Men's Basketball
Kentucky Opens Season with Exhibition Against Transylvania

Oct. 31, 2013

Scouting the Pioneers

For the third-consecutive season the Wildcats and Pioneers will meet during the preseason with a matchup in Rupp Arena.

Transylvania posted a 20-8 record last year and qualified for the NCAA Division III National Championship. Transy fell in the opening round to Illinois Wesleyan.

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Transylvania
Fri., Nov. 1 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | TU Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Gameday Live: Live stats, audio, blog, and social media
Text Updates

Transy lost six seniors from last year's squad including a trio of 1,000-point scorers.

The Pioneers are led by their top returning player in Parker Stansberry who averaged 8.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per outing. He hit .409 of his 3-point attempts and .813 from the charity stripe.

Transy will be without a single senior on its roster, but welcomes in a class of 13 freshmen.

Series History vs. Transylvania

During regular season competition, the Wildcats and Pioneers' series record is tied at 7-7. The last regular season compeition, however, was played in 1911 with Kentucky winning by a 30-24 margin.

The squads played 14 times from the years 1903-1911. Transy began the series with wins in five of the first six contests.

The Last Meeting Between the Teams

Kentucky downed Transylvania by a 74-28 margin on Nov. 5, 2012 to begin the 2012-13 season. UK's Nerlens Noel posted a team-high 15 points, Julius Mays had 14, followed by 12 from Willie Cauley-Stein and 10 from Archie Goodwin.

UK benefited from a 19-4 second-half spurt that widened the 27-18 halfime margin by 24 points.

Ethan Spurlin led the Pioneers with 11 points and five boards in the loss.

Pregame Media Opportunity - October 31, 2013

Head Coach John Calipari

On the players being anxious to play ...
"We've been playing each other now, 22 practices so I think they're just about, you know, ready to put it out there against somebody else. We'll see. We're still trying to evaluate who's in that top six, seven, eight. We get another look. The scrimmage kind of put out one thing, but let's see it against somebody else, see how guys do."

On not knowing how good Derek Willis is ...
"He didn't know how good he was. He's playing in the best shape he's ever been in, he's more physical than he's ever been, he's driving the ball through bumps, which I've never seen him do and he's not shooting bail-out 3s like, `I'm just going to come down and jack this one.' He's playing within how we're playing, he stills scores, he's rebounding the ball. You would think he'd be physically challenged in some of these practices, he figures out ways. I think he's better than he thought, I see him better than I thought and it's good for him."

On what you do with Derek Willis ...
"We'll have to figure it out as we go. He's deserving of playing time but there are a lot of guys deserving of playing time and now we just have to figure out how it all lays out. The great news is everybody is challenged. You have guys playing really well, where now all of a sudden I'm in my office at 10:30 and I hear thump, thump, thump. The guy playing against that guy, now he's in the gym, `I got to get some extra work in, this guy is really playing well.' That's pretty good for us."

On practicing more defense in practice ...
"The one thing that we do when you're talking dribble drive and you're talking getting to the basket, you're always working on defense in that you have to guard a guy driving by yourself, it's the hardest thing in basketball to teach. Teaching them how to play, screens, pick-and-rolls, post-ups, cross screens, that means a couple of guys together guard you. But when you're having to guard like we do off the dribble as much as we play that way, they're getting better now. We've started covering the other things and I'll be honest with you, what I saw in the scrimmage, we defended pretty well, the only thing we didn't guard is the 3 and what's damaging for us is most teams are going to try to beat us by sagging, playing zone, using clock and shooting 3s, that's how they'll play us. I don't think they're going to go in a wide open game against us, I don't think they're going to stretch out the man-to-man defense, you can't. So we've got to make sure we're guarding that 3 better."

On if he has any idea on how playing time will go ...
"It's not a blank slate. You saw the scrimmage and I threw a group out there that I thought should be playing together. Then all of a sudden Dominique (Hawkins) and Derek (Willis) play out of their minds. Now what happens is, it is all good at practice and drills and all that. But when you put people in the seats and it's on television to 10 states and there's 15,000 fans, and it sets the Guinness Book of World Records. And now you see who performs when the numbers are on the back and the lights are on. Those two stepped up. I thought Marcus Lee did fine. Marcus got confused. He was on the white team, I put him on the blue team, and he's on the blue team throwing to the white team. I didn't even get mad about it because I knew what he was doing. As soon as he threw it he went, "Ah." And he looked at his jersey, "I'm blue." When we were switching guys in and out it was amazing that they could remember what team they were on."

On Andrew Harrison's knee ...
"It's a bone bruise, and he's just got to take time. Right now it's good because Aaron (Harrison) is playing point (guard). It is giving us a chance to look at James Young playing both the two and the three. It gives us a chance to put other guys at the three, try Julius (Randle) at the three. Dakari (Johnson) gives us a look at a bigger player, more of a scorer than Willie (Cauley-Stein) is; Willie is more of an athlete. We have a good kind of mix, but right now with him being out, one guy's misery is another guy's blessing. It opens opportunity and that is what has happened for us."

On mentioning not wanting to play 11 guys ...
"Well, you'd like to play your whole roster because you're up 35, then you put all those guys in. But the reality of it is you stretch it unless you figure out a way of playing more than seven of eight. Then you have to figure out, if I had a veteran team it wouldn't really matter, but when you have young guys trying to figure it out you can't keep throwing more into the mix. We have to figure out these six or seven, that group has to get good. It's not just throwing ... you can't do it that way. How I figure that out, part of it is in practice, part of it is going to be in these games."

On the team communication ...
"Way better, they are into each other pretty good. They do some of it naturally, and James needs to talk more. He's a little uncomfortable with it but he's doing fine. I told James yesterday `from what I see, he's got to be DeAndre Liggins and Michael Kidd- (Gilchrist).' What did those two do for us? They defend. Who do they defend? The best player. If I make him guard their best player, it may be a point guard or it may be a guy running off 50 screens, what is that going to do to his offense? It's going to take that back a little bit. What's that going to do to his minutes? Now, are you willing to sacrifice or are you going to get in the best shape of your life to play this way. Are you okay doing it? Then I told the twins, if he is out there going nuts and you think you are taking time off, then you are out. I'll play somebody else. Now you can become great interceptors. Guys that can really take some chances. We got a lot of things we still have got to figure out."

On if he enjoys threatening playing time ...
"I don't enjoy it. I don't play mind games. I don't try to trick the other coach, I don't try to trick my players. We practiced yesterday. I put one team down 12 against the other team. Fight. That's a bad shot. You can't afford to take a bad shot. You have to come down and stop. You gave them another basket, now you can't win. Then as it went on, a couple guys got tired and couldn't do it. They caved in. A couple other guys stepped up. I only need five or six to be able to step up in those environments and we'll be fine. You other guys won't play, but that's okay. You make that choice. So you have to do it in here. You are making choices. Do you battle? Do you fight? Or do you kind of cave in. And the great news is that they all see it. I don't pick who plays and who doesn't play. If I asked you right now who should start on my team you all are going to say the same guys. And if I said who is the sixth man or seventh man, probably the same. If I say eighth or ninth man, you may switch it. But those six, you guys have an idea who they are. You watched. Did you not watch the game? Some of you don't watch the game. You act like you watch, but you don't even watch. You are writing your story and this happened because I just wrote this this way. If you watched the game you would be able to figure it out, like wait a minute, this is who I like."

On if it's a coin flip between Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson ...
"They are both going to play. They don't have to worry about it. They are both going to be playing. We'll play different when Willie's (Cauley-Stein) in the game compared to when Dakari's (Johnson) in the game, but they are both playing. And they can play together because Willie can play the four."

On if a team tries to slug you ...
"Let's talk about slugging. One, if you slug this year ... last year you could slug and play and win and do all that, but you can't slug this year. So now slugging means you foul. Second thing, who are you slugging? Julius? Are you going to slug one of those twins? The problem is if you slug one, two come back at you. So I don't know who you are slugging. So now all of a sudden are you slugging Alex? I mean we are a different team. In the warm up line when we went to Robert Morris, I looked at their line and said, `We can't win this game, look at those guys.' So I am hoping there are a few coaches that look at this warm up line and say, `Oh my gosh.' You can't play the way you used to play, which was beat the other team up. We are going to grab and hold and ride and put our arms up and hit the guy out of bounds. You can't do any of that anymore. It is all fouls."

On if Aaron Harrison can play the lead guard for the squad ...
"He's playing great. The only thing that is hard is you have to attack and keep your teammates involved. What do you mean? `Attack.' `Come on, why didn't you pass that ball over there?' `You're telling me to attack.' `I need you to attack and I need you to find him.' `You know he didn't touch the ball the last few times down?' `No.' Well you got to know that. You're playing this position. Then he's leaving the gym saying, `My brother's position is harder than I thought.' It's a tough position, especially playing for me and the way we play. I put a lot on the guy's shoulders. He's making his own calls. This is like a quarterback going out there, we talk about the game plan, then he makes the calls. It's a hard deal."

On using certain players together ...
"They can all play together. I thought they all played off of one another pretty good. We are going to try different lineups. I am going to try a different lineup today. At one point we were like 6-10, 7-0, 6-9, 6-7, 6-6. What? I want to have a pressing lineup I want to try a couple kids in today where we can pick up and press without fouling. We don't need to grab you and hip check you and forearm you. We can press you because of our length, which is what they are telling us to do. We can do all of that stuff so we can see. I was proud at the the fact that we ended the game with 10 fouls on each side for a game in where everyone else is scrimmaging and writing about 80 fouls called, 90 fouls called, 60 fouls called. What they told us to do, don't foul. There is body-to-body contact unless he runs at you and you have your hands up. We don't want to foul. It is not football. We don't have to march 100 yards to score. They score one, okay. Now score in five seconds. Did that really hurt? It's not football. And I'm glad it's not football with us having to be in the SEC playing football."

On if it will be difficult to adjust to the new officiating ...
"The officials are going to call the things. The good new is, all of the propaganda and other stuff, they are calling them. You can say you hate it, you like it, you don't. It doesn't matter. The team has got to play. We will see. I believe that everybody will adjust. I believe the coaches will. I think the players will. I think scoring will go up. I think early there will be a lot of fouls by coaches that weren't adjusting. Compared to coaches that have adjusted, maybe there will be 50 fouls on one team and 12 on another. One coach did what he was supposed to, one didn't. Should be fun though."

#44, Dakari Johnson, F, Fr.

On if sharing the ball comes naturally ...
"It really comes natural. You just find the open man. Whoever is open you pass it to. We're a great moving team. We cut a lot so there are a lot of open looks for everybody."

On being ranked No. 1 in both polls ...
"I didn't know that, but it's a blessing to be ranked No. 1. It just says we have a (target) on our back now. We really have to stay focused. That's not the main thing we're focused on, is being No. 1. We're just trying to be the best team we can be."

On feeling pressure about being No. 1 ...
"A little bit, but I think with this team, we have so many players and the chemistry as well, we hold each other accountable. There is a little pressure but we have each other's backs."

On if it has sunk in that there are a limited amount of minutes to go around ...
"Not really because in practice everyone is going at each other, everybody is trying to take a spot and really compete. It's just making us better as a team."

On finally playing a different team other than themselves ...
"It's going to be scary. We go up against each other and we're going up against guys with the same talent level as you and it makes us all better. We're just looking forward to how it looks."

On not getting too far ahead of themselves ...
"We're just going to take it one game at a time, and we're just going to take it step by step."

#35, Derek Willis, F, Fr.

On how it felt to play in front of the big crowd at the Blue/White game ...
"It felt real good, coming in being the under-the-radar guy. Just having my family and friends there being able to watch me from home as well as in Rupp Arena. It was just good to go out there and have a good game, play in Rupp, and feel myself while I was playing." 

On if his performance was indicative of how he practices ...
"Yeah, practice definitely carried over into the game. It was a scrimmage, but I showed people what I can do and I had fun."

On his expectations for his first season at Kentucky and if they've changed at all ...
"I think (Coach) Calipari's expectations have definitely changed for me. He didn't know how good I was, and he said that himself, so I feel like I might be able to fit myself into the rotation doing whatever I can for the team."

On if there was a moment when he knew he could play with this talented team ...
"During the summer we have pickup games and stuff and it was really just like we were trying to get familiar with each other. Come practice time, I was getting to play more and I was getting to blend in and feel myself out. It ended up working out well, and I played well with the guys."



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