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November 12, 2010

John Calipari

THE MODERATOR: We'll take our first question.

Q. What can you tell us about Kanter?
COACH CALIPARI: Did we just play a game or no? If he does this one more time, I'm going to chase him down the hallway (laughter).

Q. You won't catch me.
COACH CALIPARI: In those boots you wear, I will (laughter).
Let's talk about the game first.

Q. (Question regarding the play of the freshmen.)
COACH CALIPARI: I thought Brandon had a great floor game. I thought he ran the team, he was in control. He went when he should have, he shot when he should have. That is amazing after the practices we've had.
Doron made shots, made plays, three assists, one turn. I thought he defended almost as well as I've seen him defend this year. Terrence, other than a bad start to the second half, the first two or three minutes of the second half, really competed. Basically what he did is competed because Brown was killing us. What I told him after the game, Kids, you may be our post defender. It may be you. You may be it, so they can't throw it to the post on us and score. But he did a lot of other things. He had no turnovers, which is incredible.
The one thing I want to tell you, East Tennessee State is a terrific team. They're picked to win their league. They're right there. They're playing without one of their better players. Yet we shot the ball well, which is why that gap was there.
Offensively, you know, we did some good things and we found each other. 18 assists. We only had 10 turns. But the reality of it is we made shots. He has never played the 1-3-1. We prepared for it because I knew he had to watch the West Virginia game. We were a little bit more than ready to say, Okay, they're going to play us 1-3-1, and we were.
It's hard. You think about it. You have to work open a 2-3 defense, the 3-2 defense, a 1-3-1 defense, you got to go the dribble drive, you got to put in some sets, you got to put out-of-bounds play. They trap on the out-of-bounds plays.
It's a difficult first game to play a pressing team that traps and does some things on out-of-bounds plays, you have to prepare a little different.
But Murray is as good as it gets. That team is going to be very good.
Disappointing in the free-throw shooting. The three freshmen should have all had 20. Brandon missed three in a row, which I've never seen him do. Terrence, you know, three for ten. So those two went 30% and 25% from the free-throw line. But they competed. That's what I wanted to see today. I just wanted to see some fire.

Q. Is this what you were talking about in learning how this team has to play?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, there was a play Terrence got beat on the sideline. There was a play late that Josh got beat. There was a play late that a ball went over Jon Hood, he was paralyzed, couldn't go. Those plays we have to be able to make.
Darius is better than he played. I was on Darius because I want him to have to respond to that because we're going to count on him.
What I did, we went to a different lineup and that lineup exploded the game. That happens sometimes. You make one change and the game changes.
I thought Josh Harrellson was good. Josh is what he is, and he did pretty good. He's in the best shape he's ever been in. Eloy has to catch up to him. So we will see.

Q. Is that about what you expect out of Liggins? Could you also talk a little bit about the week that Eloy has had, the things he's gone through.
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. If DeAndre plays that hard, I'd like a few more rebounds, but six assists, three turns, a couple of the turns he hit through to the wrong man. But, you know, I thought that he did well.
We need Darius to be one of those catalysts for us. He's got to play. When it's on him, like he got 11 rebounds. He almost gets a double-double and I think he's way better. I would hope that's how I challenge all my guys.
But DeAndre was good. Darius was good. But they're better. Our freshmen played well, but they've got to get steadier, rougher and tougher. We've got to defend better.

Q. Cal, you guys had the best of it rebounding. Was that a case of gang rebounding, especially without Enes?
COACH CALIPARI: We have absolutely beat them since that first exhibition game. Today I said, You guys will be off tomorrow, and Terrence Jones went, Yahoo, until I said, Until 6:00. He about fell on the floor.
But we've been doing that rough, tough stuff and I think it paid off. But I'm still trying to learn about the team. That's why you play East Tennessee State. I'll watch this tape. There's things I'm going to pull out of this tape to say, We got to get better at this area and that area. How are we going a play post defense?
Thank goodness East Tennessee State did this to us. And Murray knew. He just kept going back at the guy. The guy is a great coach. He just said, I'm going back, I'm going back, I'm going back, and that's what he did. So we got to figure out, if they got a guy like that, how are we going to play, what are we going to do?
You notice we started trapping in the second half. We've not worked on it one time. That being said, I couldn't be mad when we did it wrong. I haven't worked on it. I haven't coached them. I haven't talked about it. I told them we're fine with that.

Q. John, you mentioned working on the 1-3-1. Before the Dillard game, you said you hadn't worked much zone offense. What did you think of your zone offense tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Not bad. They found each other, made the extra pass, got it in the middle. A couple guys broke it down. Doron and Eloy broke down the offense, went to the wrong spots. When you do that, don't have spacing against the zone.
The other thing is that every guy out there can make a three. Now you play zone at your own peril, where last year, you know, Dewayne said to me, I went into practice, Cal, we didn't make any shots in practice. He said it. I forgot. That was the beginning of last year. We didn't make any shots. I kept telling them they were good shooters, we're good shooters, we'll be fine, we'll never be hurt by shooting, because I hope we're dunking on everybody.
But you're not going to do this every game, you're not going to shoot that well. If you defend, attack that glass, make free throws like we didn't today, you'll be fine. You don't have to make 50% of your threes, make 35. We were making 10, 19 at times last year.
But the gang rebounding helped us. Like I said, they're an athletic team enough to go after us. You know, all that kind of stuff was good. 18 assists, 10 turns. We did some good things. I'm happy.
I told them that this is a good team that's going to win their league. It's a good win for us.

Q. Coach, you had Harrellson in the starting lineup tonight. Curious, are you looking for a set lineup for consistency or could this be a group that you may adjust throughout the season based on matchups?
COACH CALIPARI: If you look, the best lineup we had was with Darius coming off the bench, if you looked today. So when I watch the tape, I'll say Darius was the one coming off the bench when we were the best.
Josh played well. Got in foul trouble. We went to Eloy and we did fine. How was the small lineup today? I don't know, you'll have to tell me. I can't remember. I'll have to watch the tape and figure out how we played when we were small. I think that's when 41 went at Darius in the post and scored like four straight times - I think. If we go small, do we trap the post.
You know what I'm saying? We got a lot of things we got to answer. The other thing is, do we play some zone if we get in foul trouble because we're not playing a lot of people. '95 I didn't play zone. I played five, six guys. I just told them, ready, this is the best coaching advice I can give you: Don't foul.

Q. Can you talk about Kanter's situation.
COACH CALIPARI: Let me say this. One, I respect the NCAA's decision. I don't agree with it, but I respect the decision because it's a hard decision.
I will say this. Enes Kanter is like my son or any of your sons out there. He got money from no one except his dad. He got nothing from anybody except his dad, and his dad did not do anything wrong. His dad did all the things he thought were going to make sure his son stayed an amateur. No one can argue the point that this kid wanted to be an amateur, and so did his father.
Now, if they did some things they didn't know were wrong by our rules, maybe. But they didn't do anything wrong. And I feel bad. So we're looking at the appeal and thinking that, you know, common sense, people will look at this in a common sense way and say, You know what, the kid deserves better than this.
But, again, I respect the decision they made because it's hard. This is one they have not seen. And now it's like, Well, wait a minute. Educational expenses, we've never seen this before. They're things they haven't seen. I respect what they've done, I just don't agree with it.
That's all I'm going to say. If you ask me another question, I'm not going to answer it. Anything on my basketball team?

Q. Are you optimistic at all?
COACH CALIPARI: Great talking to you guys (laughter).

End of FastScripts

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