Kentucky-Pikeville Postgame Quotes

Nov. 2, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari  

Q. What did you like the most?

John Calipari: 29 assists - and in a game where guys could have tried to get their own, it's the only way this will work if they really want to share for each other.

25 what we would call one ‘mores’. I have a shot, but he has a better shot, we need to let that one go. You know, we did not settle for 3's in the first half, we just did what we had to do.

I'll tell you what, I’ve got to give it to them. They came out of the gate making shots and playing and they weren't afraid. We were just too big.

What I'm happy with is that because we were too big, we threw the ball where we should have, in the post.

Q. How do you settle on the two groups and what did you think of that tonight?

John Calipari: I didn't think Alex (Poythress) played as well as I thought he should have played in the Blue/White. And as much as I didn't want to put two young kids on one group, I thought it was better for Alex and Trey (Lyles), I thought it would be better for him, too. Trey is still behind. Trey wasn't doing it for the summer he didn't do the Bahamas. He is just starting. So, he's still a little bit behind and you see he's still pretty good.

But he stepped in the hole a few times because he ran up-and-down, got tired and went to jump and just stepped in a hole. He didn't jump very high.

So, then he dunked that last one. I left him in because I just wanted him to make some plays and shots.

I thought Andrew (Harrison) was ridiculous. Andrew wanted Dominique (Hawkins) to shoot that. He wanted 10 assists. He threw that ball crosscourt and Dom was wide open. "Shoot it." And he passed it to Alex, who made the shot.

And he had nine assists, and I'm guessing four hockey assists. In other words, he threw it ahead quick enough for that I could throw it for a pass. So he was outstanding today.

Q. Speaking of communication in the first half, there was one time when Tyler threw the ball into Dakari (Johnson). He went over a double team, and I heard Tyler shout out, coming from behind. I don't remember ever hearing that kind of communication on the court last year, is that what you've been striving for?

John Calipari: A friend of mine came in, the coach up in Western Pennsylvania and watched us practice yesterday. And he said, last year at this time, you were coaching effort intensity, and passion, if you remember. And he said now you're just coaching basketball. It's a big difference.

So, while I enjoy it a lot more, I'll do the other if I have to. But that's what happens when you have veterans back that get it and understand and have young kids that are hungry and are listening and watching. They're learning from each other. Dakari (Johnson) made a free throw. How about that, too?

Q. Was there any part of the game that was exposed that would give you concern that is something you might need to work on?

John Calipari: Probably should have one more platoon. I would probably feel better with three platoons, rather than two.

Q. What can we make of what Karl (Anthony-Towns) ended up doing, just because he was kind of towering over everyone or is that --

JOHN CALIPARI: You can say what you want, but, you know, Dakari (Johnson) didn't get that many baskets, and part of it was Andrew was spoonfeeding him.

But, the other part was he was running the floor, he was active, he was getting to where he was open. He made his free throw. I mean, Karl can play.

Now he broke down definitely a couple times, and I told him and Devin (Booker), if you guys want to score the ball, you will defend or you'll be out. You're not taking all the ball shots, and then go back and let a guy run by you and dunk on you. It's not happening here. But they're young.

I thought Devin played well. I love his speed up-and-down the court. See, Devin -- if Devin thinks he's going to get two points, you can't believe how fast he is. He will run -- he will outrun world-class sprinters to go get that ball.

Q. Speaking of which, how well do you think your guys kept the pace, kept attacking?

John Calipari: There was one segment where we backed up a little bit and we'll show them on the tape. But short of that, I thought they were really good.

We didn't press and trap the whole game, but we pressured the whole game. And there are games we'll press more.

I like the rotation the way I did it, because if that veteran group comes in the eight-minute mark or 7:45 mark, I can finish a game with that group with one or two subs if I choose to or I can go back with that other group.

And again, I’ve got to figure out how we finish games, it looks as though the best five free throw shooters should be on there, Karl being one. Maybe Trey being another. And probably the twins and Tyler. That will probably be a finishing team. I would imagine. We haven't tried it yet, but that's what I would imagine.

Q. How much do you feel like they have progressed from the exhibition games in the Bahamas?

John Calipari: Physically you're looking at a body and you're saying, my gosh -- his dad said, I can't believe this is my son. Karl Towns’s dad saying the same thing about him. The twins dad looking at their sons like, whoa. Dakari, you look at him running up-and-down the court, he's as fast as anybody. This kid is flying up-and-down the court.

Now the question is can we sustain it. And by doing it this way, we can sustain stuff. Now we'll look at the stats, guys played all of about 20 minutes and we'll equate these into 34 minute stats. If they had played 34 minutes, if it was a normal college starter playing a lot of minutes, what would their numbers have looked like. That's efficiency.

We'll look at some rebounding efficiency. Which is how many offensive rebound attempts were there, how many did you get.

Defensively the same thing. And I think when you start looking at those efficiencies, you're going to see a different look at these guys.

And I thought that, again, I loved Andrew's aggressiveness on defense and how he passed the ball and got guys involved. One team can switch pick and rolls, the other team doesn't have to. We can fight and force down and it's kind of like playing two different styles of games when you play these guys.

Q. You talked a couple weeks ago about let's see how we defend the three-point shooting

John Calipari: Tyler was going crazy early in the game. There's two things, if you were watching, we were so big it's hard to score around the basket. And you say why? Well, there's two seven footers on each group and there's a 6’8” guy that puts his head on the rim and there's a 6’10” guy with long arms. So there's three guys like that on this team, but there's also a guard that's 6’6” on each team.

So you’ve got to beat us up the court in transition. I thought we did a fairly good job. They got in the lane a couple times in transition defense, but we were so big they didn't really get baskets at it. I think they made two or three transition goals.

At the 3-point line is the other one.

And then the other side would be try to get to the foul line. I don't think you're going to get a drive into the rim. I don't believe so.

Q. Would you prefer to have a 30-second shot clock for this team?

John Calipari: I didn't even notice it. 24 (seconds) would be fine.

Q. Can you rate the two platoons, the first versus the second one?

John Calipari: It’s like a boxer. You’ve a lefty jab and a righty coming right over the top to knock somebody out. And they're different in how they play.

What you saw is Pikeville came out of the gate and they were flying, and then each sub I made, each time by the third sub and then the fourth sub, all of a sudden you see them missing eight-straight shots.

They were making every shot for awhile. We left them open and they made it. And that's the whole point of what we're trying to do. Play fast, don't be in a hurry, though we're playing fast.

If we can score quick, we will. If not, let's create a good shot. If we get a shot and miss it, let's send three guys to the glass and rebound.

If we don't rebound it, they are not getting a transition basket.

You run back. If you don't run back, I'm subbing you out. If your team's not running back I'll sub all five.

We're not giving up 3-point shots. Make them drive into our teeth of our defense. I mean, if you watch, you're saying, well, that's how you should play, you're not real smart, that's how you should play. You're right. I mean, just normal watching a team that's what you would see.

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Kentucky Student-Athletes

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On the platoon system …  
“I think it looked good. I definitely feel better. I don’t feel tired. Like when Coach Cal says that practice is way harder than the games, it is true. I really felt that tonight that I was fresh all the time.”

On if that feeling opens his eyes a little more that this platoon system could be very effective …
“Definitely, I think it is going to be really beneficial for us, especially pressing. We showed our press tonight and obviously we have a little tweak to it, but the foundation is there for sure.”

On how much faster he feels UK is playing this year than years past …
“Way faster because with the platoon system you can just play up and down and not have to worry about getting extremely tired or slowing the ball down and having to play the half-court game. Now, with five in and five out, you can just run and run and run and wear people down.”

#12, Karl-Anthony Towns, F

On how the team played…
“We played really well. I was really happy with the assist total. It shows we were moving the ball. We did a great job as a team. We ran the floor and contested a lot of shots. We have a lot of things to work on as well. That is what we are going to start on tomorrow.”

On not settling with their shot selection…
“I was just worried about the ‘W’. We just had to go out there and play the game. It is 40 minutes, and we have to play all 40. I was just happy we did that. I just tried to contribute to the team.”

On the platoon setup…
“I thought it was excellent. As I said before, it was going to help us. We were able to run all 40 minutes and not get tired. Once one group got tired, we threw another group in there. I thought it worked really well.”

#1, Devin Booker, G

On balancing the big guys playing time and setting the platoons …
“The big guys are important to us, so we have to show them love because they do all of the dirty work for us. So you know we have to reward them sometimes.”

On his game improving …
“I am just getting adjusted to the college game. Today was a good test for me and I stepped up to it. It was a good time out there and the goal for coach was for us to have fun and that is what we did.”

On adjusting to pace of college game …
“It’s a lot different. Coach stresses run the floor so that is one thing I try to focus on a lot. You know, sprinting the floor so Tyler (Ulis) can kick it up to me and we can initiate our offense like that. Coach stresses that to us so I do it.”

Pikeville Head Coach Kelly Wells

Opening Statement
“Well obviously you found out who the most talented team in the country is. It wasn’t us tonight, but I think you’ll see we’re not the only team that’s going to happen to. I was proud of our guys there for a long stretch in the first half. I thought we battled hard. We knew size was going to be an issue with our two posts still being out. They’re so big and one of the problems we talked about earlier as a group was we knew that many of these shots were going to be hard for us to find tonight. Obviously, they were few and far between offensively. Our team battled for the most part. We need our post players to get in there and do a little better job. You’re looking at a team that is historically probably the most talented team ever assembled here and that’s saying a lot. No disrespect to any team that’s been here. You’ll be hard pressed to find anybody more talented than that bunch. We just couldn’t compete on the glass with them. When they started pressuring us they’re just so long that we couldn’t find any outlet passes. It just was a tough night for us and it’s going to be a tough night for everyone that steps in this gymnasium.”

On what impressed the most about UK…
“They don’t ever settle. They don’t settle. I’ve never been a part of a team where we gave up 80% field goals in the first half. They don’t settle for anything, but dunks and layups. You and I make a conventional bounce pass and chest pass and every time they’re throwing lobs and we look like middle school kids out there at times because they’re just so big. They take away the basket from you, they take away easy baskets, but I think the biggest key is they don’t settle for anything and (Devin) Booker when he’s open, it’s good for him to shoot it.”

On UK’s weaknesses…
“They didn’t have a weakness that we could expose. I think there will be some times where they have to not get fact happy. They have to be hungry all the time and all night. There will be nights throughout a college basketball season when you just don’t have it; somebody gets hurt, injuries and rotations. I would like to have some of the problems that they’ve had.”

On Devin Booker…
“Well he’s going to make their post players even better. He stretches your defense and we didn’t do it tonight because we got behind, but if the situation were close we would’ve stuck to him and not even let him see the floor. He’s one of those what we call ‘dead eye’ shooters. You have to find him all the time and this will make all of their post players, (Marcus) Lee and Dakari (Johnson), all those guys are going to be better because he’s out there on the wing.”

On each of UK platoon’s cohesion…
“We couldn’t really expose a lot of it, but I do think that will be some kind of a concern for them. I like to give a group a role and let them play all of the minutes, but that’s going to be a challenge for Cal. He’s won more games than I’ve coached in so I’m not telling him anything new. I think sometimes that will be an issue. How he can keep those guys happy, I can’t keep five guys happy, but he’s the master at that. I think they’ll be fine. They seem like they love each other. There’s a lot of good continuity on the floor for them.”

Pikeville Student-Athletes

#24, K.K. Simmons, G

On his performance…
“Honestly, I felt like the rim was a big ocean. I felt really good before the game. I was excited to play. Those guys are pros. I wanted to see where I could measure up to those guys playing wise. I spoke to a lot of family members, went out there, took my time, and played basketball. It felt really good.”

On shooting over the taller players…
“We work on those kind of shots in practice. We have our taller guy, Big Mike (Michael Eneh), sometimes before or after practice we’ll just shoot over him. I’ve been shooting a long time. I love to shoot.”