Kentucky-Morehead State Postgame Quotes

Nov. 13, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On what was the difference in the first and second half ...

"Eric Bledsoe. He was the difference. Like I said at the end of the game, I am glad we won. As you get to know me, you find out that I am very happy when we win. My issue now is I have coached the last four years, and the one thing I didn't have to do is beg my team to compete. We competed, we beat people, we ran harder than they ran, and when I don't see that I lose my mind. We're not winning playing that way and I was hard today.

We have three starters and we have to figure out who those other two are going to be. Eric Bledsoe will start, duh, John Wall will start, and Patrick Patterson will start. We have to get him (Patterson) in better shape so we can pay him every minute which I usually don't do but I will. We have to make easy plays and compete, accept what your game is offensively and compete. Surrender, you must surrender to how you have to play for me. Don't fight it or argue it, just surrender. You start to enjoy it when you don't think about it and surrender. For enjoyment you get great passion, then you get passion and enthusiasm collectively together. You know how far we are from that right now. Now let me say this, we had twenty practices and we walked into an arena that is completely packed, we want to thank the fans for that. The other team is a NCAA quality team and they will be in the NCAA tournament this year. They played zone the whole game and you can't make a shot. I want you to understand that's not easy because all of a sudden you get tight because you're suppose to win. You know what though, we have twenty more turnovers without John Wall. When John and Eric are on the floor together, you're just not going to have as many turnovers."

On how healthy was Eric Bledsoe throughout the week and is this what you have been seeing in practice...

He's just a gamer. I said to the team, `who on this team takes the game winner and knows it's going in' and I pointed right to Eric. Some guys hope it goes in and he knows it goes in. One of the guys said to me `he's tired' and I said `I know but he's better than most guys that are fresh so I'll leave him in.'

On how Patrick Patterson played tonight ...

He's getting better. It was good to see him bust out but he's still not there. There were some plays where he wasn't in balance, plays he should have scored, and rebounds he should have had. He should be a 20-12 guy or 25-15. Perry reverted tonight and he didn't do what we saw in the exhibition. I'm going to let them compete for two days in practice and we'll see.

On playing the more experienced guys from Morehead ...

When I watch the tape I'll be sick because we came out of our stance, we fouled guys 50 feet from the basket. I wanted to tackle them when they did that. We did stuff like that and gave them baskets, but the biggest thing is to really be a good team you have to play an entire possession and stay in your stance, and we're not close to that. For this team to be special we have to do that or be a great rebounding team. If we don't do those two things the offense will be fine. You notice we didn't run a lot dribble-drive because they played zone the whole game. We are going to see this all season or a sagging man-to-man but there are some guys out there that have too big of an ego and they'll play man-to-man but we have to get used to it.

On how much did Patrick Patterson play according to what you envisioned ...

He's getting better. He and I sat down and had a heart-to-heart and he's such a great kid. Whatever I tell him to do, he does. I think what we're going to end up having to do is have a big guy take the ball out and throw it Patrick first which isn't what I wanted to do originally when I got here. I know he'll run and I know he'll catch it. We're just learning, no one told me it was going to be this hard by the way.

On when you recruited Eric did you think he was going to be this good this soon ...

I love him. I love his courage on the floor, and I think he's a very intelligent player, even though he had seven turnovers without John Wall on the floor and I tried to play him every minute. What I expect from him is six and two that is six assists and two turnovers and ten, twelve, or fifteen points a game. What about the blocked shots he made with one ankle? He blocked guys with one ankle.

Kentucky Players

#24, Eric Bledsoe, G

On getting John Wall back ...

"It'll be great, both of us our point guards that know the game so it'll take pressure off of us individually. I didn't expect us to both start but it worked out good. There was a little pressure on me because I had to bring the ball up every possession and couldn't take a break."

On his play in the second half...

"I just had to stop worrying about my ankle. I worried about it in the first half and coach said I had to come out with a mentality that I just had to go for it. There was an emphasis to start playing faster in the second half. Coach told me to push it, that Morehead was getting tired so I needed to push it."

On his ankle injury ...

"It's fine. My trainer and I have been having treatments on it but it's fine."

#3, Darnell Dodson, G

On what the team needs to work on ...

"I think we need to work on getting into the gaps and inside their defense so we can get more shots. I want to be the extra rebounder or passer whatever Coach needs out there on the floor."

On how he can improve as a player ...

"I think there are a lot of things I need to do to help myself stay out there on the court longer and help this team win. I took shots where I thought I was comfortable but coach said those were bad shots so I have to switch it up a little bit. Coach said this was a learning process for all of us and I think that's something I learned, that I need to take better shots. "

On what the team took away from the game...

"Basically we learned a lot about playing against a zone. We will see a lot of zones this year. It's a learning experience and everyone learned a lot from playing against a zone for the first time."

#54, Patrick Patterson, F

On if he feels good about the win and his performance tonight ...

"I feel really good. All my teammates had a great game Eric [Bledsoe] especially. I'm happy with the win."

On Eric Bledsoe does this in practice ...

"Beldsoe does that in practice. Yes. Him, John Wall, they always do that in practice. That one acrobatic shot that was in the air for 5 seconds and it somehow shot it and it went in, he hasn't done that in practice but everything else he has been doing."

On having a heart to heart with Cal ...

"He was just telling me he wants me to be one of the dominant players out there and pretty much take over. He wants me to be a leader, a leader that he knows I can be. He wants me to take shots, lead my teammates, and do whatever we can to get back to the National Championship."

How does it feel to have the first win of the season ...

"It feels good, finally get the first game out of the way, and have the first win. It felt good to just be out there with my teammates in the game. We finally got to see where we stand, and I feel pretty satisfied."

#22, Daniel Orton, F

On have you ever seen Bledsoe do that in practice ...

"Yeah, actually I have and it's aggravating trying to block that. He has long arms, which allow him to put the ball where I can't reach it."

On what he needs to do to move into a starting role ...

"We all have to work hard in practice, and work for those starting spots. I'm just trying to play my role on the team, and I really haven't found my role yet. I'm just going to try to find out what my role is in the next couple of games. But I'm just really not that worried about the starting spots. I just do what I can for this team. Where ever they need me I will play."

On what he hopes to bring to the team in the future ...

"Energy, I hope I can come off the bench and bring it to the defense. To take charges and block a lot more shots than I have been. In high school that was my forte blocking shots, of course."

On Coach Cal saying if you can block shots you can play for him....

"That's true. If you can make plays you can play for him. But I'm focusing on blocking shots and rebounding."

Morehead St. Head Coach Donnie Tyndall

On Kentucky's physical play...

"They are so big and physical, and you can't show that in your practice. They are so big and long, and we have one guy who kind of fits that description. They have three or four guys like that. Last year, our team was top five or six in the country in rebounding margin, which is unheard of for a mid-major school. Other schools like Pittsburgh, UConn and Michigan State were up there. For us to get outrebounded by 19 is a credit to how hard Kentucky plays and how physical they are."

On Eric Bledsoe...

"If John Wall is better than him, then wow. He is something else, and when he started making jump shots in the second half, he completely took the game over. We were sprinting back to the zone and doing what we call building a wall or cupping the basketball to keep him in front. He was still driving the ball between two and three guys. He was making teammates better and getting fouled. He turned it over a little bit, but with a guy like that, Coach Calipari is brilliant letting him play so he can make his teammates better."

On making a late run...

"That is what it's all about. You do everything in college basketball to prepare your team to go into a tough road environment and give yourself an opportunity to win. The hardest thing to do in college basketball is to win on the road. During that stretch, we were playing what we call `MSU Basketball'. Our team was playing the way we play. We were making shots, getting put backs, running the floor and playing with the physicality that we lacked at times tonight. We'll build on those positives from the film session. That is a great feeling, but at the end of the day we need to be able to sustain that for 30 or 40 minutes to win in our league. We aren't going to play any more Kentuckys, but we need to get much better and improve our team to be competitive in our league."

On playing in Rupp Arena...

"First and foremost, I played Kentucky when I played at Morehead State. We played in Freedom Hall that particular year, but those are lifelong memories when you play in front of 20,000 people. You never forget it, that's for sure. As a team and as a coaching staff, you learn that to improve, especially early in the season, you don't beat your team down. I've been a part of games like this where the coaching staff and myself get so frustrated and upset, that you end up taking no positives out of the situation. There are positives to be gained tonight, even though I don't think we played very well. Kentucky deserves the credit for that. But, we want to improve our team and playing in a tough environment like this will prepare us when we go to the Murray States and Austin Peays of the world."

On the improved play of Patrick Patterson...

"That is two-fold. Anytime you start the regular season and it's the first officialgame, a guy like Patrick Patterson is going to step up his game, start playingand be more competitive. He'll do all the things that make him the great playerhe is. The second thing is we played 40 minutes of zone tonight. That puts himaround the goal more, as opposed to some of the other teams who play mostly man,like in the two exhibition games. And he is playing that four spot on the perimeterquite a bit. As the season moves along and he gets used to playing the four andthe dribble drive, he'll get better and improve. Tonight was kind of his night,if you will, because he was able to play around the rim quite a bit in theirzone offense."

Morehead St. Players

#15, Brandon Shingles, G

On the one-handed shot that Darnell Dodson made...

"That was a good shot, that's all I can say. I couldn't get mad or discouraged and let my team see I was upset. I have to give him all the credit for a shot like that."

On his impression of Kentucky's players and if he thinks they have the potential to go a long way...

"I think so. UK has solid big guys like (Patrick) Patterson and (DeMarcus) Cousins, as well as (Perry) Stephenson and (Daniel) Orton off the bench. Guards, you have (John) Wall when he comes back, (Eric) Bledsoe, (Darnell) Dodson and (Darius) Miller. There is no reason Kentucky should not go to the Elite Eight or even the Final Four."

On if he will follow UK as the season progresses...

"I'm a student of the game and I follow all college basketball."

On how the team prepared for Kentucky...

"We had some better practices the last few days getting ready for Kentucky. We have to execute on certain things. We are not discouraged at all. We are just ready to concentrate on our next game."

#35, Kenneth Faried, F/C

On your impressions of Kentucky...

"Great team. They have a lot of physicality and a lot of big guys. They play really hard."

On Patrick Patterson igniting the team...

"Yeah, Patrick Patterson is a big guy. He really pulled it out tonight. I give props to Kentucky, and their organization, and (John) Calipari's recruitment. Kentucky played really hard."

On what it was like having to battle Patterson, Orton and Cousins all night...

"It wasn't really a big deal for me. I just came out and played MSU basketball and tried to play my game. I wasn't too worried about what they tried to do. They kept me from getting 10 or more rebounds, which I pride myself on. They did a great job on that, but I still kept going and kept trying to get rebounds."

On playing in the OVC and possibly making the tournament again this year...

"Well, our expectations are high every year. The OVC is a tough league, and not everyone knows that. We have Murray State who tied with us for first place last year, and we were expected to finish seventh last year. We want to stay focused and humble, and take everything away from this game and practice and get better for our next games."