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February 3, 2015

John Calipari



Q.  The way Andrew played tonight, another tweak?
COACH CALIPARI:  We're trying to get him to be more aggressive.  There were a couple plays early in the game I said, Quit pulling it out.  If they throw it to you, attack, make plays, and make plays for your teammate.
He still wants some of these drives.¬† He's trying to draw fouls and they give him no fouls so he's just got to stop that.¬† Other than that, wow.¬† I thought he played with good energy.¬† Assist‑to‑turnover, he played well.
Tyler played well.  Devin didn't shoot the ball but I thought he did some other stuff.  But the biggest key was you had Karl Towns who just absolutely was a beast in there.  I mean, he was really good.

Q.  What about your other inside players?
COACH CALIPARI:  I didn't think Willie was at his best, but that's fine.  They're not machines.  Dakari is not to where Karl is right now.  Part of this is for all these guys, you got to fight, you got to fight for time.  I got a lot of people saying I should play this guy 30 minutes, this guy shouldn't play.  I'm giving them both opportunities to play.  You got to go fight for your minutes.  This isn't Communism.  If the other guy is playing better, he's playing.  You get half, he gets half.  Both of us are hungry.  But you know what, we're happy.  This is not how it goes.

Q.  Did they fight enough against Georgia?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† No, they out‑rebounded us by double‑digits.¬† Trey Lyles going out, that really hurts us on the backboard.¬† Give us one more strong, physical player.
I liked our first half, how we ran the ball.  My thing is we need to play a little bit faster, got to score some in transition.  I thought we did that in the first half.  I didn't think we did it in the second half.
Again, Mark's got his best player out and they had a chance to win the game in this building.  Tells you a lot about Georgia.

Q.  You seemed to use that lineup with Tyler and Andrew tonight.  What does that give you?
COACH CALIPARI:  Just because they were playing well.  Devin couldn't make a jumper.  Aaron was okay.  Aaron defended and did some things and got rebounds and stuff, but offensively...  So I went with those two, flipped that other guy in and out and tried to see which one would get it going.
I'd rather play two.  It's much easier.

Q.  Mark got sort of fired up in here saying, Why is it the rest of the league, if you are played close, it's because you played poorly, not because other teams played well.
COACH CALIPARI:  I'm glad he got mad.  The media should be mad.  The people that cover these teams should be mad, unless you cover us but just don't like us (smiling).
But I would tell you that they should be mad because they're playing well and they have one of their best players out.  I mean, they did what they had to, think about it, to stay in this game.

Q.  Andrew spent some time at two guard.  I'm wondering if that's a relaxing thing at all for him.
COACH CALIPARI:  You'd have to ask him.  I mean, he played the point at times in there.  I mean, whoever has it brings it up and runs it.  The other guy can play the other position.
They're both intelligent players, both good players.  Both can score, both are skilled.  I probably made an error late where I subbed Tyler out with three minutes to go.  I didn't want to do it but I did it anyway because of pick'n roll defense.  With a minute or two to go, that's okay.  Three minutes is just way too much time the way the team was playing with he and Andrew on the floor.
But next game it may be Aaron playing out of his mind.  I mean, that's just how this is.  That's why I keep saying, you know, we don't want to teach one guy to lead.  That guy struggles, we lose.  He feels bad, I'm sad, we lose.  Well, just step back, man.  We're fine.  You're struggling today.  Step back.  Let Karl go get all the rebounds.  You step back and let us win this thing.

Q.  You talk a lot about guys getting in and doing extra work.  Has Andrew done anything with his shots?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah.  Kenny Payne has got him using more legs.  I grabbed Kenny and said, Get him in and get him using his legs.  No tiptoes.
See, my thing with him is when he doesn't have the ball, you be ready to attack.¬† When you don't have the ball.¬† So when it's thrown to you, you already know what you're doing.¬† Maybe it's a pull‑up, maybe it's a drive for a lob, maybe you're avoiding it, getting a free throw.¬† But attack.¬† I don't want you pulling it out, playing it slow and bully ball.¬† It doesn't work.¬† Play, attack, go.
He misses some shots.  I'm not saying anything.  I want him to be aggressive.  He still had seven assists.  Isn't like he's playing selfish.

Q.  When Georgia cut it to five late, the ball went to Karl in the lane, he scored.  Was that a called thing?  Was he the guy you were looking for?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, we were going to throw it inside.  But, you know, the biggest thing is I was trying to get Tyler in the game.  That's why I called a timeout, get him on the floor.

Q.  Do you feel like Karl finally stacked two strong halves on top of each other tonight?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yes, played good.

Q.  You talked about how much you guys have missed him.  Do you know now exactly what Lyle's illness is?  Will he play?
COACH CALIPARI:  As sick as he is, I don't believe he'll be here this weekend, but we'll see.  We'll see.  The kids are off Wednesday, tomorrow.  We'll practice Thursday.  If he can't practice Thursday, Friday, he won't come with us, we'll leave him here.

Q.  Looked like one of the assistants was working Karl pretty hard at halftime.  Was that by design?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah.  Because whatever he was doing other games didn't work.  So we just said, Get him moving, get him sweating to start the half.  I'm not sure it helped because he struggled to start the half.  But after he got going, he was pretty good.

Q.  Might we find out how strong the SEC is with trips to Gainesville and Baton Rouge?

Q.  How do you feel about your team?
COACH CALIPARI:  We'll see.  We got the fifth youngest team in the country.  We're going on the road in two places that are tough to play.  I imagine both will be packed.  Hopefully our fans figure out a way of getting in.
But, you know, they're going to be hard games for us, and I know that.  I keep telling these guys, What we need to do is figure out and try to see how good we can be.  Let's get in the game like the Super Bowl where you got to catch one on your back.  I promise I'll run it in if you get us to that point (laughter).
Somebody told me, can you imagine, my name gets thrown into everything.  So they're on that, and they bring back my game in 2008 against Kansas.  I wasn't on the grassy knoll, I swear to you.

Q.  One more on your league.  As it stands right now, you don't have a team left on your schedules that is in the top 50 in the RPI.  Why is it you get disrespected?  Why is that?
COACH CALIPARI:  I haven't looked at all the RPIs.  I do know our league overall is second in the RPI and they had six teams in the NCAA tournament with two on the bubble.  That's eight teams out of 14 getting consideration.
What happened with Texas A&M and Mississippi tonight?  Did they play tonight?  So all you SEC people, we don't know?  They play tomorrow?  That's what I know about this league (laughter).
But when they play each other, that shouldn't hurt either of those two teams.  It really shouldn't.  And so I think it's getting better, I really do.  I think coaches now are understanding we got to stand up for each other.  You can't have a couple coaches not mention the other coaches' names.  You can't have other coaches not talking about this league.  Can't do it.  We're all dying.
We got to promote this league and get facts out.  Can't worry about yourself.  Can't worry about this league.  Because as the league grows, we're all benefitting by it, in recruiting and all other ways.
This league top to bottom, I'll telling you, what did Vandy do tonight?

Q.¬† Up 15‑0 on Florida.
COACH CALIPARI:  What was the final?

Q.  It started at 9:00.
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Vandy, I'm telling you, you saw them here.¬† They're 1‑6 in our league.¬† At the end of the year I don't want to play them. ¬†Next year and the year after, you will not want to play them.¬† That's how good they are.
You know who else is playing good?  Mississippi State?  Did they win?

Q.  They beat Tennessee.
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, that means Tennessee is no good.  No, it means Mississippi State is good.  We got to go down there and play.
This is great for us.  I told our team yesterday, we need to get in a slug match, make plays, come up with blocks, fight like heck to win a game.  Even if we lose it, as long as it's not March, we're good.
So let's just play to win.

Q.  You mentioned not having Trey hurt you on the boards.  Is there anything else going on with the lack of offensive rebounds?
COACH CALIPARI:  I don't know.  I'll watch the tape.  I mean, the last game we played, the official finally said, You cannot block out facing the man.  In other words, a shot goes up, you can't block out that way.  You have to block out with your back.
But they're doing everything they can to keep us off the backboard.  They're not going to surrender.  So they'll bring their guards in and block out.  We're fighting like heck.  But it's really physical.
And we got some guys that have some excuses.  I tried.  Really?  Okay, he's trying harder, you can't play.  I got blocked out, the guy grabbed my arm.  Don't want to hear it.  Why didn't you grab that ball with two hands?  You tipped it.
We got things like that we have to clean up.  I'm happy for this team, proud of these guys, different guys stepping up.  We got to stay into each other.  I've been tough on 'em.  I told 'em yesterday why.  I don't want to see errors.  I'm not going to accept them now, then have them kick us in March and get upset about them.  I'm not accepting them now.  Let's eliminate some of the little things that cost you a game in March.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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