Kentucky-St. John's Postgame Quotes

Dec. 1, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. Talk about (Anthony) Davis, his blocks, and did you know at 4:44 that he was two shy of the triple double?

COACH CALIPARI: I didn't, but I think he was -- without him, we probably lose the game. He changed everything about it. He blocked shots. He scored baskets, he rebounded tough rebounds. He came up with balls -- when it got rough, we had guys who could not come up with balls.

Just could not -- it's an Achilles heel for us, and guys think it's okay, and it's just not. But he played. He balled.

Q. You said yesterday, we need to work on offense, playing pretty well on defense, kind of how it played out again tonight. How do you reconcile playing so dominant on defense, I think five shot clock violations early in the first half, all of the blocked shots and not on the other end.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, you're playing such a young team that they just -- we haven't figured out each other yet, and it's going to take time. This team will be way better in March than it is right now.

We started the game, we had five turnovers to start the game in the first, three or four minutes, five turnovers, of the kind of going after a ball half speed, running somebody over, walking, not spreading the court.

And then, give St. John's credit. They scrapped. They scrapped. They were physical. They played a style that they felt they had to play, which was: Let's run the shot clock down. That's why there were the shot clock violations, not that we were so good defensively. They went to run the clock to 10 seconds and tried to make a play; then they couldn't get the shot up at that point, worked hard. But they did what they had to to stay in the game. And we were just inept offensively. We started the game, we had 16 points. I'm like, are we going to get to the 20 this half?

So again, you know, got a ways to go. I don't know what else to tell you.

Q. With Anthony (Davis), he blocked so many of those, and controls them and keeps them and creates possessions; is that something you teach or something that he's done?

COACH CALIPARI: I'd like to take all the credit for that, how I teach. But the reality of it is, that's him. He's just -- you know, he's a great shot-blocker. We blocked a lot of shots today. We had some steals. It's a hard game to play when the other team is winding that clock down, and there's going to be a lot of teams that play us this way. That's how they will play us.

Q. On Terrence Jones

COACH CALIPARI: Terrence (Jones) is going to have to play better these next two games. He's going to have to -- it's not even about numbers. You've got to come up with balls. You've got to be the guy on the court, being where you're supposed to and you have to show leadership, like coming up with balls and taking charges.

These next two games are vital because you cannot count on young players, freshmen, to go in there in these kind of games, the next two that we have. The next two are going to be ridiculously hard for us to win, and so if we don't have that from him, it's going to be really hard for us, because again, if it's not him, you're counting on freshmen.

Q. At the beginning of the game with them milking the clock and playing zone on the offensive end, do you think your team showed a lot of patience?

COACH CALIPARI: We did okay. But we started the first couple of possessions, the guys put the ball all above their head and they didn't get into the gaps. I mean, things that we had worked on for four days, we just -- they didn't do.

Start of the game, and so we end up with five turnovers, and I'm like, what are we doing? But again, I'm not the most patient guy anyway, and I want us to be better now.

But it's December 1. We are what we are. We are a good defensive team and we cannot sustain the energy we need because it's so early in the season, we stopped playing a lot. And offensively, we just aren't in sync yet, and we have got to get it there.

Q. A lot of times you hear, players they don't care about defense, especially younger players. Are they just special that (they play good defense) or is there something else that's gone into it?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, if you are not going to guard here, you're don't play. You're not going to get in games. And if you break down, then we play somebody else. Our practice preseason is all offense. When we get into the season, we are zeroed in on what we are doing defensively.

I mean, if you look over the last five or six years, my teams defensively have been efficient. They have done what they were supposed to do. So this team is no different. I mean, field goal percentage, rebound margin, which isn't what it should be, because they jerk balls out of our hands today, and then blocking shots and steals and giving themselves more opportunities.

But again, look, I'm looking at other teams around the country that are top-ranked teams. They are just way ahead of us offensively. Just way ahead. And so you're not going to go hold those kind of teams to 32 percent, 29, you're not.

But you certainly can't shoot 39 -- score 39 percent of the time and turn it over as much as we've been.

Q. As far as St. John's, a little under manned with only seven or eight scholarship players. Can you talk about how as a coach, how difficult it is to coach a team with that few players and how will it help if they are able to get another player or two here in December with the rest of their season?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, if I'm one of those seven, I'm really happy, because those seven are playing every minute. If the option is, I play less minutes and we have more guys, then everybody in that room says; we are good with who we have.

But what happens is when they add guys that can give them some shooting, maybe some driving ability, I think you're going to see a different team. And like I said, they played us as well as anybody has played us, they really did. I've got to give them credit.

Q. Obviously Anthony (Davis) blocks a lot of shots, yet he does not foul much. What is that about? And he had a block late in the game, didn't seem like much of a foul, but anyway, wondering if you saw that.

COACH CALIPARI: I didn't see that. But when he leaves his feet, he fouls. The great shot-blockers wait until you release it and then they go after the ball.

So a ball fake doesn't bother them because they are not leaving, anyway. So you can ball fake six times. Until you start to release the ball, when it's out of your hand, a shot-blocker will go after it. That's what he does.

And the other thing a shot blocker does is he's blocking not his man’s shot, he's blocking somebody else's shot. And that's why I'm telling my players, don't foul. We did exactly what we did against Kansas. They had 10 straight points from the free throw line. Come on. Quit fouling. We are blocking every shot. Why would you foul or grab or hold? Why? We did the same thing with Kansas; as the game wound down, we just gave them all those free throws. We have to get better at that.

Q. You had 18 blocked shots, school record, just a little bit about what that does defensively? I know offensively it's not where you want to be, but defensively --

COACH CALIPARI: We are a pretty good defensive team. We have been this way all year. We have not had 18 blocks, but we have had 10, 11.

And the other side of it is, most teams haven't done what this team did. Most teams try to beat us shooting 3s. So they will play a zone, they may hold it a little bit, but they are trying to shoot 3s to beat us. This team went inside, which is why we had 18 blocks.

Q. How much have you looked at North Carolina and what will you do tomorrow to prepare?

COACH CALIPARI: First of all, I've got to watch this tape tonight. Then I've got to watch our game with North Carolina a year ago, watch two or three other tapes of North Carolina.

I watched them at Vegas about eight minutes, 10 minutes, and I watched them against Wisconsin, maybe 12 minutes, 15 minutes, max. So I've got a lot of work to do.

I have no idea how we are going to play them yet. You know, they pretty much play how they play. We pretty much play like we play. I doubt if either one of us are going to try to hold the ball. I mean, it should be an up-and-down game I imagine. You let them get in too much of an up-and-down game, you'll get killed.

So you've got to make it so that they are not getting just pass-ahead layups.

Let me just tell you, what I saw, and the little bit I saw last night, they are really good. I know UNLV made 13 3s, which is why they won the game, and they really fought like heck and did a pretty good job. But they came back against a Wisconsin team that's even more physical and tougher than the UNLV team, and really did a pretty good job on them.

So I think they bounced back and recovered from that. They are a good team. They are really good.

Q. I know you have not seen a lot of tape on them, but how would tonight's performance work out on Saturday for you guys?

COACH CALIPARI: If we play like tonight? Then I would be a very sad coach after the game I would say. We have to play better than we played (tonight).

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#20, Doron Lamb, G

On where this team is defensively …
“Coach always tells us to play defense, and don’t let anyone else get past you and don’t foul. Just wall-up, and you have a lot of shot blockers behind you. That’s what we live on.

On how successful the lob passes will be against teams like UNC …
“I think we can do that no matter who we play. If we just go past our guy, and the big man collapses, we can go to the lob. It doesn’t matter who we play.”

On where this team is offensively …
“Coach just wants us to make the extra pass, and have us make the easiest play to score. He sees that we aren’t doing that right now. We have to work on that in practice, and get better.”

#1, Darius Miller, G

On the psychological impact of blocking so many shots …  
“We think it causes them to hesitate when they go to the rim. We alter a lot of shots even when we don’t block them, especially Terrence (Jones) and Anthony (Davis), they do a great job.”

On defensively trying to funnel them into Anthony Davis in the lane …  
“Not really. We are trying to keep them out of the lane, honestly. But it always helps when he’s there, he’s always back there to help, him and Terrence and they do a great job of helping us so it makes our job a lot easier.”

On if this team is better at blocking shots than the 2009-10 team …  
“I don’t know, that’s tough to say. Hopefully we can get there and be better than that.”

On confidence in outside shooting…
“We feel like we have a good shooting team, we have a lot of guys that can knock down a jumper especially when they get going so we aren’t really worried about that. First of all we have to come in and play defense on them and especially get back in transition because we know that is one of their strong points.”

#23, Anthony Davis, F

On his play and going to the line…  
“I think I played really well. Those free throws, once again, but it’s the one thing I’m working on. I’ve been wanting to turn my wrist to the side instead of keep it (straight). And when I did, I hit both (free throws). One thing I’ve been working on.”

On defensive play…  
“[Blocking shots] was real big. We did our job on defense. We rattled their head. They had two or three shot clock violations back-to-back-to-back. We blocked out defensively. We agree to defensive changes and we kept playing [defense]. We made them shoot jumpers. We block shots a couple times and they want to start shooting jump shots. That’s what they did today.”

On playing against centers…
“When a guy’s going full speed and someone quits testing them. They make a shot and I want to be right there to get the rebound and get the big man tired. Just keep subbing, keep subbing. So, that’s what I try to do to keep them on the floor.”

On blocking balls to change possession…
“Blocking balls out of bounds is giving them another chance. So you block it in to one of your teammates or tip it a little bit to yourself. Then we have possession of the ball. So that’s how I try to do it to keep it in our hands. When I come from the weak side, I try to block it out of bounds. It excites the crowd and gets us pumped up as well.”

#3, Terrence Jones, F

On playing North Carolina Tarheels on Saturday…  
“They’re big in the paint just like we are. So it should be really competitive for me and Anthony [Davis] down low. This is a different team. We played a whole different way. But, I believe in Doron [Lamb] and Darius [Miller], Marquis [Teague] and myself on making 3s when we’re wide open, and Michael [Kidd-Gilchrist]. I think this is more of a driving team than last year. Just the different point guards we have and the offense we run. I just think it’s going to be a different game. They have a different team the way they play too.”

On looking ahead to the game against North Carolina Tarheels on Saturday…
“I’ve just been going game-by-game just because how many games we lost last year. We’ve learned from that experience not to look over teams. So I just take it one at a time.”

On blocking shots…  
“[Blocking shots] was really big. Just a chance to represent the school and how many great players and great teams we’ve had. To be down in the history books is always great. No one really wants to get their shot blocked. So it really makes you conscious going to the hole. It makes teams think about driving sometimes.”

On Anthony Davis’s play…
“I knew he was close [to a triple-double]. I thought he had it but I didn’t know exactly what the stats were besides the points. But I knew he played a great game.”

St. John’s Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap

Opening statement …  
“Well we learned a lot today about ourselves. Again, we are a work in progress and we knew we would be in for a battle. The disappointed part for us were the turnovers, 19, when you go on the road you have to take better care of the ball. That put a lot of pressure on our defense as far as easy baskets go. In the second half there was a period there where we widdled back, we were going to the free throw line, we were able to stop the clock even though there was a disparity in the score but we kind of worked ourselves back and then the technical pushed us away from any chance of bringing it to single digits. In the locker room we just talked about what we have to do better and what they did well.”

On Anthony Davis’ ability to block shots …  
“Well, he’s got really long arms and he’s very good at it. We wish we had one of those. He’s done that to a lot of opponents. Also for us to experience that, to drive the gap and get into the paint but he took care of the mistakes that were made on the perimeter. We call those guys ‘catchers’ and he is a tremendous ‘catcher’.”

On the goal plan of taking the ball down low…  
“I don’t know about taking it to him (Anthony Davis), we are a paint team. We’ve been averaging a lot of free throw games, that’s part of how we can get points on the scoreboard, it’s just who we are. I thought God’sgift (Achiuwa) did a good job when we were able to feed the post and go against Davis.”

On the game plan…  
“Well we had two gears, one is our run game in the first six seconds and the other is play through the mental part of the possession because we wanted to make sure there were some mistakes made and there were but the problem was that when we got into the paint we couldn’t finish or make that extra pass and that’s something that we are going to have to learn. I thought that we were a bit passive so we are going to have learn but I thought that was also the 23,000 people.”

On sensing frustration from his team…
“The frustration would have come towards the end, I didn’t really see that coming in terms of that kind of a moment and I don’t think it was a big moment. I would just simply say it wasn’t a big dust up and for us to get that technical at this point early in the season and learn from it will benefit us down the road.”

St. John’s Players

#10, Nurideen Lindsey, G

On his overall thoughts on the game …
“I think Kentucky played very good tonight. They did a good job of containing the good things that we like to do. I don’t necessarily think I had a tough time tonight, you just have to give credit to Kentucky. They played very good defense.”

On what it is like shooting over Anthony Davis
“It’s like shooting over a tower. I have watched him play a lot this season, but I didn’t know he was as long as he is and as athletic as he is until he caught a couple of the dunks and a couple of the lob plays. He was blocking shots all over the place. It was tough.”

On the trouble they had getting late in the shot clock …
“We tried to stay aggressive. We tried to get to a stage where we weren’t forcing so much so early in the shot clock. We tried to stay discipline and try to make those guys play defense for longer than they normally play.”

#11, D’Angelo Harrison, G

On getting so many shots blocked …    
“You just have to keep going after it. I got blocked three times. You just have to be crafty and learn how to play.”

On how they regroup after the loss …
“We have to pull together. We have to bounce right back and have a hard practice tomorrow. We need to get better as a team, grow and get better.”

On how they get better after playing UK …
“Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the country. We were fighting. We were right with them in the first half. We had 19 turnovers, so that isn’t going to win you any games in the Big East or anywhere you play.”