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January 11, 2011

John Calipari


THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. Terrence didn't start tonight. Any particular reason behind that? He played pretty well when he did get in.
COACH CALIPARI: He was sick yesterday, had a chest cold, couldn't practice. That's just something I do.
But I kind of liked him coming off the bench. Maybe we'll keep him there. Kind of liked our start, too, with him coming off the bench. So maybe we keep him there.
Have a couple practice days, we'll see. Really doesn't matter who starts. What you want to do is get guys that are ready to begin the game.

Q. What, if anything, was different about the way he played coming off the bench?
COACH CALIPARI: Rebounded better. Just went after balls. He went after balls with two hands above the rim. But he got winded in the first half. He took himself out. But he played good. He had a lot of stuff around the goal. He made a couple threes.
But to be honest with you. I'm sitting on the bench saying, We're not winning with him shooting threes. He may shoot one, two or three, but that's not why we win. We'll win because he'll rebound and score around the goals, he'll score on drives, stick-backs.
If he makes a couple threes, that's okay. If that's what he got from this, we're in trouble. That's fool's gold.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI: No. I'm trying to see if we're going to be able to use some of these guys in the higher-level SEC games. Gave him an opportunity. You got to perform. If you don't, I tried Stacey a little bit, tried Eloy a little bit. But, you know...

Q. On the flipside, what did you think of Doron as a starter?
COACH CALIPARI: He's fine. I still don't think he's playing hard enough, runs the floor hard enough. You know, but he's a skilled guard. He's doing what Chris Douglas did when I was at Memphis. Chris Douglas didn't have enough of a motor. I used to be on him every day in practice, You got no motor, kid. Go watch Rip Hamilton play, you'll understand what a motor is.
You got to come off screens hard. You got to be shooting balls before you catch it. All those things. It's typical of younger kids. Terrence doesn't understand how hard you have to play and compete, which is why we got beat at Georgia. They wanted it worse. They got to balls. They finished the game. When it was tied up, they made defensive stops and we didn't. They executed better than us. We broke down on offense.
That's what we have right now.

Q. How do you think the team responded to some of the areas you were concerned with from Saturday?
COACH CALIPARI: There were things I was angry about today again. We've got to get better. The way we're playing, at spurts were really good, and at other times we're not beating one of the better teams in our league. We won't beat the best teams in our league, we just won't. We got to get better executing.
Do you know how many break-outs we ran people over? We had a box-to-box we threw away. They trapped us a little bit and we picked up the ball. We had baskets around the goal that we just didn't get in. I mean, against a good team, think about it, you got to make those, and we didn't.
We got a ways to go.
Josh reverted to a year ago. That's why he sat down. I'm playing somebody else. Didn't have a rebound in the first half. Every ball he went after with one hand. That was who he was a year ago. Well, then you don't deserve to be on the court.
A lot of times guys are reading what they're saying about them. All of a sudden you change how you play. When you go down that slippery slope, that's exactly what it is, slippery. It's hard to come back up.
That's why I'm trying to make sure we keep the pressure on this team. That's what I'm doing. Just keep the pressure on this team to perform and get better.

Q. Cal, what about Vargas as far as what you've been working on with him in practice to get better?
COACH CALIPARI: It's not working right now. But it's early. It's the same. Jon Hood and Stacey Poole, only had four workouts. One of them, I won't tell you which one, after 15 minutes threw up. So that's where they are right now. They're far behind.
So I'm going to keep spending time with them.

Q. Is it a conditioning thing?
COACH CALIPARI: Both conditioning, toughness, defining the things they should do. What's happened is the things we talked about and we worked on, they go in the game, they're not doing those exact things because they're not habits yet. They have those other habits.
But like I said, my whole mindset is Stacey and Jon Hood and Eloy are going to help us before this season's over. It's on. It's on. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm gonna just keep working and pushing, but I'm also going to be hard on them.
If you can't take me, how are you going to go on a high-level game that's on national television and make a tough play? You can't take me. How? That's why the guys that can take me when I get on 'em and they respond to that, they're not fazed in the game. The guys that are like rattled and get petrified, how are you going to play in a high-level game? That's part of the reason why I got on guys.
I got on Darius today. I told him, I said some things in the huddle. I said, You guys watch, he won't do this, this and this when I put him back. Well, he did one of those things. If I was him, I'd have looked right at me. I'd have looked right at me. Yeah, you don't think I can do that? May not have said anything, but I'd have looked right at the coach. I would have loved it. Something came out.
Where is that lion, tiger? Where is it? Come out. He's too nice a kid. Well, career's over. When we're done here, you're done. You either need to come out and fight, that toughness...
He's a great kid. Like I said, I see him as being All-Conference. There are times he is. There are other times he reverts. We got to get him steadier.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the rebounding. It does appear you are still looking for that edge, little bit of toughness.
COACH CALIPARI: We out-rebounded them by a rebound. They get 15 offensive rebounds. I mean, as you watch some of them, guys just thought it was okay. Part of it is you get up. Let me say this. One, this was a really hard game for me to coach because of Tony. Someone had to lose the game. I absolutely did not want it to be me. But I also knew that if he lost, I feel for him. I know what that feels like.
So that made it hard.
But you got to admit, he did a lot of things to keep his guys in position to stay in the game. He never stopped coaching, and they never stopped executing. As a matter of fact, they executed better than we executed. They never stopped playing. They never quit. Every tape I've seen, that's what I'm seeing.
I want you to envision this team over the next two to three years with players as good as anybody in our league because that's what you're going to see, that's what you will see. I got a lot of faith in him. Had grandma there, who I hadn't seen in a while. His aunt was there, who I hadn't seen in a while. Looking for his mom. His mom wasn't there.
Again, a hard game to coach.

Q. There was a sequence where Eloy had to kind of battle for a rebound. He sort of ripped it away from them. The crowd really reacted to that. What do you see in that?
COACH CALIPARI: That's our crowd trying to help coach this kid. That's our crowd knowing, Eloy, you got to get balls. When he got one, think about what you just said. He grabbed a ball, they gave him a standing ovation. He got a standing ovation for grabbing a ball because they know if he can do that, he can leave you in the game and we need you to stay in the game. Those were our 25,000 coaches that sit up in the stands behind me.
I thought it was great. Kind of like DeAndre. He dives on the floor, they give him a standing O. Terrence gets a rebound above the rim. He makes a three. Don't say anything. Just, Ooh. If he goes and rebounds and blocks, everybody goes nuts.
Just let them know what everybody is trying to see. Our fans are smart. They know.

Q. You talked before about the danger of Josh reading his own clippings. I'm wondering if maybe that was part of Terrence's deal, he read some of his own clippings as well.
COACH CALIPARI: The other side of this may be they're feeling it. Think about it. Josh all of a sudden, they're talking about Josh being this, that and the other. You got to live up to that. Terrence is having to live up to how he played in Hawaii and Notre Dame. Every game he plays, he's judged against those performances. It's not what I'm saying, it's his own performance that we all saw with our eyes. That's hard. Brandon Knight is having to live up to what's being said about him. Even Doron, who had a freshman record day, now all of a sudden we want to see you play hard every game. Hard to live up to that. Then the pressure of staying on top of that.
Understand, their high school seasons will be over in a week. Season's over. Guess what, we're just starting our season. We've gone three months, four months harder than they've ever gone in their life, and we're like halfway. What?
They're feeling it a little bit, and I'm fine with that. That's when you find out the guys that are going to be tough, the guys that are going to help us get by.

Q. (Question regarding shooting threes.)
COACH CALIPARI: Here is my thing. It's like Josh. If you rebound and make baskets, every once in a while if you have a three, that's fine. His percentage for the year is like 33%. Well, then Darius and DeAndre, Doron and Brandon should shoot them before you, they shoot a higher percentage. This year you were four for five. On a year, he's probably 35%. Those other guys are all over 40%. So go in, rebound, play for the 'us', the percentages of what we have to do to win.
I'm happy for him. He showed some initiative. We're going to have a day off tomorrow, first day of classes for the guys. We'll say, Take a day off, no lift, no nothing, get your classes under way. We'll come back Thursday and Friday and get ready for LSU on Saturday. Thank you.

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