make 3s so we gave ourselves a chance. "

On his game plan…
"To be competitive. To be competitive, that's all I got to say."

On containing Nerlens Noel…
"We tried to do some things to get him away from the rim. You leave him in front of the rim, he's going to block shots like he did at Auburn. We tried to do some things to keep him up in ball screens to clear off that baseline."

On the difference between fighting and competing…
"I don't know what happened in the rest of the league today. I thought our guys played a clean game.

On whether Granger will be suspended…
"I have no idea."

Auburn Student-Athletes

#3, Chris Denson, G

On if he thought there was any disparity in free throw attempts…
"I'm not going to comment on that, but we just have to adjust to the way the referees are calling the game."

On if the early flagrant foul calls had anything to do with how the game was called…
"I believe so. I think the refs think that we were trying to flagrant foul them. When Frankie (Sullivan) took him down it was nothing of that nature. He just wanted to foul him easy so he could just shoot two easy free throws. I'm not going to say that it was reason for all of the foul calls, but we weren't trying to flagrant foul them on purpose or anything like that."

On what it means to be competitive…
"I would say competitive would be diving for loose balls, getting 50-50 balls and things that really matter in the game. I think they beat us to the 50-50 balls tonight, so we still have to work on our competitive spirit."

#32, Noel Johnson, G

On if the fouls in the second half threw them off their rhythm …
"They kind of did, we just wanted to come out and compete. We couldn't let that affect us but it kind of affected the outcome of the game but we just have to play through that."

On if being physical with Kentucky was part of the game plan …
"I think it wasn't part of our game plan we just played the game of basketball how we should be playing from the start of the season. Coach has stressed toughness and we just tried to come out and play like that."

On what playing competitive means …
"I feel like kind of what Chris (Denson) said, battling and going for 50-50 balls and just playing wanting to win and having a will to win."

On how they feel they did against Nerlens Noel's shot blocking skills …
"I feel we did a good job on him. He didn't get as many blocked shots as he did last time against us. I think overall we did a good job."

On how they were able to neutralize Noel's shot blocking …
"Just attacking and we worked on pull-up shots and other stuff in practice."