Blue-White Scrimmage Postgame Quotes

Oct. 26, 2011

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Head Coach John Calipari

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Calipari.

Q. John, afterwards coming through, fans were buzzing like crazy. Do you try to calm any of that enthusiasm based on how the team played?

COACH CALIPARI: I bet you we'd be really good against the Washington Generals right now, doing the weave and all the other stuff.

We've got to be a great defensive team and we're not right now. Now, do you see why I don't like playing zone? Played zone the last nine minutes. It was like... (shakes head)

The other thing is they got to get guys playing together. Like Terrence (Jones) has got to play with Anthony Davis. They got to be on the court together and they haven't been.

I mean, if you watched that as a pickup game, you were really excited because there were dunks. We were 1-9 from 3 because Doron (Lamb) couldn't make a shot during the first half. Darius (Miller) has 11 [points] until the very end of the game where he hit 3s. Kyle (Wiltjer) and Anthony just aren't tough enough right now.

I liked what I saw in Eloy (Vargas). He battled. He missed a ton of shots, a bunch of one-footers. But he battled and fought. That's all we're going to ask him to do.

The pace of the game, our point guard doesn't realize yet, Marquis (Teague), and he's young, pace of the game, when to go, when to pull, when to fly, when to pull it back. That's why I'm running on the court stopping him. Can I do that during the season? I don't think so. If I run out there and try to stop him, it's going to be a problem.

Q. RE: Kentucky’s defense tonight.

COACH CALIPARI: I can tell you, it wasn't great defense. That's why I said, I got to watch the tape. We even started the game, we're not playing screens well. We're not playing pick-and-rolls real well right now because really we focused on it offensively. Our post defense is spotty at best. We gave up 24 offensive rebounds on one team and 14 on the other team. Kyle had seven offensive rebounds. He's not exactly a machine there.

But I like the fact we had 24 assists on one team, 22 on the other. We're trying to play together. Had a couple plays where we passed guys up where I stopped the game and said, ‘Why didn't you throw it to that man right there?’ The guy is [saying], ‘I'm shooting the ball, I haven't shot in a while.’ But, you know, we got a ways to go.

Q. Seemed like frequently Anthony (Davis) was able to go over top of people offensively. How much of a mismatch or nightmare could he cause against real opponents this season?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, there's some things we've got to be able to do better. I told them after the game: One, offensively we got to have a post-up offense where we just say we're coming down and posting against certain teams. Michael Gilchrist is really good in the post, Darius, Terrence, and Kyle Wiltjer.

But we shoot the ball well enough, didn't do it particularly well enough, but we shoot the ball well enough that you have to play us on the perimeter if we have good spacing.

The other thing offensively, biggest thing, is pace of the game. Now when is it a dead ball, how are we playing? When they score on us, how are we doing? You can tell I haven't communicated that yet because we didn't get it.

But, I mean, everybody's excited because you saw a lot of high-flying dunking, blocking, tipping. That doesn't win, though. I mean, we got to play basketball. We got to be a great team. We're not right now. We're not a very good defensive team. We've got to zero back in (on playing good defense).

I think we could be a good pressing team. I like what I saw in the press today. Not that we were perfect, but I liked what I saw. Now we just got to build on that and really give them better rules in how we're going to play.

Q. Is that what you're looking for from Terrence (Jones) in terms of high-percentage shots?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, but I told Anthony, ‘C'mon, babe, you have to jump on that left hand, make him go right. If you make him go right, you can go right. Not only can he go right, he can make the play.’

Again, we had the whole group that was out there played 40 minutes and they were exhausted. That's why I went zone as early as I did.

We had a pretty hard shootaround today, then they warmed up for an hour. This has been a good day. They're off tomorrow, which they all need to be. We go back Friday, Saturday, twice Sunday, twice Monday, Tuesday, we play Wednesday, they get off Thursday.

I've just got to really feel comfortable with how we're playing. I got to watch this tape and come up with some schemes of what we're doing, how we're playing post defense. What do we do right now? We haven't done a whole lot. We're trying to get the style of what we want to do offensively.

Q. You mentioned the press. There was a string where Terrence and Doron put back-to-back ones in. How much do you think you'll be able to do that this year?

COACH CALIPARI: I'd like to press 30-40 percent of the game. That's how historically I've done it, until we got here. Last year we played six guys. We couldn't press that much. Even that first year, we played so fast that we pressed some, but probably 15-20 percent of the game.

If you ask me, I'd say let's press 30-40 percent of the game, let's be aggressive. What I'm seeing right now, I think we have eight guys that we can really go to. The problem is a bunch of them are young.

You wonder why one team played better. Well, they had Terrence as a veteran, Doron as a veteran and Eloy as a veteran. The other guys had Marquis as a freshman, Anthony as a freshman, Kyle as a freshman. They had Darius, but those other three, that's why the one team I think played better.

Q. You talked about Marquis having an issue with pacing. How much more do you need to see out of him before you get comfortable with him getting the flow of the game?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, like I said, the hardest position for me to play is point guard. He's got a ways to go. But you saw him get to the rim, how he can do it. You saw him in pick-and-roll, make good decisions. Then there were a couple he chose not to pass the ball, it was a bad decision. The guys are open, just throw it to the guy.

Sometimes you get in the mode, ‘I'm going to make something happen, I'm going to get this ball and shoot.’ You have to make easy plays when you're in that point guard position because you're going to have the ball a lot.

He's got a team full of guys that he's going to have to keep balanced as far as scoring. We got a lot of guys that can put it down, so...

Q. Obviously there's a million things you need to work on, it's not even Thanksgiving. From an athletic point of view, which is where fans are excited now, don't be Scrooge, give us your opinion of how athletic these guys honestly are, in your opinion?

COACH CALIPARI: They're pretty athletic. They're pretty long. I mean, like I said, I like my team. I'm sitting here saying, ‘Oh, my gosh, if this is how we're playing, we're going to lose a lot of games.’ Then it became like it was Big Blue Madness, let them go in and score.

I said, ‘There were three times where you, Michael and Terrence were sitting under the basket and let him shoot a layup. I'm going to go nuts in a game if you do that in a real game.’ Everybody played 40 minutes. No one got to sub.

I like the team. But we got a lot of work to do. If anybody saw that and didn't say, ‘He better start coaching,’ then you're truly a football player watching basketball or a volleyball player watching basketball. But if you know basketball, which we have four million people in this state that are experts in basketball, you had to say, ‘Wow, he's got a ways to go with this team. But, wow, they're athletic, long, fast, whoa.’

Q. Coach, what did you like and what didn't you like about Terrence's performance tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: You know, you got 52 and 16 (rebounds) and six assists, two steals and a block. He was OK. I mean, what I tell you is, when I told you yesterday that he changed his habits, he changed his body conditioning-wise, he changed his skill set, and he changed his approach towards practicing and conditioning, that's why you see the change. It's not like I'm going to do the same thing and I'm going to be a different player. You're not, you're going to be the same player.

He and I just talked in my office. I said, ‘I told you when you came back, if you're coming back, you're going to be the best player, top three in the country, or don't come back.’ That's what I said to him when he was making that decision. If you're going to be the 13th or 14th best player in the country, get out now, go. You want to be the best in the country, be one of those guys, come back and do it.

Well, he's on a mission that way. He passed the ball. Believe me, I mean, it just shows he was going against freshmen. They're freshmen. They don't defend, they don't play rough, they don't understand angles. They had three freshmen on one team. Probably not fair.

Q. One more on Terrence. You have these freshmen come in. They're so long, so athletic, but rarely do you get them back for a second year when they fill into their body like Terrence has. What kind of a weapon is that that you now have that you haven't had in years past?

COACH CALIPARI: 52 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists which I haven't had before. A guy that's physically and emotionally ready. Had 15 rebounds in the Final Four game. Was one of our best players. He's coming back and he's got a great temperament and attitude.

You have to be able to say, ‘Is Darius a better player? Is Doron better than he was? Is Eloy better than he was?’ That's what makes me proud as a coach. Guys are getting better. I would hope that fans of those freshmen that watched them play said, ‘Man, those guys are better. I didn't realize.’

We're 13 practices in. This is the 14th practice, if you want to call this a practice. We've got a long way to go. Guys are getting better.

Here is what I always say. Guys are getting better. Individuals are improving, the ceiling of what we can do becomes higher. So we're just trying to get those guys improving, then I got to get them together. We got to figure out what's the best way for us to play.

Last year it took us until February before we could figure out how we had to play. Let's hope it doesn't take us that long this year.

But I like my team and hopefully everybody gets excited and says we can be good, but we got a long way to go. Thanks.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#1, Darius Miller, F

On the performance of the freshmen …
“I think they did a great job for their first time out. It was more of a realistic game.  In Big Blue Madness nobody really played.  They did a great job for their first time performing in front of a lot of people.”

On the benefits of Terrance Jones and Doron Lamb returning for their sophomore seasons …
 “Every other year it seems like we were mixing a lot of people.  Now that we have people that are familiar with the offense and everything that is going on around here, it helps a lot more.” 

On stepping up defensively …
“We know we are going to have to pick it up defensively.  We didn’t play a lot of defense tonight.  That is going to have to be one of our key points. We feel like we can be one of the best defensive teams in the country.”

On what the team did well tonight …
“I think we played together as a team. A lot of players had a lot of points. We did a great job of shooting the ball, finding each other and giving each other different looks.”

On the difference in Terrence Jones tonight than last year …
“It seems like he is way more focused, way more dedicated. He has put in a lot of work and he’s on a mission, so it’s going to be tough for anyone to stop him.”

On the freshmen getting to play to Rupp for the first time …
“Yeah, they were excited about it. I think they did a great job for their first time out, playing a more realistic game, because you know for Big Blue Madness no one really played. They did a great job coming out for their first time, being out here in front of a lot of people and they performed.”

On blending with the young guys …
“It can be tough at times. I think we did a great job of getting it started early this year. We have really good team chemistry. Like I said, we have a lot of fun together. We all spend a lot of time together, so it’s been a lot of fun so far.” 

#3, Terrence Jones, F

On his confidence now compared to a year ago …
“I’m a lot more comfortable. I’m more experienced. I’ve been here before. I’ve been to the Final Four and played in front of thousands (of fans). It’s nothing new, I’m just trying to take that next step with this team and hopefully we should be able to do it.”

On his role on the team this year…
“I don’t know, Coach Calipari changes the roles and offenses whenever he feels it can be better. I’m just going to listen to him and do what I can to help us win.”

On his game compared to last year…
“I’m a lot stronger and I feel a lot more comfortable driving both ways. I shoot the ball better and I feel like me being stronger has helped me and the young guys a lot, since they are new to the lifting in college.”

On Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer…
“We have a lot of players with size that do different things that they are great at. I can’t block shots like Anthony (Davis) and I know Kyle (Wiltjer) can’t either. I know we can’t shoot 3s like Kyle. We do a lot of different things that I feel help us to be a better team.”

#5, Jarrod Polson, G

On Terrence Jones improving …
“Terrence is a new guy. Coach Cal always says he is a new player. He really came in even in the summer and worked harder than I have ever seen him work before. Obviously it showed off tonight and it will show off this season.”

On what he wants to improve on this season…
“Just in offense, I am not going to be a scorer this year but if I can get in there and play good defense and control the offense, that’s what I am trying to do.”

On how far he sees UK going this year…
“Obviously our goal is to get to the national championship and I honestly see it. We were just talking about how we just have so many different players and so many good players that are good on our team and it is going to be exciting to see.”

#14, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F

On playing a game in Rupp for the first time, and if he was a little nervous …
“It’s finally here, we just want to win. We are going to do what we have to do.”

On if they feel pretty comfortable playing together …
 “I mean of course, we just work hard together every day in practice.”

On how he thought he did tonight …
“I was going for a triple double, but I am just happy for Terrance (Jones). He had like 50 points? That’s crazy!”

#20, Doron Lamb, G

On what kind of player Terrence Jones will be this year …
 “He’s going to be a great player.  If he keeps playing like he did tonight, great things can happen for us this year.”

On what he plans on working on before the first game of the season …
“Conditioning, my body, and ball handling.” 

On how they played for the first time out…
“We have a lot of exciting players on this team. We have a lot of scorers and a lot of passers. We just have to show it every time on the court.”

On Coach Cal picking on the players’ games…
“It’s still early. We still have a lot of time to go for our first game. We have to keep working hard in practice and keep learning a lot from Coach Cal.”

On Terrence Jones’s game…
“He was hot the whole game. I have never seen him play like that. I hope he keeps doing that the rest of the season. He goes hard every time on the court this year. We just have to wait and see if he does the same thing. It would be great for us.”

#23, Anthony Davis, F

On how he thought he played…
“I think I played pretty well. I’ve got to knock down my jump shots when they leave me open, but a lot of them went in and out. I’ve got to concentrate and hit those when they leave me open during the season.”

On what Coach Calipari said after the game…
“He told us that we have to be more physical. We’ll be playing against bigger guys and we’ll have to be more physical to stop them.”

On Terrence Jones’ 52 points…
“Terrence played well.  He had a lot today and went hard. He showed us how we should be playing.”

On playing in Rupp Arena…
“It was crazy. I know it wasn’t packed, but just from my experience today it was crazy. Maybe it will get crazier and even louder (when the arena is full).”

#25, Marquis Teague, G

#30, Eloy Vargas, F

On if the freshmen look up to him…
“We kind of all are the leader. Everybody’s a leader and we help each other on the court and off the court.”

On if Coach Calipari spoke to him before the press conference…
“No, he told me I am doing good on rebounding and being more physical. And I am getting better.”

On the one thing he would like to improve upon…
“When I get an offensive rebound, I need to come back up and finish it.”

#44, Kyle Wiltjer, F

On if he got an elbow to the eye in the second half …
“Yeah, after I went after a loose ball. It’s part of the game.”

On if he is comfortable playing in Rupp Arena …
“Yeah, getting to come here a little early today and get some shoots in. It got me a little more comfortable with the rim, so I thought I shot the ball better.”

On the play of Terrence Jones
“Yes, he’s such a tremendous player. He can hurt you in so many ways. It’s a great opportunity to play with a player like that.”