Kentucky-Hartford Postgame Quotes

Dec. 29, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On the play of John Wall ...

"At halftime, he was 11-and-0 (assist-to-turnovers) and what I said to the team was that in a game like this he could try to score 30 points and not pass you all the ball and none of us would really say anything. In the end, and I normally don't do it, but they told me he needed two more for the record so I stuck him back in and ran everything that I could to get him to pass it to somebody to get him the two and get him out of the game. I did it because it is a game where he could have tried to have 30 points but he chose not to and pass to his teammates. That is why I did it."

On if that is just an example of John's attitude and feeling toward his teammates ...

"He is a pleaser. He will defer to his team. We had 30 assists. We shoot the ball well, but we had 30 assists. The reason we shoot such a high percentage is because we had so many easy plays. My thing is to get on the guys to just make easy plays. Don't try to make hero plays. Don't try to throw look-away passes if you don't have to. Throw it to the guy where he can handle it and make a basket. They are trying, I think that our team is getting better and I think that individual players are getting better. They only way that your team can get better is if individual players get better.

"DeMarcus (Cousins) was a beast. That is what he was. John (Wall) did his thing. We still have to defend better at a couple of positions. We are not doing a great job at defending a couple of positions so we need to get better."

On Eric Bledsoe ...

"He is fine. He tweaked his ankle two days ago and finished a practice and was absolutely a monster. I mean, he didn't step off. The next day we went to practice in the morning and the trainer said, `You know what, I'm going hold him out.' I went up to him (Eric) and said, `If you need step out of the game then step out. I am fine if you don't play in this game.' He said, `Okay, I will. I want to get healthy.' That was his choice."

On what type of shooting team he has ...

"We are okay. It is what I told you guys from the beginning, the way that we play and the way we drive makes the 3-pointers like a turkey shoot. They are wide open. There are games that we miss them, but they are nowhere near them. The guy is shooting it without a hand in his face. We have some good shooters that can make those wide open threes. But there are games that we miss them. We were 6-for-19 the last game. It is nice that when you come in and say, "We are going to give them 3-point shots,' ala North Carolina or whoever, it is dangerous. If we are making them, we are going to blow you out of the gym. Now, you play and spread the court a little more and give us more room to get inside and post that ball gives us more of a chance to do either."

On the other players and the way they played today ...

"I thought that Miller and Dodson, offensively with Darius in the second half and Darnell in the first half, played well. They are still not defending the way that they have to defend. They are just not. It is scary. If you are playing a big-time game and they keep breaking down, you can't score enough to beat the other team. I thought that Ramon and DeAndre played pretty well. I think that they are better, and Darnell and Darius are better. I think that Daniel Orton played better tonight but we made it easy because we gave him a lot of lob passes and things that he can do. He came up with some blocks and extra-effort things. They are all in there having fun playing. If I am doing my job, I am getting them to really work at it and having fun. Play off each other, don't get selfish. Think more about your teammates then yourself."

Kentucky Players

#11, John Wall, G

On if his passing ability gets overlooked...

"Yeah, but it doesn't matter to me. As long as I know I'm making the right passes and my teammates are making shots then that's all that really matters to me."

On if he's happier about getting 16 assists or only one turnover...

"I'm happy for both of them. This (assists) is something I have been working on. Coach has been doing drills with us in practice. Hopefully, I can keep this up and not have many turnovers when we play bigger teams because that's something I need to lower in my stats.

On his effort to get others involved...

"Coach Cal and Coach Strickland are showing me what I need to do to be a point guard. Sometimes I over shoot and over penetrate. So, we went back to a drill we did in the beginning of the season of over penetrating and kicking the ball out at the right time. I came into the game and tried to get shots, but I saw the defense (tonight) and they were not going to let me get my shots off. So, I said, `what's the point of forcing it and making it a harder game than it is.' Just make it an easy game for my teammates and for me. I was finding open people and they were making shots."

On the Louisville game...

"It's a big game. We try not to focus on it too much, but it's a rivalry game. It's like Carolina and Duke. We just got to go out there and take it like another game and not try to get over hyped and over excited because it's Louisville."

#3, Darnell Dodson, G

On the importance of three-point shooting for Kentucky...

"It's going to be real important because it's going to help stretch the defense out and create more opportunities to get to the basket, or throwing the ball inside to the post and letting them be able to score easy baskets."

On his shooting night...

"I got hot for a little while. My teammates did a great job finding me open on the wing. I just had to make the shot."

On filling the shoes of Eric Bledsoe...

"I think I helped out a lot by just being another threat from the wing on the offensive end and on defense. I basically just had to fill his shoes."

On John Wall...

"He's real quick. On one-on-one situations, he's able to go past people real easily. He's also got a high IQ for the game. If someone helps out on defense, he knows when to pass it or keep it or throw it up to the big men."

#15, DeMarcus Cousins, F

On scoring inside...

"I just had to slow down. I was going so fast and turning it over and traveling. Nothing good was coming out of it. Now that I've slowed down, it's just a lot easier."

#1, Darius Miller, G

On the Louisville game...

"I really understand how big the rivalry is and how important it is to the people throughout the state. We're just going to try to come out and play the best we can. I really don't know too much about Louisville because we've just been trying to keep up with our own season and prepare for our next game."

Hartford Head Coach Dan Leibovitz 

Opening statement ...

"Clearly I have to begin by giving a lot of credit to Kentucky, Coach Calipari and his players. I thought we got their A-game and I think a lot of teams would have lost to Kentucky tonight. As a small team, we have to say to ourselves, `What are we going to try to take away?' We tried to start with the two-three zone, and we did our best to take away the paint and make them take three's. They did that. They got past the first line of defense and they threw over us. It was an overwhelming challenge for us. I thought our guys played hard. I was proud of them despite the scoreboard. They played until the end and I knew going in it was going to be a statement game for us no matter what happened. Win or lose, we can walk away with our heads high saying we did our best. But, Kentucky is one of the best teams I've seen in all of my years coaching in terms of talent. They played very hard defensively, and we really couldn't get into anything we to do offensively. My hat is off to them."

On John Wall ...

"I think like everybody else, I'm very impressed with John Wall. It's not just his visibility, which speaks for itself, but I just like the way he carries himself. He seems to be a good teammate, he seems to be someone who is respectful of referees, respectful of the game, and obviously I think he has a bright future here and beyond. It all starts with him and everybody game-plans to stop him in transition. You have to commit two people to him. He is that good."

On Andres Torres' knee injury ...

"I don't want to speculate, but it was a non-contact injury. He did twist it and he said he heard something pop. It wasn't like he bumped knees with somebody, so we are going to have to get him back to Hartford to get an MRI. They are talking about it possibly being a PCL, which is a posterior cruciate ligament. A possible tear or injury there, but I don't know the extent of it. He is a gutsy kid and that's all that is on my mind right now. That was a terrible moment for me as a coach and I hope he's OK."

On Kentucky's shooting game ...

"They are capable. We said coming in on the scout that (Darnell) Dodson, (Darius) Miller and (Patrick) Patterson shoot the ball well from the three. They are not non-shooters. Coach Cal at Memphis was playing the dribble drive and it was different because there weren't three point threats like there are here. We had to hope they didn't (shoot well), but I'm not completely surprised because it seemed like they were all going in. I thought they made more than 14 (three pointers) to be honest."

On how well Kentucky played Hartford's zone ...

"I thought they did a good job. They got the ball in the middle and made some high-low plays. For us, it's difficult because of our size. John Wall was getting into gaps and creating things. I just haven't seen too many people get so many dunks and lobs. I think they'll see some bigger zones and I think they'll see a lot of them. But they attacked it pretty well and it's clear that they've been working on it."

Hartford Players

#24, Joe Zeglinski, G

On playing in Rupp Arena ...

"All weekend we walked in and you can appreciate all the history that's gone on here. It was a great experience even though it didn't turn out like we would have wanted. They're a great team and I think they're going to do great things this year."

On what can you take out of a loss like this...

"It gives us good experience against a team that fast and that big. It's going to help us down the line especially in conference play because there isn't going to be anyone who can play like them. If we play as hard as we did today we'll be all right."

On how did Andres Torres injury affect the game...

"Andres is our point guard and obviously it's going to affect us a little. I think Clayton did a good job filling in for him and the other point guards but it's hard playing against guards like John Wall. They just try to speed you up but I think overall our point guards did a good job not turning the ball over."

#1, Milton Burton, G

On Kentucky's play tonight ...

"They came out faster, bigger and stronger than us and did everything they needed to do to win. When they hit shots like that it makes it almost impossible to defend them. You try to do one thing then they come out and hit shots you just have to keep mixing it up."

On are you glad to have experienced a game like tonight and what can you take from it ...

"Yes, you just have to take things as they go and be able to change. They beat us at one thing and we have to change and be able to beat them at that and we didn't do that tonight."

On Andres Torres' injury ...

"I'm not exactly sure what happened and I'm not sure how long he'll be out but I hope he comes back soon."