Wildcats Close Out Four-Game Home Stretch

Dec. 27, 2010

Gameday
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Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Coppin State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Tues., Dec. 28, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: FS South
Radio: BBSN
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Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

With visions of sugar plums now exhausted, the Wildcats return to action hosting the Coppin State Eagles, the fourth in a four-game home stretch.

Freshman Doron Lamb gave the Big Blue Nation an early Christmas gift in Kentucky's last outing. The 6-4 guard lit up Winthrop to the tune of a UK freshman record 32 points, leading Kentucky to an 89-52 win.

Lamb hit 7-of-8 from behind the 3-point line and 11-of-12 overall, all career highs in his recordbreaking performance. Brandon Knight chipped in 21 points and Terrence added 11, while Josh Harrellson pulled down 10 rebounds and DeAndre Liggins finished with team-season high and personal best nine assists.

Pregame Press Conference

UK Head Coach John Calipari

On Coppin State …
"I watched the (Connecticut) game and they had a chance. They missed two shots down 10 at Connecticut and (UConn) had another big kid that they didn't have when we played them. This team is capable. They are going to put us in a 1,000 pick and rolls and play a zone. They are going to play the 2-3, the 3-2 and will throw a little 1-3-1 half-court trap. They are going to play zone. That is what they will play and they are going to put us in pick and rolls. You know that is what they are going to do and (they are) all the things that we need to work on."

On the maturity of DeAndre Liggins
"He has matured so much and I am proud of him. You know the thing that you try to do is that at the end of the day our thing is to try to develop young people. I mentioned it today, when people say that it is not the name on the back of the jersey but the name on the front that counts. Well I don't think that is just the case. I think that it's building those young people so they can represent this with pride and represent that name on the front with a sense of self-esteem and tie in confidence. Our job is to build young people not only on the basketball court, but like you are saying, 'I'm talking to a guy and I can't believe it is the same guy.' That is self-esteem and confidence coming out. Some of that is coming from the basketball court where they know, 'Hey if I work hard then I can be really good. If I do what I am supposed to be doing.' That kind of stuff is really important. I mentioned it today, that I am proud of how these guys have improved individually. They are not quite the team that I want them to be but as individual players, I will have to say they have improved. How do we get them to continue to improve and how do we get our team to improve? That is what my job is and what I have to figure out."

On Doron Lamb accepting coming off the bench …
"I mentioned that yesterday because it is a heck of a thing right now; he could be in my office saying that he wants to start and then I have to deal with that. He may start here at some point, I don't know. But I do know that it really doesn't matter. His stock is (soaring high). There is less pressure on him than anyone on the team and he just goes in and lets it fly. The biggest thing with him is his feel for the game is beyond a normal player. The second thing is that his motor, which wasn't moving early, and now you see a player that is playing more aggressive and faster yet not losing his feel for the game. I have to get him to practice a little bit harder and with more of a motor than he does. But when that ball is thrown up he goes."

On how they can get better defensively and offensively …
"Well, we have to get better at the pick and roll and gang rebounding and checking out. We have to get better at small and big screens. That is what is killing us right now, if a small man goes and screens a big man at the elbow or crossing and all those kind of things. Pick and roll defense is something where it is a 1-5 or a 2-5 and what are we doing on the floor? How are we playing it? We have been working hard. I look at us as a team right now and say if we can shore up these areas and continue to talk … which is our biggest issue. The guy that is talking the most right now is Brandon (Knight). Brandon did not speak and I never saw him say one word in high school, in practice or in a game or in AAU; never one word. Now you walk in and it is either my voice or his voice that you are hearing because we talked to him about it and he is taking on more of a leadership role. He is understanding and does it through hard work and is starting to recognize that. He is playing for his team not for himself and they will follow. You are not going to follow a leader that you think is all about himself. I'm not following that guy, but if he is for me than I will follow him anywhere he wants to take me."

On how the guys responded with time of for the holidays …
"They were great yesterday; one of our best practices. Before it started I was very thorough about what we were going to be doing and how it would be. The guys that game in sniffling and saying they were a little sick, well you are going to be sick in two and a half hours not now. You can start coughing when we are done. I don't want to hear one sniffle, one cough nothing. They went from the time we went to the end of practice. So they were pretty good."

On if Doron Lamb was ever disappointed about coming off the bench …
"No, I just sat him down and said that we need you to do this, but you may end up playing the most minutes, which he may be I don't know. If I had one more point guard he would be playing the most minutes, but because I don't he is probably playing less minutes. DeAndre (Liggings) is playing a lot of minutes because I don't have that eight-man. If that eight-man was playing he would be playing the most minutes."

On Brandon Knight becoming more of a leader and being vocal …
"Just being vocal on the court and telling people what we are doing, huddling and talking. Come talk to me every chance you can, even if I don't have anything to say so they see that you are getting direction from me and then you go talk to them and tell them what we are doing. If you know what we are doing then just come over and talk to me. I will give you an example, he scored a bunch of baskets and we came down in transition and could have drove middle and threw it over there for a shot but he already has 20 points so he drove and took a shot and missed it. Why would you try to shot that? There are three guys down there that can hit a shot. That is the kind of leadership that he is learning. He is the greatest kid. He struggled early and I told the team, 'Who is the most conscientious player on the team?' They all point to him so he will be fine and he is the least of my worries. He was struggling early and now all of a sudden you are seeing a point guard that right before our eyes is starting to mature."  

#5, Jarrod Polson, G, Fr.

On if Coach Calipari told him he could possibly become that seventh or eighth guy out there …
“He’s just been talking about trying to find that eighth solid position. I mean whoever is working hard will get an opportunity.”

On if he ever thought he would have that opportunity when he came here to play …
“A little bit I guess. I knew if I worked hard it could happen.”

On if he hears the crowd when they want him to shoot …
“Yeah, I can definitely hear it. I just try to do what I am supposed to do like running the play and stuff like that.”

On what it means when his teammates say to play within himself and not try to do too much …
“I just don’t try to do anything fancy or anything but just run the team and do what I can and then knowing what I can’t do.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G, Fr.

On what his family and friends said after last game …
“They said, ‘Good Job, keep it up and just keep working hard.’”

On how the coaches have been working on getting his shot off a little faster, if it is something that has come easy …
“Yes, because (Assistant) coach (John) Robic always says, ‘Get your shot off quicker because in conference play they’re going to know you can shoot and they’re going to be up on you. Get your shot off quicker or have faith and go by them.’”

On what it meant to break the freshman scoring record at Kentucky …
“It meant a lot, but I didn’t even know I broke the record until after the game. I was surprised I had broken the record and (Jamal) Mashburn’s record. I’m glad I did that.”

On if they were a little rusty coming back to practice yesterday …
“We were good, I was surprised. We worked hard. People were a little tired because of workouts, but we were good.”

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G, Jr.

On playing with more enthusiasm …
“I just have to continue to do that and work harder and get better every day.”

On the difficulty of guarding somebody like Doron Lamb that can shoot from the outside and go past you …
“It’s real difficult. He’s a smart player, he knows the game. He can jump, he can shoot the ball well, he can do a lot of things. It’s always difficult to guard him.”

On how rare it is for somebody to have the mid-range game Lamb has …
“He’s got it down pat. He’s also got the 3-ball, he can drive the ball. That’s very important in the college game and at the next level.”

On his nine assists and one turnover in the last game …
“It was nice. Basically, it’s just making easy plays and if I can get an assist of that, that’ll be fine by me.”

On the dribble-drive playing into his skill set …
“There’s a lot of opportunity to score the ball, a lot of opportunity to find my teammates and there’s a variety of things I can do.”

On his reaction to Coach Calipari saying he would let him take the shot if the game was on the line …
“If I’m open, I’ll take that shot. I have enough confident to shoot it and make it. I just want to continue to build my trust with him. He’s brought me a long way from my freshman year; I’m happy he’s here and I’m happy to be coached by him.”