Cats Close Out Exhibition Schedule

Nov. 4, 2010

Video interviews | Cat Scratches: Cats trying to manufacture more toughness 

Cats Close Out Exhibition Schedule

Kentucky closes out the exhibition portion of its schedule, hosting the Dillard Bleu Devils and head
coach and former Wildcat Dale Brown.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Fri., Nov. 5, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South/BBSN
Radio: BBSN
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Live Blog
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Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

The Wildcats dominated in their exhibition opener against in-state rival Pikeville, 97-66. Led by Darius Miller's double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds), the Wildcats dominated the Bears on the boards, out rebounding them 52-35. Miller led all players with 10 rebounds while Josh Harrellson, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins all finished with seven rebounds.

Freshman Brandon Knight led all scorers with 22 points while DeAndre Liggins (18) and Doron Lamb (16) also scored in double-figures for Kentucky.

The Wildcats knocked down 44-of-56 (78.6) free throws, including 32-of-37 (86.5) in the second half.

Pregame Quotes

UK Head Coach John Calipari

On… the upcoming schedule
“We went one day, and then had to take a day off. So now we are going to come back this weekend and do the same and try to get ourselves right and take Monday or Tuesday off. We have to take a day off that week, and then we play Friday. Friday is right on top of us. We haven’t played a whole lot of zone. Whether it is offense, or defense we haven’t done a whole lot with our press attack. It showed last game. It comes down to how do we get them to play harder? How do we get them to compete at a higher level? How do we get them to play rougher? How do we get them to go after every ball? And then, it’s like “How did you do it in the past?” What were we doing? What teams did I have that were similar, and what changes as a staff did we make?”

On… the players responding to the toughness of practice
“They are great. I told them that yesterday when we got done with practice. They have respect for us as a staff; they have respect for the past results. They know. So obviously, should we have been getting rougher earlier? Maybe. We are not passing the ball to each other right now. You drive to pass, this offense isn’t the same offense. You must drive to score. But, when you drive to score, you have to have your head up so that you can see and recognize who’s open, and we’re not there yet. So I can have them drive to pass, and we wouldn’t have any offense. It’s not one guy. Sometimes guys think it’s okay, but when someone passes them up?! Oh my gosh! So what do you do? You put the tape on from each player who missed a guy. Now you just missed that guy! What are you doing?  You missed him! Are you that selfish? Go to the next guy. Look! He’s wide open! Why didn’t you pass it to that guy in the corner? We’re trying to get them to understand. We are all passing up everybody. So we did a soft tape too. And, I told the guys, I said no laughing. No laughing!”

On…what a soft tape is
“When you get pushed into the cheerleaders and you get sparkles on your face. We ask them what is on your face? Instead of blocking out you stood there, and he threw you into the cheerleaders and you are rolling on the floor, and boom you have sparkles on your face about three times. We had towels over there about three times wiping off the sparkles on their faces.”

On…does this team need a game to wake them up a little?
“Oh, yeah. They were shell shocked. They were also shell shocked because I got after them. You know, I have done it here in practice, but I haven’t done it like that in a game. Within 15 seconds into the game, it’s on! He coaches this hard? Gosh, I didn’t know that! Maybe I wouldn’t have come here! That shocked them. They didn’t understand the intensity, and how you go after every game. So this is all new. How about this?”

On…the player introductions
“They didn’t know where to go. The first guy who got introduced was like “where do I go?” The second guy came out, and went to go shake hands with the official like it was a high school game! We were like...No!! We are going through things just like we were going through last year.”

On…the players being yelled at
“Yeah, they have been yelled at before. It’s just different. It’s different. There is a high expectation. They are not in the kind of shape you want them to be. They don’t have the habits developed yet. They don’t understand that you have to play for your teammate rather than yourself. They are not playing their man, and one other; they are playing their own. Which means here goes Pikeville shooting layups on us. You don’t shoot layups on us. That stuff is all going to come. It’s just going to take some time. I’m going to have to be ultra patient; and I have been that way to this point. That’s why I needed to go crazy in the game to let them know “I’m trying to be patient, but there are some things that are just unacceptable.” I went through those things on the board. This is all unacceptable. You either do this or you come out. We had some guys falling on the floor and losing the ball. They come out. Come on. Next guy. Playing hard, running hard, sprinting back, on the floor, making cuts, grabbing balls with two hands. All of those things defensively will come; I will just have to be patient. That’s hard for me. We have been spoiled the last five years. We are supposed to win every game, so now all of the sudden, it’s on. In a way, we did last year, but those kids were different. Did anyone see Eric Bledsoe last night? Started for the Clippers and did really well. I think…who was the guy that said he would be the surprise of that group?”

UK Players

#2, Stacey Poole, G, Fr.

On what coach Calipari is doing to make the guys play tougher …
“He is just making us compete in practice with competitive drills. We are going after each other in practice and making sure that we do everything hard. Everybody did what they had to do because coach Calipari doesn’t play about that. We just have to compete and have fun in practice while doing it.”

On if it was an eye opener for him that they won by 30 points but still have a lot to work on …
“Yeah, that is basically what he (Coach Calipari) was talking about. I mean, we got the win and Pikeville was a good team. We got the win, but obviously we still have to be tougher out on the court. That is something that we are focusing on.”

On if they talked much about toughness before the exhibition games …
“A little bit. Everybody has been talking about playing hard. That is what we have been taught by Coach Cal is to go hard and play hard. I guess we lack that a little bit, but tomorrow we are going to try to do that, play hard, aggressive and tough.”

#30, Eloy Vargas, F, Jr.

On if coach will give the big guys more minutes tomorrow against Dillard …
“Yeah, we will find out tomorrow. He liked the lineup when the big guys were in there because we played more aggressive and got more rebounds and helped more with passing.”

On practice…
“It is good. A lot tougher then it was before. We have been banging in the post and on defense we have been pushing it more. That is how we are going to play from now on.”

On what he needs to improve on most …
“Well, I have to improve myself by getting tougher. I need to rebound the ball better and work more on boxing out. That is really what I have to work on. As a team, we need more communication on the court so we can work together more as a team.”

#5, Jarrod Polson, G, Fr.

On if Coach Cal has been more demanding on them since the first exhibition game …
“A little bit. We kind of finally saw the Coach Cal that comes out on game day, so that was a little different.”

On how Coach Cal is different …
“He is just a lot more intense, but that is definitely a good thing because that is what we need to be. He has talked about us having a toughness and fire in our belly, which is something that we didn’t have against Pikeville. I think that we will be good, Friday.”

On the team winning by 30 points in the first exhibition but still seeing areas for improvement …
“Yeah, we did. I think that it was definitely a learning experience with us having so many freshmen on the team. We didn’t know how tough and competitive we had to be at the college level. This is definitely a wakeup call but I think we will be good.”