Kentucky-Morehouse Postgame Quotes

Nov. 7, 2011

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Head Coach John Calipari

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What did you think?

COACH CALIPARI: We were better. That's what I was looking for. I was looking for more intensity, a team that was a little more athletic and a little bigger. I wanted to see how we came out of the gate. I thought we came out of the gate really strong.

If I'm not mistaken in the first half, I think my starters were 24-for-24. I've never heard of that. I also want to tell you we had 31 assists, which I was happy about.

Again, the game got crazy. Played those last six minutes and we only had 13 turnovers. So we're ahead in some cases, but we're behind in others. But you saw the toughness was better, the defense was better. All the things we worked on.

I hate to say this. We look like we may be a pretty good zone team when I go big on this team. With Anthony (Davis) is on that one wing, you're not getting a shot off. Forget it. Play the other wing. Means you got to play half the court.

I like Terrence (Jones) at three. So now you're 6'10", 6'10", 6'9" on your frontline. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with a 7'3" wingspan as your two. Doron Lamb as a two. I don't know how they passed it around when we went to that zone.

Q. Why do you hate the idea of being a good zone team?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, you can't be good at everything. You're either going to be a really good man team or a really good zone team. The teams that were really good at zone and still are, Syracuse, that's what they play. That's their defense. They work every day. They don't spend time on man-to-man. Temple back in the day. Arizona State, Herb Sendek is playing zone. If they have to go man-to-man or press or anything else, they're not as good.

I don't believe you can be good at everything. But as a change-up defense, this could be something we look to. I doubt it. But we might.

Q. You talked after that last game about why Kidd-Gilchrist would start.

COACH CALIPARI: It wasn't only me. Everybody that watched the game and saw it said, ‘This kids needs to be starting. It's crazy. Leave him in the game.’

Q. I assume he gave you what you wanted.

COACH CALIPARI: Did you see him run the court? Do you know now why I tell my team, ‘If he's ahead of you and you don't give him the ball, you're coming out.’ He makes plays in transition. He'll pass it. He's a willing passer. He wants us to win so he'll make that extra thing. He's good.

Terrence (Jones) played today. Terrence now, you know, you look at him and you see an athlete now, a guy that can fly up and down the court and put his head on the rim. Well, I didn't see that last game.

Then the other guy that played today was Anthony (Davis). He played with some aggressiveness. He still had some balls knocked from him and didn't come up with a few rebounds. But did you like our zone offense with him in there? Just throw it at the rim, make them play the basket, which means the middle's open, the wings are open.

Q. Probably a lot of people assumed if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was starting, that would mean Darius Miller wasn't.

COACH CALIPARI: We really got six starters and maybe seven when Kyle (Wiltjer) is playing really good. Because those other two are older, I would say we have six starters. Any NBA team that's come in, and just about every one has, says the same thing: ‘You have six starters. One of them has to come off the bench.’ Whether it's going to be Darius (Miller) or Doron (Lamb), I don't know right now. It was either going to be Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist), Darius or Doron [to come off the bench]. After this, you understand it's not going to be Michael, he's going to be starting. Now, who is that other starter?

It's good. You have two other guys that have to fight. The thing that will take their games to another level, Darius and Doron, is that competitive spirit. That battle for a spot I think takes them to another level. And it really doesn't matter who's in the end. One of them was the MVP of the SEC tournament and the other was the best player for us in the Final Four, Doron. They're both really good.

I may do what I did a year ago, game to game, where it was DeAndre (Liggins) or Doron, depending on whether I needed a defender or a scorer.

It's a good problem to have. Let me put it that way.

Q. How do you judge what you saw tonight and transfer it to when competition gets better and better as you move forward?

COACH CALIPARI: I'm going to watch the tape. I told them I'm not even looking at the score. I want to see them staying in the stance. I want to see them physical, going after rebounds. I want to see the rebound percentages offensively and defensively making sure we were attacking. I thought we made easy plays, which is what is hard to do in a game like this.

Again, look, Morehouse, we played really well, and that's why the score was what it was. Morehouse lost to Georgia by 24. They came in, I'm telling you, they were excited. They were screaming in this hallway. They were jacked up on the court. We hit them in the mouth to start the game.

But they're a good team. They're not a bad team. It's just that we were really good tonight.

Now, will we be playing better teams? Obviously. We got the No. 1 ranked team in the country. We've got a team that's been a top-five team the last couple years. We have other teams on our schedule who are really good. Talented players. We're going to have to sustain effort and do all those things.

I will watch the tape and take what I can from it. (I’m) then probably going to watch some highlight tape tomorrow to show them when they were terrific defensively, all those things, how we ran wide. The last game we ran right up the middle of the court; didn't get anything.

So there were some good things. But there will be some things that I don't like, but...

Q. What did you think about (Kyle) Wiltjer's play with 26 points?

COACH CALIPARI: I was happy. The only thing I told him at halftime is, OK, you're starting to define your game. So your game is if you're open for 3s, take them. If they're tight, you want a one-dribble pull-up, take them. If not, hit the wing, go in the post and shoot a hook. Make it real simple. Don't invent stuff. Shoot the 3, shoot the one-dribble pull-up, throw it to the wing, go in the post, shoot the runner.

Did you see the hook he shot? Shoot hooks. I mean, he tried to throw that one pass to show us. He didn't need to. The other thing is he's got to get tougher. He can do that in practice. We spent the last few days after Transy, all toughness. That's all we worked on. Tough rebounds, blocking each other, diving on the floor, taking charges, gang rebounding together, ‘the gauntlet,’ which we prepare for a team we play that fouls on every possession. We just put them through a gauntlet where you get fouled on the baseline, you get fouled on the wing, you drive to pass it, you get fouled again. We call it the gauntlet.

Q. Coach, talking about going off of practice, with Mike Kidd-Gilchrist going out there, he really seems to bring an edge that Teague and Davis feed off of. It's almost nastiness.

COACH CALIPARI: It's not nasty. He plays that hard. When you watch him, it forces you as a player to raise your level of intensity because if you don't you stand out like, ‘Why isn't he playing? Why is he playing cool? He acts like it doesn't matter.’ And the other dude is diving on the floor, talking, jumping, stabbing, blocking, sprinting, driving. It makes you either mad or you say, ‘I got to step this up, I got to step on the gas.’

I think what's happened is Marquis Teague plays that way, too, now. It's nice to have two out there that way.

Q. Could you talk about Teague, the way he ran the team. Went a long time before he took a shot.

COACH CALIPARI: He goes 5-6, seven assists, two (turnovers). Again, we're flying up and down the court. So we're not walking, throwing 12 passes, making a slice cut, back screen. We're flying, driving and moving. He has a lot of decisions to make when he has the ball. He has the ball 75 percent of the time. The last two games, 16 assists, four (turnovers). He's going to turn it over some and have less assists. He's going to screw up some. But he's playing well.

Again, he gets 12 points on 5-6 shooting. Stops defensively when he's not on the ball. Does that a lot. But he's playing well.

Q. How encouraging is it or how important is the team chemistry this early? When (Jarrod) Polson was in, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was going crazy.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, first of all, Jarrod Polson can play because he doesn't hurt you. He doesn't go in the game like, ‘Watch this, then does something crazy.’ He just goes in and runs the team, plays the shooting guard. What position do you want me to play? I'm not going to play the hardest play. Played for Kyle Wiltjer. He missed another wide-open shot. Defensively he does it. He's longer than you think. He's 6'3" and he dunks. So he doesn't hurt you.

It's nice when we put in Sam (Malone) and Brian (Long), who we don't use that much in practice. They're in that game and they're playing pretty well, which is kind of neat, and the team cheering those guys on, too.

Q. In a game like this when you're turning them over on defense, your kids are playing hard, they're scoring out of their defense, how much does that help you with your message that we got to get it done on defense first?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, I think they know. They understand. They've got guys on this team, three of them, really four of them, that were in the Final Four and know that you got to have a certain toughness. You have to have a grittiness to you, you got to defend and rebound.

What this team has, the added thing, is we can block shots. Last year we blocked shots, which is amazing. Terrence, Darius and Josh (Harrellson) blocked shots last year, but now they're coming at you different ways.

We have the let's be tough defensively, let's scramble it up a little bit. I can remember the one time, the kid driving down, he saw Anthony just dribbled right out through to a guy 25 feet. You just say, ‘Come on, go in there.’ That kid's long. I don't know how many blocks he had today.


FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#13, Sam Malone, G

On the game in general…
“It was really fun tonight, we came out with a lot of energy tonight and that makes it more fun for everyone.  We play with a lot of energy and when we do we play a lot better that way.”

On the reaction of the fans to your made shot…
“It’s a great feeling, to see them all get excited and my teammates get excited, it felt good.

On the focus on intensity in practice affected the outcome of the start to this game…
“Definitely, we came out a lot hungrier today.  Intensity changes everything.  I think we looked like a totally different team out there today.”

#30, Eloy Vargas, F

On if these games are fun to play …
“Yeah, it was kind of fun. Everybody came out ready to play and excited to play. Everybody came out ready to play.”

On if he heard the large ovation he came off the court too …
“I didn’t pay attention. I didn’t know anything. I got back and went to the bench.”

On how he played …
“I think I played a lot better. I am a lot better conditioned. I am happy about my play. I have to keep going and pushing myself more from what I did.”

#5, Jarrod Polson, G

On the difference in this game and the first exhibition …
“We really came in with the mindset that we needed to bring energy. That’s how we won that game.”

On the week of practice leading up to tonight’s game …
“We weren’t too happy with the last exhibition game. Obviously, we won, but we know we could have played a lot better. We looked at some of that film and really had some good practices until this game, and I think that’s what happened.”

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s energy spreading through the team …
“He is just so motivated. You see him out there clapping, and getting steals and stuff like that. That just kind of spreads through our whole team.”

#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F

On whether or not this game was easier than the Transylvania game…
“I wouldn’t say easier. It was about the same. I just got into the flow a little better and I got my confidence up. It’s a good feeling having the fan support behind you and I’m glad that we got the win.”

On what Coach Cal told the team at halftime…
“He told us to keep our intensity up since we started the game with such a passion on defense. That’s why we got so many easy baskets. We started off 24 for 24 because we got straight lanes. The first game we settled for a lot of jumpers so Coach (Calipari) said to keep attacking the rim, look for open shots and kick outs and to keep shooting confidently.”

On the passion level tonight versus against Transylvania…
“Most definitely. We started the first game off a little shaky. The defense wasn’t bad the first game but on offense we were settling for jumpers. Coach (Calipari) emphasized playing physical so that’s what we did in the first couple minutes of the game so our starters really got us off to a good start.”

Morehouse College Head Coach Grady Brewer

Opening statement…
“I think Kentucky has a good basketball team this year. They are young, going up against SEC competition will probably be a learning process but I think in the end they are going to be a pretty good basketball team.”

On learning something from this game …
“It’s a learning experience, every game you play is a learning experience for your kids. A lot of kids at our level think that they can play in the NBA or overseas and this shows them what they have to do to play at that level. It’s a learning experience for them and hopefully it’s a humbling experience so when we go to practice on Wednesday and get ready to play West Georgia, they will understand where they really are, the fundamentals of the game. You always talk about working on the little things and the big things will take care of themselves, boxing out, not turning the basketball over, setting solid screens, those type of things. It will be a learning experience for me, when we came here we knew what we have and when you have six All-Americans on a team and even though they are freshman, they are good and you all are fortunate to have this type of team.”

On how this game has prepared them …
“We went and played the University of Georgia on Friday and didn’t play as badly as we did tonight but again, the talent level is a lot different. I think we are going to be able to compete, if we take care of the little things and get back to the fundamentals of practice I think we are going to be able to compete and I think we are going to be pretty good in our conference when it’s all said and done.”

On Kentucky players that stood out to him …
“I think the (Anthony) Davis kid is special, and (Terrence) Jones, both those kids are special. They shot 72 percent from the field so everyone looked good tonight. I believe if my sister was playing in Kentucky blue tonight she probably would have done well.”

On how this game came about…
“Back in January, in Atlanta, we had an ESPN special with Cal, Spike Lee, and Jalen Rose. We were in Atlanta and my players were there for that and sitting in the front row. After the special Cal asked if that was my team, of course a couple of the guys graduated and aren’t here anymore, and asked to take a picture with them because he thought my team looked and acted sharp. When we were taking the picture I whispered in his ear, ‘could you give me a game up in Kentucky next year?’ Spike was there also and heard me say it so he kind of egged it on and Cal agreed to it so that’s how we got this game. I would come back, this is basketball country, if you have competitiveness in you, you want to get on this stage, this is the basketball stage.”

Morehouse College Players

#50, Andrae Nelson, C

On the experience was for him…
“At the end of the day, it was just a good experience for our team to play against some top caliber guys so that we will be able to take over our conference.“

On whether this has been the “whole” experience for his team…
“It has, for sure. You always dream coming into Rupp Arena. You hear of guys like Jamal Mashburn and Pat Riley, all of those types of players that have come here and played. Just to get the opportunity to get to play in front of 24,000 people on national television, it’s not something you get to do every day. Just getting that opportunity was amazing. I’m grateful for it and hopefully it’ll help us throughout the year.”

#11, Adam Callaway, G

On the main difference in the DI game and what he is used too…
“How fast the game was compared to the [Division 2] level, especially in our league and that we were playing some of the top guys in the nation”

On Spike Lee suggesting Morehouse play Kentucky…
“I didn’t think it was going to take place until I saw it on the schedule this year. I was really excited when I heard about it.”

On what he can take away from playing Kentucky…
“Playing in front of this crowd compared to playing in our league is a great experience, something my teammates and I can carry with us this season and a lifetime.”