Blue-White Scrimmage Game Quotes

Oct. 24, 2012

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Head Coach John Calipari

COACH CALIPARI: I would tell you that we really have a long way to go. We were a great defensive team by the end of last year. Led the nation in a lot of categories. People were scoring half the buckets. We stopped playing. We don't rotate, we don't scramble, just an okay rebounding team. Other than that, I guess we played pretty good defense.

Offensively, we still haven't figured it out yet, but I'm trying to get guys to play a certain way and they're trying. But it's the first time out. We've scrimmaged this year 12 minutes before that scrimmage. We have so much to do to create habits. We really haven't been able to scrimmage, and it kind of showed.

But I'm not worried about it. There were some lessons and there will be some stuff I'll be able to show them to make a point of what we're trying to do. Some things were okay. First time out, Willie started really good. Nerlens hurt his back but finished the game. Questions?

Q. What about Mays? What does he bring you?

COACH CALIPARI: What Darius (Miller) brought us. He'll make an open shot. He's better with the ball. You'll see him. He'll push it really hard. He's really strong, really heady. It's just Darius was bigger, but he brings the same kind of stuff.

Q. Is there like a self-awareness or self-confidence? Is that what you've seen, and he knows what he can do?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he's loving this. He just said every day he's learning. He said this is the greatest experience. He appreciates it, and there is nothing -- he's just playing and doing the things he knows he can do.

I'm just trying to get everybody to play to your strengths, do what you do well. There's a lot of stuff we're doing right now to get them to play fast and get them in shape.

What happens with young kids is they stop playing all the time. The game's going on, and one time I looked over and Archie's grabbing his shorts and the ball is in play. The ball is in play. That's just freshmen. So we have a lot of freshmen issues right now that we're going to have to deal with, but that's part of what happens.

Q. Question regarding starters and if one team was made up of his projected starters …

COACH CALIPARI: I don't know, you could say that. But I told them at halftime, if you told me (I had to choose today) Julius would start, Willie would start, I don't know who else would start. Archie played better in the second half, but still defensively.

So if you asked me, I would say, you know, I thought Jarrod Polson played the best point guard in the first half. I mean, we're still trying to figure out who we are, so we don't really have starters.

Jon Hood, that is the best he can play. He's not listening to somebody tell him how to play, he knows what his game is now. So he takes that 7-footer. He'll run and do things that he can do. You know, he's getting his legs back. I was happy for him.

Q. Question regarding the play of Jarrod Polson

COACH CALIPARI: Played good. Played good. Played really hard, played confident. Talked, verbalized with his team. Knew in that first half that he was going to get shots for Willie, and he was going to get shots for Julius, and that's what he did and the other guys kind of played off of it.

Q. Question regarding Archie Goodwin’s play and why he was mad in the second half on one of Goodwin’s breakaway dunks …

COACH CALIPARI: No, it wasn't that. He passed up Julius Mays. Julius was out ahead of him, and he drove it by him and shot it, and that's unacceptable here. I wasn't really happy. But that's not my deal. I let him know.

Then after the game I told him he took 22 shots, more than anybody on the team. I said you don't ever pass anyone up if you're going to get shots, you don't ever. And I said after the game, I said the reason is because I'm making people throw it to you when you're ahead. So you better give it to them when they're ahead. He understood.

It's not fun when you're being told in an aggressive way. But we don't have time here this isn't for funsies.

Q. Question regarding if he got out of tonight what he expected …

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, everybody sees we're not as good as everybody's trying to say we are, and I'm good with that. We are where we are. It's October 24th, and we're playing like it's October 15th. I mean, we scrimmaged 12 minutes. We've done this.

The biggest thing is no one got hurt. I'm so happy. Now we can go on with our practice. We've got practice early tomorrow morning we're just trying to get ready. I think this shows our team that we've got to be a great defensive team. We're not right now. We don't play the ball real good. We stopped playing on the weak side. We don't rotate. When a guy goes to lead, we don't help him. There is no help the helper right now. Everybody's playing their own man. You can't play defense that way. But, again, it's all freshmen. They just don't know. But they're trying.

Q. What changes that? How do you get those guys?

COACH CALIPARI: Every day, man. It's a grind. Every day, and you don't back up. You just don't back up. This is where we are. This is where we're going. And you just keep pointing it out, keep it real. We're not playing games.

After I just said we went through a few guys and how they played, and I said, you know what? You all want me to keep it real, but it's hard when I'm talking about you. And there were some guys in the room that said you're going to have to play better. You're going to have to play more aggressive.

I thought Alex came to jump stops, which is how he's going to have to play, instead of trying to leave his feet and be cute, just come to jump stops, dump balls and get fouled. He went 6 for 10 from the free-throw line, I'd like him to go 8 for 10. 7 and a half for every ten. But he went 6 for 10 not bad, not great.

Kyle's going to have to defend better. Jon Hood had his way with Kyle. So now we'll have to figure out, does Kyle guard the 5? Do these other guys guard the 4s? Is that how we play? I don't know yet.

But I will say this, I told Kyle you've got to do other things other than rely on jump shots. Because if you're not making shots, I have to sit you down. Now your shot becomes tough making shots. Hard to make shots when you have to make shots. Like this is the thing that will keep me in the game, it makes it tough.

I told him, you want to do all that other stuff, rebound, stay in front of people. But some of it is I'm going to have to find out how we do this? Because we do need his shooting and scoring on the floor.

Q. You got the national record of blocked shots, and Willie and Nerlens had 12 tonight. But how much do you think those guys will average?

COACH CALIPARI: What did we average last year?

Q. 9.5 a game.

COACH CALIPARI: So if we played against each other, we'd be pretty good, but since we have to play against other people, you know. And the first four or five times he didn't go after balls because of his back. He fell right on his back. I even said, you saw Nerlens' quickness where you could get it to him, and he could make plays quick. And Nerlens has quick feet, so for him to do that and dunk on him, the way he started the game, I thought Willie -- again, you see both of them. They're both able to play 18, 19, 20 minutes right now.

Trying to play 30 minutes, they're not ready. But neither is anybody else, that's the issue right now. We've got a bunch of guys that could probably play about half of a college game, maybe. Maybe less.

Q. Question regarding Ryan Harrow’s play …

COACH CALIPARI: Played okay. Okay.

Q. What does he need to do to get better?

COACH CALIPARI: Just has to be more aggressive. Has to be more vocal. Has to have more intensity to his game. He can't be cool. He can't act like the other guy's not playing. All those things. You know, he can do that, but he's going to be forced to because you have no choice now. I mean, we can play all kinds of different combinations.

You saw Archie at point guard, he was fine. You saw Alex at four, we weren't bad. We haven't shown the two bigs yet. What will happen is we'll go with the combination. If that combination is going well, they'll stay in and you'll sit.

So that's basically challenges you. I've got to be on point. It doesn't mean you have to play perfect, but I've got to play hard, and I've got to play with intensity. I've got to bring it every time I'm on the court or someone else is going to play.

Q. Question regarding if he played better in the second half …

COACH CALIPARI: He was probably better. I'll watch the tape. I think he's a better player than that and he needs to be. But he is. He's played better in practice. This is the first time he's played in front of people with uniform on now. He was okay. It was okay. It wasn't bad.

It's just like Archie and Alex the whole time. I'm yelling at them, Play! Play, Alex, bounce! The whole time he's just standing. They just don't get it yet. But that's why we've been doing things in practice the same way. Just try to keep their intensity.

Q. On Tod Lanter playing and if he will dress …

COACH CALIPARI: Maybe with Twany out we needed someone bigger than Sam and Brian.

Q. Do you feel like you have a little more depth?

COACH CALIPARI: We're about like we were a year ago. Yeah, we're the same. But there were guys that were more prepared to play longer minutes last year. They had the three returning guys. Michael Kidd(-Gilchrist), and they were able to start and play. You knew they could play 23, 24 minutes. Now they were sloppy and all that, but we had low turnovers.

Again, I'm going to tell you, we scrimmaged 12 minutes this season. That's it.

Q. Did you play before?

COACH CALIPARI: You can't. How can you scrimmage if you don't know how to play yet? They don't know how to stance, they don't know how to close out yet. They don't know how to rotate, their spacing and time something so bad, that if you let them just play, you're telling them it's okay to play that way in my opinion, how I coach.

Now whether that's right or not, we'll find out, but I think you've got to stop them. Make them play the right way, and then let them play more and more. And they figure out that you're not moving. This is how we're going to play. We'll be fine. We lost a whole team. We've got a brand-new team. We are where we are right now. I think it shows.

Hopefully in a month you'll watch us and say, man, they really got better. And in another month you say, man, they've got a chance. And in another month, you say man, they're right there. That's our hope. That's what we want to do with this crew.

And we have great kids that are listening, so it's just that their habits -- they were always the best player, they were always bigger and stronger, and they could take time off. Two possessions, three possessions. They don't feel like playing. I'm going to take this quarter off. Can somebody get me a hot dog? Yeah, come on. Coach, I'll eat this hot dog and I'll go right in. It's tough. It's tough playing here. It's a tough combo.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#4, Jon Hood, G

On what it felt like to return to the game …
“It feels good to get out there and play, first and foremost. What I did on the court was good. I played within myself and everything. I did all the things that coach asked me to do, but I was just happy to get out there and play. I could not stop smiling the entire time. Jarrod (Polson) looked at me and the White team had been on a bit of a run, and Jarod looked at me and said ‘Why are you smiling?’ and I said ‘Because I get to play. Last year I was watching you guys play.’”

On the Blue team applying the early pressure to the White team …
“We came out ready to play. The White team had a lot of young guys and we had an old man. We had Julius (Mays) and he knows how to play. He knows how to prepare for a game. He has done it his entire career. We were ready to play and jumped on them from the start and got them on their heels. They did a good job recovering.

On his knee after ACL surgery …
“The knee is 100-percent. It gets sore, but if any of you guys ran on the court for five minutes, your knee would be sore, too. My knee is perfectly fine. I ice it a couple of times a day, but everything is fine.”

#34, Julius Mays, G

On how he played tonight…
“I think I played well. I got a little tired at some points. Playing 40 minutes is pretty tough, but I think for the most part I played well. When I wasn’t scoring, I felt like I was getting my teammates involved and I was getting involved on the defensive end as well.”

On being an upperclassman and a leader…
“There were times out there when I knew that I had to be vocal. Guys were getting a little out of whack and sloppy with things and turning it into a pick-up game. I had to step up and calm everyone down and play like we did at the beginning of the game.”

On playing with his teammates…
“It is like playing with little brothers that I never had. From the moment that I came here in the summer they took me in and I took them in as well. It has been like a brotherhood ever since then. I feel like the relationship that we have off the court transfers over to the court.”

#10, Archie Goodwin, G

On the team’s need to improve…
“Yes, I think we do. I think we have a lot to work on, especially defensively. We are trying to focus on that mostly, and the offense will come.”

On passing up Julius Mays and dunking it…
“Coach Cal got on to me for that. As far as a dunk, it was not about that. It was about trying to create a team atmosphere, and passing the ball ahead because he would want the same thing for me.”

On if he was nervous with the crowd…
“It wasn’t nerves it was more anxiousness. Once we started to get going it went away, and we just played basketball. No one wants to lose in any game even though it was a scrimmage game. The other team won, but it was a really good game. ”

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On how he thinks he played tonight…
“I did alright, I played pretty hard the first half and then I got extremely tired.  In the second half my legs were kind of dead. Overall I did alright.”

On his surprise to Coach Cal’s intensity during the game…
“No, not at all.  It was more of a practice than just a game.  So we knew he was going to come in and critique us when he had to.”

On the defense…
“We have only been working on defense for a week.  I know we have a practice tomorrow and it’s a whole defensive practice.”