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January 14, 2017

John Calipari

Lexington, Kentucky

Auburn - 72, Kentucky - 92

COACH CALIPARI: I told him, I said, you're a double-double if you make a free throw. Just make some free throws and you're a double-double. And you know, it's going to be a process for a bunch of these kids. I thought Isaac showed some signs.

But Auburn I thought played well. I thought they spread the court. They did what I thought they would do, which is move the ball a little bit before they tried to drive it.

Look, they had Georgia down 16 and they had Mississippi down 14. Those are two of their losses, and those are like in the second half. He gets his big kid back, I think they are fine. They are aggressive. They are not afraid.

You know, for us, the foul trouble, trying to juggle, and I think I said after the game, now you know why I do not put guys in in the first half with two fouls. You can't end the game without guards. So you just, if you want to foul and be undisciplined with the kind of fouls you're making where you're pushing up and body-checking guys, you can't be in the game.

Q. I was curious, is there any special going on with the fouls? That's two games in a row the backcourt has been in big foul trouble.
COACH CALIPARI: I have to look at it. I just think we get, again, a guy drives it, you've got to give ground. We work every day on giving ground and staying wide so you can stay in front of people so you don't just open the gate.

We had some guys that just, they do, and they open the gate and the guy drives right to the rim, straight line drive.

It's what we call, one-more's. It's that extra pass. It came to the guy. He had no one on him and is yelling on more. And this guy ball-fakes and walks. And this guy catches it and tries to throw it to the guy inside and throws it away.

I mean, it was just undisciplined. The play where Isaiah got his fourth foul, stop, we're grinding him, and he hands it off and gets a fourth foul. Why did you do that? Undisciplined.

And again, I had to fight them the whole game. I don't enjoy coaching the way I coached today. I should be a cheerleader. Obviously they are not ready for that.

And what bothered me in the second half, as they made their run, I had to make a call every time down the floor. That's not how you want to coach. You're not going to be that team, if you have to -- and if I have to do that, I will. But at some point, this team's got to be empowered, and they are just -- they are not ready.

Q. Very little Derek Willis, very little Humphries, no Sacha today. Are you shortening up your lineup or is it a matchup thing?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, Bam should be able to play every minute he can play. That's how good he is. Just how it is. I thought Isaac did in good his minutes. I think your choices between Isaac and Sacha, and right now in practice, Isaac is doing better. That's why we're playing him.

I think in the case of Derek and Wenyen, it's who is playing better. And if you watched, Derek made some shots, but struggled guarding. And win I don't know was getting every rebound. You know, that's the great thing about what I do. It's not brain surgery.

It's just, you watch -- now my daughter, Dr. Calipari, is a neuro -- in the neuroscience, that's studying the brain. She is. I am not.

Q. With all the extra time with Coach -- Camp Cal, why the free throw shooting struggles, do you think?
COACH CALIPARI: It's contagious. We were in there arguing who missed the first couple. I said, first of all, Isaiah Briscoe said it was Wenyen. I said it wasn't Wenyen. Someone missed before Wenyen, and I think it was Bam, and then Bam was saying it was somebody else. But what happens is you see a guy miss, and now you're going to the line saying, "Geez, I can't miss."

Anybody a golfer? Okay. You stand over the ball: "I'm not going to slice, I'm not going to slice." You're slicing, oh, yeah. That ball is sliiiiccing. Basketball is that way.

Now, here is the other thing, Jerry. How do you shoot better from the three-point line than you do the free throw line? What's your answer? You have all the answers. Give me an answer. That was Camp Cal, how about that. It is what it is. I mean, I look at this team, what I don't want to have to do, is battle -- me battling my team to play more disciplined, to do all the things we're working on and talking about in practice do, them in the games, and let's do them for 40 minutes, and let's see how good we are.

You can't -- here is what happens. Whether you're undisciplined on offense or defense, they don't -- the team won't trust each other enough to be special. Because you're not disciplined, they don't trust you're going to do what you're supposed to do. There's a breakdown in trust. Now all of a sudden, everybody plays their own man and plays for themselves.

Again, not brain surgery. Not psychology. It's just what it is. So until you get a team that plays with great discipline, they are not going to trust each other enough to get to be a special team.

We, at times, play with unbelievable discipline, and all of a sudden we just do our own thing. Shoot a ball with 22 seconds left in the shot clock, with two guys on us, and I'll fade kick it. What? Why would you do that? I mean, drive the ball. Try to get fouled. "Well, I thought" -- no. Just undisciplined.

Those are the things that we have to work on and I think it's going to take time. I still think we're a month away to be what we need this thing to be if we're going to be one of those teams at the end, because we're not there right now.

Q. Kind of a follow-up question as far as the shooting. You've shot 67 percent of the first half from downtown and 60 percent for the game. Can you talk about how well you did shooting game from downtown?
COACH CALIPARI: Oh, you mean the three point line?

Q. Yes, sir.
COACH CALIPARI: We will guys, Mychal Mulder, shooting a high percentage. What they were doing, if you watched, some of you might not watch, but when they throw it in the post, they were bringing everybody in, which means when you threw it out, you were getting threes.

So they were saying, we're not letting Bam dunk on us. Now at the end of the game, they didn't do that and that's when Bam was dunking and going crazy. So you have to -- what are you going to give up. But that was part of it. They made a choice, you know, like the biggest three of the game, which one was it? Isaiah Briscoe. Makes that three. It's a four-point game and he makes a three and then we go on a run.

But they switched. They rotated and left him open. They did it on purpose. Probably a good move. Just not on that one. And he made it. I mean, so when you say that, they were trying to say, what's the best way to give us a chance to win, and you have to give them credit. They did. I mean, it's a four-point game. I don't know how much time was left but it was a four-point game. I looked up and I just like, you know.

Q. Along the same lines, 6-point game, eight minutes left and you lose De'Aaron, what did your team show you with the way they closed it out?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I had to take Isaiah out, because what my fear was: Okay, he gets one, and there's five and a half minutes to go in the game and they just start pressing all over the place. Now I don't have any guards.

So now I have Dom and Mychal, who are good guards, but they are not, you know, they are not going to go through a double-team. So that's why I put Dom in and put I sigh a -- I said, I'm going to put you in at the three, under three, under four time-out, three-something, and he finished the game off.

But I thought Dom played well at point. I thought Mychal played well. That's as good as Mychal has played. And it's good, because we need that, like in this kind of game. I mean, we didn't do a great job of guarding them either now. They were shooting straight-line layups off pick-and-rolls. And the Dunans kid, he goes ten for 20 and literally one was a three -- no, two was a three, and every other one was a lay-up, like a straight-line layup. You're sitting and I'm like shaking my head. Played well.

Q. Bruce was complimentary of you and the job you did at UMASS, but the word was "pissed off"; that he hopes you were pissed off that they beat you last year.
COACH CALIPARI: Did they beat us last year? (Laughter).

Oh, they did? Oh. Yeah, I'm pissed off they beat us last year (laughter). Look, guys, I'm going to say it again. I'll literally, I'll fight during the game, I know officials take -- I don't take it personal. I don't care. Now some of the officials, they are going to get mad. I don't even know their names. I'm just coaching my team trying to help them win. I don't want to fight my team the whole game, which I did today.

The other coach, I'm not -- look, good for him. I hope he does well. I'm not -- I don't take it personal. If I did, any time I lost, I would give the other guy no credit. I'd be mad. Hey, he did good. He coached. Like today, Bruce did a hell of a job to keep his team in this game. We're a good team and they had a chance to beat us. Did a heck of a job. But he lost.

Now, is he pissed? (Laughter).

Q. You were talking about Dunans getting to the bucket and Bruce was saying they are playing like a lot of teams, pull your bigs away --
COACH CALIPARI: Not our bigs.

Q. That's what he said.
COACH CALIPARI: Pull Bam away?

Q. Yeah.
COACH CALIPARI: That was to get that kid the drive against which player?

Q. Bam --
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. Say it -- it wasn't pull everybody. No. Give it to him. Space the court. Now you beat him on the dribble.

Q. You were talking about the trust issues on defense. Well, how does it fit into that scenario?
COACH CALIPARI: They have got to get better. Understand, every team is doing the same thing to us. This is not hard. If you can't move your feet and stay in front of everybody, either I have to play a zone or you can't play. It's, you know, that's why I want Mychal, we went small lineup. Let Mychal try to stay in front then.

At the end of the day, if we're going to be anything, it will be because we're a terrific defensive team. We're not there yet. We're just not. But like I said, it's a great win. These kids are trying. I love the chatter in the locker room. They were talking and you know, when kids are excited, they chatter. So you had just everybody in there talking and it was -- then they talk louder and I'm in my office and I can hear them in there. That's what I want to hear. I want to hear that at dinner. You know, it means they care about one another. They like each other. There's some emotion between them.

How about having all these guys and they are playing for each other. And you're talking, like Malik, Isaiah, Bam, De'Aaron, even Wenyen and Derek. They are all playing for each other. They are not playing to get theirs.

And it's fun for me, and look I said, I've just got to get them to where they are more disciplined and where they are more empowered so I can kind of coach a game relaxed. Like I was literally fighting them on and having to call the plays and stop them and -- come on. I just want to sit there and enjoy the game like everybody else.

Q. Bruce also said, he took us back to when you were at Memphis and he was at Tennessee, and coming forward, he said that he likes to think that the things he doesn't like about you are the things you don't like about him. What is it about you two that's so unlikable? (Laughter).
COACH CALIPARI: (Smiling). Why would he think I don't like him? You guys, it doesn't matter what I say. It will be, here is what he meant; you guys read my mind.

Look, he is -- it's funny, because the styles are totally different. They do stuff on the baseline out-of-bounds, on the side out-of-bounds. They will do different things in how they play, and we are playing a totally different way in what we are trying to do. We had some great games.

I don't think we ever played when I was at UMASS. I don't believe so. We had some great games for awhile when he was at Tennessee and I was at Memphis. We beat him. He beat us. Does anybody know the record? I could care less, or nor do I know. I would guess that we've won more than he's won. That's my guess -- it was a joke. (Laughter).

But you know, we're -- it's like I said. You're competing in a league. You're trying to do your best and you're going against guys, but I have no problem with Bruce. He's doing a good job.

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