Kentucky-West Virginia Postgame Quotes
Kentucky Postgame Press Conference
COACH CALIPARI: I was really pleased with the energy of our team. I was pleased with how zoned in they were, with how we were going to attack the press, how we were going to finish and we were going to just, hey, if we could score a hundred, score a hundred, just play. I wanted them to play loose offensively and they did, but I was proud of the guys. It was a great defensive effort and that's what it was. For Marcus Lee to Dakari, I thought they were excellent. Obviously you know that Andrew played a great basketball game and drove us, Trey played well. Devin made a couple shots, Tyler played well. Willie did what he does. The only guy, I said, was Karl was not as engaged with the team as he normally is, and I don't know why he wasn't but we'll need him for the next one.
MODERATOR: Questions first for the student-athletes from Kentucky.
Q. For any of you guys, whoever wants to answer it, can you describe what happened in the first eight minutes of this game?
Aaron Harrison: I think we were just all focused on the game. We knew that they were going to press us and come after us, but Coach said we have to be aggressive and that's what we tried to do.
Dakari Johnson: Like Andrew said, I think we were really focused in and keyed in and we preparedtwo days before during practice and I think we were just ready.
Q. Devin, can you just talk about your shot and did it feel pretty good to see those go in, especially the first two or three?
Devin Booker: Definitely. This team helped me throughout my slump that I was in. They told me to keep shooting. Once I see one go down, the rest will fall. It's just been a lot of hard work and a lot of confidence that my team's gave me and it just ended up falling tonight.
MODERATOR: Any further questions for our student-athletes? First question for Coach Cal in the center ofthe room.
Q. John, you said especially of late you wanted these guys to be the best version of themselves. How close did they come to that tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: In that first half we did a lot of good stuff. Again, we did it without Karl. First play the game. He lowered his shoulder, and what are you doing? Because the guy bumped him. We know how good Karl is and he feels bad about how he played, but he'd feel great for his teammates but he needs to have a presence. Now, what Dakari did was like, wow, you could play without Karl. Well, Dakari was really good today. Marcus Lee was good. But again, I go back to Trey Lyles and I keep telling everybody he's like an X factor for us because he is a four playing three but he's skills and creating shots for his team now, making shots around the basket, making free throws, he was good.
Q. John, Bob said that he thought your 2010 team was more talented but they didn't guard nearly aswell as this team does. Do you agree with that?
COACH CALIPARI: Possibly. My 2010 team?
Q. The team that they beat with John Wall.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, there was a lot of teams that he beat.
Q. The team with John Wall.
COACH CALIPARI: That team, we were not an execution team, that team. That team was a team, we just -- we got together in September and we tried to figure it out. I had a great run and great time with those kids but we weren't an execution team, whether it be on defense or offense, we would breakdown. But we were so dominating in some other areas that we could get you but we weren't a great shooting team. Very streaky shooting team. This team is probably more consistently skilled as players. But John Wall and DeMarcus, they were in the All-Star game. Patrick Patterson, he's on the edge of the All-Star game. You talk about Eric Bledsoe, even Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, we had a house, but we weren't an execution team. This team being we had more veterans, I've coached them a couple years,a little more execution.
Q. Back in the locker room, Tyler might be as kind of swaggy as I've heard him all year. Did he really take some of the things said yesterday kind of personal, because he said you wanted to win by 50 tonight if you could?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, that didn't come from me because that's not how I coach. What I keep coming back to my team, we've had teams talk about the game. I mean, what, someone's going to come in and say we're going to lose and they're going to say they're going to win but we say at some point you have to step in the ring, we'll lift the rope, you've got to come in here. I don't want my team playing angry, I don't want them to be mean, nasty, hateful, I don't want that. It's not us against the world. It is play with joy and love of the game and love of each other. That wins every time. The other stuff turns to fear. When it's not going good and you're mad and you're trying to elbow and all of a sudden you miss a shot, your physiology is real close to fear. They may have said we wanted to win by 50, but they won because they were focused on how we had to do it against this team because we beat a really good team pretty good but that's notindicative of the year they had.
Q. Notre Dame played a second half of offense tonight that was as amazing as your defensive first half. Do you think your players will relish an opportunity to now face a team that people will saymaybe the best offensive team in the country?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't know, I didn't get to see the game obviously. My staff came in and said, oh, my gosh. They went bonkers. And I said, like how? Like, every way you could go. Mike Brey and I are friends. I know how good a coach he is. As a matter of fact, we went to Notre Dame, what was it, two years ago, two years ago, Michigan, when we got beat by 30? It may have been a 30 point rout, they beat our brains in. I know how good a coach he is, I know how good their team is. As a matter of fact, I think their football team rushed the court, if I remember right. We ran out of there. We saw them coming, we ran the otherway.
Q. Could you just update a little bit on Aaron. He said back there he's fine, he'll definitelyplay Saturday, that he popped his finger back in himself. It looked pretty gross.
COACH CALIPARI: It was awful, and then I kept looking like, is that his right hand or is that his left hand, I couldn't figure it out, and he said left, I said you're good, tape that thing up. And I put him back in, I just wanted him to take a shot or two like to make sure he would feel okay, but then I told him don't you drive the ball, don't go near the basket and then I just took him out because we have a day and a half to get ready.But he's fine. He seems to be fine. It will be hurting tomorrow, I imagine.
Q. There was so much talk about their press and how aggressive they were, the traps. It neverreally was a factor. What was the key to that?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, again, when you have to prepare to play the teams we play, that press and trap and play physical, you have a little head start. At the beginning of the year, it's one of the things that we'll say let's make sure we're good against a press, that we have great spacing, that we understand what you're trying to do and playing off one another, but an old friend of mine says you press a pressing team, you press a pressing team. And that's why we put in the diamond press and that's why we did some of the stuff we did, just to press them to go like you're not going to be theaggressor; we're going to be the aggressor, too.
Q. John, how good was it to see some offense fromDakari and Devin both again tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: It's terrific. I'm happy for them. Devin worked so hard. It's been tough, he's 18 years old, he's probably one of the youngest freshmen in the country, he got on a run, and all of a sudden he's making shots, and if you remember the comment, it's like I'm shooting it in the ocean. And then his ocean got really small. Now you're watching him, and I kept telling him, this whole team wants you to shoot the ball. He had to tighten it up, he got a little loose with his shot, and when you do that and you start missing, it goes the other way on you fast, but I thought today he was terrific. He makes us, he spreads you out. Now all of a sudden you've got he and Aaron and Andrew's making shots and Trey's making his pull-ups, all of a sudden you're a prettybalanced team.
Q. Can you kind of describe what you think Aaron's kind of competitive edge is that he stayed inafter he got hurt and was battling against those guys?
COACH CALIPARI: I think both he and his brother, they've been there. They dragged us last year to the championship game, there's no question it was those two, what they did. And it's not just Aaron making the shots. It's all the other things they did on the court defensively, run-thru's. Those two dragged us. Now you're watching us and I hate to tell you those two or dragging us again. I thought Andrew was ridiculously good today. He was so good. His spirit is so good. He is defensive playmaking away from the ball, he's playing the ball, he's attacking, he's playing with speed, he's getting by people. I mean, I just am so proud of him and what he's doing. If there are better guards in the country, you've got to show me who they are. I think they're both playing well. And then you have -- when they back up a little bit, you've got Tyler and Devin. And I can put Tyler in there with them, which really relieves a lot of pressurefrom having to handle the ball.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
West Virginia Postgame Press Conference
MODERATOR: West Virginia has arrived at the main interview room. We're joined now by West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins; student-athletes Devin Williams and Juwan Staten. We'll take the first question for the West Virginia student-athletes as soon as there is one.
Q. For both players or either player, can you just talk about the start of the game when you fell behind, what do you feel like was the key to that particular start of the game?
JUWAN STATEN: They came out with a lot of energy. They shot the ball -- I watched a lot of film on them and that was probably the best I seen them shoot the ball all year. You know, they got the ball in the right places and they played great defense on us, which made it hard for us to even set up our defense because we've got to score in order to get in our defense. They came down the other end and they shot the ball well.
DEVIN WILLIAMS: I don't know, I guess for me I picked up two early fouls and kind of let that frustrate me, and I think that's just a little maturity on my side, I got a little bit more growing up to do and things like that, but just like Juwanie said, they got a game plan and they went by and they stuck by and they just had a very balanced night tonight, the whole team. It was a team effort tonightfor them, and that's pretty much it right there.
Q. Can you guys talk about the second half, sometimes a team can come out and get real hot and you guys just didn't seem to be able to get one to go down for you to kind of get you to exhale. Can you just talk about trying to fight and fight and fight and get that first field goal to go down.
JUWAN STATEN: I mean, at the end of the day, it's basketball. When you shoot the ball, it either goes in or it doesn't. I can't really explain why shots didn't go in. I can't really speak for everybody else. It's just a matter of shots not going in.
DEVIN WILLIAMS: I don't know, really, man. It's just tough right now. Everything just clicking for them. The refs, they do their best job, they probably got one of the hardest jobs on the floor dealing with the coaches, the fans and the players, so they just try to collar us even as they could, but we just never got in a rhythm. It was a lot of stopped balls and things like that, so we never got in a rhythm. It's just hard, you know. They did what they supposed to do at the end of the day, they did what they supposed to do and you can't stop something that's destined. Got to give credit when credit due, and they did what theysupposed to do tonight.
Q. I'm just wondering, two things, first, can you explain your feelings after this; and second, can you talk about getting shots off? It looked like you guys had a difficult time just getting shots off period.
JUWAN STATEN: I think the feeling is kind of self- explanatory. As far as getting shots off, I mean, they're the biggest team in the country. No team all year has been able to get easy shots on them, so they played hard, they protected the rim, they guarded. They just played with a lot of fire, and that's all I can say about that.
DEVIN WILLIAMS: I don't know. You know, every team Coach Hugs had, every person he ever recruited been a self-made person, had to get it on their own. For me, you know, I always had to get it on my own, you know, put the time in myself, I ain't never really been handed nothing. So, you know, this loss for me, I'm going to take a week off or whatever they give us. I'm just going to get right back at it and that's all I can do. You know, I don't know, I can't do nothing about it but just get in the gym, watch film and get back at it. It's fuel for me. I've got two more years under my belt. I don't know, I'm gonna shoot till my armfall off.
Q. They looked like they came out on press on you guys, which is something you guys are known for. How did that stop you early and did you expect that from them?
JUWAN STATEN: I don't really think it was the press that bothered us. I mean, they got a couple deflections or stops early, maybe a couple possessions, but it wasn't the press that bothered us. We got the ball up the court so I don't think the press was the problem. We just didn't really execute, we didn't do the things we were supposed to do. They made it hard for us to score and we didn't play defense like we were supposed to and that's just the way the game went.
DEVIN WILLIAMS: I think the pace, the tempo, they controlled the tempo and the pace the whole game. Every game we won this year, the reason we're here right now is because we always controlled the tempo and the pace. It's pretty much it. They controlled the pace and the tempo of the game, you know, and the only way we going to be successful is us controlling the tempo and the pace. Theyjust did a good job slowing us down and things like that.
Q. Juwan, what do you think the program was able to establish this year that will hold up going forward, and what did you see from Devin that makes you confident that he'll be able to sort ofstep into that leadership role that you might be vacating?
JUWAN STATEN: I think we put West Virginia basketball back on the map. Coach Hugs has always had great teams, teams that are used to being in the NCAA Tournament, used to winning games. For a while we got away from that, so just to get back to this spot, you know, to be in the Sweet 16 means that we got a special thing. We only have a couple seniors graduating, so the bulk of the team is coming back. You can definitely look forward to them being in the tournament for years to come. As far as Dev, he definitely showed his leadership this year. Last year he was more quiet, kind of stubborn at times. This year he definitely spoke up, you could see he wanted to help people, always talking, always pointing out things and showing people where they supposed to be. He stepped up big. If it wasn't for Dev, we wouldn't even be sitting here right now. I really appreciate him, I know he's going to do great things next yearand I'm just looking forward to seeing what's to come.
MODERATOR: We would like to thank Juwan and Devin for joining us in the main interview room. Firstquestion for Coach Huggins, please raise your hand.
Q. Bob, can we get your take on what occurred the first eight minutes of the game?
COACH HUGGINS: Well, I think pretty much what I was afraid could happen. They shot the ball really poorly the last game, and they're too good to have a probably back-to-back bad days shooting the ball, and they came out and made a bunch of shots. We're trying to scramble around and leave the right guy open. They were aggressive, they took it to the basket and we couldn't score, which was my biggest fear was that we would have a hard time scoring.
Q. Bob, obviously scouting them, they're big. Are they even more impressive when they're running at you, just the size factor, trying to deal with them,do they seem bigger on the court than what you were even anticipating?
COACH HUGGINS: I don't know, I don't know if they seemed bigger, Dan. You watch all the film and
nobody scores around the basket. I think that's the people that have given them a decent game are people who could make enough shots to get them spread and people who could offensive rebound and either kick it out or be able to finish around them because you can't finish over them. I don't know if they -- no, I wouldn't say they were bigger than I thought they were. They looked awfulbig on film to me.
Q. What do you think you guys were able to establish as a program this year, and what do you think you need to further establish to take another step?
COACH HUGGINS: Well, we're still -- I mean, this team's pretty young. I think it's attribute to Juwani and Gary and Devin that really were three veteran guys. You look down the roster, this is Jon Holton's first year, this is Daxter Miles' first year, this is Jaysean Paige's first year, Jevon Carter's first year, Tarik Phillip's first year, Elijah Macon's first year, so we've got a lot of young, inexperienced guys that are only going to get better, and I think these three games of the tournament are going to make us better. We'll be more seasoned a year from now. We lost some games early, we lost some games when those two guys were out that we didn't want to lose certainly, but it did give those young guys a kind of baptism under fire. So there's a lot returning, you know, so I don't know, what did we establish? I think we're back where we're used to being, where I'm used to being anyway.
Q. You said watching them on film and so forth, was there anything they did tonight that surprisedyou?
COACH HUGGINS: No, not really. You know, we couldn't practice on Monday because we didn't get back until 4:00 in the morning, so I had really all day and I did nothing all day but watch film. And I know John and John knows me, so I don't know, how are we going to surprise each other, you know? They were what I thought they were. I thought they were the best offensive team in the country. Everybody kind of gets caught up in their size and all that, which is certainly a part of it, but to get those guys to play as hard and to play together the way they do, I mean, you look down there, you've got guys that, you know, are going to be lottery picks that they give the ball up, they share the ball. John's done an incredible job. A lot of what we do is managing people and managing egos and attitudes and all those kind of things, and he's done an absolutely terrific job of managing them, getting guys to play together and to care about one another. They're just -- they're terrific defensively. They've got -- that's the best defensive team I think that I've ever coached against. And when they're making shots, and they made shots today, when they make shots, there's nobody going to beat them when they make shots likethat.
Q. You kind of just answered this, but what would it take to beat Kentucky for any of the teamsremaining in the tournament?
COACH HUGGINS: They're going to have to have a bad day. They had a good day today and we had a miserable day, you know, so we lose by 40. If they have a really bad day shooting the ball, you can pack it back in, and try to keep the score down and close, but when they're making shots, they're making shots, they get you spread, they're too big and too skilled inside. And you've got to be able to create some offense and transition or something because it's just, it's really difficult to score against their half-court, their half-court defense. I think Georgia kind of did the best job, kind of got them spread but they still didn't win. And that's probably as well as Georgia's played all year and probably Cal would say Kentucky didn't play very well and they still win. I think that's the difference. I thought going in really that the 2010 team may be more talented but they weren't near as good defensively. I think they were, you can't argue with what John Wall and Cousins and Bledsoe and those guys have done in the NBA, they're very, very talented guys, but I don't think that team guarded the way this team guards, I think that's the difference. I think this team is absolutely fantastic defensively. When you've got two guards that are 6'6 and as long and as athletic as they are, they just take up so much space. Back in Rough Run's the biggest guy was about 6'5. He had to be a point guard or he'd never got in now, it's just they're just so big andso long.
Q. Some of the Kentucky guys just said that the comments before the game really motivated the teamby a couple of your players. Do you wish in hindsight they hadn't been made or does it not matter?
COACH HUGGINS: No. You know what, honestly, I think that's a bunch of BS. I think once you throw the ball up, you play. It was a freshman that said it and I'm kind of happy he had some confidence. I'm kind of happy he wasn't hiding under a chair somewhere, you know? There's nothing wrong with having some confidence and wanting to go outand compete. They just were way better than we were.
MODERATOR: Any further questions for CoachHuggins? Thank you, Coach.