Kentucky-Providence Postgame Quotes

Nov. 30, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

COACH CALIPARI: Let me look. All right, it is November 30th. Good. It's my wife's birthday. I just wanted to make sure this was the day. Yes.

Q. John, was this the kind of hand-to-hand game you wanted?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah.

Q. What did you learn?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we got to play with more energy to start the game. We still, you know -- I've had three Chicago guys do what Tyler Ulis did today, which is change the game.

I had Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, and Tyler Ulis. And I -- very rarely do you see a guy walk in and just change the game. Like, change the whole flow of it. And he did that today.

But let me go back and tell you, Andrew Harrison was really good today.

Four steals, four assists, in 20 minutes. That's like an eight and eight move. And he still scored. And I told him he needed to score more when that group is struggling. He's going to figure out to be the point, yet he is a terrific scorer. And when they're struggling he's got to --

I was happy for Alex (Poythress). Karl (Anthony-Towns) is still struggling a little bit. Willie (Cauley-Stein) was unbelievable, defensively.

It was a good game. And they did what teams are going to do. They're going to try to move the ball, try to go into the shot clock, they're going to sag in a man or a zone, they're going to play like everybody else is going to play us.

Q. What did you get specifically out of Willie, defensively? And how important was he with what you guys did with (LaDontae) Henton?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, Henton's averaging 25 a game, and it's hard when you're a seven-footer (Cauley-Stein) with feet like that to really get shots off.

The basket he had, Trey (Lyles) put his hands down and he lulled him and shot a 3, which we had talked about for two days. That's the move he has. That's when he gets his three. Make him put it on floor.

He'll average 25 this year. Their team is going to be fine. They're beat up little bit and not really healthy, but they're going to be fine.

And like said, I was happy, we were up at half, and I told our team, this is what we need, and we got another one coming up Friday (vs. Texas).

Another team that's going to come in here undefeated and Top-10, and they're beasts. Their inside game is awesome in Texas, so this is all good. These kind of games are good for us.

Q. Re: Willie Cauley-Stein

COACH CALIPARI: Willie also was good in the post today, which gives you the added dimension. Now he's guarding one of their best players, and he's able to go on offense and score.

It was a tough matchup for them, because a guy guarding him was going to be about six-six, six-seven, and he's about seven-foot one.

Q. As much as you guys started to lock down defensively, they had the ball, down six, they're going to the rim to cut it to four with 10 minutes to go, and Alex rises up and blocks and has a little stretch there.

COACH CALIPARI: Alex had a block, he had a rebound, and he is still finding his way. This -- this isn't easy for these guys.

But, I will tell you this: They don't have time to say, well, it takes me five minutes to get going. You just don't have time for that. You got to come in and get after it.

And I -- Trey struggled today a little bit, but he'll be fine. Trey was great in practice yesterday, so that's why I was surprised.

But, again, there was a loose ball he could have got. There was two rebounds he could have gotten. There was another block he could have gotten. And those are plays that he's capable of making.

Here's what I'm telling my team: I'm not asking one person in that room to do something that they're not capable of doing. I'm not asking one player to do something they're not capable of.

Now, you may choose not to do it, you may not want to do it, you may give up before you get to that point, but I'm not going to ask you to do something you can't do.

Q. You mentioned, again, that this kind of a game is good for you guys. Why?

COACH CALIPARI: Because it's how everybody's going to play us, and we got to see where we are when the game's tight. Who can make shots, who is making plays when the game is the other team -- there's no one going to surrender.

Especially in the first half of games they're coming at us. They're playing here or even at home and it's a highly ranked team and it's Kentucky. They're not giving up and we got to see what we can do and how we're going to have to play.

I told them today, I made some substitutions, which I will make. One guy wasn't playing well enough, you're out, you lose a few minutes, be back and be ready next game.

I went to the small lineup at one point, I shuffled Andrew and Tyler in because of foul trouble, offense to defense, which we can do easily.

But we, again, -- listen we got a ways to go. I loved our execution at the end again. We made the right plays. We can finish off a game. We have proven that.

Now we got to get a little bit more comfortable and confident against the zone. I thought we held the ball too long at times.

Q. Could you just elaborate a little bit more on Tyler's play.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, just his energy. That's all it was. Came in with unbelievable energy and bothered their point guard. Took him out of all the stuff they wanted to run. They couldn't get in a rhythm.

To start the game they were in a rhythm. They came down threw it to the wing, they threw to the elbow, he dribbled around, he went off a pick and roll, he did.

Well then it was like, oh, my gosh, you're almost pushing off to keep this kid away from you and then it makes us more confident defenders behind him. So now we're taking some chances.

It's like I said, it wasn't all the other stuff. I think he made a couple shots. You know, he makes a couple baskets, doesn't matter, only had one assist.

But the energy. Now, after he came out, you saw Andrew and Aaron (Harrison) energy go up. And that's when you start beating teams down.

But the start of the game wasn't what we needed it to be.

Q. Can you talk about how this platoon system wears out the opponent, especially in the second half?

COACH CALIPARI: I don't know if it does. All I know is we're trying to keep energy on.

As the season goes on, there are going to be teams that will play eight or nine guys that can take this.

I just want to see us do what we're supposed to do and play with high energy and share the ball.

Again, we had 13 assists only seven turnovers. Didn't shoot a whole lot of threes. I thought Devin passed up a couple threes.

But, we are what we are right now. Aaron Harrison has four assists and six points, but he's still, he missed a couple baskets he usually will make, but he's getting better.

Q. What do you want to see, when you talk about being comfortable and confident in a zone when you're watching out there, what do you want to see?

COACH CALIPARI: That you're not putting the ball above your head. See, the minute you put the ball above your head the zone sags.

You have to be an aggressive player catching it on the perimeter like you're going to make a play and then make a pass.

That means you got to be willing to make plays. You can't just say I'm giving it up and let somebody else do it.

We're, right now, with Alex and Trey, we're trying to get both of those guys to get a shot before they catch the ball.

In other words, you know where you're going before you catch this. Not catch it and then try to make a play. They're not, they're not as effective that way.

Q. When the other team is trying to grind it down, slow it down, is there anything you can do to impose your will and say, no, we're going to force this tempo?

COACH CALIPARI: You could do the old stuff that they used do at Loyola, you stick one guy down the other end and then they still hold the ball, put two guys down the other end, say, shoot it.

But this, I like this. It makes us grind it out. It makes us have to stay in a stance 30 seconds, it makes us have to put more pressure, so they turn -- you can't let them hold the ball 35 seconds and get an easy shot at the end of a clock.

And what happens is, if they're holding it and they take a tough shot, and you run it right down at them, they start wearing down.

You could say we start wearing down, but, okay, then we put another group in.

So, I just say, hey, if that's how you want to play, that's fine. We're trying to be more playmakers off the ball, trying to get them to do that. In other words, deflect the ball from the guy you're guarding. Everyone else, you're a playmaker, blocks, steals, do stuff off the ball.

Q. Alex is playing similar minutes as last season, has similar numbers. What's he doing differently or what's he doing better than he was last year?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, he's going to get better and better. He's doing some of the same stuff. We just, he's got to -- we got to get him more comfortable in, offensively, where he's taking shots, plays he's making, and offensive rebounding like crazy.

That was the biggest thing that I'm saying to he and Trey. I want those two to offensive rebound. Trey got two, Alex got one. I want those both to have three a half, between them. So you have six offensive rebounds between you two.

There's no reason for not. You're six-ten and you're six-eight and you put your head on the rim. Every shot that's taken you don't have to go back, go rebound.

So those are the things we're trying to -- but we're not there. Look, this is a work in progress. It's no different than last year. The difference is we got some vets, so we're a little bit ahead of where we were. But it's still a process. It's a brand new team.

Q. How big is, in the overall scheme of how what you guys are doing, like Willie, who can guard up in the perimeter, how good was that?

COACH CALIPARI: Willie was good today. He took on the challenge. Took on the challenge. And again, I, you have to talk to him about it, but I was proud of him.

Still think he should be a double figure scorer. He's a good enough shooter, he can make free throws.

He gets too small in the post, he doesn't get a wide enough base at times, so he could be aggressive.

We got to get Karl to stop fading away. They will never call a foul on a fade away. Stop fading away. He's missed 10 one-footers now and he looks around like, "They hit me," they ain't calling -- you fade away they're not bailing you out.

So we got work to do with him.

Dakari was better later in the game. Early, he struggled. Basically they out-fought Dakari early in the game. As the game went on he started out-fighting them and he played better.

Q. What's the situation currently with Tod Lanter and Sam Malone?

COACH CALIPARI: They're fine. They're with our team.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports....

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#5, Andrew Harrison, G

On what Tyler Ulis brings to the team …
“Defensive pressure. He’s a pest on defense. We make each other better every day and that’s what we try to do. That’s what practice is for.”

On bringing energy to the floor …
“When you see the team that you’re playing with doesn’t have the energy, no matter what the score is, as a leader you have to try and bring your team up.”

On holding Providence to 16 points in the second half …
“We got out there and put pressure on the ball. It’s tough to make every pass, but that’s what we try to do.”

On personal performance in the second half …
“It was OK. Coach said I needed to shoot a little more. That’s fine with me. I think I could do that, but besides that I played great defense and ran the team pretty well.”

On staying focused defensively when a team has milked the shot clock …
“They can’t really do that if you’re putting pressure on them. You can get a five-second call. We have to put pressure on them every time and hopefully they’ll turn it over or get a shot-clock violation.”

On if a close game prepares UK for Texas …
“Texas is a great team. We’re going to try our best to beat them. We’re going to get to practice this week and try to get better.”

#22, Alex Poythress

On Providence’s first-half shooting…
“We just tried to pressure the ball more. Make the elbow passes harder and get weak-side help.”

On his stats last season and this season being identical….
“I’m playing better defensively, getting more steals, more blocks. And being in the passing lanes and disrupting ball movement.”

On Tyler Ulis’ on-court intensity…
“He came in and picked up the ball pressure and got up in them. He made them real uncomfortable and that’s what we needed. He sped the game up and that’s what we like to do. You can always tell how frustrated someone is especially when a little guy like Tyler is up in you.”

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On how often he is assigned to guard a perimeter player to start a game…
“It really depends on what type of team we are playing. In some games, Coach will tell me to guard the wing, but in others I am supposed to guard the post.”

On hid performance tonight…
“I think I played okay. There were still plays that I should have made. For instance, I missed two steals, a few layups, and the lob in the second half. I also have to work on getting around screens. Other than that, I played with high energy and that is really all we have to play with. 

On how much it helps UK to play a team like Providence that tries to control the tempo…
“It was definitely good, and we needed to face a team like them. They are a very good team, and they will do a lot of good things this season.  I am just glad that we came out on top. For a second, the game could have gone either way, but we found a way to win.”

On why UK needed a game like this…
“It mainly helps with experience. We are not going to bury everyone when it comes to tournament time.  Anytime the game starts to get tough, we need to know who to have in the game. It also helps us see what matchups work and what lineups work best together down the stretch. These types of games are perfect for that.”

On what Tyler Ulis offers UK…
“He is an annoyance to the opposing team. He is all over the ball on defense, and he is so quick. He also has excellent court vision, which helps him impact the game on both sides.”

On if he was surprised by Tyler Ulis’ blocked shot…
“It was actually funny, because Coach talked the other day in practice about how Tyler would never block a shot, but he proved him wrong I guess.”

Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley

Opening statement …
“First of all, I’m really, really proud of our team. We had two guys who hadn’t practiced in the last five or six days and it definitely showed, in particular with Kris (Dunn). Proud of our guys. We came here and tried to execute a game plan. I thought the biggest key today was (Tyler) Ulis. I thought he was very disruptive with his ball pressure. You couldn’t get into an offensive flow. A lot of that has to do with the length. We missed a lot of layups at the rim. Some of that had to do with the length of this team that all you writers are so blessed to write about here at Kentucky. But I’m proud of our group. This game will serve us well as we prepare for our Big East season. It’s a game that you want on your schedule to see a different style. It is our hope that we get to the NCAA Tournament and face Kentucky again. I think our players learned a lot today, our young players in particular. I thought Paschal (Chukwu) played well today. I thought Carson Desrosiers, being a fifth-year senior, performed well today. We just didn’t have good ball movement, so that’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching my offensive flow and rhythm, which I’ll be accountable to. But other than that, it was a good college basketball game, and I’m excited to move my team forward as we prepare for Boston College.”

On Kentucky’s size …
“I don’t think we’re a small team. Everybody boasts about the length of this team, and they should, because they are. But at the end of the day, it’s a college basketball game, and you’ve got some guys out there that are tall and that can run and jump. If you would have told me yesterday that we would come in here and hold this team to 58 points I’d tell you we’d win the game. I’m proud of our kids that tried to follow a game plan. We just couldn’t run any offense, and a lot of that had to do with Kentucky’s a very, very, very good defensive team. (Willie) Cauley-Stein, I was thinking, ‘Man, he’s just like a one-man wrecking crew.’ (Alex) Poythress’ athleticism around the rim—quick-twitch muscles, they challenge everything at the rim. So it’s really hard to get some shots off. You guys are very fortunate to cover a team like this.”

On Kentucky’s length causing disruption around the basket …
“I don’t know if it caused our bigs, because I thought Paschal (Chukwu) and Carson (Desrosiers) played pretty well. I thought their length bothered some of our other guys for sure. They’re going to bother a lot of teams. We want to bother a lot of teams. I think our length at the same time bothered them. Again, I thought about Providence College. I respect our opponent, but Kentucky had to show up today, baby.”

On LaDontae Henton’s struggles …
“Everybody’s going to key on him, but LaDontae’s averaged about 30 points the last three games. I think they put probably one of the best defensive players I’ve seen in a long time in Cauley-Stein. He’s got quick feet, he’s long, he jumps over mountains. It was a tough matchup. When you see the way we’ve played, he’s our leader. We’re not going to put our head in the sand over one game, we’ll move on.”

On Cauley-Stein’s disruptiveness …
“That’s something for a general manager. Because any time you’ve got somebody that has incredible feet, length, athleticism, and speed like that. We took out some clips to show our guys where he’s the last one up the floor and the first one at the rim on the other end. That’s pretty special to see. He’s a special talent.”

On Ulis’ disruptiveness …
“I’ve seen him play in AAU basketball. I think he’s a special player. He’s got the ‘it.’ He’s a player who I think you guys are going to see really grow. He does a good job guarding the ball, he’s low to the ground, and he’s got some toughness. He’s a player that has the ultimate ‘it.’”

On asking Kris Dunn to play slowed down …
“It was very difficult. It was very difficult to ask him. He hasn’t practiced at all -- literally at all -- since we played I think Notre Dame. He just came out of a boot. But we still thought our best opportunity to peak at this level was to have him on the floor. Although he made some mistakes, I still thought he did a couple of things pretty well that will help us down the road.”

On Ulis speeding up the backcourt …
“Sure, his ball pressure definitely bothered us a little bit. We had a five-second call, we had another tip from behind. I thought his ball pressure when they made their run was the key to this entire game.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#5, Andrew Harrison, G

On what Tyler Ulis brings to the team …
“Defensive pressure. He’s a pest on defense. We make each other better every day and that’s what we try to do. That’s what practice is for.”

On bringing energy to the floor …
“When you see the team that you’re playing with doesn’t have the energy, no matter what the score is, as a leader you have to try and bring your team up.”

On holding Providence to 16 points in the second half …
“We got out there and put pressure on the ball. It’s tough to make every pass, but that’s what we try to do.”

On personal performance in the second half …
“It was OK. Coach said I needed to shoot a little more. That’s fine with me. I think I could do that, but besides that I played great defense and ran the team pretty well.”

On staying focused defensively when a team has milked the shot clock …
“They can’t really do that if you’re putting pressure on them. You can get a five-second call. We have to put pressure on them every time and hopefully they’ll turn it over or get a shot-clock violation.”

On if a close game prepares UK for Texas …
“Texas is a great team. We’re going to try our best to beat them. We’re going to get to practice this week and try to get better.”

#22, Alex Poythress

On Providence’s first-half shooting…
“We just tried to pressure the ball more. Make the elbow passes harder and get weak-side help.”

On his stats last season and this season being identical….
“I’m playing better defensively, getting more steals, more blocks. And being in the passing lanes and disrupting ball movement.”

On Tyler Ulis’ on-court intensity…
“He came in and picked up the ball pressure and got up in them. He made them real uncomfortable and that’s what we needed. He sped the game up and that’s what we like to do. You can always tell how frustrated someone is especially when a little guy like Tyler is up in you.”

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On how often he is assigned to guard a perimeter player to start a game…
“It really depends on what type of team we are playing. In some games, Coach will tell me to guard the wing, but in others I am supposed to guard the post.”

On hid performance tonight…
“I think I played okay. There were still plays that I should have made. For instance, I missed two steals, a few layups, and the lob in the second half. I also have to work on getting around screens. Other than that, I played with high energy and that is really all we have to play with. 

On how much it helps UK to play a team like Providence that tries to control the tempo…
“It was definitely good, and we needed to face a team like them. They are a very good team, and they will do a lot of good things this season.  I am just glad that we came out on top. For a second, the game could have gone either way, but we found a way to win.”

On why UK needed a game like this…
“It mainly helps with experience. We are not going to bury everyone when it comes to tournament time.  Anytime the game starts to get tough, we need to know who to have in the game. It also helps us see what matchups work and what lineups work best together down the stretch. These types of games are perfect for that.”

On what Tyler Ulis offers UK…
“He is an annoyance to the opposing team. He is all over the ball on defense, and he is so quick. He also has excellent court vision, which helps him impact the game on both sides.”

On if he was surprised by Tyler Ulis’ blocked shot…
“It was actually funny, because Coach talked the other day in practice about how Tyler would never block a shot, but he proved him wrong I guess.”

Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley

Opening statement …
“First of all, I’m really, really proud of our team. We had two guys who hadn’t practiced in the last five or six days and it definitely showed, in particular with Kris (Dunn). Proud of our guys. We came here and tried to execute a game plan. I thought the biggest key today was (Tyler) Ulis. I thought he was very disruptive with his ball pressure. You couldn’t get into an offensive flow. A lot of that has to do with the length. We missed a lot of layups at the rim. Some of that had to do with the length of this team that all you writers are so blessed to write about here at Kentucky. But I’m proud of our group. This game will serve us well as we prepare for our Big East season. It’s a game that you want on your schedule to see a different style. It is our hope that we get to the NCAA Tournament and face Kentucky again. I think our players learned a lot today, our young players in particular. I thought Paschal (Chukwu) played well today. I thought Carson Desrosiers, being a fifth-year senior, performed well today. We just didn’t have good ball movement, so that’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching my offensive flow and rhythm, which I’ll be accountable to. But other than that, it was a good college basketball game, and I’m excited to move my team forward as we prepare for Boston College.”

On Kentucky’s size …
“I don’t think we’re a small team. Everybody boasts about the length of this team, and they should, because they are. But at the end of the day, it’s a college basketball game, and you’ve got some guys out there that are tall and that can run and jump. If you would have told me yesterday that we would come in here and hold this team to 58 points I’d tell you we’d win the game. I’m proud of our kids that tried to follow a game plan. We just couldn’t run any offense, and a lot of that had to do with Kentucky’s a very, very, very good defensive team. (Willie) Cauley-Stein, I was thinking, ‘Man, he’s just like a one-man wrecking crew.’ (Alex) Poythress’ athleticism around the rim—quick-twitch muscles, they challenge everything at the rim. So it’s really hard to get some shots off. You guys are very fortunate to cover a team like this.”

On Kentucky’s length causing disruption around the basket …
“I don’t know if it caused our bigs, because I thought Paschal (Chukwu) and Carson (Desrosiers) played pretty well. I thought their length bothered some of our other guys for sure. They’re going to bother a lot of teams. We want to bother a lot of teams. I think our length at the same time bothered them. Again, I thought about Providence College. I respect our opponent, but Kentucky had to show up today, baby.”

On LaDontae Henton’s struggles …
“Everybody’s going to key on him, but LaDontae’s averaged about 30 points the last three games. I think they put probably one of the best defensive players I’ve seen in a long time in Cauley-Stein. He’s got quick feet, he’s long, he jumps over mountains. It was a tough matchup. When you see the way we’ve played, he’s our leader. We’re not going to put our head in the sand over one game, we’ll move on.”

On Cauley-Stein’s disruptiveness …
“That’s something for a general manager. Because any time you’ve got somebody that has incredible feet, length, athleticism, and speed like that. We took out some clips to show our guys where he’s the last one up the floor and the first one at the rim on the other end. That’s pretty special to see. He’s a special talent.”

On Ulis’ disruptiveness …
“I’ve seen him play in AAU basketball. I think he’s a special player. He’s got the ‘it.’ He’s a player who I think you guys are going to see really grow. He does a good job guarding the ball, he’s low to the ground, and he’s got some toughness. He’s a player that has the ultimate ‘it.’”

On asking Kris Dunn to play slowed down …
“It was very difficult. It was very difficult to ask him. He hasn’t practiced at all -- literally at all -- since we played I think Notre Dame. He just came out of a boot. But we still thought our best opportunity to peak at this level was to have him on the floor. Although he made some mistakes, I still thought he did a couple of things pretty well that will help us down the road.”

On Ulis speeding up the backcourt …
“Sure, his ball pressure definitely bothered us a little bit. We had a five-second call, we had another tip from behind. I thought his ball pressure when they made their run was the key to this entire game.”