No. 1 Men's Basketball vs. Boston -- Postgame Quotes

Nov. 21, 2014

Recap | Box Score | Notes | USATSI Photo Gallery  | Photo Gallery 

KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
Boston at No. 1 Kentucky
Rupp Arena -- Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 21, 2014

COACH JOHN CALIPARI

Q. What did you think about the way Devin played in the second half especially? ...

COACH CALIPARI: Well, he had seven assists. A bunch of them were in the zone where we were throwing that lob, but he shot the ball pretty well. It's nice to see when he makes shots, we become a little bit different. But we struggled. Again, I thought Boston U came in and played as the aggressor and played exactly how people are going to play us. They're going to try to spread the court, try to beat us on the bounce, make sure their 4 man can spread out on the floor so they don't have two guys standing next to the goal and try to control the pace and try to beat somebody on a dribble or shoot a three, hope we foul them. We had guys that didn't move their feet today instead of squaring guys off, and then down on the other side they're going to sag in a zone or they're going to man to man and they're going to sag. That's how they're going to play us. We did not fight in the first half. I was disappointed for Dom and Derek, because I really wanted them to get in this rotation and get their opportunity because Alex was out, but at the end of the day I just tried to finish out and we played units, but I ended up playing like nine guys.

Q. Is this what you talked about Tuesday when you started out by saying, we're not that good? ...

COACH CALIPARI: Well, what we looked at today, we only out rebounded them by five. But again, here's the good stuff: You shoot 58 percent, you have 24 assists and 13 turnovers, you win by 24 and we're all upset. So it probably means we're not bad.
But you didn't see the energy you saw the last game. You didn't see the fight and the energy. Well, let me just explain to you, these guys are not computers, they're not machines, they're human beings, and I expected a letdown. I was just hoping it wouldn't be too bad. That was a high energy game what you just came off of, and then you're playing a team that shoots the three well, and they did, 37 percent, made their free throws, 90 percent, and got beat by 24.

Q. What did you see from Dominique? You said you hoped he'd get some more time …

COACH CALIPARI: I thought he was okay. He was okay. We just weren't as dominating. I wanted him to really smother the ball. Again, he hadn't been playing in the games and I think it affects those guys, he and Derek, it's hard. Derek walked in and you can tell, looked a little lost. And it's not his fault. And that is why I wanted us to play well so they could get into a flow and they can go show who they are because they're both very good players.

Q. How do you assess how the offense went against that zone? …

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we didn't fight in the first half. We should have been able to throw it and post the ball like we did in the second half, and guys were stepping off the block, wouldn't fight back, would jump in the air and get pushed out. He's pushing me. What? Push back. And we just did not fight for position.
We didn't drive it enough. We didn't get in gaps, but it's hard when they're really backing up like they were. But again, we shoot 58 percent and 38 from the 3. I would take that every game. I'd wake up after the game is over.

Q. You said the other night that you wanted Aaron to have more opportunities on the offensive end. He finished with 15 shots tonight …

COACH CALIPARI: Well, he played 25 minutes so he played three more minutes, so if you look at playing three or four more minutes, it's probably like he took 12 or 13 shots, but the biggest thing is he had 4 assists and no turnovers. I mean, that's huge.
Again, I thought Dakari (Johnson) played pretty well, but 3 for 8 from the line is not getting it done, and he is so much better, but you can't you've got to make free throws or I can't have you in at the end. Karl-Anthony Towns struggled, so he's played well one game, struggled one game, played well one game, struggled one game. That's about where he's going right now. But I think he'll be fine. And Trey (Lyles) didn't play what they did to Trey is they went right at him, but again, two assists, and it's what we thought. They're going to put a smaller 3 man against him and Alex and try to beat them on the dribble. It's not brain surgery. That's how they're going to play, and I told those two guys, you've got to guard, and if they play zone you've got to make sure they're playing you.

Q. You just mentioned they went at Trey. They were not intimidated, I guess, for lack of a better term. How much does that help your team when the other guys come in and play hard and take it right to you? ...

COACH CALIPARI: Well, every guy that comes in here, we all know they're excited about playing in this building. They're excited about playing Kentucky. That team was giddy before the game and they played that way. They never stopped. They weren't afraid, they battled, they weren't backing down. If we pushed, they pushed back. The first half they pushed and we didn't push back. We were like, why are you pushing, don't you know who I am? It's like, guys, every team we play is going to come in and it's going to be a dogfight. You either want to play or you don't I'm not playing you. I'll let the other group play. But we will see.

Q. How do you feel like kept Blaise off the 2 3 zone with a backside lock? …

COACH CALIPARI: Well, it was something we put in yesterday just to say they're going to sag so I want to show you some things we can do and then we went back and did it like seven, eight times because they struggled with it. I think Joe will go back and look at that and make sure that doesn't hurt them, but there's a couple ways you can hurt them with that cut. You can throw it right to the middle, which we did, to Dakari. You don't have to foul. If they fight the screen you throw it right in the middle of the zone, right dead middle which Dakari got it, but like I said, we still had a lot of guys do a lot of good stuff. It's just we all expect this team to be world beaters every night out, and let me say, folks, they're not going to be, and there are games I'm going to have to drag them across the finish line. They're normal 19, 18, 20 year-old kids. Something happened in class today, I don't know.

Q. Do you feel like Devin Booker’s seven assists was something you're trying to do more on the offense, get him the ball? …

COACH CALIPARI: Again, if you look at it, I think three or four of them were on lobs. So I took him out at one point, I think he had Aaron ahead of him and he kept dribbling, and I just took him out. We don't make that play. If a guy is ahead of you, you throw it to him. We're still there's things that are unacceptable that these young kids don't know yet. Karl Towns, had to take him out, didn't square off a pick and roll and the guy drove around him. Trey was getting beat on the bounce, and again, there's all kinds of things you can do, don't let the guy catch the ball. He's too good for to you guard off the bounce. Well then I'm not letting him catch it. That's a pretty simple one. Or you can back up and all of a sudden you're going at him, but it's all stuff that he's going to learn, and that's the greatest thing. Trey Lyles is one of our best players. Believe me when I tell you, he is one of our best players. He and Karl are still learning. So is Devin. How about the cross court zone pass? It was a look away. He looked this way and threw it cross court. The problem is he threw it to the other team, the red team. Wait a minute.
So they're still learning, they're going to do stuff like that.

Q. Devin made a shot the other night against Kansas and you were kind of caught on camera with a look of relief on your face. How much do you think he needed one? How much more relaxed has he been since he got one to go down? …

COACH CALIPARI: Well, let's just talk about the stage these guys were on a couple days ago. Pretty big stage. I mean, pretty big stage in a crazy game, in a game that mattered and two top five teams, and here they are, freshmen, and you throw them in there and act like you should be fine. We expect these kids to do things beyond the norm, but that's why you come here. You're not afraid of that challenge.
You're also not afraid that every team is going to come in like Buffalo did, like Boston did, like these next games. Wait until you see the Providence team. Wait until you see Texas. They're coming in this building with one thought: We're winning. And you've got to be ready to fight and battle.

Q. You wouldn't be concerned if there weren't some bumps in the road because you want a November team, not a March team right now? …

COACH CALIPARI: Right. That's why if you can tell, I'm like, good. We weren't very good today and what we looked like was a November team. The Kansas game on defense, we looked like a January team. On offense, we looked like a November team. Today we looked like November. And it's what you have.
But again, you've got to give Boston U credit because of how they played. They were the aggressor. They controlled tempo. They played exactly I told my they called Buffalo, you don't think he called Buffalo? Spread him out, beat him on the bounce, control the tempo, sag back. I mean, you've got to make 3s anyway. If you make them, you may beat them. If you don't make them, it doesn't matter, you weren't winning anyway. That's how people are going to play us, and we've just got to be prepared for it.

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#2, Aaron Harrison, G

On looking like a November team instead of looking like March team ...
“We were happy to play a big game like that (Kansas), and being young, I think that for the freshman guys, it's two different atmospheres and they just have to realize that every game counts.”

On Dominique's Hawkins play in his first career start ...
“That just comes from putting in a lot of work and we are excited from him. We knew he was a little nervous so we tried to loosen him up, and I'm really proud of him.”

On if it was hard playing after the Kansas win ...
“I think (it is) for any player coming off a big game and then coming down. But Boston was a great team and they really challenged us. I think if we didn't turn it on the second half they would of beat us.”

#1, Devin Booker, G

On letting freshmen shooting dictate their play...
“It’s an adjustment you have to make from high school to college. I feel like it’s coming along right now. When you have a team like this and you’re not shooting and scoring, then you can involve yourself in different ways to contribute to the win.”

On letting the stage of the Kansas game affect his shooting performance...
“The games before, I didn’t really shoot well either. I really don’t know what it was. I just keep shooting and coach and my dad just said, ‘Keep shooting. It will Fall.’ And it did.”

On whether it was hard to come out with the same energy as the Kansas game...
“At halftime we realized that we had to come out with more energy. We started the game kind of sluggish probably from the excitement from the Kansas game, but we pulled together and got the win so it’s good for us.”

On practicing his shot to get out of his “shooting funk”...
“I always get extra shots before and after practice. I just kept shooting. I feel like it’s a good start for me.”

 

#25, Dominique Hawkins, G

On making his first start...
“It was crazy. I was so nervous. I was just focusing on not to mess up at the beginning of the game. I’m blessed to be able to start on the number one team.”

On play and practice recently...
“I feel like I’ve been playing really well and with more confidence. I’ve been knocking down shots from behind the 3-point line.”

On first breakaway and shot...
“I just felt like I was free to play. I’m always looking to make a play and in high school I did that all the time.”

On team’s thoughts of him being the best dunker...
“I really haven’t had a fast break or had a play for a lob, but today I was the person that was able to get the chance at a lob. Now people know that I can actually dunk. I think I’m the best dunker on the team. It was an easy two points and if somebody ended up trying to block it, then I felt like I was probably going to dunk on them. I definitely felt the way the arena erupted. I felt like almost fell and had to catch myself.”

Boston Coach Joe Jones

On the zone and how effective it was ...
“I think it was one of those things that, when you go into a game like this and they are so long and deep, that they are going to get comfortable and then you are going to make some adjustments. I thought they did a great job in the second half. They got three lob dunks and they could throw it in each time down the floor inside to Towns. He used his size and strength and scored. I knew at some point they were going to be able to figure it out. Then we were going to make adjustments and you only have so many tricks up your sleeve to keep you in it when you are playing a team this good. ”

On Devin Booker’s career high performance in points, rebounds and assists ...
“He is terrific player. The thing is this: They have so many guys that are so good, one of them is going to get hot. Nate’s description of their team is dead on. The hardest thing to do is when you have so many players you have to get them to play as a team. Even though it was a close game, they were playing as a team. You can win big playing that way. You can’t look at the score and say that BU hung around and it was a five-point game at halftime. Those guys played as a unit the whole time. That is the reason why they were able to break it open and all the credit goes to them. My hat goes off to Coach Cal, and that is not an easy thing to do.”

On the last 10 minutes of the game ...
“There was nothing that we didn't do. I thought it was more on the defensive end than on the offensive end. We did not come up with any stops. If you watch the first half, we were able to create enough stops to get points in transition. We are a terrific 3-point shooting team. We have a lot of guys that can shoot them. In the second half, we just didn't come up with enough stops. They were able to pick apart the zone. Then they got into that press and we didn't attack the press well enough. We couldn't generate shots that way in the half court. They weren’t going to let us run anything. We had to drive the ball to score. If they stepped up we would have to kick it. That is not the way we want to play in terms of one on one, but we really didn't have any chance to run anything. They are too big and long. We have never seen that type of pressure before. I feel like that if we had gotten some stops we could have kept it close.”

On hitting the three over taller players ...
“We have a good basketball team. We lost a lot from last year. Here is a team that won 24 games last year. It was one away from the school record and were regular-season champs. We lost five out of our seven top guys. We bring back four guys that played minutes and two starters. We have a pretty talented team and trying to figure ourselves out right now. I think we are more talented than we thought and a little bit better than we thought. I like our future. This is a game I think we are going to be able to look back on and see that we never quit. We didn't bow our heads and kept going after them. We just played against a better basketball game tonight.”

Boston Student-Athletes

#22, Nathan Dieudonne, F

On the technical foul ...
“Nothing much, it is just basketball. A lot of guys like to play that way, but you can’t get technicals and stuff.”

On playing zone ...
“We like to mix it up and if they make we will go zone and if they miss we will go man. We had to tonight because they are so deep and it worked a little bit.”

On if he watched the Kentucky vs Kansas game ...
“They are the same. They are both well coached and really deep. In my opinion, it is hard to get a lot of guys to play in that kind of system. It takes a lot out of those guys to do that. It showed tonight as they played together. They stuck with each other and finished the game out.”