Kentucky-Pikeville Postgame Quotes

Nov. 1, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we really had no real fight or viciousness to our game. We didn't really rebound. We did turn it over 15 times. Couldn't make a three. Other than that, I thought we showed some good signs (laughter).

The only good news is last year when we played Campbellsville, it was kind of the same. We had 24 turnovers, whatever assists, couldn't make a shot. We looked discombobulated. It was kind of the same. Then we came out and started playing a little bit better.

The thing with a game like this, I think Pikeville came out, which every team we play does, with a high energy level and aggressiveness. They were pretty big kids. They were seniors. They banged our freshmen around.

If we learn from this, this was a great game to play. If we don't learn from this, we got to do it some other way. I got to get them to understand. That means probably got to get meaner, which I don't like to do. Just learn. You know what just happened. Let's get better.

It wasn't just that guy, that guy. I mean, right up and down the line at every position. I couldn't take seeing a free ball and their guy pushing us out of the way and grabbing it. We don't win that way. My teams, we get that ball.

So questions.

Q. What did you think of Brandon (Knight)?

COACH CALIPARI: I thought he played pretty well. I mean, look, again, he's got to get a feel for how we're playing. He's got to understand, you can't just drive in the first play of the game. You got to get everybody involved. He's got a green light. Get everybody involved. When you see spots, go take your place.

But what he does, what I like, is he has a fight. When he saw we were dying, he took it and drove it, like I'm going to do it. At times I'm going to just let him go. If no one else wants to do it, go do it all.

We can't do it that way. We have to have him run our club. He's a scoring guard that has to run our club. We only had seven assists. Part of that was we couldn't make an open shot. We missed them all. This is a team, that shooting is one of our strengths. But we got to do it with numbers on our back and people in the seats. We got to do it then.

I mean, offensive rebounding, that's got to be one of our main things. We've got to be a team that really goes and offensive rebounds. Today, again, some of our guards got them, but you're not going to get them in a real game. A two-guard or a point guard is not going to rebound in an offensive game. You got to go back.

This is one of those games I'll go back and watch the tape and we just got to start figuring it out. We changed a little bit of transition for this game because I felt more comfortable on what we're trying to do to make it simple. We did get to the rim and drew fouls, which is what the dribble-drive is supposed to do.

I didn't see the fight. But these kids don't understand. They don't get it yet. The advantage we had last year is that they could go back to practice, and we have enough guys, if you didn't play, you got dunked on or scored on, that's what you missed, so then you think you're working hard. You come out to a guy that's really working and it shows. It shows.

So we've got to do some things in practice. I've said I've got to make these practices rougher, we have to get more physical, physical without fouling, but we got to get more physical. Guys got to accept it.

Small lineup wasn't particularly good today. I mean, if there's no energy, you can't play small guys. Doesn't work. So we were better with one of those big guys in there with the smaller guys, and one of them has to come off the bench. That's just how it is. Unless they really want to go in there and fight and go crazy, you can play that kind of lineup then.

Q. Any other way to add more depth for practice than walk-ons?

COACH CALIPARI: Here is the problem. I'm not going to put guys on there just to put them on. If I don't feel comfortable with anybody, we'll stay how we are. It is an issue. I'll be honest with you. I had this same situation in 1995-96. Exactly the same. I think I had eight guys on scholarship and four walk-ons, something like that, if I remember back. That team was a little bit more of a veteran team. We got to play together better.

I mean, we're just trying to figure each other out, create for each other more. You're not just running this so you can go get something. You're doing it to see if you can get something. If not, figure out where your teammates are.

We're not there yet. This is going to be a daily chore. The biggest thing is, are we in shape? I'm not sure we are. Are we physical enough? I know we're not. We're not tough enough. We don't play vicious enough. Do we find each other on the court? We don't. Are we skilled enough? Yeah, this is one of my more skilled teams, no question about it. They should be playing together better.

So I think some of it is we're just going to have to force it in practice. If they pass on a guy, we stop. No, you need to pass that, pass the ball. If they're not being physical enough, we got to have some remedies for that.

Q. Obviously you guys were shooting better free throws tonight. Is that something you've been working a lot on or the guys are better free-throw shooters this year?

COACH CALIPARI: We've been working on 3-point shooting, too. We're one-for-11 from the three. Of the 11, I don't think anybody was guarded. So you're talking about a horse shot that we were one-for-11 for. When I watch the tape, I'll make sure of that. I bet you nine of them were wide open.

But what you want them to be is confident and go in there and get fouled so you want to go to the line. Darius goes 11 for 12. Brandon goes nine-for-10. Doron goes eight-for-10. That's because they're driving the ball and getting fouled. At halftime, I'm like, ‘Why do they have so many more shots than us?’ Because we kept getting fouled. And that's why we shot 50 fouls and they shot 20.

I look as us defensively, we didn't talk enough, we didn't help enough. When a team drives down the length of the court and shoots a layup, there's something wrong right now. Again, it's what happens when you're trying to play all young guys.

You know, last year we were deeper. We had more guys. This makes it even more important that guys understand how they got to play. Then it's our job as coaches, let's just come up with stuff. Look at our weaknesses and let's get better with it.

I'll go back and watch this tape. I'm going to have a clear picture of, ‘OK, where do we need to take this?’

Q. Can you create that toughness that you are looking for?

COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah, absolutely you can. What you have to have is a player understanding that it's one of two things: He outworks me or I outwork him. This isn't about cool. This isn't about style points. Either he outworks me or I outwork him. So now we got to go to practice and make it that way.

I thought we were. But obviously not to the level we needed because, again, we had guys that were getting outworked. And it's OK? It's not OK. It's not OK. It's not OK to start the game the way we started the game. We could have been down 10-0. We did some good things. There were things in there that I liked.

But, again, where we are right now, what I told them in that room, ‘It's November 1st, guys, as long as you don't make excuses for how you played, as long as you accept you got outworked, you got out-toughed, you got out-hustled, as long as you accept that you did not make each other better offensively, you almost worked against each other, as long as you'll accept you would not go offensive rebound, if you accept it, we can work on it. If you want to come in here and have excuses, we got problems.’

I think they all know. You got to give Pikeville credit. They came in, weren't afraid. They had a veteran team. They had some physical guys. They were like, ‘Bring it.’ They did a great job.

Q. What did you think of the leadership you got from Darius (Miller) and DeAndre (Liggins) tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: I just think that we're not where we need to be. I think Darius (Miller) did some good things and there were other times he just stopped playing. You can't do that with freshmen because they are going to stop playing. I didn't think DeAndre (Liggins) in the first half had the energy he always plays with. If he doesn't have the energy, we have problems.

The hustle points we had today were probably the lowest I've had in four or five years for the team. The first half was the lowest hustle points I've ever seen one of my teams have. We got beat in everything. 28 (hustle points). Usually a bad game will be 38, 42. A good game will be 50. If we get up to 60, we're up 25 at half. We were at 28. Second half was 36.

So when you put those two numbers together, that's one of the lowest I've seen my teams do. That's where we are. The other team outworked us. Simple. I don't care who they are. You play a team, and they play harder than you, you're losing. You're not going to look good. You can't have one or two guys doing it, then two guys stop playing like it doesn't matter.

This is a team sport. It's five guys becoming a fist. Five guys together. One heartbeat. We all know what we're doing. We're all responsible to each other. That takes time. This group, we're going to have to learn it because we go have a home game against an NCAA tournament team, go on the road and play four games. Oh, my gosh... Going to be interesting.

So we're going to have to, in a hurry, get some guys up to speed.

Thanks, guys.

Kentucky Players

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G

On the second half …  
“We tried to get out there defensively. I think we picked it up a little bit. I didn’t have the energy at the beginning of the game and Coach (Calipari) called me out on it a little bit. I knew that, and I just tried to pick it up and make easy plays and that’s what I did.”

On the issues that we’re brought to light through this game …  
“That is what exhibition games are about, getting better. We have practice tomorrow and we’re going to try to get better in practice. Let’s try to continue to get better. Let’s try to be more scrappy, tough. We need more fight. I think there is going to be more fight in practice tomorrow. We’re just going to try to continue to get better day-by-day. ”

On Brandon Knight…  
“He’s got a knack for scoring the ball.  He’s a great leader. He’s trying to figure it out a little bit. He’s a great person to be around. I like playing with him a lot. We’re just trying to get better as a team. I think the freshmen are trying to figure out how hard Coach Cal wants them to play.”

#01, Darius Miller, G

On the team’s intensity level…  
“We have to come out and play with high levels of energy. We we’re trying to see in this first exhibition game where we were at and now we know and we’re going to go back and work on it. Our intensity wasn’t where it should be today and we didn’t play as hard as we thought we should have so we have to work on that and make it a habit by going at it everyday.”

On his leadership role …  
“I don’t really feel a lot of pressure with it. I feel that more guys have leadership opportunities too, as in DeAndre (Liggins) and a few other guys who have stepped up in a leadership role so I don’t feel a lot of pressure with that. I’m definitely comfortable and I think that comes with a year of experience and being able to accomplish the things we accomplished last year. ”

On the bumpy start…  
“This game was basically to see where we were at and what needed to work on; and I think we all have a general idea of what we need to get better at and what we need to work on in the next few weeks and practice throughout the season. I’m sure with time and experience everything will get a lot better.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G

On if he knew the criticism was going to come from Coach Calipari after the game…  
“Yeah, but we just have to work harder. We have the talent to do it we just have to push ourselves on defense and rebound. That’s all we have to do because offense is there for us.”

On Coach Calipari saying the team wasn’t tough enough …  
“I listen to that and just want to get better. We will just work on it tomorrow.”

On if he was surprised at Coach Calipari’s reaction to the game …
“Yeah, I was surprised he was upset tonight. I see why he was upset because we just didn’t play hard and play to the best of our ability.

#12, Brandon Knight, PG

On if he was surprised the team was nervous …  
“Yeah, a little but I know I’ve been working hard so it’s nothing to worry about.”

On what Coach Calipari communicated …  
“(He just talked about) Just our energy and me talking more. Just our energy as a team and rebounding and to not stop playing. We stop playing sometimes and just things of that nature.”

On why being a vocal guy is challenging …  
“Just because you get caught up in the game and just trying to do what you do right. It’s just kind of tough when you’re trying to do the right things and making sure you’re still talking to everyone else making sure they’re doing the right things. I think I was a little better today, but I still think I can get better at it.”

On why the team did not shoot the ball very well …
“I think the atmosphere and just being prepared for the game. I really think it’s just because of the first game, just a lot of jitters and anxiety and just getting into a grove.

Pikeville Head Coach Kelly Wells

Opening remarks …
“Just a general overview of the game; one of the things I promised when I came down here was we would fight, scratch and claw for everything. And I thought until the last minute our guys really battled. One of the things I tell our guys all the time is I’m a Kentucky fan 364 days a year and this is day we took off so we could try to compete like crazy. I think if anybody paid attention we earned a little bit of respect from people and (showed) what our program is about. We’re not going to come down and gimmick and try those things to compete. We’re going to come down and play every single time. I’m excited about guys like Vance Cooksey and our program, and I’m no-less proud sitting here in front of you now than I was when we pulled up here coming through (Interstate) 64 today. So, any questions you have for myself or Vance we’d be thrilled to answer.”

On the play of Kentucky guard Brandon Knight
“Well, we’ve got a pretty good one sitting over here too, but I think Brandon Knight is an exceptional player. One of the things he creates for you is a problem with being able to stop him in any transition. We didn’t play John Wall, but I can’t imagine him being a whole lot more difficult to stop than he was. We didn’t have an opportunity to really use our hands or our body to stop penetration or anything tonight. So, we were kind of like, ‘What do we do?’ I didn’t want to play zone so we just had some trouble stopping him. He’s just a mismatch nightmare for anybody – you’ve got guys as quick as him, like Vance, but they don’t have the same size and girth and he’s just a good player. Tough to cover.”

On Pikeville’s shooting tonight …  
“Well (Kentucky) had a lot to do with that. I mean they knew that too. They knew we could shoot the basketball a little bit. They did a very good job of pressuring up on us. One of the things we had some success with is we finally decided to start dribble penetration – getting the ball into the paint. Even Trevor (Setty), who is more of a perimeter shooter, got the ball in the paint and got some good assists. When Vance started getting back to the basket a little bit Quincy (Hankins-Cole) drove it a few times and it really opened things up for us, but we just didn’t do that enough. We just didn’t understand that as well as we needed to.”

On the number of fouls called in the game …  
“Oh we’re not going to let down no matter what. And Kentucky puts that kind of pressure on you. They’re not a set-oriented team, or run and go take perimeter shots. They’re going to force you to guard them and they want to live at the free-throw line. They’re playing with, I heard Cal say one time, a layup is great and an open three is just good. I mean, that tells you his philosophy. He wants you to get that ball to the basket and he does a great job of it. It’s hard to defend. They’re going to see a lot of zone and they’re going to have to get ready for that. They didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight, but I know guys like Darius (Miller) and Jon Hood and those guys can shoot it when they’re ready and we look for Big D (Miller) to have a good year too. They’ll shoot the ball fine but they’ll see a lot of zone I can promise you.”

Pikeville Players

#4, Vance Cooksey, G

On if he thought his team was nervous ...
“I don’t think we were nervous. We as a team knew what situation we were getting into. We knew that we were playing Kentucky and they are a great solid, young team and everything, but speaking for myself, I wasn’t nervous. You know, I used to play at the Division I level. I don’t think my team was nervous either because we were all prepared. We all read the scouting report. It’s just a lot of calls go one way, and a lot of calls will go the other way. I’m proud of my team. I loved the way we battled tonight.”

On Brandon Knight ...
“Brandon is a very solid player. He is very quick. He can create a lot of problems in transition. If you don’t stop the ball, and don’t put pressure on him, and he gets past you in one step, it’s going to create opportunities for the other team. That also will lead to open shots for them.”