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December 13, 2014

John Calipari


Q.  John did you have any hint any indication at all how your guys were going to come out and play today?
COACH CALIPARI:  No.  No I was a little worried that we were all kind of ‑‑ the stuff with ‑‑ you know it wasn't cut and dry that Alex was hurt.
And then when we later learned it, we were just, just put us all in shock.
Then yesterday's practice was a good practice, but it was blah.
And even today, they were excited about playing the game, but I just think they're ‑‑ thank goodness we have time between games now to get ourselves right.  And this has been‑‑ I don't know if anybody else has 11 games, we played a lot of games in a short period of time.  So, we have a little ‑‑ in two games in two weeks, which gives us some time.

Q.  Given what Alex means to him, what did you think of the way that Willie came out and played today with sort of a lot weighing on him and affecting the game?
COACH CALIPARI:  You would have to talk to Willie about that.  But again, there are times I watch this team and I go, wow.  And then there are other times I'm like, what in the world?
So I can't even tell you how good we could be.  They got break out baskets, they got second shots against us next to the goal where we had a chance to rebound.
We fouled jump shooters which we just don't do.  And they took advantage of all of that.  And let me just say this:
Obviously, we know Roy's Hall of Fame, and his team, they have the kind of team that you look at, they just got to make jump shots, just like us.
So the only difference between us and them today were we made more threes.  Well, we only made one more.  How about that?
But we didn't come out going 1‑12, which is what we have been doing.
And everybody talks about us offensively.  When you're 1‑12 from the three, I don't care what you do, it's not going to look good.

Q.  What did you think of Tyler's performance today with eight assists?
COACH CALIPARI:  I thought he was tremendous.  We had a bunch of turnovers in the second half unforced, putting ‑‑ guys picked the ball up crossing half court, threw it to the wrong guy.  Had a guy next to them, did that and there were times where I was on him that you have to control that.
But in the end, I thought he and Andrew together were good.  You got good free throw shooters, you got two good scorers and handlers.
There's a lot of things we got to try.  I platooned today, but I did it with nine guys, instead of doing it with 10.
My plan was to give Derek an opportunity to slide in and the game went ‑‑ the way it went and I just kept going the way we went, so he didn't get that chance.  But I thought that, again, he's going to be fine.

Q.  When you say you were worried, did you think there might be a little bit of a rush emotionally at the beginning and then did you worry about what might happen after that first wave?
COACH CALIPARI:  No, I just ‑‑ I knew if I ‑‑ I thought the first group didn't have the energy I wanted to see.  So I just put in the other group.
See, the one thing that Tyler and Devin bring to the table is an energy level.  They both do.  It's not just Tyler, Devin does too.  I was so pleased with how Trey played.  But, he only gets three rebounds.  Come on now.  Come on.  You're a 10 rebound guy.
Karl struggled today, but Karl's going to be fine.  We all know how good he is.  The game got a little physical and there was a little bit of fight there, but.

Q.  What went into your thinking about going with a Trey with the other four guys in that platoon and then leaving him in with the second guys?
COACH CALIPARI:  Because he had played with the second guys, and that's why I did it.
Now, what I've told Aaron and Andrew and Trey, whichever one of you is playing the best will continue to play.
So you'll play with the second group.  And that means with energy.  If you're out there going crazy and you got great energy, then you'll stay in.  If you don't have great energy, jogging and standing up and you're out.  You want it stay in?  Great energy.
My plan was to do what we did and then try to get Derek in on that third wave, because I think Derek has to be in with that veteran team to give him a true chance.

Q.  The substitution patterns today, not using Derek and all of that, is that a matter of survive today, and then spend the next two weeks figuring out how the subs and the platoons might work?
COACH CALIPARI:  No, I mean you had one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight guys played 20 minutes and Marcus Lee played 12 and got eight points in 12 minutes.
And the reason he played 12 is because Willie Cauley played 28.  And Willie Cauley was really, he was "Willie good" today.

Q.  Was there a point when Alex addressed the team?  Was it before the game, was it‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  No, he just came in.  He came in before.  He didn't ‑‑ I had him say that the prayer.  He looked at me.  And then he said it and he said a good prayer for the guys.
So, usually pick somebody.  I picked him today.

Q.  What did it mean to have him here?  I know that he didn't know if he was going to be here, he was here for the whole time.  What does that mean for the guys to see that he's doing okay, that he's going to get through this?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, I get emotional prior to the game just thinking about‑‑ like I was looking, where is he sitting, where is he?  And then the thought of, "he's missing this whole season" hit me.  And I had to gather myself before I went in that first timeout.
It's kind of like on senior night when it really hits you as a coach that this is the last home game that you're going to coach this guy.  Haven't had many of those as of late, but, you know, that feeling is the same way.
But it was ‑‑ I just feel bad for him.  The great thing, Julius talked to him, Julius is going to stay in touch.  He talked to him between now and the surgery, what he had to do, how to think, and then after the surgery what he needed to do.  So Julius is going to be a good partner for him as he walks through this.

Q.  Roy talked about Willie and said he affected the game dramatically and only took nine shots.  That sounds like a guy you had a couple years ago.  Is Willie becoming something bigger than you even ‑‑ I know you talk about how he never knew what he could be, but more than maybe what you thought he could be?
COACH CALIPARI:  You're talking about a junior, you're talking about a guy that's played against some of the best players in the country, and he's a veteran, he's coming into his own, he's figuring out who he is as a person, as a player.  He's doing it.
Now, again, you see, and I'm going to tell you, the biggest issue with us missing Alex, and it doesn't go away, don't think, well, they played well without Alex.  There is a play in the game that someone has to block a ball.  Someone has to come up with a tough rebound.  Someone dunks on their entire team and changes ‑‑ that's Alex.
Now he may not have played great the whole time.  May have played, you know, but I can remember the Louisville game in the NCAA tournament, he just, he went crazy.  Changed the whole complexion of the game.  We don't have that guy.  Trey does not do that.  Trey's a totally different player.
Karl does some of it, but not like Alex does.
So, that means we have got to be a more efficient team offensively, and that means we even have to be a better team defensively, so we're not in a position to have to have that play.  Because it's not there any more.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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