Kentucky-Loyola (Md) Postgame Quotes

Dec. 22, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. Could you talk about what Kyle (Wiltjer) did offensively and then what you still need him to do defensively to give him an opportunity to do those things more?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, one, we've got to help him defensively. I mean, we've got to do some schemes with him because there are certain match-ups that he's just not ready to go with. But we need that shooting and that scoring on the floor. So I've got to come up with some schemes to help him.

I was really happy because he didn't shoot the ball particularly well last game, and in the last huddle I said, we're going to see what this kid is made of. He hasn't been close to making a shot. We're going to give him another one I want to see. And he swished it. I think the kid has a toughness at heart, but we're just going to have to help him. I've got to get him to take more charges, not going to block shots, charge, block out more, and then when he's in the post we've got to do some things.

But let me say this first of all about Loyola: I knew it would be a hard game. They were 8-2. I watched the tapes. I knew it would be a hard game. They're athletic and tough and older than us, and they weren't afraid. They came right after us.

I'm going to say they'll probably win their league. I mean, that's what I think they'll do. You know, from the 3-point line I was scared to death because I knew they had some guys that could launch 3s, but I thought we did a fairly good job.

Here's -- just so you understand, when we break down on a 3-point shot, a guy goes under a screen, a guy goes under a handoff, they make them all against us. If we don't get a rebound that we should and they kick it out and there are open 3s, teams are making all of those against us. In transition, we don't match down, they are making them. They're not making the ones we guard.

We have to be focused each time now, which we're not because we're young, to be able to say, ‘Hey, get up on these guys.’ But they defended, I loved that they played us a little zone, I loved that they did some things on the out-of-bounds plays to make us think, and I love that they played a power game against us because it's what we needed.

Q. How important is it for you to schedule opponents you've done in each of your three years here that give you different looks, especially with young teams?

COACH CALIPARI: That's what we try to do, and we're also trying to schedule teams that we think will do well in their league.

But it's all a guess. Somebody gets hurt and all of a sudden a team goes from an 18-win team to a 10, you're guessing. But that's what we try to do, and style of play is important. If there's a team that will play all zone we may want that team because we know what they're going to do. Teams that will press, we need to get pressed a little bit.

I guess today when you watched us against the press, we were pretty good against the press. Unless you grab and hold and trip and bite, if it's normal basketball, I think we'll be fine.

Q. You said it helps when you guys need the shooting and scoring on the floor from Kyle (Wiltjer). What difference does that make when he's doing --

COACH CALIPARI: Stretches out the defense. I mean, it really, really stretches out the defense. But we -- you know, in the first half we had no toughness. We had guys -- other than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis, no one even tried to rebound. Darius Miller had one rebound, and had a couple where his man ran right by him and just laid it in. Doron Lamb had a rebound, Marquis Teague had one rebound. No one rebounded except those other two. They had almost every rebound. Well, we can't be that way, and that's why they rebounded against us in the first half.

So the toughness kind of jumped up at us a little bit, but at the end of the day, we had some pretty much balanced scoring, and we're doing some good things.

Let me just say this: We all need a break. I mean, what I said to them after, I'm fighting guys too much, and I'm not fighting Anthony (Davis) and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) because they're just getting after it. But I'm fighting my point guard to be a point guard, I'm fighting Darius (Miller) to be tougher, fighting Kyle (Wiltjer) for defense and fighting Eloy (Vargas) to come up with balls. You can't -- they've got to want that stuff more than I want it. But we all need a little break.

I knew this would be a hard game, one, because of the opponent, and Jimmy (Patsos) is a terrific coach, the way they play and what he does. They had a chance of being up at half.

Q. What can you say about Michael's (Kidd-Gilchrist) mother? I know there was some tweeting and stuff, and his play despite whatever that situation.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we were trying to figure out whether we should send him home this morning early, and we just -- the way and what she's going through right now, it wasn't so immediate that there was going to be things done today. It's in the early process, and like I said, I hope that what we find out is all good. But I would say, again, the Big Blue Nation prayers are strong, and I would say everybody say a prayer for his mother and their family.

Q. Talk about the way that Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) played. Jimmy talked about he was surprised and thought maybe they actually had a mismatch or an advantage at that position, that he kind of underestimated him. Is it hard for you to imagine anybody underestimating Michael with what he's done?

COACH CALIPARI: I'll be honest with you; he's dragging our team, which is great stuff. He's dragging us. He's doing it whether it's rebounding, scoring, making free throws, making 3s when he has to. In transition if you give it to him ahead of the pack and it's him and one guy, he's scoring 99.9 percent of the time or he's going to get fouled. You know, he drags us in practice, he drags us in morning workouts. He means so much, it's becoming -- I said this this morning: My job as a coach is to teach all these young people how to lead, but as your season goes on, a couple of leaders will stand out amongst that group.

Teaching players how to lead starts with leading and serving. The second part of it is you lead by example, you don't lead by talk. And then you've got to go on the court and perform to lead. So they've got to look at you with confidence for you to lead. Well, I'd like to have 12 leaders. Now, one or two at a time are leading, but I'd like to have 12 guys capable. That means I've done my job teaching young people what it takes to lead in whatever organization they're in.

Q: Closing statement ...

COACH CALIPARI: Merry Christmas to all of you here and to all of our fans out there. Let's catch our breath and come back. We have one third of our season gone. Can you imagine, we still have two thirds to go? We've got a long way to go with this team.

To this point I'm happy, even though I'm dragging some of these guys more than I want to. At the end of the day, I like my team. I've got a good team. And when we click and we all come together and we're all playing aggressive and we're all bouncing and talking and we're all making easy plays, this stuff gets scary. We're not close to that right now. But this thing could get scary. Thanks.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#33 Kyle Wiltjer, Fr., F

On how he played tonight ...
“I thought I played well. I wanted to go in there and play good minutes and keep grinding it out, and luckily tonight, a lot of the shots fell for me tonight.”

On what his plan was coming into tonight ...
“I just wanted to continue to do what I was doing. I wanted to try to hit open shots because last game I didn’t feel like I was knocking down open shots. All of those little things that coach wanted to me to focus on, I tried to focus on.”

On the importance of getting a win before a long break ...
“It was a good feeling especially being able to go home over break with a win. It’s a good feeling. Now that I can go home and spend time with my family, that makes this break even better.”

On what John Calipari told the players about the break ...
“He told us to keep up our conditioning. He also told us to enjoy the time with our family. He really emphasized that. We don’t get a lot of off time, so it was important to enjoy it and get ready for the next games.”

#23, Anthony Davis, Fr., F

On how he played tonight...
“I think I played well. I missed a couple easy jump shots. For the most part though I rebounded the ball well and drove to the basket. Made some key stops, it was just a great team effort. I thought it was a great effort by the team since everyone had their minds set on going home.”

On the importance of having a good game going into the break...
“It's very important going into the break with a win. Now we are more relaxed thinking we got the win, instead of taking a loss and thinking about all the things we should have done better. A win makes your break a whole lot better.”

On the expectations coming back from break...
“I know we are going to have 'Camp Cal' coming back. He is going to make us really get after it now since we had a nice long break.”

#1, Darius Miller, G

On his overall performance ...
“I think I did all right. I had a few minutes the last game. I didn’t play the whole 40 minutes. For the most part I did all right.”

On the importance for performing well before Christmas break ...
“It was really important. It was kind of a tough game for us to play because a lot of people have to go home and see their families and spend time with their families. So it was kind of tough. But I think, for the most part, we did a good job coming out and playing.”

On expectations after the team returns from Christmas break ...
“Just being focused in on what we need to do: working really hard, continue to get better in the earlier part of the season, and continue to work.”

On Kyle Wiltjer’s performance ...
“I think (Kyle Wiltjer) did a great job. He did a great job of knocking down shots and creating shots. He opened up the floor for us.”

Loyola (MD) Greyhounds Head Coach Jimmy Patsos

Opening statement...
“I’d just like to thank John Robic. I go way back with John Robic. It’s funny, 23 years ago I was a high school assistant coach and I went to a clinic with John Calipari and his speech was about two hands on the ball and getting the ball. He was at UMass playing in the caves, they hadn’t won anything yet and I said, ‘That guy is a really good coach.’ He just spent an hour talking about getting the ball with two feet on the floor and two hands on the ball, get possession and that’s where you build your program from. He was going to UMass, I’m from Boston and I had never heard of UMass basketball, I was in (Washington) D.C. at the time. To come here and play against John Robic and John Calipari is a real honor because I don’t think he gets enough credit for what a great teacher he is at basketball. I worked for Gary Williams for 13 years, won a national title as an assistant coach and I’ll never understand why some coaches don’t understand what a great place this is to be. I’d come here every day, it’s a great experience. We started at the Muhammad Ali museum, went to some place named Johnny’s that Denny Crum told me about in Louisville, we stayed here and got to practice in Rupp Arena. That practice was one of the best things we’ve got to do this year. We played hard, that being said, we are competitive and we want to win. Our goal is to win the Metro-Atlantic Conference against teams like Iona and Fordham. This game helps us get better. I just want to say thank you to John Calipari and John Robic for having us. We played really hard but what it came down to is they beat us to loose balls and that’s what John Calipari talked about 23 years ago in a Hilton in New Jersey, getting the ball, getting two hands on the ball and getting possession. You build your program like that, we’re trying to build. We were 1-27 eight years ago and luckily G.G. Smith walked through my door four years ago and has helped me as an assistant coach. Now we are trying to win a bid from our league, and this helped us, a great Christmas present, great place to play, thanks for having us.”

On his players not being intimidated...
“You have to be honest, we played as hard as we could. We competed very hard, if we had gotten a few loose balls our way, of course a couple jump shots, but I felt like there were a couple loose balls when it was an 8-10 point game that they went and dunked. I’ve got kids from Baltimore and D.C., there are pretty good players from that area. Most of my guys are from really good programs. They were probably the second best player on their team, whether it’s Montrose Christian or Team Melo. I’ve got Baltimore, D.C., New York kids and a kid from England. They’re all right there, just a little bit lower. They’ve got five NBA guys out there. We were right there. Did we try as hard as we could? Absolutely.”

On seeing the Kentucky team in person rather than tape...
“They’re longer in person; I almost got hit in the head when he blocked one of my kid’s shots. Their length and the (Michael Kidd-) Gilchrist kid is better than I thought, he’s not flashy, he just drives the ball. I was wrong on him. I thought we’d be able to have an advantage on that matchup, but we didn’t. He makes a lot of little plays, drove in, kicked it, got a rebound. Fifteen (points), seven (rebounds) and four assists; he was better than I thought.”

Loyola Greyhounds Players

#3, Dylon Cormier, G

On playing in Rupp Arena...
“It was a new experience. Our gym is not as big as theirs. It was a nice atmosphere with great fans. It was good preparation for the MAAC(Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) championship.”

On playing a highly ranked team...
“It was good for us. It shows that we can play with them. If we can play with them, then at the mid major level we should be something to be reckoned with.”

On the second half of the game ...
“They outplayed us in the second half. They went back to their game and it was hard to get stops. They crashed the offensive glass harder than us and that made a difference.”

On the effect of Robert Olson fouling out early in the second half...
“He’s a big time player so his absence was felt. It is a group effort so when we lose one guy, it’s always going to be tough to get back to our full potential.”

#24, Erik Etherly, F

On entering the locker room only down by six...
“We didn’t come into this game thinking we were going to get blown out. We came in here to win, which showed in the first half, but they kind of ran away in the second half.”

On the difficulty of getting shots off in the paint with (Anthony) Davis on defense...
“Yeah, it definitely is. It’s always in the back of your mind when he’s down there. I don’t think he gets enough credit. He affects a lot of shots even if he doesn’t block them.”

On what Coach (Jimmy) Patsos told the team at the half...
“He just told us to stay in there and keep fighting. He kind of put it on our shoulders and said, ‘if you all want to win, go out there and play hard and keep competing.’ We did that but in the second half shots didn’t fall like they did in the first half. You can’t have that against a great team.”