UK Plays Final Game Before Christmas Break

Dec. 21, 2010

Gameday
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Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Dec. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South (live)/BBSN (delayed)
Radio: BBSN
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Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

Video: Cats prepare for Winthrop before the holidays | Cat Scratches: Pregame mentality could be the key for Jones' success, Calipari says

The Wildcats welcome the Winthrop Eagles in their final game before the Christmas break. Kentucky looks to extend their home-court winning streak to 24 after posting an 85-60 win over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.

UK had five guys score in double-figures, led by Terrence Jones' game-high 19, 15 of which came in the second half. Doron Lamb (16), DeAndre Liggins (16), Brandon Knight (14) and Darius Miller (16) all scored in double-digits. Josh Harrellson pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

Kentucky continued its improvement from the free throw line, finishing the game 75 pct. (24-32) from the stripe. It was the sixth-straight game the Wildcats have shot 70 pct. or better from the free throw line.

The UK defense did force MVSU into 23 turnovers, turning them into 28 points.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On the rumors of having interest in coaching the Dominican Republic basketball team...
"My daughter came downstairs last night, racing downstairs, Megan, and says, `Are you coaching the Dominican team?' I go, `What are you talking about?' `Well, it's all over (Kentucky Sports Radio).' And I go, `I don't know what you're talking about.' So, my comment to everybody, including my daughter, I have not been contacted by anybody. It would be an honor to be considered for something like that, but I don't know the timeframe, I don't even know if I could do it. So, where that got started, or whether they're considering me, I don't know, you'd have to talk to them. There's been no contact."

On if that would be something he would consider doing...
"I don't even know the timeframe so I can't even tell you that. But it's an honor that another country would say we would like you to coach our national team. The great thing that I was doing with China was that same kind of deal, you're working with those guys and you're teaching so it's kind of neat, but I'm worried about beating Winthrop, you guys are worried about the Dominican Republic. Again, with (current UK assistant coach) Orlando (Antigua) on the staff, I coached a kid, Rigoberto Nunez, who was Dominican,  you can see where that stuff got started, but it's not."

On the adjustment to defense at the college level and how a player can earn time on the court because of their defense...
"Well that's how they stay on the floor. Now I want you to understand, if a guy comes down and he'll rebound, and he'll stop, and he'll help his teammates, and he's talking, they're not going to score that many baskets. So even if we don't score it's even. I can leave him on the floor. But the minute he walks in and he doesn't rotate and they get a free layup, and then he gets a ball jerked from him - and it's anybody, not just Stacey (Poole) - and they make another basket, it's one that we didn't get and they got. That's a four-point swing. You do that once or twice and all of a sudden you're an eight-point negative. You cannot be on the floor, freshman, senior, sophomore, you can't be out there. And so, `Wow I made a basket.' OK, that's two points for us, eight (points) against us. We're losing, so you can't be out there. That's what you're trying to tell them. Part of that is a will to win. Part of that is understanding that every possession is important, and most freshmen don't know it. What I'm happy about is we have three other freshmen who are slowly coming through. You may say well they're playing a lot more. Yeah, they deserve to be too. So now what happens is, just like in life, you get your opportunity, are you ready for it? If you're not ready for it you cannot blame anybody but yourself. Are you ready for your chance to play? I told Jon Hood and Stacey Poole yesterday, `We need you on this team and we need you to perform.' Why? There may be foul trouble. Someone may get hurt and you're going to be thrust into the position. Are you ready? Or are you just going to grab balls as you're falling down and throw them at the basket? You can't do that. I can't leave you on the floor. I think you hold the bar high and tell them exactly what they have to do and they either do it or don't do it. I mean, it's in their hands. The one thing with the way we play is we've always been a defensive oriented team. So is this team. We've been a team that gives you space offensively to do what you can do. Now, you try and do stuff you can't do, you can't be out there. Those are all things they've got to learn as they go. I'm still telling you Stacey and Jon will play a part in this season.  They have to get themselves ready. I said this, `You know we're trying to condition a couple other guys other than just Josh (Harrellson), why aren't you two out early? You two tell me you want to play, why aren't you out here early? Why aren't you conditioning? Why aren't you weight training? You want me to give you a spot.' It's the same with Eloy (Vargas). `Eloy, have you not watched what Josh did? Now why wouldn't you chase that and do the same?' Because he's capable. Josh is like the success story, early season. Early season, but he's been the success story. And again, I told those guys he's changed his habits which may end up changing his life. It's a crazy statement but that's the truth."

On what he is seeing and what he wants to see from freshman forward Terrence Jones in the hours leading up to a game...
"He's got to figure that out. They said to Michael Jordan - who gets chased every game when he played, he was the target, everybody that went against him was going to give their best, everybody was going to get a good night's sleep and be ready to go, and they were going to go try and make their name at his expense, every night, 82 nights, every season if he was on that basketball floor, forget late career, same - they said to him, `What do you do to get yourself ready?' He said, `I do something different every week. I do something different. One game I'll think about my own children, and for that week that's what it's about, my children. There will be another game, I'll go into the arena next week and I'll pick out a young man in the stands and say I'm playing for him, that's who I'm playing for, and every game I'm playing for him. One week I was thinking about my dad, and the whole week that's all I thought about, was getting ready and playing for my dad.' Well, what he has to learn as a young player is this isn't AAU, there's not another game at 3. There's not another game at 7. We're not going to McDonald's to get a burger and jag around and don't worry about warming up, just go play, and if you don't play well in the first half - well, he's got to learn. And that's what I said. The loss at North Carolina, if he learned a lesson it was worth losing that game because it will carry over for us later in the season. The same thing in this last game in the second half, if he learned he didn't get ready to play - I went right at him. I'm trying to prove a point. I'm going right at him, I got young guys. The same with Brandon (Knight) where I'm talking about leading. You can see him now - you can't come in as a freshman and say, `I'm going to lead this team.' You haven't done anything yet, you can't do it. You have to work your way into it. I kind of like the fact when I'm watching the Miami Heat that that's what LeBron (James) did. Early he deferred, but you see as they went on and on he grabbed the mantle and will lead now and it will make a difference in their team. There's no disrespect for Dwyane (Wade) or anybody else. It's just that that's what he does best, and on our team it's going to be Brandon and you're seeing it slowly, he's starting to lead. He's starting to talk, he's starting to run, he's coming over to me. He's not mad at himself and worried about missing a shot because it's not about him, it's about our team. He had to learn that. Doron (Lamb) had to learn how to play with his motor running. This is what we do. It's what coaching is about. I'm trying to get these guys to learn and understand.

On Winthrop...
"(They're a) good team. It was a 10-point game with Dayton last night. They beat Wake Forest by 20. They beat Jacksonville, good. Who did Jacksonville just beat? Florida. Yeah they beat them good. They play, they run good stuff, they're physical, they play some zone, and they'll press us a little bit. This is a step up for us and we better be ready. It's a scary game because we're going home for Christmas. And don't think everyone in that locker room, managers, players, coaches, is not thinking, `What time does this game end?' It's just how it is. It's just what we have to deal with."

#1, Darius Miller, G, Jr.

On if he likes the early start time of the game Wednesday ...
"Yeah, we've talked about it a little bit. I think a few guys are ready to get home and spend time with their families. It seems like the time worked out for all of us."

On how it is making the adjustment from high school to college in regard to the time you get off for Christmas ...
"It was kind of tough. I think my first year we practiced on Christmas so it was definitely kind of tough on us not being able to spend much time with our families."

On how much time they are getting off for Christmas ...
"Three or four days and that's real good, everyone is happy about it."

On if he's looking forward to not touching a basketball for three or four days ...
"I'm pretty sure well all do a little something with basketball, but like I said just being able to spend time with family is going to be really important to us."

On if everybody at home wants to talk hoops ...
"They always do, especially with me being right around the corner. They always talk about UK hoops when I go home."

#3, Terrence Jones, F, Fr.

On if it's tough to get up for every game ...
"No, it's just you pretty much have to come prepared every game and (Coach Calipari) wants you to play the same way. Just trying to stay in the flow of the game is kind of tough."

On how to be discretionary with his fouls ...
"For me the last couple of games my fouls have been on offense. Just playing fast in the dribble-drive you have to slow the game down in your head is one thing. I need to focus more on just not having dumb fouls on offense."

On when he's not in the flow, what's going wrong ...
"I'm talking to coaches during the whole game asking them what I need to work on and what I need to do right now. That's one thing I learned in high school to do. I had zero rebounds the first half, I played six minutes and coach told me I had zero rebounds and there's no way I should have zero rebounds in a half. I told him I would try to get ten for him this half."