Kentucky-Clarion Postgame Quotes

Nov. 6, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On the play of John Wall and Patrick Patterson tonight ...

"I asked him, is that you're A-game? Pretty good. He makes us different obviously. Let me tell you what I loved what he did. There were three or four times where he should have passed the ball but he didn't in transition. There are times he's moving so fast he's not recognizing that stuff. But here is what I appreciated; he's saying to me we have to get Patrick [Patterson] some shots here. At the end let's get DeMarcus [Cousins] the ball. That's a leader; he has a feel for his team, wants to keep everybody happy and wants to keep them involved. I told Patrick, shoot threes. He's looking at me like I'm crazy. I said, you shoot the five-minute three-point shooting drill everyday and he makes as many three's as our guards. I said, it's you thinking you're going to miss it, just shoot it. He's still not in sync with what we need, and I have to figure out how we play him and really get the most out him and him get the most out of what we're trying to do. What a great kid though, in the first half he said he's fine. He just wants to win. They want him to be our best player."

On the differences in the offense between today and Monday's exhibition ...

"This was defense what we did. Again, how about when Mark Krebs went in, did you see the offensive game? You saw us sticking to the second and third drive and getting layups and wide open shots. Isn't it amazing? We defended today. We got a little tired at the end and we broke down a few times. There were a few offensive rebounds down the stretch where the guys just stopped. But I'm not changing, the bar has been raised, they understand what they have to do. They aren't going twice tomorrow, they're having a day off and just going at 5 p.m. tomorrow. I told them to continue to run so they could see what it looked like when a team got tired. Let me say this, Clarion is better than Campbellsville, we just did a much better job of defending. They're much better skilled, they have more size, and it's not disrespect for Campbellsville, Clarion is just a better team. We're getting closer. For 20 days in, they're trying to do what we are asking them to do. If they aren't in the greatest condition, that's on me, if they aren't the toughest, that's on me. At the end of the day it's all on me. What I demand, they will do. This team listens, they want to be coached, they're good kids, and I'm just going to really have to be specific and precise in what we want from them. How about Cousins? The guy is a beast. I told him, you think the other teams we are going to play are going to be nine inches bigger? They're going to be three inches bigger. How about the late play and they skipped the ball and he ran to a player that wasn't his player in front of the bench and tried to get a hand on it. That's what I'm looking for. There was some good. Perry Stevenson, he is now solidly the backup for Patrick, and I kind of liked them in together. I have no problem with that. No one can believe that we can make free throws. You have to understand that anyone who has watched my team knows that I am the worst free throw shooting coach ever to coach basketball. That is why we don't practice free throws here because I'm not going to screw them up. "

On the status of Daniel Orton...

"Something happened with his chest. He got hit in his chest. It's not a rib cage or bone thing, more like a joint or something. We don't know if it's long term."

On the offense ...

"I've been doing stuff with those guards by myself on understanding getting free and then how to get the ball in the lane. They were trying to avoid contact, they were driving on the line to be passers and when you do that it's like a weave, you're the Washington Generals going against the Globetrotters, and it's just a weave. If you get into the lane, people have to play you. They have to sink to play you and gets you wide open which Patrick was at the top of the key or they chase wide and you throw it to them and you get a layup. Or the corner man helps, like Ramon [Harris], and you throw to Ramon. Or they come off and you see Darius [Miller] drive down and throw the lob. That is the kind of stuff we are trying to do. I'm going to be honest; this is also a post up team. There are teams we are going to play and our biggest advantage is going inside. Now John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, I want you to go nuts and get as many layups as you can. If you can't get a layup, throw it inside. If they double team, Darius, make shots."

Kentucky Players

#5, Ramon Harris, G/F

On the improvements made in this game...

"I think we made a huge improvement. The way coach changed practiced showed on the court today. I see how hard we work in practice and the hard work pays off."

On the being more comfortable with the offense...

"I think we're starting to get more comfortable. There are still some things we have to learn. Sometimes we were wrong on the court today, even though it didn't look like it. It's our defense that's going to carry us. If we keep working on our defense our offense will come out of that."

On the crowd...

"It brings more energy. Especially the fans, we have some of the best fans in the country and when they're loud like they were tonight it really makes Rupp a better place."

#54, Patrick Patterson, F

On the improvements from last game...

"Tonight went pretty good. I think we played a lot better tonight than we did the other night. We all communicated a lot better. We hit the boards better and were able to execute the offense. I think we came out prepared with a lot of enthusiasm."

On the offense...

"We know that's the type of offense we have to play, no matter who our opponent is. Running up and down the court is what Coach wants. Whatever the opponent he wants the same results. It's a lot of fun.

On the early practices...

"Six a.m. practices are rough but I think they helped us out a lot. It made us tougher and had us communicate a lot better and play a lot better. We're still trying to get the offense down but practicing it everyday and running it everyday it will come to us a lot faster."

#11, John Wall

On how it felt to be out on the court with the team ...  

"It felt great. I was happy to be out there with my teammates. It was tough sitting out and watching them play (against Campbellsville). They did a great job and I just wanted to be a part of the flow."

On if he was excited to play this game ...  

"I couldn't wait. I play with them in practice. We have a great team. We still have a long way to go from where we are today. But being out there with them and seeing all the fans out there and having Coach Cal as our coach, I just can't wait to get out there and play with the team." 

On being a leader on the team ...  

"The other day in practice Coach Cal said I could be a more vocal leader. It's the best thing as a point guard, no matter if you're a freshman, sophomore, or junior you are going to have to be a leader and talk on the court. To be a vocal leader, you try to start in practice and get everyone used to it so that when you get on the court they will follow right behind you. Patrick (Patterson) is the main leader but I step in behind him and do what I can and be the vocal leader at the point guard."

On if other teams are aware of him ...  

"It's just how it is. College is just like high school. If you're a good player you play certain teams with certain players that will go after you. That's how it is in college, but it's not a one-man show. I have Kentucky basketball on my chest and I'm trying to support my team and do the best I can to help them win games."

#21, Perry Stevenson

On what made the difference in the offense against Clarion ...  

"It was a little bit of everything. Going through John (Wall) and Patrick (Patterson) and all the big men works for us. It's whatever is going at the time."

On if he sensed that he would be worked into the playing rotation ...

"I felt like I had another chance to prove that I want to be in there and help the team win."

On if this type of performance is what fans can expect for the season ...

"I feel that this is definitely how it is going to be. I think we will definitely pick up the pace as the season goes on and play a little faster, get teams exhausted and keep running them."

Clarion Head Coach Ron Righter

Opening statement ...

"I'm thoroughly impressed with John's [Calipari] team. I think he got their attention this week, because that is a different ball club than the one that played Monday night. In thirty-five years of coaching Division One, Division Two and across the country, that is as skilled a team as I've seen. It's just a matter of time and this place will see something special. What I was saw tonight was veterans blend in and give the 100 percent he demands. There was a nice energy and nice team play from every one of those guys. I was very impressed with everyone coming off of the bench and the way they played hard. He definitely got their attention this week and he definitely got ours. I knew how good John Wall was, but he is the real deal. He is in another league. I've followed [Patrick] Patterson and the guy is a tough kid. I told him after the game, `You are going to be the foundation, you have the keep the young kids together and keep believing in what you're doing. You are the key this year to how far the team will go.' I've always watched his game and I'm glad he came out and did a good job for them tonight.

"We tried a couple things tonight. [Kentucky] was long, and they are probably the longest team I've seen in a long time. I think you are going to have a lot of fun here in this place. If John gets a couple of good road wins, this team is going to get some confidence and it will be special for everyone."

On the game plan against Kentucky ...

"We played all man-to-man, and we aren't a man-to-man team. When you play a team like this it exposes your weaknesses, but we needed to do that. It really helped John prepare for what he needs to do. We knew we would get hammered on the boards, so we worked on a lot of rebounding stuff. My team usually plays below the rim, and this team played above the rim. In fact, they played above the block. We would make some pretty good moves out there, but we couldn't get it off because they were so long. We were trying to keep it to single digits in the second half, but they got on that spurt at the end. Monday night, they faltered and got sloppy, but tonight their bench came in and extended the score. That is a credit to what they did this week."

On the difference in Kentucky's play from Monday ...

"You could tell right from the get go their closeouts were more intense. They didn't miss any closeouts and you saw the way they closed out on our perimeter people. They got pieces of the ball and they didn't allow many open jump shots. Even when we swung it around, they always got a piece of the ball. The biggest difference was the space in the dribble drive. They ran their dribble drive offense night and day. They had their angles picked. The way they were rotating, no matter where Wall drove, he knew where the other four were. The spacing, the closeouts and the aggression was there. They had fire in their eyes."

On the play of Clarion ...

"It was a learning experience. Lloyd [Harrison] and Jamar [Harrison] are new to the team, and Mike [Sherry] has been with me a couple of years. They are still learning one another. I've been pleased with the way we play. Tonight, Kentucky exposed us, but in the last few weeks of practice we've started to gel the things we do."

Clarion Player Quotes

#1, Lloyd Harrison, G

On the atmosphere of Rupp Arena ...

"The crowd was crazy. I have never played in an atmosphere like that. It was definitely a learning experience so we just need to take it for what it was and build on it for the rest of the year."

On which Kentucky player impressed him the most ...

"I was impressed with (DeMarcus) Cousins the most. He has a really good touch and runs the floor very well."

On defending the dribble-drive-motion offense ...

"I feel defensively we handled it well, but our downfall was turnovers leading to the transition game."

#31, Mike Sherry, G

On playing in Rupp Arena for the first time ...

"To play in that kind of atmosphere in the Bluegrass, you hear all the folklore about Kentucky basketball. It was awesome. I don't know how many times I am going to be able to play in front of a crowd like that and it was a lot of fun playing in an environment like that."

On how impressed he was by Patrick Patterson ...

"I think offensively and defensively he does so much for them, he's the glue of that team. He scores, but he still always looks for the open man. He's a mature player that has been around and on defense he boxes out really well, so I was just really impressed by how he played."

On how can he build from this game ...

"We can take it from here and know that this is the No. 4 or 5 team in the nation preseason. We knew that coming in, but we believe we can compete and win against anyone. We just need to take it as a learning experience. I thought we played really hard and gave it our all. The result isn't what we wanted, but we can take a lot from it. It's early in the season and there is a lot of time to improve."