Kentucky-Washington Postgame Quotes

Nov. 24, 2010

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Washington Gead Coach Lorenzo Romar and Players Justin Holiday and Isaiah Thomas

THE MODERATOR: We have Coach Romar and Justin Holiday and Isaiah Thomas for the press conference. Coach Romar, opening remarks.

COACH ROMAR: We've got to give Kentucky a lot of credit. I thought they were really disciplined offensively, and they did what was necessary to get the ball to those that they wanted to get the ball to.

Brandon Knight, obviously, had a very good offensive game for them. Terrence Jones did a good job on the backboards. Harrellson did a really nice job for them with 14 rebounds, seven of those on offensive glass. So you've got to give them a lot of credit.

They outrebounded us, and they were more disciplined than we were. And I think in those two areas that made the difference in the outcome.


Q. Lorenzo, I think both Alaska, and probably even the Kansas City tournament, you felt sort of as learning or turning points that changed your team the rest of the season and into the postseason. What might this one do for you guys?

COACH ROMAR: I think, again, my biggest fear was that we had played three ball games where we scored averaging 105 points or whatever it was, and rarely did we go deep into the shot clock to guard or offensively keep the basketball.

My biggest fear was when that finally happened we wouldn't be able to adjust quick enough. And something that even before we got here, we were working on trying to get everyone to understand one day this is going to happen. And we're going to have to be able to go deep into the shot clock.

And I think that got us tonight. I think we'll do a better job as a result of it, though. Against a team like Kentucky, a team we're going to play tomorrow in this tournament, you're going to find all your weaknesses. You're going to see where they are, all your warts.

And I think our guys understand that. I think our guys understand that. As far as the effort on the backboards, I mean, that's all; we've just got to do a better job on it.

Q. Lorenzo, what factors played into that, do you think, where you didn't have that up and down 107 points a game kind of game?

COACH ROMAR: They only had 15 turnovers so we weren't able to just impose our will on them defensively. Then when we did get them to miss they were able to get an offensive rebound sometimes and put it back in there.

They shot 17 percent from the 3 in under 40 percent from the floor. So we did okay defensively. But without us getting them to turn the basketball over, we didn't get as many run-outs. And there were times we did get run-outs where we didn't convert.

We either turned it over ourselves or missed the layup. So we just missed out on some opportunities that we had over there that we didn't convert.

Q. Coach, it was with about six and a half minutes to play, there was a 4.7 earthquake off of South Maui, did you notice it at all?


Q. The coach or the players?


ISAIAH THOMAS: I did. I felt the ground shaking and the rim moving, I didn't know if it was an earthquake.


ISAIAH THOMAS: The rim was moving like the hoop was moving.

Q. Harrellson falling.

COACH ROMAR: Seemed like sometimes the rim was moving anyway, we couldn't make shots.


Q. Isaiah, could you talk about Brandon Knight and the way he played against you and what kind of player he is?

ISAIAH THOMAS: He's a solid player. I mean, he got it going for him early, even though he was in foul trouble. But he's a good player. I've played against him before in high school, so...he played a good game.

Q. Lorenzo, can you explain what was going on on the technical against Venoy and technical on the guy from Kentucky, what was going on?

COACH ROMAR: They said it was dead ball technical. There was a little contact right as we were calling timeout, that happened, and that's why they awarded them the free throws.

I don't remember which one you're talking about. Yeah, I don't want to go into the explanation. I was given an explanation, but never mind.

Q. Justin, could you talk a little bit about -- just the feel? It sounded like a loud gym. Did it feel like sort of more like an NCAA Tournament than a holiday tournament? And was there anything on the court about the whole Terrence Jones that we talked about so much about in advance?

JUSTIN HOLIDAY: It's what we look to play for, to have a big crowd like that. It's the type of NCAA Tournament feel. But as far as anything going on between Terrence, no. It was to win a game; it didn't matter who was in front of us, all we wanted to do was win.

Q. Lorenzo, you guys obviously shot the lights out yesterday and then struggle from 3 tonight. What, were the looks up? Law of averages or something else there?

COACH ROMAR: Well, we didn't get nearly as many 3s up as we had done previously. And I hadn't totally bought into where we were going to be a team that shoots 33 pointers every game. And that was a school record. So obviously that's not going to happen every game.

I think we talked more to our team about what happens when those 3s don't go down. Like tonight. That's where we have to improve as a team. But they did a good job of trying to take the 3 away also.

I mean, there weren't a whole lot of looks. Couldn't have been, but we just didn't want to force up a 3.

Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about starting Justin on Terrence Jones and kind of your philosophy on what you wanted to do with Terrence tonight?

COACH ROMAR: Terrence really exploits the mismatches he has in a lot of games because the way they're playing with them being able to dribble the ball outside with him, he'll have a bigger guy on him, and it's been difficult for teams to contain him on the drive.

And we felt if Justin started on him he'd do a better job of keeping him from just driving. And I thought Justin did a really good job of that. I thought as a team we did a pretty good job of that.

Terrence is a good basketball player, and he got 17 rebounds. Just he found a way to contribute to his team.

Q. Lorenzo, I just wonder, I don't mean this derogatory, but was Harrellson something of a surprise, a guy that you really hadn't done as much as he did tonight?

COACH ROMAR: Harrellson took advantage of the opportunities of not being boxed out. Some don't. Some don't get boxed out and they don't know how to go get the ball. Well, he took advantage of it. And he hit a big 3 for them, I thought. But aside from that, they got in the paint with dribble penetration.

We come over and help. That left him free because we didn't rotate well enough to box him out. That left him free on the backboards a lot of times, but he did, he played a good game.

It wasn't a situation where they were throwing the ball to him on the block and we couldn't stop him, you know? He just put himself in the right place at the right time and took advantage, again, of some of our defensive miscues.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari and Players Josh Harrellson and Brandon Knight

MODERATOR: Coach Calipari, opening remarks.

COACH CALIPARI: For us, there's nothing better, especially with a young team to shoot 39 percent, 17 percent from the foul line, have double the turnovers than assists and still win a game. It's lovely. It's lovely.

And so we played how we had to play with foul trouble in the first half, which I'm stunned we were down 1. And guys fought like crazy, and I thought we had some great individual performances, yet our team is not there yet.

We got a little selfish today. Defensively at the end, it was like lay up, lay up, and foul. We left the huddle don't foul, we fouled. That's what happens with young guys.

But what I did like we made the four free throws we had to to finish the game. Those balls went down, and that means we have a will to win, and it's beginning to happen.


Q. How much did you guys want to make them get into some half court and not let them get going up and down; and secondly could you talk about what Josh gave you on the boards?

COACH CALIPARI: Let me tell you, it wasn't just what he did on the boards, it was what he did in pick-and-roll defense, because everybody thinks that's our Achilles heel. And he proved today that it is not our Achilles heel. And the only guys getting beat were our guards who weren't staying connected and didn't get back to their man after the ball screen.

But the way he rebounded the ball and played, Eloy came in and did pretty well, but Eloy didn't finish. We have to get Eloy in the kind of physical condition so he's mentally tougher like Josh. How about the 3 he made? I'll be honest with you, he can shoot 3s probably as well as we've got anybody on the team.

He would be one that if we needed a 3 I would have no problem throwing it to him because they won't guard him because they don't think he can shoot it. He can really shoot it.

He had a great effort. And, like I say, he was close to a double-double. And let me say this, against a top 10 team. He was almost a double-double. That's a big deal.

Q. Could you talk about the atmosphere of the game and then to the players there was an earthquake in the second half with about six or eight minutes to go, did you notice it?

COACH CALIPARI: There was an earthquake? What was it on the Richter scale?

Q. 4.7.

COACH CALIPARI: That's nothing. I thought you were going to tell me it was a 7, the building would have shook a little bit.

What did you ask me? I have no idea what you asked.

Q. Asked you about the atmosphere.

COACH CALIPARI: It was great. The Kentucky fans are -- what happens at the hotel, I gotta put my head down and run to my room, but short of that, it's great for these guys. I mean, they know they're not only playing for each other, there's a lot of people that take unbelievable pride and are invested in this program.

And they're emotionally invested and they're from all over the country. The fans here that are Kentucky fans, I'm going to guess 30 percent of them are from Kentucky. And the rest are from other places around the country. And they're here watching this. And I betcha I'm accurate.

Q. Brandon, you had a tough second half yesterday, how important was it for you to bounce back and play the way you did today, what did that mean to you?

Brandon Knight: I guess it was important as far as confidence but the main thing was trying to do whatever it took to get a win today. We knew they were a great team coming in. Averaging over 100 points scoring, but we just tried to do our best to get a win.

So really just about the team, just trying to make sure we got going as a unit?

Q. Coach, yesterday in the press conference you said that after Terrence Jones had a big offensive game you wanted to see how he handled some adversity, how he handled the physicality that was coming. What do you say now after watching that game?

COACH CALIPARI: He wasn't bad. Now, the last three minutes, he went haywire. I don't know where he went. I had to pull him out one time and told him to go back in. And he kind of had that glazed look like -- then I was wondering do you not think we can win this? What's wrong with you? And it was a typical, maybe he's really winded, maybe he was -- I don't know. But I'll say this: There were a bunch of big plays that he came up with. A bunch of second-effort rebounds. The kid gets 16 rebounds and 17 points and played pretty good four blocks again.

I mean, here's what happened the first half: We were so depleted that we were just throwing him the ball. I know you were watching the game. We just said throw it to him here, throw it to him there and Terrence, this is all we can do.

We ran no offense. There was nothing, because we had guys that didn't know the offense. We had guys that hadn't played this year out there.

That's why I said I was just happy we were in the game at halftime. But he was good.

Q. Josh, you made a lob pass, I think it was to Terrence, for a dunk early in the second half. And you had a good second half, it seemed. A play like that get you going, do you think? Or how do you account for the productivity there in the second half?

Josh Harrellson: It's always there to look to Terrence, but that time he just said throw it one time I'm going to go get it I promise you I'm going to go get it. I had confidence in him, and I know he can jump and I know how athletic he is. I threw it to the rim and he got it. He promised me he would do it. And he came through and so I'll look for it more?

Q. How about the rebound?

Josh Harrellson: The thing I'm more happy about is 34 minutes playing. I mean, last year I couldn't play 10 minutes a game without anything. But I mean just playing 34 minutes and coming through for my team when they needed me most and just coming out with a victory, that's more than 14 rebounds a game.

But I mean, I just went in and battled as hard as I could the whole time and gave my heart?

Q. Coach, can you talk about the beginning of the game and getting out to the 12-point lead and --

COACH CALIPARI: That was the difference in the game, as you know, because that gave us a gap that we needed. So when we had foul trouble, it was a one-point game instead of 12 -- down 12.

And Washington's one of those teams, if you're down 12, that rim is like this big, and they start shooting 3s and all of a sudden you're down 25 before you can turn around.

And I had to call a timeout in the first 30 seconds of the game. It's 4 nothing and 2 things that we had talked about that we weren't going to do we did. I'm like wait a minute, whoa. And we had a lob play out of the timeout and then came back from there.

But the beginning of the game, we knew this was going to be you know two teams, talented teams, going at one another. And you could not back down. If they push, you push back. You cannot back down. Let them know this is going to be a hard game. This is not going to be up running through somebody.

And that's all we were talking about. They were so well coached. They know where to go with it. They made the plays. Isaiah, he missed some shots, but he made the plays at the end to keep them in it and give them a chance to win.

And we know this, in transition, they may be the best team in the country. I know for the fact in the Pac-10 the last ten years they're the best offensive rebounding team maybe eight years in a row, they're it. And you better keep them off the glass and you better get back in transition.

And now they've got post play. They've got 3-point shooters, they've got two point guards they're like Noah's Ark, they've got a little bit of everything. They're going to be fine and we were fortunate to be honest with you to get where we were and sneak out. We made free throws. That's what got it.

Q. Josh, can you talk about your last month, what it's been like from where you were to now and what this game sort of, the 34 minutes, et cetera.

Josh Harrellson: It feels like I'm a totally different person all around. I'm more confident going in the game. I know I can be there for my teammates when they need me. I don't have to come out every two trips down the floor I can actually stay in and play. I feel more energetic and more athletic out there.

Q. Cal and Josh, after 34 minutes and 14 rebounds, can you tweet again?

COACH CALIPARI: He'll be running an hour a day before practice.

Q. Coach, would you comment on Connecticut, what you see from them, what you expect from the matchup tomorrow?

COACH CALIPARI: With Connecticut? I'm going to be honest with you. I know Kimba and I told Jim after the game, I looked at Kimba and I said he's really good. When I was -- I wasn't sure. And big mistake. And I told Kimba, when we played against him in New York, normally I can see something and I say, yes, let's go with it, this is the guy. And I missed it in him. I told him last year in the warm-up, I said I missed on you. No question I missed on you.

But they also Roscoe is playing well as a freshman. Surprisingly well. Not that I didn't think he was any good. But it's hard for these guys as freshmen to play well. They've got other athletes and Jim's doing great stuff in pick-and-roll. I told him after the game what he's doing he's putting Kimba in the best position Kimba can be in to run their team. That's what he's doing. He can run all different kind of things but that's why he's a Hall of Fame coach he's saying I got Kimba my best player what position do I put him in to help him so he can win games for us. That's what he's doing. He's putting them in pick-and-rolls, putting them into isolations and baseline to run them off screens. Kimba's really good. But they also have size. They're big. They're long. They're good. That was a great game today. I sat there and just -- the only thing I didn't want was overtime. But I was watching it upstairs and I'm like, wow, back and forth, making free throws, and then Kimba's shot that went in. I'm like, geez, this guy -- it will be a hard game for us. Really hard game.

But you know what, for us at this point we're in the championship. We're going to get some rest tonight. I may wait until tomorrow to even talk about Connecticut, just based on the fact that these guys gotta be exhausted. And again if I watch tape and I get panicked I'll probably call them about 9:00 and say let's get in here and watch some tape.

But I'll watch our game first, then I'll watch some Connecticut tape tonight.

Q. Cal, what caused you to pass on Kimba? Was it his size or something else?

COACH CALIPARI: It's not that I passed on him. It wasn't like Kimba said I've come to -- where was I then? I must have been in Memphis. Where was I with the Nets. I have no idea where I was. But I think what I did was we were recruiting a bunch of guys then. And was it John Wall's year or Eric Bledsoe? The year before? Who did we take, Tyreek? I think we got Tyreek, who is pretty good, too. He ain't bad. But I went specifically to look at him because I like his high school coach, think he's a great guile. I went and looked at him and I said he's good. He was playing in a slippery gym in Pittsburgh somewhere, I believe.

So it's not that I passed on him. I think Jim did a great job recruiting him, but it was like I didn't realize how good he really was. And everybody -- his coach told me you have no idea how good this kid is.

Like I said, I made a mistake on that one. No question. He's terrific. And let me tell you what was great for me. I'm up in that locker room and Connecticut comes up, I can't tell you how excited that team was. And it made me smile. That's what this is about for these kids. It's not about me and the coach, it's about these kids.

Those guys were up there, I'm telling you they were doing back flips in that locker room. And they were so jacked up and when Kimba walked in, because he walked in late, they exploded like it was like -- and it made me smile and I said this is why we do what we do. And I'm thinking ain't no way we're going to feel like that after this game we've got to play.

But obviously, guess what, our locker room was exactly the same way. I mean, these guys were hooting and hollering and hugging. And we're young. They're young. It's the same deal, trying to figure out how we gotta play. Anyway, it should be fun tomorrow.