Kentucky Basketball Media Day Quotes and Video
Oct. 14, 2010
Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari
FastScripts by ASAP Sport
Q. How important is Enes to what you guys can do this season?
COACH CALIPARI: They're all important. I mean, every kid you have on your team has an importance. It's one of the reasons I spend time with players who aren't playing much. You want them to know they're important. You want them to know that the success of our team is about everybody on it, so they're all important.
Q. I know you're not going to talk about Enes, but specifically the summer when stuff was written in Birmingham and in New York Times, how, at times, frustrated did you get by some of the things that were put out there?
COACH CALIPARI: If I read everything you guys wrote see, that's why I said, everybody thinks Jerry and I have a problem. I have no problem with Jerry, because I don't read any of the stuff he writes (laughing). And if I read it, they say I'd probably have a problem, but I don't. So I don't read it.
And Dewayne will tell you, the only thing I'll say is, `Is there anything I've got to deal with about how we operate?' And I'll say, `Dewayne is there anything I need to deal with?' In most cases he'll say, no, you're fine.
And so, you know, the one thing I found out about coaching at Kentucky, a lot of people want to know about this program and want to watch it, want to hear about it. Mitch reminded me when we interviewed in Chicago of that and I said `listen, guys, you understand I'm going to be a lightning rod, and some of it is really going to be good stuff, and then they've got some other people out there that won't'. I'm going to be a lightning rod. This program is a lightning rod. So now you've got two lightning rods.
You could either say I don't want to deal with that, so don't coach here. It's just how it is, coaching at Kentucky. That's why you have 23,000 at every game, you have 1.2 million on the Twitter. I have 200,000 dear friends on the Facebook, and that's part of being at Kentucky.
Q. Could you talk about your team going into the first practice? What can your team expect tomorrow night for the next month or so?
COACH CALIPARI: Last year when I sat in front of all you people, I said that it's a new team. Don't expect much. I said we've got six new players and six returning players have to mesh.
We've got all new staff. We've got an all new offense, a totally different way to think about playing. We're going to start off slow. Do you remember me saying it? We're going to start slow. We're going to lose some games early. There are things you're going to look at, turnovers. We're not going to be what you think, no high expectations. This year I really mean it.
Q. So you really don't know what to expect?
COACH CALIPARI: No, no. I just think the good news is the Canadian trip gave us some time to get a little bit of stuff in.
But still, we practiced yesterday for an hour and a half. There are sometimes like wow, and there are other times where it's like we're really not close. The biggest thing we were last year, we took time.
We became a great offensive team. We were fun to watch, we played a style that everybody enjoyed. I'll say this about last year's team, we were really fast. We were like really fast, but we were the best defensive team in the country come the end of the season.
Showing our team now, I show tape of the Cornell game, two parts of it. We were down 10 2 to start the game. Do you remember? We were down 10 2. Every game we play is someone's Super Bowl. Every game out of the gate, the other team's going to be on point. They're going to make shots they won't make the rest of the season. They'll make them.
But after, it comes down to do you really defend. They saw us defend for the next 25 possessions. How we guarded, how we helped a helper who helped a helper. Looked like we had six guys on the floor. I said that's where we want this team to go. We're not close. We can't stay in the stands. We don't help each other. We don't jump the balls. They're all freshmen. They have no idea. Coaching a group of 17 and 18 year olds, 19, that's what we're coaching.
Q. How do these freshmen deal with being compared to last year's freshman class?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't think they will. You can't. Anybody that's compared to that group of kids, you're going to be on the short end. So I don't think our fans are going to compare. The great thing about the fans here, I think they just want to see how good can these guys be? How quickly can they come together?
It's not fair to anybody to compare one guy. That's why they ask me about Derrick Rose and Tyreke (Evans), and I'm not going to. They say what about now, John Wall, and how do they compare, and Brandon compare? You can't get into that.
I think our fans know that we're worried about this team and how this team improves. And will they come together like last year? Last year's team, the biggest thing they did is they sacrificed for each other. There are some things, yeah, you want to compare.
Will this team come together and share the ball and do the things they have to do to be their brother's keeper? Will you be your brother's keeper? Will we have servant leadership which we had a year ago, where our leaders cared more about the team.
How about Patrick Patterson? He scored less than the year before. He rebounds less. He goes from being the guy to one of the guys. And he goes from maybe being the 25th to 28th pick in the draft. By giving it all up, by servant leadership, by giving it up and sacrificing, he goes 14th in the draft, and I hear they're loving him in Houston, loving him.
So I hope there are lessons from last year this team looks at, but the reality of it is this is a totally different team. Not even totally. We'll have to execute better on both ends of the floor. We may have to do some things to get us into dribble drive, which I didn't really have to do last year.
We have no one that even remotely looks like DeMarcus Cousins in March. And I'm not talking about DeMarcus in November, DeMarcus in March. No one remotely like him. So we're a different team.
Q. Can you talk about the health of your team? How are they looking?
COACH CALIPARI: They're okay. Everybody's okay. Darius (Miller) had a strained hamstring, but he's been fine, because these workouts are two hours a week. I would go one hour, one hour, and sometimes I'd put a week in between for Darius.
It's all pretty good. They're conditioning and training and that stuff's all where we want to be. I don't want my team in November to look like they should in January. When it starts in November, I want them to look like it's November.
So in December and January, I don't need them looking like January and in November. Let's just take it a step at a time. Get in great shape. I just want to keep that growth going, because that is the self esteem you build, so by March they feel that they're one of those groupings. They're one of those teams.
Q. Terrence Jones 100% now?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he's been fine. He's been fine. As a matter of fact, we practiced yesterday for an hour and a half and we were going to go two hours, and he made a jump shot. So I stopped practice right there. `Stop. Done.' We walked right off the court.
I said, that's it, he finally made a jump shot. Now I know he can shoot, let me have that mental picture before Friday. That's it. Stop. But he's a great kid. He's a play making kind of player, that is really long.
This is going to be a fun team to coach. It's just not last year. It's going to be totally different. For me, the excitement is I've got to figure out how does this team play so they're at their best? We may do a lot more pick and rolls this year. I haven't done pick and rolls maybe ever.
I went down and spent time with Larry Brown in Charlotte. We went over situations and how I could utilize it and different things just so it's an exciting part for me to say how do I have to do this? It's not to get them together as a team. It's not to get them to defend. It's not all that. It's how do we play that is the best way to play for this team?
Last year, everybody, the dribble drive, and we looked and it wasn't the best way to do it 100% of the time, so we didn't. But by teaching it, it taught us to be aggressive. So now John Wall and Bledsoe, and Darius did things that people didn't know they could do, because they were aggressive.
But we were in the dribble drive at about 30%. We probably will go more, but we may run something into it.
In other words, we're not going to come down and just start. We may have some motion, some action, some different things. And we enter our spacing and start driving that ball.
Q. Talking about and figuring out how its best for you to play, how much of that can you figure out in practice? How much of that has to come in November?
COACH CALIPARI: It's a good question. It's both. We'll see in practice. There will be stuff that I think is good, then I put it in and it stinks and that's done. I'm not doing it.
Some of the stuff will work in practice, and we get in the game and see how other people guard it, and it's not as effective.
Most of the stuff though, we're trying to teach players how to play versus run plays. There is a big difference in how we do this. In teaching players how to play, how to be aggressive. How to beat people off the dribble.
I just watched the officiating tape. If you drive and a guy bumps you, it's a foul. I just watched the tape. They showed three different drives. You bump, you do this, you do that, it should be called automatically.
Well, we're driving every time down the floor four or five times, And if you do that, what am I going to be yelling? That's a foul. I had to watch the tape. You made me watch the tape for an hour.
Hopefully, there is some good stuff they're doing with the rules to make it more consistent. This is what it looks like.
Q. Do you still think this will be a better shooting team than the one you had last year, or is that just time will tell?
COACH CALIPARI: I remember we started the season last year, and you guys said they're the worst shooting team and that will be their Achilles heel. And it was, not 35 times it wasn't, but three times it was. One time it really was. It was a stake in the heart one time.
Q. On the officiating tape ...
COACH CALIPARI: They send a tape around that I must watch. It's an officiating tape. They show the emphasis. And one of the things they're talking about is elbows above the shoulder. If you swing those, they are now, whether you meant it, didn't mean it, it's an intentional foul or flagrant foul, depending on how vicious you were.
So there's no, well, that was just a common foul. Nope. Anything above here that you turn and hit, it's a flagrant or intentional. You know, the penalties that go with it.
Q. Does there have to be contact?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, but you know what, they showed one where the kid moved his head away. But if you're swinging, it's going to be intentional or flagrant foul, which means you can give up free throws and the ball.
They also talked about breakaways. Okay, like fouls, intentional fouls where you're trying to foul. If you're not making an attempt at the ball on a breakaway lay up, that is an intentional foul.
The other thing was if you want to move, and the guy doesn't let you move like you're trying to get in a pick and roll and he nudges you, that's a foul. Right now, that's a foul.
Q. Is that tape uniform? They send it to all coaches?
COACH CALIPARI: All coaches and all officials. So it's good stuff. If you look at the game, it's gotten so physical, and so much bumping and grinding, spread the game out and drive the ball. If you're holding people up and not letting them go where they need to go. They're saying it's going to be called fouls, so that's a good thing.
Q. Lot of players grow up with this (elbows high), so how difficult will that be to coach against it? And how much will it open up the game?
COACH CALIPARI: One of the things I'm going to do with that, I'll show my players the tape of the elbow, swinging elbow, and let them get exactly what the NCAA guy's saying about how to do it. But it's hard when you get pushed, and your first thought is what I'll teach, pivot away. Pivot away from it. You can't turn up.
We've always taught if you've got the ball and the guy comes in you, to get him off you, what do you do? Open up that. You can't now. If you do that, that's an intentional or flagrant foul. If you meant to do it, it's flagrant.
With movement and cutting, you can't hold people up. The issue is will it consistently be called? And I think it will. When they do things and make it a focus, usually there is a change.
Q. Can you scout the SEC for us a little bit? The divisions look differently than they did a year ago?
COACH CALIPARI: I'm looking at six teams. Hopefully we'll be one that will be considered an NCAA team. I'm not sure we are, but I'm hoping we would be.
But there would be six teams I would look at. The problem is four of them are in our division. The other thing I'm going to tell you is "Sports Illustrated" came out and said our non conference schedule was the second toughest non conference schedule in the country.
Some in here think it's awful. There must be a ton of awful schedules out there if we're number two.
If we play in Maui and play Michigan State, they say by far the toughest non conference schedule played will be by Kentucky. And, so, to have the youngest team playing the toughest non conference schedule, who is the dummy that did that? I just didn't know other people would schedule the way they scheduled. I tried to make it so that I would think we'd be all right. But we've got a tough row to hoe.
In the SEC it's gotten better. Guys got guys back. Florida will be outstanding, Tennessee will be outstanding. I'm telling everybody, you guys are missing the boat on Georgia. Georgia has two of the best players in our league coming back.
Mark Fox is a terrific coach. Does a great job. Mississippi State, you're talking about the big kid coming back and the pro that really wanted to be a pro and then came back. He'll be playing when they play us. What is the kid's name? (Dee Bost) Yeah. The kid that put his name in the draft. Wanted to be a pro, stayed in the draft, wanted to be a pro and then he came back. He's missing some games.
Q. Have you noticed a difference in the way Darius (Miller) and DeAndre (Liggins) are more vocal?
COACH CALIPARI: It's hard to say more vocal, because neither one of them is vocal, they're more than they've ever been. So every once in a while you'll hear them say something. They're not that. But they're leading by example. And a lot of times we have to talk as a team to each other, not just expect two guys to talk.
Yesterday I stopped practice because there were two people talking as we were working, myself and John Robic. I said there are two people talking here, he and I. Talk to one another. Talk offense, talk on defense, that's all being young.
There are so many things. I almost stop them and I can't believe I'm having to teach some of the stuff. But then I think back to November, October of last year.
It's the same. These kids are the same. They don't know how hard to play. They don't know how to finish a possession. They don't even think about that wasn't my man. Yes, it was. My man's this guy. I know, but you've also got to play him. How am I going to play two guys? That's how you play basketball. You play yours and one other. All that stuff they're looking like what is he talking about?
So the talk thing comes. And I'll say this, this is one of those teams that I look at that needs to get beat up a little bit early so they can figure out that everybody's game is a Super Bowl.
Every team they play they're going to play beyond what you see on the tape. That is the biggest game of the year. That if you don't do this together and communicate and help each other, you'll struggle all year.
Sometimes only the only thing that brings about change, the only thing that will bring about change is when you have like catastrophe. Then all of a sudden, it's like oh, my gosh, we better change.
Right now they're just too young. They're listening, but they still revert, so...
Q. Does this team need that lesson more than last year's team?
COACH CALIPARI: What last year's team had is so many guys you could learn and still win like we should have lost to Stanford. We had no business (winning that game) or Miami-Ohio, or Sam Houston State, or the games we can go back and look at, or Georgia in the first game. But we had enough to get by and we learned from a lot of close wins.
This team, I don't know. And again, we'll see early. The schedule early is going to be some dings.
Q. You mentioned Patterson earlier, his physical ability aside, how much will this team miss the intangibles he brought?
COACH CALIPARI: We'll miss both. Yesterday we did the rebounding drill, and either we're the best offensive rebounding team in the country or we're not a very good rebounding team. Last year there weren't a whole lot of rebounds to be had. There were a lot more blocking.
Yesterday we blocked more shots than we had because I made it an emphasis. Go block shots. So they blocked a couple of balls yesterday. But we'll miss him. But let me tell you, we'll miss all five of them.
Q. Could you talk about Brandon Knight and what he brings to your team this year?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, Brandon is an extremely hard worker. He's in the gym early. Comes back at night at 11:00 o'clock. He's running the team, but he's learning. You're talking about a young man that has to change a little bit of how he plays.
It's kind of like really about every point guard I've had. They've had to go from John Wall trying to shoot 25 times a game, to try to run a team and shoot and score when you have to and try to get people involved.
Tyreke Evans scored 42 points a game in high school. How would you like your point guard to score 42 a game? You're fine, unless you're one of those other players on the floor. So he had to change how he was going to play. Derrick Rose had to shoot more. He didn't score enough. I mean, you know, we need you to go get baskets.
So they all are something different. He shoots it better. You know, he's just the great news is defensively I watched him yesterday. We finally did a few defensive drills only so that when we start Saturday morning with defense, I don't have to totally teach drills.
So I did some defense yesterday just so we could practice without having to stop too much. But he really works hard. Great kid, great attitude, great teammate, all those attributes.
But, again, he's totally different than Derrick. He's totally different than Tyreke, and he's totally different than John. He's a different player. You guys watched him in Canada. He's different, you know
Q. How is he different?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, they're all different. So if you want to say with Tyreke. Tyreke is a 6'6" point guard. Derrick Rose is smaller than him, but way more explosive, could jump higher.
John Wall is probably more athletic than him and lankier, yet he (Brandon) shoots the ball better. He's skilled maybe with the ball better. But they're all different. I mean, he's fast. You know you say is he as fast as John Wall? Well, I went up to see Derrick Rose and John Wall go head to head for one thought. I wanted to see who was faster, because you all have asked me a thousand times who is faster.
So I went and watched them play, and even then I can't tell you. All I can tell you is they're both really fast. I can tell you after watching them probably had a lot to do with all those wins.
Q. The uncertainty surrounding Enes, probably brings an increased role for Josh (Harrellson) and Eloy (Vargas). Can you talk about what they bring together to the table?
COACH CALIPARI: Everybody has an importance to the team. We don't have 15 guys. Everybody's going to play an important role. I'm watching Jarrod (Polson) play. He's doing great stuff. You know the great thing about Jarrod, he knows what he doesn't know.
You have some guys that just talk and act like they know everything, then they try to be that way. You're looking at them like you know how dumb you are trying to be that way? And there are others that I know what I don't know. I'm not dabbling in that. I don't know that. This is what I know and this is what I do.
Well, Jarrod only tries to do what he does. He knows I'm not trying to get outside of what I'll be on this team. And he does. Yesterday he drove down the middle, and got his floater up and made it.
At one point he tried to do something, and I said, hey, whoa. He said, my fault, what was I thinking. So every one of them will have an importance on the team.
Q. You probably had a little time this summer to reflect on the first year. How looking back on it, is there anything about this job that really surprised you?
COACH CALIPARI: One thing is I haven't had a whole lot of time to look back. But when you're in this thing, it's 24 7. The coats on you. Everywhere, everything, anywhere. Look at you goof balls in here.
I went to a nursing home in Winchester, Brooks Place. And I walk in and all the ladies and a few gentlemen were in the nursing home. And a lady says, `Coach Cal, Coach Cal, can you come over here'. And I walk over, and she was sitting. `Are you working on free throw shooting?' `Yeah.' `What drills do you do on free throw shooting? Coach, do you understand the difference between winning and losing games in most cases it's free throws.'
I said, `Ma'am, how old are you?' `96.' I asked the ladies there, how many of you watch the games in Canada? I'm in a nursing home. They all watched. How many of you tape the games? Half of them raise their hands. They watch the tapes more than I watch the tapes. That's Kentucky basketball.
I mean, that's stuff I didn't realize to that point. I knew the fans were great and they were on it. But they're crazy, they're absolutely crazy. But the other side of it when you're coaching, it's what you strive for. Then you say be careful what you wish for.
Q. Any special guests for tomorrow night that you have from last year?
COACH CALIPARI: That's a secret. In most cases no one's told me anything. They tell me when to show up and when the bus leaves and that stuff, so I don't know.
Q. What do you see Darius Miller's role as far as being a leader on this ballclub?
COACH CALIPARI: He's going to lead. We need him to be a catalyst. A guy who makes plays when they matter. A guy that comes every day, and it's more consistent than it was a year ago. There were other games that it was like come on, man.
So if you're going to be a catalyst, our team has to know you show every game. It doesn't mean you make every shot, it means you have the same kind of mentality every time you play, and you figure it out however you feel.
So the good teams have more than one catalyst. We'll have two or three catalysts on this team if we're going to be what we think. And that means two or three guys come in and make plays. That happened to us last year.
We ended up having a great will to win, but it was because those catalysts made plays at crunch time, and they were ready to make plays all the time. It wasn't just one guy.
Q. You said nobody even remotely looks like DeMarcus. How much of a concern is that? What does that mean for the team?
COACH CALIPARI: I've never had a guy that remotely looked like DeMarcus. And I had to coach a little different. I never had a guy that remotely acted like DeMarcus. So I had to figure out we treated him like a son. That's what he needed. He had to grow. He was a 14 year old when we got him here. And about 16 when he left (laughing).
But we coached him. And my wife and I, he was like our son. That's how he needed to be coached. So, you know, I never had a guy that size that was that talented. That was the first one I've ever had. He's that good.
Q. How old is he now?
COACH CALIPARI: I tell you what. Paul Westphal called me and said that he is unbelievable. He said he has his ups and downs and I knew what that meant. But I bet you he's growing up at 19, 18, 17, somewhere in there.
Q. Since Eloy Vargas wasn't with you in Canada, can you talk about what you hope he does?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we need him to perform. We need him to give us a presence. His size, rebounding, scoring ability around the goal. We need Josh to do the same. Josh has to elevate his game and get in better shape. With his minutes, prove that he needs more minutes. You know, we have that, and big Enes will be fine.
Q. Because he wasn't with you in Canada how is his (Vargas) conditioning?
COACH CALIPARI: One of the things was Coach Hall comes to about every practice we've had. But his comment was he's better than I thought, which is good for me to hear. So he's better than I thought too.
Q. Can you talk about Randall Cobb getting a hold of you, and what that conversation was like? Were you surprised?
COACH CALIPARI: I was with you know, he is a unique athlete, student, person. He was talking about leadership and asked me some things. What I kept coming back to is I don't know football, and I did throw that ball 40 yards on a dime. Did you see that in Louisville? But I really don't know football.
But I know people, so we just talked in those terms. One of the things I just asked him was does anybody work harder than him? They said no. In practice? No, he's it. I said well, then you have a right to lead by example and try to help, be a servant leader. You don't need to drag and have them there for you. Just how can I help you play better? What can I do? What more can I do? Is there anything else? So we just talked in those terms.
But it was a good conversation because he's just a wonderful young man.
Q. Have you ever had an athlete from another sport reach out to you like that?
COACH CALIPARI: You know what, I'll have I'm trying to think. Yeah, I've had some sometimes they're afraid. This kid had the courage to come in and say can I meet with you?
But I meet with coaches of different sports. I've watched them teach. They'll come in and watch me. They may have me talk to their athletes. I had golf teams over my house last year when Bob Rotella was in. We talked to the golf team, and then Bob did his thing with them.
I've done it before. But this is I just want our football team to win, and that's what he wants, and they're right on the cusp of that.
He's just is there anything to get us to that, to eliminate those five plays that are costing us games right now. Whether it was at Mississippi or this game, he just was I want to win those games. We could have won those games. We were right there to win those games. Was there something? And that's great. That's how bad he wants to win.
He's searching out the basketball coach, is there anything you can give me that may help me, may help my teammates? Pretty powerful stuff, really.
Q. Is he going to play basketball for you?
COACH CALIPARI: I did ask him that. That did come up as he walked out of my office.
Q. What did he say?
COACH CALIPARI: He said I'd love to do it. But I've never watched him play basketball. I think he's a lefty. Is he a lefty, because he went like this? I was thinking is he left handed?
Q. Basketball is his first love.
COACH CALIPARI: Do you know how many players in this state grow up saying I want to play basketball at Kentucky. So when you say your first love, I'm the biggest fan of Kentucky basketball ever. Do you know how many of those people I've met?
Q. He's from Tennessee though?
COACH CALIPARI: Where's he from? No, I know, I know.
Q. Can you talk about Doron (Lamb) and Jon Hood, what you see from them?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, Jon Hood's playing much better, he's comfortable. He still has a mindset if he misses shots it affects him for the next five minutes. He's got to get through that. He's got to get more either mentally tough or more confident in his own ability.
Which sometimes players like Jon, I have more confidence in than they have in themselves and that is part of what coaching is to try to bring that out of them. Doron is like a multi position player. He could play point guard, if had to he could be a three. The positions we have are all interchangeable anyway.
Whatever I told this team, whoever rebounds the ball, you bring it up. Here's the point. Here comes Terrence Jones, rebound the ball, and he'll go.
But we're expecting a lot from guys. The great thing is there are opportunities. You know, there weren't there were chances. Last year's chances for some of the guys to play. There just weren't.
These guys were good. You talked about our top 7 or 8, we were at every position, you better have been really good to beat somebody out. Now there are spots there for those guys as they leave and we bring in new guys. Those spots are all open. Take it. Take one of those spots.
Q. Do you have a five right now?
COACH CALIPARI: No.
Q. Would you say that you're not as deep as you were last year?
COACH CALIPARI: I would say losing five first rounders will have an effect on us, and I don't mean that to embarrass you.
We've replaced them with a lot of guys, but even everybody healthy and playing, everybody; we're not going to be as deep as we were last year.
Now I had one team in Massachusetts that I played six guys. It was the best team I've ever coached that executed on defense and offense. And those six players were really happy players. I've played six before. I'll play six if that's all I can play.
Q. I'm sure your kids are on the computer. Is there any way to shelter them from this, or do you have to let them just sort of improve?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I was going to tell them you're not allowed to Twitter, and I thought, I better not do that since I'm doing it. But you try to tell them but you're telling them what you're doing. You're trying to explain it. Because you almost got to approach a 17 year old like he absolutely knows nothing, because in all likelihood, that's true.
Here's the one thing that I'll tell you, the information age is coming at you pretty fast. Life's changing in this room. It's just how it is. It's changing for them too.
The information age that they're getting that's being thrown at them. When we played I'm 35, so that wasn't that long ago, we never knew of a ranking, an NBA ranking, like where you were ranked as a player. We didn't see any of that.
The other thing is I never talked to another player on another team in another school in another state, because I would have had to pick up that phone. I was at the university. I talked to the students the other day, and I talked to them about rotary phones. They didn't know what a rotary phone was. They didn't know what a rotary phone was. Oh, my gosh.
But that just tells you how this has changed so fast. Now my players well, let me throw this at you. To get a hold of you when you grew up, they had to call your house. If you weren't there, they called your house. If you weren't there, what did that phone do?
Q. Kept ringing.
COACH CALIPARI: How long would it ring?
COACH CALIPARI: 50 times. How many of you we've even got young guys looking at me saying I don't know what this dude's talking about. The phone rang, and some of us rang it 50, 60 times. Why did we do that? We hoped you got home by the time I hung up the phone.
Now the call waiting, now if I can't get you at home, I'll get you on your cell. They get you. Before, they had to fly to your town to come in and try to meet with you. Now it's open season. Anybody can get a hold of anybody at any time of the day or night. Think about that.
Now the other side of it is anybody can write and say anything they want, even if it's not accurate. They can write it and say it. Now you can fight windmills or say what you want, do what you want. I've got to be above it.
It's easy for me at my age because I've had about I don't want to say anything new that's never been written, because there's nothing new, because then somebody will try something new. But the reality of it is when you're 18 and 19 it does have an effect, it does.
So you try to tell them don't buy into all of that. I try to tell them. I don't buy into it. We know who we are and what we're not. But it's harder.
The other thing happens, they talk to each other at school. So now stuff that used to go on at school that coach could get away with, they all talk. So now they all know how this coach is to his players. They all know how he is to his players.
If approximate everybody transferred and those guys that transferred talked to 25 people that they were around or recruited. How about this one. Recruits now talk to each other. Let's go together. Let's recruit each other. That never happened before.
But you didn't have this information out there where they could get in touch. They were at an event. Normally you'd go to an event, you'd see them, hi, and leave. Now you go to an event and all of a sudden you're like best friends. That's what I deal with. You guys are dealing with this information age. It's like time, and time matters.
Q. What is the status of Darnell Dodson?
COACH CALIPARI: He's no longer here.
Q. Now that you've been here and on your second year, has your relationship, friendship with your coaching peers across the nation, can you sense it's changed any or do you still have the same?
COACH CALIPARI: I still have the same friends, yeah.
Q. Job hasn't made any difference?
COACH CALIPARI: No, I don't think so. I mean, maybe me being at Kentucky makes it a little different.
Q. But you found out who your real friends are?
COACH CALIPARI: No, my friends have always been friends. The friends I have, and I have many, many friends in this profession. But I think you're coaching at Kentucky, it's dangerous, if you know what I'm saying, because this can be a juggernaut. This is a competitive business. I know I don't have many fans in Florida or Knoxville.
Q. Or Louisville?
COACH CALIPARI: We have a lot of fans in Louisville. But there are a lot of places where they're not supposed to like me. I'm supposed to be the hated. You go to Georgia, do you think they love me? Oh, they love you in Georgia. What? They don't love me in Georgia.
Kentucky Player Quotes
#1 Darius Miller, Jr., G
On if he needs to be a different player because Patrick (Patterson) and the other proposed leaders are gone...
"I think we all have to be different players, really. We lost five first rounders so all the returning players need to do their part and step up and help lead in a certain way."
On how he needs to change specifically...
"In a lot of ways. I have a different role on the team this year. Like you said we lost players and we have a different group of guys and a completely different team. I need to step up my role and, like I said, we all have to do our part."
On having to be a vocal player on the floor...
"I don't have a problem with it at all. We are all good friends and like brothers, so I don't think any of us should have a problem speaking to one another."
On what kind of a feel he has for this year's team compared to last year's team...
"I think we will be very good this year from the beginning too, especially having the Canada trip under our belt. I think that did a great job of giving us a head start on how everything will be and it kind of prepared us, so I believe we will get off to a good start."
On if the Canada trip helped the team to bond even more than they already had...
"It definitely came in handy. We pretty much spent the whole summer together. Like I said, it was kind of a head start and I think we will all be ready to go starting tomorrow and just have fun with it all."
#2 Stacey Poole, Fr., G
On being a team that drives to the basket ...
"I really can't talk about that because this is going to be my first year playing. So, I am just going to have to go with it. But the kind of team we are is one that likes to drive to the basket and getting bumped. So I guess if they call fouls, it will be good for us. Because a driving team is the kind of team we have."
Talking about the team's current situation ...
"In Canada, those were some little games we had going on. But with Terrence (Jones) back, healthy and stuff, it makes things a lot better. Like I said, everything and everybody are coming together and the team is looking good so far. I just feel like our team is going to be one of the greatest teams in the country."
On his own talent ...
"You can't always be happy or satisfied with your game. You should always have things to work on. With me I am always working, I'm always trying to find things to improve. If it's shooting, ball handling, quickness, anything, I will work hard to improve. Right now, Coach Calipari just wants me to be one of the best perimeter defenders out here. He wants me to finish plays, you know, not necessarily scoring or shooting, but finishes. And that's what I have to do to be on the court, so that's what I'm going to do."
On Big Blue Madness ...
"The upperclassmen just keep talking about how crazy it is. So I want to go out there and enjoy it. I want to enjoy the fans, too. I know these Kentucky fans are crazy. Like, I can't even imagine. So I am just waiting for the opportunity to go out there and just have fun and live it up. I have had people run up to me and ask me if I am ready and tell me that I don't know what I am getting into, but we will see. I am a little nervous because it's my first showing."
On the Canada games ...
"What I learned was to work hard and trust your teammates. That's really what the Canada games were about. We went up there to learn about each other and find our chemistry and grow as a team and just getting a good feel for each other."
About Coach Calipari pushing the team ...
"I was a little surprised at the intensity. But that's how he is, and that's how hard I am going to work as a player."
#3 Terrence Jones, Fr., F
On if he knew some of the guys before coming here ...
"I knew Doron (Lamb) and Brandon (Knight) coming in, that was pretty much it. I was with Darius (Miller) on my visit. Once I got here I got to know everybody, everybody feels like one of my brothers now."
On Kentucky fans ...
"This is pretty much their team and they care about it a lot. Everything that happens is part of them too. I like the support that we get. Hopefully we give them a good show when it comes to the games. It's exciting to see because they're there for you, not against you."
On what role he anticipates for himself ...
"I'll pretty much play everywhere he (Coach Calipari) asks me to play. With the dribble-drive offense I could end up being in all five spots, just depending on where he puts me."
On if he communicated with Brandon and Doron during recruiting ...
"It's always good talking to future teammates. They could end up being your future roommate like Doron was for me."
#4 Jon Hood, So., G
On the team's chemistry and if they can be as good as last year's team ..."I think we can. Canada, and all of the preseason work has helped us out a lot. It has given us a big head start on things. I think we can."
On what he worked on most in the offseason ...
"Shooting, defense and playing quicker. Also the mental aspect. Like they said before, I have to have more confidence."
On his overall thought of Big Blue Madness ...
"It kicks everything off, so of course I'm looking forward to it. The fans make it great. It's been something I have been looking forward to ever since last season ended."
On what they will emphasize in practice ...
"It's a little bit of everything and getting everyone together and on the same page. Playing with each other more and more will be important."
#5 Jarrod Polson, Fr., G
On growing up in Kentucky ...
"Pretty much from the time I was born, I've wanted to play here my whole life. And my dad was actually a big Kentucky fan too. So, I'm kind of living the dream I guess you could say. It's actually crazier than I expected. The fans are very crazy."
On Coach Calipari ...
"He's pretty cool. He's real honest with you and he definitely knows what he's talking about. He's a really good coach."
On the difference between being a state champ to playing Division 1 ...
"I knew these players would be good. I knew it would be different practicing with them, working out with them, going to open gym with them, and stuff like that. It's just a whole different level than high school because they're bigger, faster, and stronger. I'm just trying to do what I can to contribute."
On Big Blue Madness ...
"I'm very excited. I've actually never been, believe it or not. But I've watched it on TV a lot. They say being there is a whole different story. I'm a little excited and a little nervous to be a part of it. I heard it was crazy, so I'm excited."
On playing time ...
"Coach Calipari told me that the way I'm going to get minutes is by trying to run the offense and not trying to do anything spectacular. So I need to know my limits and the things I can do and the things I can't do. I'm going to play defense, just try to run the offense. I definitely have a long way to go as far as quickness and strength, but it's nice to know that I fit in well. It doesn't hurt that Coach Calipari isn't afraid to put me in the game. But I always just want to play and contribute however I can."
About how he plans to improve ...
"A lot of it is being in the weight room. I've already put on 12 or 13 pounds since I've been here. So, that's a good thing. Also, just trying to get in the gym as much as possible and trying to improve my quickness and shooting as much as possible. Practice is going to make you better."
#12 Brandon Knight, Fr., G
On how much the Canada trip helped him and in what ways it helped him...
"It allowed us to get a head start on learning the offense, coming into a new situation, as well as allowing us to bond as a team off the court. It let us build that camaraderie off the court and it helps just having more time together as a unit."
On if any pressure is felt on him or this class knowing what last year's freshman class did...
"Not at all because each team is different and each team has a certain thing that they can do best. There are a lot of teams that come in and do what they are supposed to do, so we are really just focusing on our season and not really worried about what last year's team did. They are a different set of guys and we are a new set of guys and we all know what our goals are."
On what his assets are and what he brings to the team...
"I think I can get everyone involved as well as just the mindset of whatever it takes to win."
On taking over John Wall's job and if he learned anything from his style of play...
"I watched him a lot and a lot of the things he did. He was a great player; I watched how he ran the offense and you always look at guys from before like Derrick Rose and Tyreke (Evans). I watched a lot of tape on them and how they run the dribble drive offense."
On what coach Calipari wants out of him...
"Basically like I said to be a vocal leader. He lets you figure things out in practice, whether it is just trying different things or letting things play out. We are all coming into a new system and eventually we will figure it out as a unit as far as what type of team we are going to be."
On if he is excited for Big Blue Madness tomorrow night...
"I am pretty excited. I didn't get to come and see it last year, so I am very excited for tomorrow night."
#20 Doron Lamb, Fr., G
On the pressure ...
"Everybody is saying there's pressure to try to do what they did last year; but we're not worrying about last year, we're just trying to worry about this year as a team. We're just trying to do our own thing and win ball games."
On the comparison between last year and this year's team ...
"It's tough but we all do different things well. We don't' really worry about the team last year, we're doing our own thing."
On the importance of the Canada trip ...
"It was important because we had a great time together chillin' in the hotel, at team dinners and just everything. We had a great time just getting to know about each other's games and stuff; so we really know each other good so far. We just can't wait until tomorrow."
On how difficult it is to pick up the dribble drive ...
"It's pressure, but right now I think I'm doing good because Coach Cal pushes the dribble drive 90% this year. Last year they didn't really do it much because they had a lot of post men. So this year we're doing a lot of dribble drive and we doing good so far."
On what he liked about UK ...
"When I watched them play last year, they had fun and coach was pushing them. I saw everybody on the team get better. He pushes guards into the NBA fast and that's what I want to do so that's why I really came here."
#30 Eloy Vargas, Jr., F
On how well things are going ...
"Things are going really well so far. I am anxious to start. We are going to practice on Saturday, so I can't wait for that."
On the difference between Florida and Kentucky's Midnight Madness ...
"It's going to be different. I saw all of the people camping out, and I was just in shock. At Florida about 5,000 people showed up, and here there will be more than 24,000."
On how good Terrence Jones is ...
"Oh, he is really good! He plays the three, and he can play every position. He handles the ball really well."
On how good Brandon Knight is ...
"You don't have to say much about him. He is the leader of this team and everything. I think he is the best player on this team right now."
#34 DeAndre Liggins, Jr., G
On if he would consider himself a leader of the team ...
"Yeah I'm going to try to be a leader this year. I'm trying to step up and talk more to the younger players and get them to understand what Coach Cal wants. I'm going to show by example and be a defensive leader, and try to get guys going."
On his role in this in this year's team ...
"I'm going to try to take easy shots and make easy plays on offense and go crazy on defense. If I play good defense my offense will come."
On running the dribble drive ...
"We're going to run more dribble-drive this year because we're not that big. We're going to try to space the floor and get to the second and third drive so we can open it (the floor) up."
#55 Josh Harrellson, Sr., F
On Cal talking to him about getting in shape and elevating his game ...
"He's right. Last year going from a role player to this year as a needed player, it's a big step but I've been working hard all off season. Everybody's been working just as hard as everybody else. We're just excited to get this year started and I'm excited to take this new role on."
On finally getting a shot ...
"It's nice because last year I played behind DeMarcus (Cousins) and Daniel (Orton) and (Patrick) Patterson. I couldn't complain about that, (being behind) three first round draft picks. This year we got a whole new team and I actually have a chance to just step up and actually show the fans and everybody that I've been working hard and that I can actually play."
On what he's capable of ...
"I'm capable of being a scorer. I'm not going to be the John Wall of the team. I'm not going to be a play maker but I can be a finisher; I can be a great rebounder and I can be a great defender and shot blocker."
On whether Cal talks to him about his role ...
"He doesn't really specifically, but you know when he's talking to you. He'll just say something and you know it's directed towards you, about getting more blocks as a team or getting more rebounds or stuff around that area."
On how the team is bonding ...
"We kind of got an early start going to Canada and getting a couple practices in before then and just hanging out, staying together and doing stuff as a team like going to coach's house. I mean we're jelling; we're jelling really well right now. We're actually a lot closer than we were last year at this point in time."