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December 22, 2010

John Calipari


COACH CALIPARI: He was good, huh? And you know what else, he was good defensively. We started the game, and they were getting looks because they were back screening the defense, and the man who was guarding that screener wouldn't leave his man to help. So they were open and they didn't make them, but they were open under there.
And so then Doron just shut it down. He just Left his man, stayed on under the basket until his man could go back and get his man and then he found his own. He played great. He was in control. A couple of assists. You know, big-time game. He didn't miss any shots. I mean, he missed one three.
I told then at after time, I said, guys, if we shot 50 percent from the three-point line, this would be like an 8-point game, you do understand. You're 7 out of 14, instead of 10 out nor 14, ridiculous which , all of a sudden it's a ten-, nine-point game. But he played well.
Happy for Eloy. Maybe he sees some light now; how he's got to play. He finally performed. And believe me, confidence is demonstrated performance. It's not what I say, what I want him to do. It's you've got to demonstrate it to yourself and your teammates on the court, and he did it today.
I thought DeAndre was ridiculous. He was so good. We were going at him, just so you know, because I wanted him to score some points, because he defended -- he didn't rebound like we wanted him to because he didn't have a whole lot of opportunities but he dove on the floor, eh's tipping balls and he's throwing nine assists, and so we went at him to get him some points but he deserved it.
I thought Brandon is a fairly good job of running the team. Again he broke down on a couple plays but he scored when he had to. There was only one or two plays where he broke down, and again, I'm expecting him to play flawless, which probably isn't fair to him. But you know, we need him to really play well. And we did it all and Terrence didn't play particularly well.

Q. You win like, this you seem fairly happy with it, when Terrence is not a big part of it --
COACH CALIPARI: It's good. It's good. I mean, and then letting them understand that, you know, I'm going to start these other guys that have been playing better than you, you come off the bench and now start performing and it puts things in a different light. It's hard coming off the bench. It's a little different game.
Now, Doron has got it mastered. He's loving it. No pressure on him; when I come in, I'm lighting this thing up. He's like, let me just keep coming off the bench, I like this. He doesn't feel the pressure of it. Other guys want to try to do too much.
What I told Terrence, be the leading rebounder, try to be the leading rebounder in the country, not just the SEC. And so he went out and took five shots and got no rebounds. And that's what I was mentioning to him; so obviously you're not listening to what I'm saying to you.
And so, you know, I addressed with the team after; if everybody else is scoring, just do something else, defend and rebound. We are not quite there now yet, folks. We are not quite there with our team.
But you know what, we have got a young team. I've got three really good freshmen. Three really, really good freshmen, and if there's maybe a handful out there with these guys, maybe a handful, but I've got three really good freshmen.

Q. What did they tell you was the extent of Brandon's injury? Obviously he came back. What were your thoughts?
COACH CALIPARI: All I did was I said, "Was it knee-to-knee, or did you twist it?"
He said, "Knee-to-Knee."
I said, "You're fine." And then I went back to the huddle. As long as there wasn't a twist or anything like that, I knew they hit knees, but it wasn't, you know -- yeah, the thought wasn't a pleasant one when I was leaning over him to ask him. But after he told me, I was fine, bang, let's go, get him to the back. He's a good kid, he is. You know, it's really neat.
This team, we get the term greats back and a couple of you have already requested them and could be over 28 and could be 29, I'm not sure because we are waiting, but they will write the comparative story in other programs and things, but these guys have really performed in the class -- why are you all laughing -- performed in the classroom. They are trying to do everything they are supposed to do and they are a pleasure to be around.
Now I am on them because I want them to play like they are sophomores and juniors but they are performing on all fronts.

Q. Can you talk about the play of Winthrop University tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, you know what this was a scary game. And one of their best players was out, I don't know if their coach told you, Randy, if he said to you. But I watched the Wake Forest game and I said to him prior to the game, "Randy, you guys smacked them."
He said, "We killed them." And then I saw their game with Jacksonville who beat Florida, they beat them. They were up 18 on those guys. The Dayton game on the road, they had a chance to beat Dayton. There was another game I watched, and again, it's one of those teams that's going on the road -- it's hard. He has a good team.
No. 5, Corbin, who had not played -- or I'm sorry, Matt Morgan, who had not played like that, just absolutely, we had no answers for him. We had no answers for. He squared up and we couldn't get a hand in his face and he was going crazy.
But you know for a young team, an inexperienced team, a team that's thrown together for two months, we had 11 turnovers and we had a bunch in the first half, didn't have hardly any in the second half.

Q. You mentioned the other day about a big seven-man rotation, looks like you have six; how important it to get more than that or can you live with a six-man rotation?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, seven would be Eloy. And if Eloy does what he did today, we have got a nice little rotation of seven. In the old days, that's what they played. They played seven guys. The eighth man was a spot throw-in and if you were not in that top seven, it was for a long year. That's the way it used to be.
Now you have to play guys when they leave when they leave and blah, blah, blah. I like my seven, I really do. I would love for us to get that eighth man, whether it's Stacey or whether it's Jon. I'm even ready to try to go with Jarrod a little bit. Maybe he's the one that will go in there and fight at the guard position and we'll play him some. But it's safer if you have eight.
The other thing I'll tell you. You have a lot of room for error if you have ten, 11 like we did a year ago. I'll give you an example. The couple of games Terrence has played like he's played, he would not have played 25 minutes. He would have played ten minutes. That's it. We have no choice.
So you have to kind of cajole and grab and hug and yell and you know, but you've got to have somebody out on the court, and that's the issue we have right now. But I like my team. We have got good players who are starting to play together. They listen.
Darius has got to get a little tougher. Told him today, the two plays at halftime that epitomize what I'm talking about with Darius is the one where he drove right and the guy kind of nudged him and he almost fell into the bench. He didn't hit you that hard. And then the second one was he drove middle, and he came to a grade (ph) and lost that ball. Now those are the plays, man. That you've got to be tougher than that.
You've got to be stronger than that, both mentally and physically. Now he wants to do it. He is such a great kid. But we have got to -- the only way you change is if it's out there and you accept it, you're right.
But we have flown out there a few things on a couple guys, like, you do this, we can't play you. And now, it's magnified and everybody see it is and now it becomes change, you can do this. You've got to be mentally tough. But if you're not mentally tough, you're not making it, anyway. Not here at Kentucky. So you have to get that going.
Like I said, I like my team. Josh, ten rebounds and I'm like mad at him because he stopped playing in that stretch. So I made him come off the bench like he did a year ago with three minutes ago and I said, how do you like that now, you want to go back to that, that's what you played last year, the last three minutes. Because you don't want that, having a stop.
We do that in a league game and it's a 12- or 14-point game and all of the sudden it's six, and we are on the road, what are we doing? Taking an L. So we can't have those lapse, which we are still having.

Q. What do you think turned the switch on Eloy the last two games that he's much more spirited.
COACH CALIPARI: He's doing it in practice. One of the things I said prior to the game was, Eloy, play like you're playing in practice. Jon Hood, play like you're playing in practice. And there was one other, I told somebody else the same thing, there were three guys I said it to.
I said, you guys have had great practices, we went twice on Monday. We had a great practice on Tuesday, the day after the game, Sunday, we had a great practice for an hour and a half. I was stunned. I said, not many teams do what they just did which is go in there, climb a mountain, go to a battle comeback the next day without sleep or eat and climb the hill and do another battle, and that's what they did for an hour and a half. They really got after it. So I'm just saying, do what you're doing in practice.

Q. You're familiar with Jamal Mashburn obviously, that's the record that Doron broke, game points; what does that say?
COACH CALIPARI: I've got three really good freshmen. Because the other one of the two may break it again. You know, they are all playing 30 minutes. And we are playing freshmen.
You know, it's really funny. You know, John wall last year got the academic award and finished the term. John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins could all have comeback and gone to school and been in school academically.
DeWayne, what happens if the guys stop going to class here at Kentucky? What if they miss five classes? How many? Do you understand, when someone says, well, when guys don't go to class after the second term, not here at Kentucky; you don't go to class, you don't play. Is that right? Is it either term in both terms, right? And who checks the classes, me?
So it's the university. Are they tied to the athletics or the precedents office? (Laughter).
Okay. Just so you know, and let me just say this. I hope, I hope Brandon Knight has opportunities when the year is out. Either way, next term, he will have six days. It doesn't matter. I mean, these kids, what we are trying to do is do right by these kids within the framework of what it is right now.
Now if you don't know what I was talking about, I hope so.
Jamal Mashburn, whether it's someone scores more points than him or not, it does no matter. He changed the dimension of this program, no one else. Jamal got everybody together, did it together and all of a sudden it took off.
I said what about the guys that weren't playing? By him making it cool to come here and play here the way he did, the rest of it -- (inaudible off-mic). Thanks, have a great holiday.

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