Kentucky-Robert Morris Postgame Quotes

Nov. 17, 2013

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. I think you made 29 substitutions in the first half. Was that the plan going into it or was that a reaction to how guys were playing?

COACH CALIPARI: No, I went to a deeper bench. Dominique (Hawkins) was coming in for Andrew (Harrison), Alex (Poythress) was coming in for James (Young) or Aaron (Harrison), and then we started them, Marcus Lee because of the shoot-around. I said Willie (Cauley-Stein), if you're not going to get the jump ball I'm going to start Marcus. He said, okay. I said, okay, so I'll start Marcus, and that's why I did it.

Marcus, love him to death, but he kind of panicked a little bit. You have to understand that the shoot-around we ran the first play seven straight times so he could do it. We got the tip, we went down to run that same play that we ran seven straight times, and he ran the wrong way. He spun around, he looked around. But he's such a great kid. He's trying.

But I'm happy that we defended the way we did, we rebounded the way we did. Again, you understand this is a team that beat us a year ago, and let me say this: Beat us good. You can say, oh, you missed a three. No, it was a 10-point game.

So Andrew got better today, still doesn't have it. We're not on the same page yet. I was really happy for Aaron, but Aaron has worked hard in practice, and it carried over. A couple guys had backed up in practice, and it showed today. They didn't play as well. So hopefully that's a great lesson for all of them.

Q. Is this cathartic in any way to put that thing behind you?

COACH CALIPARI: It was a new group that I knew it would turn out different. I never looked at last year's tape to prepare for the game. I didn't want to see it. I've never looked at it, nor will I. That thing is over, this is a new team, and the last three days we did not talk about Robert Morris. As a matter of fact, I watched one tape and then I watched another one this morning. I'm concerned about my team, and I've got to get this right. So I don't want to do stuff to prepare for a game. We need to worry about us getting better, and if someone is good enough to beat us when we're playing good, then they're better than us and that's just too bad.

Q. Could you talk about Dominique a little more and the things he's doing to break into this lineup?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, everything he's doing now he does in practice. The kid works so hard. His heart rate is -- I have to stop him because I'm afraid he's going to fall out. He pushes so hard that you saw when he went in the game how he guarded the ball. He just goes up and he adds energy to the game. You saw how hard he runs the court so we could throw to him, so we could throw lobs, so we could throw to the post. He runs. You know, I'm not afraid to go to him. I'm just not. I think he's a pretty good player. He's good for our team.

Q. They ran a lot of different guys at Julius (Randle). They weren't afraid to triple-team. How did you think he handled the way they defended him?

COACH CALIPARI: He was better. Now, I thought we didn't get him the ball enough, and I told him, though, there were opportunities where he could have thrown it to the wing and gone in the post, and he didn't. And then when he did one time, Dominique drove the ball. Drove me crazy. Just stop throwing the ball. I thought in the second half he just got it and scored it or made a pass. He's a great passer, and here's what I keep telling our team: If you go through him they've got to stop him. Michigan State let him go 8 out of 9 and we had a chance to win the game, a game we had no business being in. So they're going to double-team him, which makes it easy for the rest of your guys.

But we're still learning.

Q. Even with both teams moving forward from it, you obviously know how much that win meant to Robert Morris fans. Did it resonate here? Do you think this is a game fans were looking forward to?

COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah. Like I said, look, this is not a revenge game. I've watched them on tape; they play really hard, they're well-coached. It was a good game for us because the one thing we're not doing right now is competing at the level of the other team. In other words, we want to play harder than the other team, and I thought there were times we did that today against a team that really competes.

Now, our fans didn't want to hear what I had to say. They're like, ‘No, we want to smash these guys.’ But again, what happened last year for them and their program and their school, they shut down the school. The kids did not have to go to school that day. The game ended, they gave them two weekends off; don't worry about coming. And I grew up there, so I respect that program and that school, the people associated with it.

At the end of the day, they deserved to beat us. We deserved to end our season right there.

Q. Good or bad thing; I think in the first 10 minutes, Julius has one shot in the whole first half, Andrew didn't take a shot. Is that good or bad? What was kind of going on there?

COACH CALIPARI: We're still figuring each other out. As you could tell I changed a lot of stuff for this game, and I did it in three days, and I told them, guys, there are things we did against Michigan State, we can't play that now, so now it's out. Forget about it, we're not playing that. Here's what I'm adding today, and those are the things we did today. And so at times they did them well and other times they didn't. Sometimes they forgot stuff because I just put it in. Now we have a practice tomorrow, a game, a day off, and I've got four more days.

You noticed we pressed a little bit. I put in a press the last three days. I've got to add more of a press.

You know, we're trying to work against zone just so we're ready to play zone because the next two teams we're playing play zone. But we've got a lot to do right now, and you know, those two are important pieces.

Andrew and Julius are important pieces. I love the fact he had 15 rebounds. And again, he went after five other balls with one hand; he could have had 20, because when he gets two hands on the ball you're not getting it from him, he's too strong, but his habit is one hand.

Dakari (Johnson) did the same thing today. I took him out. Quit reaching in with one hand. We tried to catch a couple passes, one-handed balls, went out of bounds. It's one of my pet peeves that I always am on them about those kind of things.

But like I said, we made strides. We got better.

Q. After Michigan State the other night, some of the things you were looking for as far as getting back in transition and body language and that sort of thing, did you see what you wanted to see tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: Some, but if I saw it, I took them out.

Q. Did you see improvement?

COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah, and when I saw the head go down, you're out. Next guy. You want to stay in the game, play.

Your game can't be dictated by how many shots you make or how you're playing because then you're not worried about your teammates. So you miss two or three shots, now you can't play? Head goes down, you're out. You're done. Can't play you. Figure it out. It's not about you, it's about our team.

I've been very clear that this -- we've got to become a great team, and we're not right now. We have terrific players, but we're not a great team.

Q. Their coach mentioned that they wanted you guys to beat them from the outside, and he said Aaron hadn't shot that well, Andrew hadn't done that. Tonight they did. Will you talk about the outside game?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, here's what I said prior to the game: Even like a James Young, he goes 1 for 6. I'm saying this is one of the best shooting teams I've had, and we're just not making shots right now. You go through spells. Now the question becomes, okay, if you're not making shots how are you helping us win. Well, I pout and I put my head down and I lose my man on defense. I don't run back so they get a lay-up. Well, that helps us lose, that doesn't help us win.

But these guys, that's what they've been right now. So today, like I said to Aaron after, you can't be energized because you made shots, you've got to be energized because you're playing basketball, and if you hadn't have missed shots, okay. James Young was exactly the same way; he misses shots, he goes in the tank. You can't be that way. You're not going to be on your "A" game every night out, but what do you do to help us win.

Q. After he did come in the game, how did you think Willie played, 13 rebounds, four blocks?

COACH CALIPARI: Willie played pretty good, played with good energy. You know, I think, again, he gives us that added guy who can switch out and play if he had to and guard a guard for a pinch if he has to.

I like the fact that Marcus Lee gave us great energy. Did you like the press? That's Marcus Lee at the beginning of it, and it was pretty good, and he got us -- changed the game up for us.

But we played nine today. Eight and then Dakari and Marcus Lee. It may be a little bit game to game who's playing better, who gets more minutes.

Q. The spots that Aaron was scoring from today was kind of all over the place. I know he hit a lot from the outside, but he seemed to move around. Is that kind of his game? Is that where you want him to be?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, here's what I would tell you: Julius took nine shots, James Young took 11 shots, he took 12 shots, five by Alex, a bunch of fours. That's who we are.

I want him to score near elbows more than I want him to shoot 3s. That's what I told him. But what's happened is they totally left him. He's a good shooter. I mean, he made it, but he's a shooter. So he did score a lot of different ways, and he got fouled, made his free throws.

Now, the greatest thing that Andrew did is he had eight rebounds. Your point guard gets eight rebounds. That means transition baskets, we had none, we had 26 defensive rebounds last game, had two points. That's 26 attempts to go get a basket, we get two. That means everyone is jogging, or walking. No one ran. And you could see the last couple days that's all we worked on, and if a guy jogged, I took him out. You must be tired. It's okay. You jogged. Well, I hit the guy and the line jumped up and I slipped on the broom. Okay, sub him. (Laughter).

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#2, Aaron Harrison, G

On today’s game compared to last Tuesday’s game in Chicago…
“Individually, I feel a lot better. I set the ball up a lot better. This was just a confidence builder for the team really.”

On the team’s preparation in practice for the game…
“We all had to shoot 100 free throws before practice. We did a lot of work on that because that is an important part of the game.”

On learning how to not let shots missed effect game play…
“It is just all about energy on the defensive end. The biggest thing is doing whatever you can to help your team win, even if it is not scoring the ball. I am just trying to learn that.”

On Andrew Harrison’s across-the-court shot…
“I mean, I think it should have counted. It was all just in good fun though.”

#00 Marcus Lee, F

On his feelings about being the first game where five freshman started…
“I actually didn’t know until they told us after the game. I didn’t think of it because we are all always together.  I kind of forget that we are all freshmen.”

On the team running a lot more during this game…
“That is one thing we stressed a lot this week, just sprinting up the court and seeing if we had anything.  If we don’t we can slow it down and then do our thing.  It definitely made the game more fun.  We had more chances to do things we didn’t have to run a play for.  We could just do what we wanted.”

On how he felt of leading the full-court press…
“I absolutely love pressing because that’s where I shine.  I love giving the offensive player the worst possible weight.  You won’t make it past half court because I won’t let you. I love doing it.  This is our first game actually trying it.  Seeing how it went, I am really excited about it.  We will see if more comes after today.”

On how nervous he was to start…
“It was a little more.  When you are told you are starting and you are use to coming off the bench with all the energy, you have to not think about it and I thought about it too much today.”

#25, Dominique Hawkins, G

On if he was feeling more comfortable out on the court …
“I definitely feel more comfortable. In the Michigan State game, I was little bit surprised that I got in (the game) to be honest. This game I was a lot more comfortable, because I knew I was going to get some minutes. I was able to play the way that I wanted to play, and the way I played was great tonight.”

On if he envisioned himself playing his freshman year when he committed to UK…
“I envisioned myself playing a little bit, but not too much.  I didn’t see myself starting as a freshman, but I knew I was going to be able to find my role and whatever that role ended up being, I knew I could play it well.”

On what he brings different than Andrew Harrison at the point guard position …
“I really look up to him.  He probably brings a lot more to the game than I do, but I am watching him in practice, and it is helping me improve.  Basically, I could say he is one of my role models right now, because I know that if I need to play point guard then I have to watch how he does it.”

Robert Morris Head Coach Andrew Toole

Opening statement …
“Obviously a lot of things for us to take from this experience. Everybody wants to build the story up from last year’s game. Obviously these are two completely different teams. We played an excellent basketball game tonight. A lot of times we followed our defensive formula the best we could and unfortunately at the end of those possessions, they got offensive rebounds or made 3’s. We were trying to figure out how many 3’s they would have to make to beat us, and obviously seven is the number. I’m proud of our guys in terms of their fight and continuing to play hard throughout the entire game. We’ll build on those things and learn from some of the mistakes so that when we get in some more atmospheres going forward we will be more equipped to play better.”

On if he was happy with the shots they made tonight …
“For the most part. I think there was a handful of shot we rushed and didn’t have enough poise on. Obviously, with their size and athleticism I think there were times where you think you’re open and then you’re not very quickly. There were certain possessions where we did a very good job and went for open shots that we didn’t make in the beginning of the game. I think that kind of hurt our spirits a little bit. We needed to make some shots early to continue to keep it close and we did not do that. For the most part, I think we took some pretty good shots. I thought we could have been a little crisper in our offensive executions to get some more of those good shots. Obviously, they do a good job defensively and that makes it incredibly hard.”

On how different this Kentucky team looked as opposed to the team that they played last year …
“Obviously, their talent is better than last years team. Last year they did not have a low-post presence that they could hurt us with. We had to make a choice going into the game today whether we were going to try and take away perimeter guys or try and flood the paint. We opted to try and flood the paint because we thought we could slow (Julius) Randle down. You know, 10 points and 15 rebounds isn’t bad, right? Unfortunately, they were able to hurt us from the perimeter and they haven’t been able to have both things going this year. Last year they didn’t have that low-post threat that we really had to focus on. We were able to take away Julius Mays on the perimeter and make (Alex) Poythress put it on the floor and things like that, which we weren’t able to do this year due to some of their backcourt play. I think from a defensive standpoint, (Willie) Cauley-Stein was a great shot blocker last year and a great rim protector for them, but I think they have so much more size and length on the perimeter that it makes it difficult for you to run your offense.”

On his thoughts regarding the Harrison twin’s play …
“I thought they would play similar to the way they played tonight. Obviously, Aaron (Harrison) hadn’t shot great until tonight. Like I said, we had to make a choice. I think they are great in transition. They do a good job of pushing the ball and putting pressure on your defense. I don’t think we did a good job in transition defense. Both (Aaron and Andrew) Harrison played with such great poise. It’s hard to speed them up and hard to rattle them. It’s a handful.”

On Kentucky or any school starting five freshmen …
“If I had five freshmen that good, I’d start five freshmen. I think that’s what I’d make of it. I think every coach in the country is at a point where if guys are able to compete and contribute, whether they’re freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors, they’re going to be on the floor. Their five freshmen (are) obviously doing what Coach Calipari wants them to be doing on a daily basis and those are the ones that get the starts. We’re figuring out who can produce and who can follow our game plan and those are the guys who will play, regardless of year.”