Kentucky-Montana State Postgame Quotes

Nov. 23, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

COACH CALIPARI: In case you missed it yesterday, just so you know, I know my daughter's birthday. But what I don't know is what day of the week it is, what day of the month it is, I have no idea.

I don't know if I've ever -- I think I said it, you guys have heard it, the day she was born -- she was born on Thanksgiving. And I always will remember the day because I had practice later that day, and I can remember telling my team, it doesn't matter what you do today, you cannot make me angry. And I still remember the day when I said that.

So, she's a good girl. Meg and -- why does that go all over the world, by the way? The whole world, yeah, but it was like they invited me to Good Morning America to talk about it. What? It is my daughter's birthday. Man I got platoons and…

Q. What do you take from that one?

COACH CALIPARI: From this game? I loved how we defended. We didn't look at the score, we just worried about each possession and that's what you have to do in games like this.

I hated that the score was that lopsided. But again, I'm trying to -- I got a team here that I'm trying to deal with and make sure they're getting better.

We didn't try to run it up. I mean, think about it -- we shot 43 percent and 28 from the 3.

We didn't exactly knock it out of the park again, offensively. But we were so good defensively, it made it easy for us.

Q. How is Alex Poythress, what's his situation?

COACH CALIPARI: He'll practice tomorrow, so he should be good to go on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. What day of the week is that? Tuesday. What day of the month is it?

Q. We didn't hear as much about Karl(-Anthony Towns)'s shot blocking as maybe some of the other guys, how does he rate? He's up there?

COACH CALIPARI: He's doing good. He's blocking the other guy’s shot, not his own man. He's still -- he's learning.

I took him out again, because he keeps passing up the point guard and trying to make a hero's throw deep. I said I'm taking you out every time you do it, so if you need to come out of the game, throw that pass, because I'm taking you out.

Still fades in the post a little bit. He's not sitting enough. Dakari (Johnson) is doing the same. It's really simple: If they're low when they catch the ball, you're low to go high.

If you're standing straight up and you catch the ball, you're low before, high low, high. The other one, you're just low to go high.

And so we're just getting them to understand that they should be able to get these balls in the basket quicker because they're getting fouled, not making free throws. I mean, there's things that are happening for no reason, other than get lower.

Q. Are you happy, relatively happy, with the shots they're taking, even though --

COACH CALIPARI: Well, not the beginning of the game. I mean, every team is going to play us basically how they did. They're going to sag in a zone, or they're going to sag in a man.

And so we came out and weren't -- like everybody looked confused. So now we're taking 3s, and then, all of a sudden, you miss them and it's contagious.

We score one point in the first four minutes. Come on, are you kidding me? Now we were good enough to hold them to two, but that's ridiculous. And again, we have got to work on that. We can't start games like that.

We could have been down 10-1 to a good team and now all of a sudden you're scrambling.

So, this team -- coach (Brian Fish) has done a good job. He's stepped into a tough situation, he's going to get that thing right. Our fans will keep an eye on that program, and you watch over the next few years what they do in the Big Sky Conference.

Q. Following up on that theme. What is your opinion of Devin (Booker)'s shot selection and the confidence that he's showing?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, the only issue is, if they are really sagging, can you drive all the way to the rim? If you drive, can you go all the way?

You can't. They got three guys around the basket.

Well, why they have three guys around the basket? Because they're sagging. So you must pull up.

Now, he did it last game where he drove to his left and he shot that little pull-up. Trey (Lyles)'s done it.

But they get into a habit like they're back in high school of, I'm going to just drive this thing and keep right on going. You can't. Those are all charges. They're not going to be good shots. So those are some of the things we're trying to teach them.

But he and Trey are trying to do things, definitely, they have never done in their lives. And it's taken their legs away a little bit. And let me just say this to everybody, this -- what these kids, and I've told them this, what these kids deal with to be here, to play here, to be a part of this program, they wear a hundred-pound coat.

What I mean by that is, it starts with me. I am rough on them, I am tough on them, I'm holding them to high standards. I'm like a hawk. I see everything. I'm coaching them the entire time. They're getting better. It is not an option, you will get better. That's me.

Then they have got this environment we live in here, which is like ridiculous. That's another 20 pounds of the coat.

Wait a minute. What about the media? 45 straight. They got to win -- can they beat the 76ers? Let's take a vote. What? Then, they got their own clutter that's around them, individually, that they got to deal with. That's a hundred pounds.

The people coming in to play us got windbreakers. They're loose as a goose, they're just going to go play. If I make shots, if I don't, watch this, I'm trying this, we're -- every game we play.

And I say this: If you're not willing to wear the hundred-pound coat, you don't come here, you can't come here, because it's not changing. I'm not changing. I don't think our fans are changing. I really don't think the media's changing.

And the clutter around these kids, whether it's these kids or any other kids, it's all the same.

Q. I almost hate to ask you now, but since Coach Fish just said you told him this was the second best game you played this year?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, it was.

Q. What made you think that?

COACH CALIPARI: We sustained, defensively, for the entire time. Just like we did against Kansas. Did the same thing.

The issue is, we played the same way offensively, too. About the same.

So, it's -- again, I don't want us playing like it's January. We're playing hard, we're trying to defend, we still don't talk to each other. We're having breakdowns to start the half. They got five or six great looks, they just didn't make them.

And offensively, we got a long ways to go. A long ways to go.

But, like I said, this team is, they're, they celebrate each other, they're about one another.

I did tell them today, if anybody out there gets winded, their sub can go in for them. I told Willie (Cauley-Stein), my man is winded, just go in. Walk right up and go in. I'm telling Alex (Poythress) the same thing. I'll tell Trey, if Alex is winded, just walk up and take him out. Can't play that way.

We're playing, we're balling. That, you don't have time. ‘I need some time to get going. I need, my first seven, eight minutes of my game, I like to miss four or five before’ -- what? No. You're playing. Let's go.

Q. John, a two-parter. When are you going on Good Morning America?

COACH CALIPARI: No, I was just teasing you, Jerry (Tipton). Don't take me too serious. You take me too serious, Jerry.

(Laughter.)

Q. You've had different leading scorers --

COACH CALIPARI: I would go if they asked. If they call me. Talk about the program. Probably throw in something about Players First, the book, I don't know.

(Laughter.)

Q. Don't forget Bounce Back.

COACH CALIPARI: That's too old. That's -- that's already -- go ahead.

Q. You've had different scorer's in each game, I'm wondering what that says to you as a coach that different guys step up, you're not dependent on any particular guy.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, Trey Lyles is a finisher for that group. He's got to finish. We have got to get Alex comfortable offensively. Where are you going to get your baskets? What plays are you going to make to get us baskets? What are you going to do?

When Aaron (Harrison) is right, there's not a better player in the country. Okay. But he's got to come with that mentality of playing and balling.

You got two terrific point guards. The thing I told Andrew (Harrison) today -- and this is what makes him unique and special, this kid. All I said to him was, look, we got to get you to be more of a defensive playmaker, now that you're playing offensively the way they are.

I said, I need you on the ball deflect, off the ball I need you to steal. Did you watch him today? Without us ever working on it, just telling him, you be alert to see where you can come up with balls. And he did it.

Devin, on that team we a need him to shoot. Aaron on that team, Karl and Dakari, both of those guys could be double-doubles. And you never know with Willie and Marcus Lee because they can clean up all those misses and blocks and dunks and all you have to do is throw it to the rim and they're getting it.

Willie made his free throws today. Three out of four.

But it's starting to develop the roles. The reason I'm not fully defining the roles is they're going to develop. Let's see what these guys truly can do and then they will flow into roles.

Q. Was there something wrong with Tyler (Ulis) at the end of the, or the beginning of the second half or did you just want to switch him up?

COACH CALIPARI: Somebody hit him in the leg with a chair. Like one of the managers. Who got fired, but, you know, he didn't --

(Laughter.)

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#1, Devin Booker, G

On how well the defense played tonight…
“Yeah like I said, we just want to be one of the best defensive teams ever. I know it is a big statement, but everyday we just go at each other in practice and I think that is what makes it better for us.”

On Kentucky’s full-court defense stopping opponents from crossing half court…
“It feels good, you know with Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Marcus Lee on the ball, they make it a lot easier for us guards and then with them coming to trap with their length makes it a lot easier. But, like I said you know we just try play defense and take pride in it.”

On Coach Calipari wanting him to drive more instead of taking outside shots to start game…
“Yeah, you know to get yourself going you want to get in the paint some. I am going to get a layup or get fouled and get a free throw to make it easier for you instead of starting the game shooting off 3s. ”

#12, Karl-Anthony Towns, F

On the team’s defense …
“We did a great job, pressured them really well and led them to a lot of turnovers. Stats show we had a lot of steals. Willie, Dakari (Johnson), Marcus and I did a great job of protecting the rim at all costs. Had a lot of blocks and we really did a great job all around defensively.”

On the team’s shot-blocking ability …
“For me personally, I’ve always thought it was one of my strengths, especially on defense. In high school I was always known for getting a lot of blocks, so I’m glad to see it translate into college. Usually it’s a lot harder, but I’m finding my groove and learning where to be and what spots to be. I have a great person like Willie to teach me to speed up my progression on knowing where to be on the court. I’m just happy I have a lot of tools at my disposal and I’m glad I’m using them.”

On the team’s large lead and staying focused …
“We really don’t pay attention to our score, but to the opponent’s score and we try to keep them to the lowest amount of points as possible. When we saw that 11 (points scored in the first half) we really wanted to keep them there. We didn’t even talk about offense. We talked about making sure we hold them to 11.”

#44, Dakari Johnson, C

On UK’s defensive play and if they could have done any better…
“I think we played really well defensively. We played how we played against Kansas defensively. We went out there and did a good job on help defense and stuff like that. Coach Cal forces us to play like that. We don’t even worry about the score. If I’m out there, then I have to play hard. Sometimes we kind of have breakdowns when guys get tired and it’s not as affective at times, but we really help each other.”

On Coach Cal’s comments of the 100-pound coat…
“It kind of is just knowing the expectations that are on us and things like that. I think that we’re so together as a unit that we really don’t feel it.”

On Montana State packing in the paint…
“They really packed it in. It was like they were daring us to shoot it. It really seemed like every time I went to the paint that there were three guys there. It’s really hard for me and kind of frustrating. I was just trying to get all of the offensive rebounds. That’s how you’re going to score on that defense.”

Montana State Head Coach Brian Fish

On what Montana State can get out of the game…
“You know, we came in here and I thought we’d compete and play a little harder without using the excuse of being on the road 12 days. I was really disappointed in our effort, but getting the chance to let these guys play in this place and play against (the top-ranked team in the nation). I don’t want to add pressure to Coach Cal’s team, but a very, very good team and I thought they played very well tonight. I knew if they played well, we’d be in trouble and they played well and the results were what I expected when they played that way.”

On Kentucky vs. UCLA comparison…
“Well, I think we made them mad. They missed their first seven or eight shots, whatever it was to start the game and we threw a jump zone at them because we knew man-on-man we couldn’t stop them. They missed some shots and we couldn’t advance it early on up the floor against the press. UCLA (and Kentucky) are totally two different teams. You guys play in waves and UCLA plays five guys 35 minutes a game. I think Bryce Alford is an NBA player. I think Norman Powell – even last year being in the Pac 12 at Oregon – I thought Norman Powell was as good as anyone last year in transition and he has gotten better and can shot it. They are a very, very good team but I think the one thing you have seen that Kentucky can do is they are going to get everybody’s best shot. But at some point with that length and athleticism and that skill that they have, they just wear you down over time.”

On the early start and the trouble getting the ball across half court …
“It’s hard to simulate that length. Somebody told me the other day that Kentucky was the eighth tallest team in the country, including the NBA. It’s hard to simulate that length, and we understand that. We practiced two-on-one drills and three-on-two drills, bringing the ball up. I credit Coach Cal for how hard they played tonight. I want to reiterate what he said ‘that was UK’s second best game they played all year,’ and it certainly looked that way. At times, you felt helpless, and you don’t know which guy to attack.  There are a lot of teams out there that if you get a certain guy in foul trouble, then you get a guy coming in that you can attack. With them, it is McDonald’s All-American after McDonald’s All-American.”