Kentucky-MVSU Postgame Quotes

Dec. 18, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

COACH CALIPARI: Because obviously I'm restricted in what I can say, all I can tell you is I've done this 20 some years. It's the first game I've ever been thrown out of, pro or college. That's what I can tell you. I’ve never been thrown out of a game.

Q. You couldn't explain what your thoughts were. The ref wouldn't come over to talk to you, to hear you out?

COACH CALIPARI: That's his prerogative. I coach the game. He has a whistle. If he wants to throw me out of a game, that's what is in his mind, he does it. I've never been thrown out before.

I tell you this. I wore the brown suit today. Was Coach (Adolph) Rupp ever thrown out of a game? The question is, will I ever wear a brown suit again? I don't think so.

But, anyway, what about the game?

Q. What did you like?

COACH CALIPARI: We shared the ball. But we just got out-rebounded. We had seven turnovers in the second half. We had five in the first half, which I thought was pretty good. We got guys that have to get better. We shot free throws pretty good. We're doing that better.

But, we're practicing tomorrow. We'll probably go twice on Monday. Practice on Tuesday. Play on Wednesday. Have a break. Come back. Then we start two-a-days, three-a-days. We just got a long way to go.

The great thing about playing Mississippi Valley State, one, they've played all great opponents. They haven't played any slouches. They've been in every game they've played. A lot of them they were up at halftime.

They are an athletic team that comes at you. They were physical. So some of our guys didn't play up to snuff. You know what, they exposed them. Terrence (Jones) has got to play. Those numbers, I mean, how do you start the game this way? In a league game, a big game, kind of like North Carolina, you can't do that. It's important that we have everybody come and play.

He has some numbers, but they're not real. Like I said, we'll watch the tape, go back and try to get better.

Q. John, that three-point shot before halftime, what does that do for you for the first part of the second half?

COACH CALIPARI: The first five minutes of the second half we went right at Terrence (Jones). All of a sudden it was a 17-, 18-point game. The three at half was wow for the fans, put us up three more. But, you know, I'm glad he made it, so now he knows he can, if we ever need one of those.

Q. In 27 years I'm assuming you came close to having nights where you left early. Were you surprised when you were asked to leave?

COACH CALIPARI: Let me say this. In the last four years, you guys will go check this, but I bet you I haven't had two or three technicals in the last five years. Didn't have any last year. I mean, so I was surprised, especially since I didn't say two words to those guys today.

But you know what? If I stepped out of the box, that's his prerogative. If I did it, I don't know. I might have. I probably did.

Again, I can only control what I do and how I respond to it. You know, if he chose to call that second one, he did it. We move on. There's a first for everything: 2,000 wins, first time I get thrown out of a game.

Q. What did you do during that period when you left the court?

COACH CALIPARI: Took my coat off, put my feet up, had a little drink of water, said, ‘This ain't so bad (smiling).’ I didn't put it on TV until the last two minutes. He did fine. He was telling me to run the back door, run the back door. DeAndre (Liggins) got it. He kept after me to get it. DeAndre missed the layup. John (Robic) is a good coach.

Q. Is it disappointing that Terrence (Jones) had this kind of start again?

COACH CALIPARI: It is. But it's all part of growth. It's all part of him learning, saying, I got to do better. Even the warm-up in the second half, you can't go through the motions. You got to go out and go through an unbelievably tough warm-up. We're going at you to start the half. That's not what happened.

These guys are so young. We're learning how to play together. We're learning how to warm up for games. We had two good practices. We had a terrific shoot around and are getting better at that kind of stuff. We have to carry that stuff into the game.

I thought Eloy (Vargas) got a couple tough rebounds. First two or three tough rebounds he's gotten this year, he got today. Basically what I'm telling him, ‘If you get the ball jerked out of your hand, I'm taking you out.’ So either hold on to the ball and bring it in or come out, you're not playing. So he jerked two or three balls in today, did some good stuff.

Again, we've got a ways to go.

Q. Is this just a personality thing with Terrence (Jones) or a question of maturation? Will you eventually get him where he needs to be?

COACH CALIPARI: We better. It's important when you're not playing a whole lot of people. The guys that have to be on the court have to give it to you. Same with Darius (Miller), he has to start playing better. He has to start coming up with balls. He can't stand there and watch a ball bounce from you and hope someone else grabs it. He needs to play. He is dong some of the things good. Again, I want him to be special. I don't want him to be just out there making free throws, threes now and then. You be the man, and he's capable of that.

Q. Can you talk about Doron (Lamb) during that stretch when you made your run in the first half.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he played well. He tailed off the second half, but I thought he played well. He got to the rim. He got layups. He makes some bumps, makes some threes, makes some free throws, playing with more of a motor.

Q. Early on Darius (Miller) got to the free-throw line quite a bit. Did that indicate that he was perhaps playing a little harder?

COACH CALIPARI: He made the free throws. I was happy about that. But, you know, he's better than he's playing. He is. He's better than he's playing. We just got to bring it out of him. He's got to get it out of him. We have to figure it out.

Again, you know, he goes for 14, five assists, and I'm saying he's okay. I'm telling you, he's better than he's playing. He's kind of like stuck, you know, on the floor at times instead of being aggressive and confident enough. Just go after balls. Don't expect someone else to get them. You have the mindset to go get them yourself.

We'll break through. Like I said, Terrence (Jones) got some things. I think Brandon (Knight) is playing better. He's talking more, being a leader on the court, doing more. Doron (Lamb) is doing his thing. DeAndre (Liggins) played a little bit better today. He's doing his stuff. Five rebounds today. I'd like to have had a couple more rebounds from him.

And this is a hard game because of how they play. I mean, they ratted it up a little bit. They pressed. I thought we did some good stuff versus their press.

Q. John, on your radio show Monday, John (Robic) said he thought there might be some confidence issues with Darius (Miller). How does a coach instill confidence beyond what you always say about you got to do it on the court?

COACH CALIPARI: Demonstrated performance is the only way. Demonstrated performance, because if it takes me to build you up, the first time I jump on you, I can’t take it away. Can't be about me. It's demonstrated performance.

What I can do is prepare you, make you tougher, do things to do it, get on you. You do it in practice and then you carry over into the game, you're not afraid, you play. You have a toughness to you, a mental toughness to you.

He's not been in this position before ever, not at this level. So now it's on him a little bit and he's having to deal with it. But I think he's going to be fine. I mean, again, he goes 14 and five assists, five-for-five from the line, and I'm saying he's better than that. That's how much I believe in him. But it's not what I think or believe. He's got to see it and do it himself.

Q. Sean (Woods) mentioned how much better you are now than earlier in the season. Thoughts about how well they're playing now compared to early in the season.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, the schedule they just played, I mean, they're all on the road. Sean (Woods) has done a terrific job of keeping them together. They post it a little bit, they shoot it a little bit. They're doing a good job. They're physical. So in their league, they'll win. They could be an NCAA tournament team. They could go win their league because they shoot it and they got enough athletes and they got a couple big kids. They go and win their tournament, they're in.

Q. You said (Stacey) Poole was going to steal some of (Jon) Hood's minutes. We didn't see him tonight. Anything happen?

COACH CALIPARI: No. I was playing the six or seven we're going to be playing. I'm just playing those guys. And then I think I got tossed about seven minutes to go. So whether I would have put him in or not, I don't know. I was going to send out signs from the locker room.

Kentucky Players

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G

On what he can do to help Terrence Jones with being ready for each game ...
“I can help him get his mind right before every game and in the warmups help him get loose and get ready. We need him (to play well). As Coach Cal says, ‘We aren’t the deepest team this year.’ We need every single player to step up.”

On becoming a better offensive player this year ...
“It feels good (to score) but it’s not what I do. I’m a defensive player. If the opportunity is there for me to score then I’ll take it. I’m a defensive player and I know that is my role on this team and if I continue to do that my offense will come naturally.”

On  the improvement in his three-point shot ...
“I continue to get shots in before and after practice. It’s about constant preparation and getting my shots in.”

#1, Darius Miller, SF

On the team’s overall play tonight ...
“We played OK. It seemed like at times we weren’t really focused or intense with the game. But we still have to work on playing the whole 40 minutes. But overall I think we played OK.”

On playing in stretches where some teammates try to get “theirs” ...
“At times when we aren’t playing as a team and are too selfish with the ball. It is something we have to continue to work on, but I think we are getting better at playing as a team.”

On Coach Calipari’s assessment to him contributing more ...
“Coach expects a lot out of me. He tells me everyday, and I just have to continue to work hard and keep my head up and try to get better everyday.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G

On his role in UK’s first-half run …
“I just wanted to come off the bench and get aggressive, play defense, make open shots and create for my teammates. I did that in the first half.”

On his role coming off the bench …
“I’m comfortable with it. I’m doing good so far with the role that they gave me coming off the bench and bringing energy off the bench and creating for teammates. I’m getting starter minutes though so it doesn’t really matter. As long as I’m out there playing and helping my teammates win.

#12, Brandon Knight, PG

On if fatigue will be a factor when conference play begins ...
“I think we’ll be alright. We condition a lot in practice, and I think we are in pretty good shape. We will be able to get through it.”

On the aspects of the game the team has improved on since the season began ...
“We are getting better with sharing the basketball. Our help-side defense and rebounding are things we struggled with as the season started, but we are working every day to make them better.”

Mississippi Valley State Head Coach Sean Woods

On Kentucky …
“I wish we could have played them a month ago. They are getting better every day I think. I am kind of running the same stuff. John (Calipari) invited me down this summer the week before they went to Canada, and I kind of tweaked his brain a little bit because I have guards that can take you off the bounce and a couple of post players that can take you one-on-one. I like that deal (the dribble-drive offense) and those guys are buying in. It is not just one guy anymore making a play, they have four or five guys that can take you off the bounce and everybody is not just looking anymore. If they continue to shoot the basketball well and Terrence Jones keeps getting better like he is doing they are going to be tough to deal with in the SEC.”

On why he wanted to play them a month ago …
“Because they weren’t this good. They weren’t gelling and weren’t getting the dribble drive. They were young and trying to figure it out and we were pretty much a veteran team and I thought that if I could keep it close they would falter a little bit. Now, they are almost in mid-season form. They had a hard time guarding us once we started to get to our stuff, and I thought that we did a good job of guarding their dribble drive too. A team that is as good as they are you can’t turn the ball over because they turn them into buckets. Any top SEC team like this that is what they do and they did that to us tonight.”

On the difference between what they face in the SWAC and what they faced tonight in Kentucky …
“The difference in the SWAC, and we had a SWAC referee out there today, is when you play at this level they allow you to play this physical. But when you get back in our league where we are used to playing this physical and build that mindset and toughness they change it a little bit. They don’t allow us to play this physical. It is a good thing that he (Paul Crosby) is back because these are Paul’s first two games back. He is a very physical guy, and I just hope he doesn’t foul out because they call those little knick knacks and he is aggressive putting his butt in people. They (SWAC officials) are going to give him an offensive foul more so than they would in the games we are playing in November and December. That is some of the things that us coaches in the SWAC that we are trying to change because we all have to play some tough games, not as many as me, but some tough games against SEC and ACC teams like that. They allow us to play physical but we come back to the SWAC and they don’t allow us to play as physical as they do (against major conferences teams.)

On how his rebuilding process is coming along at MVSU …
“Without a doubt (we are better). I think that we were right there last year. First of all, we have a lot of guys back and second of all our guard play is a lot better than it was when I first got here. Third of all, I have some post players that can play. I have some guys that can play. Now I have to play the style of play that I want, you know spread you out, dribble drive you and create some mismatches and some one-on-one situations. I have guys that know how to play with each other, some good basketball minds. I had to put a team together (when I first got here), and I had to put a team together. I got the job in July and there was only three payers left when I got here. I had to just put some together and now we are starting to see the fruits of our labor from a recruiting standpoint. Right now we are just as good as anybody in our league.” 

Mississippi Valley State Head Coach Sean Woods

#11, D’Angelo Jackson, G

On the physicality compared to the SWAC ...
“I would say (the SEC) is more physical down in the post, but as far as guard play, it’s a little more scrappy in the SWAC because you have a lot more quick guards that like to press a lot. As far as the whole team, it’s pretty even. It’s just different in the SAWC.”

On the deflating feeling after Brandon Knight’s half-court shot before halftime...
“It was unbelievable. I was sitting on the bench when he made that shot. When (Brandon Knight) let it go, I just had a feeling he was going to make it. And when he made it, I just sat back in my chair and I couldn’t believe it.”

On what it was like playing in Rupp Arena...
“It was a little louder than the Indiana game. But, it was very similar to the Indiana game. It was electrifying playing in that type of environment, but it was fun to play in. The only time I realized the crowd was loud was when Coach Calipari got thrown out.”

#32, Paul Crosby, C

On how physical Kentucky is ...
“Oh, they are physical. I watch them on TV, and I have seen them in HD. They are real physical. They are real good, too. Terrance Jones and Josh Harrellson are pretty talented. (Eloy Vargas) is pretty good, too. They did a good job.”

On what it was like playing in Rupp Arena...
“This is my second game, so it was a big factor to me. To see 24,000 people was amazing. There were a lot more people here than at the Arkansas game, I know that. I liked the fans. They were loud. They kept (the players) going.”