Wildcats Officially Open 2010-11 Season

Nov. 11, 2010

 

Gameday
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | ETSU Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Fri., Nov. 12, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South / SportSouth / BBSN
Radio: BBSN
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Live Video via ESPN3
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Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky closed out its exhibition schedule on a high note, defeating Dillard, 122-54, in an up and down, dunk-filled contest.

UK finished the game with 12 dunks, five of which came from Terrence Jones, who tallied a double-double with 23 points and10 rebounds. Jones also added six blocks, four assists and three steals.

The Wildcats shot 69.6 pct. from the field, while dominating the Bleu Devils in the paint, outscoring them 58-12 and outrebounding them, 46-20.

UK finished the exhibition season averaging 109.5 points and shooting 58.3 pct. from the field. Additionally the Kentucky defense held the opposition to 60 points a game and 32.1 pct. shooting from the field.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On if Eloy (Vargas) will play Friday...
"Yeah, he will. He'll probably go home this weekend. He had Visa issues we had to work through. If that doesn't get cleared up then he won't even be able to go home then."

On East Tennessee State...
"They're going to press and be physical. I've watched the game tape a few times and they were just as physical as us we just were so much bigger they couldn't get baskets. The players that gave us fits are playing now and I know that one player is not playing, or is supposedly not playing, but they had two or three other guys that gave us fits. We had guys - I don't think Darius (Miller) could play but four minutes in the game, couldn't stay in to play anybody. So, we don't have a whole lot of choices right now."

On the biggest challenge in playing East Tennessee State...
"They're a veteran team, they're going to press. How much have we been able to go with a press attack? Pikeville pressed us and we were throwing the ball, we couldn't get it in. So, we're working on some stuff but the reality of it is we're only going to gain experience that's going to help the guys."

On East Tennessee State playing with some confidence knowing UK and what they lost last year...
"No question. This was a bad first game to schedule. (They are) well coached. They play hard, play aggressive, play loose, and throw it up the floor, if you have threes take them. (They're going to) play with nothing to lose. The rim is going to be huge. And we are going to have a bunch of young guys out there trying to hold the fort down. I can remember last year playing Morehead State and if Eric Bledsoe didn't go for 24 (points) that would have been a two-point game. Then we played Miami of Ohio that was a veteran team and we should have lost that game. Now we're not as imposing inside as we were. It's a hard game, but we've got to play and we're going to learn. I would just tell everybody to be patient. I'm going to try to be as patient as I can be. I may not look that way on the sideline but I'm going to be patient. This is going to be a process with this team. I like the team. I like our team. It's just that we have so many things to get to. The toughness and rebounding is one, the execution is the other, the pace of the game and figuring out when to pull it out and when to keep going. The shot selection is so important - freshmen are playing like it's a pickup game. Well, shot selection in a game like this is important because they get it out and go, so there are a lot of things."

On freshmen perhaps being a bit wide-eyed in their first regular season game...
"We'll see. I mean, we're going to learn. The reason you play teams like this is that you get a chance to say, `OK, who's who?' A guy does well in practice, does well in exhibition then shoots in this game and shoots air balls. Or a guy who's been struggling and then goes into this game and does well. You're looking for leadership and then all of a sudden the guys you thought were going to give it aren't able to give it and it's coming from other people, and you're starting to learn about your team. You cannot learn about your team - I've said this before - (by playing) Popcorn State. You cannot learn. You've got to learn against NCAA Tournament-level teams, like this. They won their league; they've got almost everybody back on their team. So when they started practicing they were building on what they did a year ago, we were starting all new. It's the same thing. They're three-quarters of the way up the mountain, and we're still at the bottom. So, what you hope is you get a home crowd advantage. You make some shots and you hope you hit the half-court shot at the buzzer and run off the court with the W. Just get off and learn from the game."

On Brandon Knight's importance to the pace and execution...
"Important, but I'm not going to throw this all on his shoulders because he's still learning too. I'm trying to talk him through it. I'm trying to give him ideas. He's really intelligent. What he is, is a receptive learner. So, whatever you give him, he's listening to. Obviously, he will run our club, and he's a freshman. And he's also got to score balls because we need him to make baskets. We got to score to win too."

On the freshmen's response to his coaching...
"They've been good, they're all receptive. They've just never gone at this pace. They've never gone with this intensity. They've never gone with this kind of physical play. But they're going to see it Friday. They're going to understand that when you've got two teams, and when both teams are fighting to win, and both teams are really playing, if their talent is equal it usually comes right down to the wire. If one team is more talented and they'll fight they'll usually come out with the win. But if one team doesn't fight, I don't care who's more talented or less talented, the team with the fight wins. The issue with fight with this team may mean foul. `I can't stop this guy so I'm just going to foul him.' Well, we can't do that. We don't have enough guys. We can't get into foul trouble, why? Because we didn't get into a stance or he beat me to a spot. I had to go get the ball. No, he beat you to the spot. You stopped playing so you just grabbed him. This isn't football that wasn't going to be a touchdown. Yes, you made a mistake.' Those are all the freshmen - they just don't get that."

On figuring out the identity of the game...
"You have to do it in games. There's demonstrated performance, that's how you build confidence. That's how you build confidence from your teammates and your coaches. You have to go in games and perform. Instead of talking, go perform. I'd rather see it than hear it. Go do it. And if you deserve to play you'll show everybody and they'll say, `He deserves to play.' If you're saying, `I deserve to play,' and they see you and they say, `He shouldn't play at all,' that shows on the court. Especially in a game like this where it's not like, `OK, let's get down 12-2 and we'll be fine.' Nope, start of the game better be a little different than we've been starting. But again, we've been trying to work on that a little bit. There are a lot of things to learn. We are what we are at this point. I don't expect them to be playing like it's December or January. It's the beginning of November and we may look like it."

On with so much inexperience, how much he's leading on Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins...
"Well, you want them to play consistent. If they're struggling at all with the enormity of the game then we have real problems. You're hoping those guys are steady, they come and they settle the team. But they've got to fight like heck. You can't say much when you're getting beat to every ball and you're getting beat on the dribble and you can't get a ball and you can't rebound and then go say something to a teammate. They don't want to hear that. So you've got to be consistent in that effort, and they're trying. We're going to find out. If anybody thinks they know about my team, I'd like to know who that is because I still don't know."

On what it says about where the program is to sign the type of class they did yesterday...
"Well first of all, to have a group that wants to play together, that understands they're going to have to sacrifice some of their game for each other, and that wants to compete for national titles and win national titles and isn't afraid to say it, is pretty special. The other part of that is, this all started when? When did our ability to do this start? (It started) in the green room (at the NBA Draft). When I sat in that green room and the statements I made in that green room. That's when this all started. So now, it's `Let's keep developing players. Let's be a player's program.' Obviously we all have goals that we want for this program and where we want to be and what we want to be thought of. But at the end of the day this is a players-first program. We have to be about them. So now, the good news for me is, I can be about this team in that gym right now. I don't have a whole lot of worries. We may sign another player or two depending on how this plays out, and none of us know. If we sat here in November last year and said we have five first round draft picks you'd have all laughed. You would have all walked out and laughed. You would have said maybe two. It should be two, but I don't even know if there's a third. Now we have five there and a couple playing in the D-League. So, they came together, they sacrificed and now this team has to learn it. The biggest thing this team doesn't understand is it's not about me, it's about us. And if we all do well as a team I'm going to do well, I'm going to look good. But that's hard. When you're talking to a young guy who's concerned about himself it's hard to get that going."

On how often the topic of one-and-done is brought up in the recruiting process...
"It never does. I tell everybody, I say, `You're coming here to be a better player; you're coming here to be a better student, a better man. You're coming here because you want to play with other good players who will challenge you to be your best. And then when that decision comes your family will make it and I'll support you.'"

On individual things he likes about the guys he signed...
"Michael (Gilchrist) is just a vicious competitor. We get a shot blocker and a player in Anthony Davis. You get a great playmaker in Marquis (Teague). And then, when you talk about Kyle Wiltjer you're talking about that skilled man with size that can play multiple positions. You can put him in pick-and-rolls, pick-and-pops, you can throw him in the post and he'll score the ball. And he's long. I think, by the time it's over, he may be 6-foot-11, 7-foot. He may not be done growing. They're all really good players and they all want to play together which is the greatest thing of all this. I mean, you're talking about a group that's jacked about coming to Kentucky and carrying on the tradition, and they're all talking the same way, `We want to compete for national titles. We want to be one of those teams.'"

On how much he talks about sacrifice in recruiting trips...
"That's what we do in the home. I tell them, `If you want to be shooting 30 balls a game, don't come here. There may be times you score 30 points, but there may be times that other guy scores 30. And you're not coming in here being the only player. You need to come in here knowing that you're going to be one of many good players and you're going to have to compete for minutes and positions and all those things.' And it's hard. It's hard coming in here and playing. It's not easy."

#1, Darius Miller, G, Jr.

On if it helps playing ETSU last year in the tournament...
"Definitely, they have everyone back so we know how hard they are going to play. We have been preparing for them and hopefully we come out tomorrow night ready to go."

On if he expects East Tennessee State to be optimistic considering how much UK lost last year...
"I am sure that everyone is thinking they should be optimistic considering we lost five guys to the NBA draft last year."

On if he's looking forward to competing against someone else...
"We are excited especially against a team of East Tennessee State's caliber.  We all think that they are pretty good and we are going to have to come out ready to play."

On how practice has changed in the last week...
"It's changed quite a bit, we have been doing a lot more physical and toughness drills and we have been doing them repeatedly every day. I think we are getting better at it."

On if the last exhibition game made him feel like they are playing more as a team now ...
"Yeah, we are starting to get a feel for how everything is going to be. All the guys are trying to get ready and hopefully we will be able to show it tomorrow."

On how his role has changed with the team this season...
"I think everyone's role is going to have to change, like I said we lost five guys to the pros so we are all going to have to take a step up in the scoring and leadership role."

#12, Brandon Knight, G, Fr.

On what the veteran guys from last year told them about East Tennessee State...
"They have told me they are a really good team and that we must come out prepared because we are going to get their best shot."

On how often Coach Calipari talks about every game being someone's Super Bowl...
"Pretty much every day he lets us know that Kentucky is everyone's target. Everyone wants to beat Kentucky that's why we have to come out here every day practicing hard and having the mindset to give 110 percent all the time."

On embracing the challenge that every team wants to beat UK so bad...
"I think that pushes us to be our best and we must understand that we can't take games off.  This mindset will prepare you for other parts of life too, with school and just life in general."

On how it feels to be the point guard to lead the way for this team...
"I feel ready, my teammates have been working really hard so that makes my job easier and as we go on this long journey having my teammates makes it much easier on the point guard."

On what it's been like going against Doron (Lamb) in practice...
"It's great competition and it's more like what you will see in the games. Going against another good guard just pushes me more."

On if he thinks there will be an adjustment period going into tomorrow's game...
"Like I said earlier, if you compete in practice that will translate into the game. Sometimes anxiety or nerves may factor in but if it helps if you prepare hard in practice."

On if he gets nervous prior to games...
"I wouldn't say that I get butterflies but you always want to perform well. This is what I work hard for and we want our team to perform well as a unit."

#20, Doron Lamb, G, Fr.

On if he is excited for tomorrow ...
"Yeah, I am excited. This is my first real game in Rupp Arena and I am just trying to work hard today and get myself ready for tomorrow."

On ETSU being a veteran team ...
"Coach has been saying that they have a great team and their entire team was coming back from last year. He said that every team on our schedule is not an easy team and that we are going to have to go out there and play like it is our last game. Every time that somebody plays us it is their Super Bowl. He always says that. We are going to have to go out there tomorrow and play hard."

On if he watched UK last year and saw that teams elevated their games when they played Kentucky ...
"Yeah, coach always says that the worst teams always make crazy shots. We are just going to have to play defense tomorrow, rebound and make shots."