Kentucky-Northern Kentucky Postgame Quotes

Nov. 10, 2013

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. The NKU head coach said that he didn't think that his guys did anything to make your team better, but could you comment on that?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, he had -- coach did a great job. I watched the Purdue tape. They had Purdue beat. Purdue was lucky that Northern missed a lay-up to win the game. Northern was up 4 with 1:02 to go. They were up 4. They had Purdue beat on the road, and Purdue was roughhoused. They didn't make their 3s today. Against Purdue they were 13 of 26. So we hit them on a good night.

What I'm happy with is my team. First of all, you had Aaron Harrison took 10 shots, James Young 8, Julius (Randle) 7, Andrew (Harrison) 7, Alex (Poythress) 7, Willie (Cauley-Stein) 5. That's our team. That's how we play basketball.

We had 7 turnovers. Now when I put that last crew in we got five, but we had seven turnovers. Not enough assists. We're holding the ball a little bit too long. Got to give that up a little bit earlier. I thought we played through possessions better. I thought we got to the second and third drive for the first time. Now, again, it's not their fault because it's something that we really zeroed in on yesterday.

You've got to play games to know where you're weak. We thought whoever had it tried to either score or make a scoring pass. That's not what dribble drive is. Dribble drive is getting to the third drive. How do you get to the third drive? In there defensively, my teams have played through the shot clock and then they rebound. Today we rebounded much better.

Q. Cal, Julius had 22 (points), 14 (rebounds). Should he have had 22 rebounds this game?

COACH CALIPARI: Probably had another -- he should be averaging 20 rebounds a game right now I would say. But like I was on him for stopping. He stops out there, and he finally took himself out for the first time this season. He took himself out. The only way he came out was the guy almost poked his eye out, so he had to come out. You can't play at the pace we play and stay in there for 15 minutes. You just can't do it. So they're all learning. They're all learning.

I think Andrew's holding the ball too long. Messing with it instead of just get to the lane, pull-up jumpers. I thought Aaron played well again today. Aaron is playing really well. Aaron's defending pretty good. You know, we've got to get our guards rebounding a little bit better. Aaron didn't have any rebounds and that's an issue for us. But we got better today. That's all I'm worried about. We got better.

Q. Cal, you said a couple times you're not going to let the schedule dictate the plan with this team. But did you get what you wanted out of these teams?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, we did. Well, I went on TV -- when I said it's not fair for a team like ours to try to play an event like that, it's true. I mean, we've got all freshmen and sophomores. You don't play in that kind of event two games in. We had to play two games just so we could get another game in. No one else in the tournament is.

So Tom Izzo who is a good friend of mine said well, Cal should forfeit the game. Just let us know he's forfeiting so I can go to Chicago to just shop.

So I text him and I said, I officially forfeit the game so you can go to Chicago and shop. We're not very good right now. Then he called me back and we're laughing. We didn't get to speak. He said last time we talked he didn't like the results, so he's not going to -- but I'll see him up there.

Look, all these teams, it's a hard game to play this early. Kansas is a good team; Duke is a good team; Michigan State, they're all good teams and they're well-coached. They're well coached. This is not like you're going to steal, sneak by. You're going to have to ball.

For us, it's just a bar of where we are right now. We've got a long way to go. I mean, do you see how many plays we just ran? Like two. We're still trying to figure out how to play fast, how to get in the lane, how to post-up, how to cut. Trying to figure out defensively how we need to play. We're still not right. How'd you like the zone? Could be a good zone team because we're so big. You didn't like the zone?

Q. Did you like the zone?

COACH CALIPARI: I just think it's something that we've got to prepare for to play because of our size. Now, we haven't worked on it enough that it's a really sloppy zone, but even being sloppy -- and I've tried to talk them through stuff, it's scrambling. You think about it. At one point I think we had 7-foot, 7-foot, 6'10", 6'7", 6'6". That is a big zone. That is a big zone.

Q. What did you think about Alex's effort today?

COACH CALIPARI: Great again, great again. You know what's happened? He's right now building his own confidence. He's building his own self-esteem. You know why? He's not trying to do stuff he can't do. You know how many turnovers he had today again? Zero. He had no turnovers again. So now he knows. I'm telling him, if you're open, shoot it. If you have a one dribble pull-up, shoot it. If you're around the goal, try to get it in. Do not try to make plays; you turn it over, so don't do it. Do what you do well.

You're watching them out there rebounding. Again, he has 9 and 7 today. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of how he's playing. I'm not happy with the way we started the game or how we started the half. I'm going to have to watch the tape more closely. But, again, I've watched no Michigan State tape yet. So I've got to watch their exhibition game, their first game. I've watched it, but I've also got to watch our tape of this game to see why we started so poorly.

Q. You mentioned holding on to the ball a little bit. But, overall, where is Andrew relative to just in terms of how long you've had him?

COACH CALIPARI: He's going to be terrific. He's really going to be good. Here's what he's used to doing. Instead of getting the ball by the man, just go, he's used to messing around. Well, you can't. Plus, you make us stand. So if you have a play, make it. If you don't have a play, pass it and cut. You notice I was on him about cutting. Like he posted the ball and stood there. You've got to get out. Or he threw it to a teammate and stood there. You've got to get out because we're trying to drive.

It's all stuff that -- he's like, whatever I teach him becomes his. He's like that. He's on me. He zones in. He knows. I'm trying to get he and his brother to forget about how they're playing and worry about us. James Young did the same thing today. You can't worry about how you're playing; worry about how we're playing.

So they get down and those points this time you've got to sub them, and I'd rather them be able to play through those.

Q. Could you find yourself in a situation if Alex keeps playing this way and maybe James keeps playing this way that you bring Alex in the starting rotation?

COACH CALIPARI: Really doesn't matter. We've got seven guys. It really doesn't matter. We've got seven. If I think we start better with Alex starting than that, I would do that. But we've got seven.

Really, you and I know we've got eight because Marcus Lee, again, played well. I mean, he has a spirit on the court. He has an energy that he gives to the rest of his teammates. So we basically have eight guys that we could start. I'm doing the seven-man rotation.

Isn't it great? A kid like Marcus Lee who is a McDonald's All-American trust me and our staff. Tell me how you want me to play. You want me right now not to be in that seven? That's fine. I said if there's foul trouble injury you're in the seven. If I can figure out ways to slide you in, I'm going to. But this program is going to be about you, Marcus Lee. I just need you to get better. I'm going to coach you and I'm going to develop you, and understand right now these guys are ahead of you, but that doesn't mean anything. You know what he responds? Greatest kid. Tried to leave the locker room, he forgot shoes he was walking out with bare feet. I said what are you doing? He said, oh, I forgot my shoes.

Q. How well do you think you guys stay with business tonight, no Showtime or a little Showtime?

COACH CALIPARI: We did all right. We got better. We had a great practice yesterday. Went short. Went about an hour-and-a-half, hour-40 minutes. Had great tape. You know what they told me about, they said keep showing us the tape so we can see that we're not playing like you want us to play. We had plays against (UNC-)Asheville where a guy cut and went four steps before our guy knew he cut. Like were you not watching your man? Well, I was a little tired and I had stopped playing. You can't do that. So it happened three times in that game. When you show them, they all laugh, but they know.

Everything we're doing is for the time being what we have to do to be able to compete and then move on. We can't move on until we're good at the stuff we're doing. You see we're getting better defensively. We're getting better at rebounding the ball. We're getting better at driving it. You can't now say let's press. Well, you can't do everything. At this point we don't have a press. We are what we are. Until we can get everything set and say, okay, guys, this week we'll work on our press and we're going to get a press in. Right now it's not the time.

We worked on the zone, but you could see we didn't work on it a whole lot. I wanted them to fail fast. I told them we only did this in a few days, but let me see where you are so we can see what we've got to work on. I thought they did pretty good, to be honest with you for not knowing what the heck they're doing.

Q. You told us why Tuesday is unfair to your team, you think. But since you've got to play it anyway, what can you get out of playing this type of game this early?

COACH CALIPARI: We win or we learn. That's what this game will be. We win or we learn. What I think is we don't play hard enough. I don't think we cut hard enough on offense. I think we stand around. Instead of being prepared to shoot, we're standing straight up and down, so now we walk. The guy throws it to you and you start running because you're standing straight up and down. I think when the shot goes up, we turn our heads and we're going to get bulldozed in that game. There is a lesson. Okay, now, will you listen to me?

I think what they'll try to do is beat us up the court, fly, and we don't fly every time. They're going to get lay-ups or open threes. That's how they play.

The other thing I think you'll get from this is we're not playing throughout the possession. They'll grind us and we'll learn. The only way -- like we've gotten change right now. But when you really want change, it's got to be a crisis. Crisis brings about change. Meetings and talking and tape and all that, no. Now the crisis hits. Are you ready to change now?

Happened to Marquis Teague a year ago. When he was ready to change, our team took off. We've got a lot of guys here that are listening, but not carrying it over yet. So, look, we're going to go up and play hard and how about this one? When adversity hits, how does this team respond? You don't think they can go on a five basket run on us or six-basket, seven-basket run? All right. How do we respond? We don't know yet, until we get in those wars and that game is one of those.

I just wish it wasn't so early. I wish I had another two weeks with my team so we could have a better kind of showing.

Q. To segue on getting Marcus Lee into the ballgame more, do you think his ability per shot or his athleticism and shot blocking perhaps down the road can be the answer?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, the biggest thing, he can guard five positions. He was guarding their point guard today. He was guarding the center today. He can guard everybody. You can put him in the game and he can guard whoever you need to guard. He'll even tell you, let me guard him. I said he's 6-foot. I know, he ain't scoring on me. So I'm just -- I'm happy right now that we're able to get him some minutes.

Again, 14 minutes maybe not a whole lot, but it is. 14 minutes is a lot of minutes because most of the guys, you know, again, I gave the six minutes to Jon Hood and those guys their guys that would have played 25, 26 minutes. That's a lot of minutes. He's good. He's a good player.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On how the team is progressing … 
“We’re climbing. The first game we had against Transylvania was kind of rough. Every game and practice we have had since then we have been getting better. We still have a [ways] to go. We are getting there.”

On their upcoming game against Michigan State …
“It tests you as an individual, for one. You have guys that want to go at you because of who you are and how much hype you get. You’ve got to prove that the hype is real and that it’s not just hype. You as a basketball player have to go in thinking the same thing that they are thinking. It tests you as a player.”

On where the team needs to improve …
“Defensive stops. [Coach Calipari] preaches that. There will always be one guy that stops on the play. If you look at the tape it’s true. You learn from it. Once we learn how to play through a whole possession, get back, run, and rebound, that’s when we’ll take off.”

#5, Andrew Harrison, G

On getting back into the routine of things after his injury…
“I’m just getting back into the rhythm of things. I’m trying to make sure that I can keep up with the speed of the game. It was tough, but I feel like I’m getting back into it now.”

On playing hard enough for Coach Calipari…
“I think us as players, we always feel like we are playing hard, but the tape never lies. When he (Calipari) shows us that, it definitely looks different. We all see it.”

On getting things going early in the game…
“We pushed the ball ahead and Aaron (Harrison) was attacking very well. He got to the line and made some shots. I made some shots. Julius (Randle) played well. Willie (Cauley-Stein) played with a lot of energy. Alex (Poythress) played well. James (Young) played well. He didn’t shoot it too good, but he played well. Everybody played good. We were playing together. I think we had a very good practice yesterday and I think that just carried into today.”

On what he knows about Michigan State…
“Not much. Coach hasn’t really given us any film and we haven’t watched film on them. We have just been focused on Northern Kentucky. We are going to start working on them tomorrow. By tomorrow I will definitely know a lot about them.”

On if they get eager anticipating a big challenge…
“Yea. They are ranked number two I think and we are ranked number one. It’s definitely going to be a good test for us. They are a great team. Coach doesn’t think we are ready, but we are just going to play hard and see who has it in them and who doesn’t.”

#30 Julius Randle, F

 On if he thinks his level of play is making Coach Calipari happy…
“I’ll try to.  If I make 20 points, he is going to ask for 25.  I am just out there trying my best and trying to get better.”

On his thoughts on Tuesday’s game against Michigan State…
“I think we as a team are getting better.  Tuesday is going to be a war.  I know we are willing to fight.  Coach is trying to challenge us and make us stronger.  We believe we are ready.  We have guys on our team with experience, too. Michigan State is a physical team.  The strength coaches have been preparing us for that.”

On how he thinks he is playing…
“I’m still missing some opportunities. A lot of balls I didn’t come up with.  I just have to learn from it and improve.  Coach has really been getting into us about rebounds. We are catching it off the glass a lot better.  The greatest teacher is going to be experience.”

Northern Kentucky Head Coach Dave Bezold

Opening Statement …
“I just want to thank Coach Calipari and the University of Kentucky for having us here. What this means to our university is priceless. Our alumni, the people in our state – I mean, I grew up and still am a UK fan, but to be able to be here is very, very special for our university what it does for us, not only regionally but nationally. We are very fortunate for those guys to be here.”

On the difference between Kentucky’s team and Purdue’s team …
“Tremendous size. They are very, very skilled with their size. We couldn’t simulate this in practice and we tried. We built some extensions that were about three or four feet long with fake hands. Our managers did a heck of a job, but we still couldn’t simulate. We needed them to be about 10 feet long. Purdue plays tremendously hard, they really do, they are a heck of a basketball team, but Kentucky is so big and skilled at every spot and they keep coming in waves at you. Probably the hardest thing is rebounding because they are very active and really, really talented.”

On his teams shooting performance today …
“Yeah, we were very happy. I may be crazy to say this but when we had two or three wide-open layups in the first couple of minutes, two or three wide-open three’s in the first couple of minutes and we didn’t make them, I thought that relaxed Kentucky a little bit. If we would have made two or three of those shots and we would have had six, seven, eight, nine more points thought that we could have changed the tempo a little. When you don’t make those shots early against tremendous teams when you are outsized and really out-talented, it is really difficult to control tempo and it really allows those guys to be relaxed when they shoot the basketball. There is not a lot of pressure when you are up 12 or 15 as opposed to being in a two-point or three-point game. I really thought that was the difference in the game.”

On if Kentucky’s defense matched the intensity of Purdue’s defense …
“It’s different because they don’t have to. Purdue is smaller. Much smaller. And they had to get after us, deny us, and not let us catch the ball. Kentucky is so long they don’t have to and if they do do that I think that’d be foolish. Then they would be at risk of us blowing by them where they could just stay back, play containment and use their length and that’s what they are really, really good at – switching, containing, and using their length. When you have a 6’6” or 6’5” point guard, you are going to be able to switch with anybody and that’s really difficult.”

On the play of Julius Randle
“When I walked out on the floor and saw how big they were, I thought about turning around and going back in the locker room for a little bit. They are monsters. He is just physically so gifted and a special player. He is like all young kids, if he works really, really hard he is going to be special at this level and the next one, too. He is one guy that we really couldn’t physically matchup with right now.”

Northern Kentucky Student-Athletes

#10, Tyler White, G

On what playing on the road teaches them about themselves …
“I just wanted to learn how tough we could play. Even though we came out hard, we didn’t play the type of game we wanted to play. Everybody stuck together, and we played pretty hard.”

On playing in Rupp Arena …
“It was a great experience for me because I have never played in front of that many people. This is a whole different atmosphere. I’ve never played in front of this many people. Kentucky loves their basketball, and it was a Sunday game. It was a great experience.”

On what he thought he did well …
“We were able to attack the basket pretty well and get some open looks. Unfortunately, they didn’t fall, but we got some good open looks that we didn’t convert on.”

#32, Todd Johnson, G

On what playing on the road teaches them about themselves …
“I just wanted to come in and play hard. We knew coming into the game that we had some big bodies that we were going against today and it actually kind of hurt us. We just wanted to come in here and play as hard as we could.”

On how he thinks he played …
“I thought that I did okay, but this is about the team and the team’s effort. I just wanted to play hard and fulfill my role on the team. We had a good team effort today, and I am proud of the team for that.”

On what he thought NKU did well …
“We did well moving the ball at the beginning of the game. We just had to knock down open shots and convert on those opportunities. We were moving the ball well and crashing the boards, but at the end, towards the middle of the half, Kentucky kind of took off.”

On playing in Rupp Arena …
“It was a great experience. That is what makes me play harder as a player. I love playing in front of a lot of fans, and that’s what made us play hard. It was a great environment.”