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February 8, 2011

John Calipari



Q. Could you talk about the overall play of DeAndre tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: He was fabulous. Fabulous. Defended. I told him and I told the team, We got to figure out a way to get him eight to ten shots a game. He ended up getting six shots, but he also got fouled on a bunch. You know what I'm saying?
He did get 10 or 12 opportunities to score the ball. He deserves it the way he defends. There was one play he backed away on Hopson and Hopson shot the ball on him. We said, Make him put it on the floor. And he did a great job.
I also got to tell you you got to pull out and say did Josh Harrellson play well. Again, he's capable of playing this way. I thought Doron in the first half played well. I thought Brandon Knight played well.
Again, we had 11 turnovers in the first nine minutes of the game. You know what that was? Jitters. That's what that was. I couldn't even get mad. I almost smiled a couple times. Terrence almost had a triple-double: 11 rebounds, 10 points and 10 turnovers (laughter).

Q. Except for the early turnovers, how close was that to the kind of toughness you want to see?
COACH CALIPARI: We showed toughness. We out-rebounded a good team. One of the things I wanted them to do is get closer to our goal of 20 assists. I told them that prior to the game. You got to get to where you're passing the ball for each other and trying to play the game for each other.
I thought Brandon did a great job of running the team. How about this? We made a run with Brandon sitting on the bench. We also made a run when I took Terrence out early in the second half.
I'm trying to figure these guys out. It's not like I've had these guys for three years. I said, Let's start the half, we'll go with Terrence. That wasn't smart. I went up to him and said, If I go at you, you okay? He said, Yeah. But he probably was like, Don't do it.
So then I took him out, we make a run with him sitting on the bench. I thought Darius made strides. There were three or four plays, I was like, How could you do that? You played so tough and rough a couple rebounds. I thought he played well.
When we played at Florida, you think about it, Josh, Terrence, Doron, ugh. Darius, oh my. We had a chance to win. Eloy played well. We had a chance to win.
What I'm trying to say is you owe it to each other to come and look at yourself and say, I'm going to try to be my best. That doesn't mean shoot the ball. What happens to these guys is if they don't score the ball, they don't do the other things.
Terrence today had four blocks and 11 rebounds and played awful offensively. But that's why we won, because he rebounded and blocked shots.

Q. It seemed DeAndre was much more attacking the basket and going to the rim. Why do you think that's the case?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think part of it is I sat the team down and said the way he's defending, he deserves to shoot more. You guys figure out how to get him shots. I said, DeAndre, if we throw it ahead and can make plays, go make them. How hard he's working, he deserves it. We got guys shooting balls, going through the motions. You don't deserve to shoot it. Let him shoot it.
Let me say this. I'm proud of these guys. To go on the road, again we got another one, five of seven on the road, we got to coach from the end zone. It's going to be an experience that they have no idea about. Five of seven on the road, and they came back and did this. I'm proud of them.
One of the things we did this week, we went to the heavy bag. We put on the boxing gloves and we went to the heavy bag and he showed them how to box, how to jab. You guys know how to jab? Like to jab a couple of you. We go jab, jab. Because I'm doing it right at you doesn't mean anything (laughter).
I'm just saying, Look, you've got to be rough. You've got to be willing to fight. You've got to be willing to take their stuff. You can't let people take our stuff. I put on the board: Refuse to lose. It's that time of the year. Refuse to lose. Figure out a way. Refuse to lose.
They're not taking it from me. They're not grabbing a ball from me. They're not doing it. I'm making plays. We played smart down the stretch. Proud of the guys. Really proud of them.

Q. You said in here last week the team has to belong to the veterans. They might not score, but they can do all the little things.
COACH CALIPARI: Obviously, if Josh, DeAndre and Darius play like this, it's much easier. Darius missed a bunch of shots. The three, the runner, man. But that's okay because he did enough to rebound and fight and do all those other things that you leave him on the court, he's fine.
But those three, it's important, especially when we go on the road. Terrence struggled today, he struggled. Doron struggled at Florida. He never was into the game, not one second was he into the game. Couldn't get a rebound. He was not into the game.
Well, that's like normal. You other guys got to come and play. That's why we're saying our veterans got to bring it every game.

Q. John Wall was here. Did he talk to the guys before the game?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he was in the locker room and spent time with them. He's in there with them right now. You know, he was funny. He watches every game we play. He looked at me with Terrence and he says, Why does he settle for jumpers? Why doesn't he go to the rim and dunk balls? I said, I don't know, go talk to him, coach him a little bit. But he watches everything. He has a good beat on our team. He wanted to be here.
I asked him to go to Nashville. I don't know if he has a game or not, but see if he'll go with us.

Q. Where did this come from? Where did Harrellson come from?
COACH CALIPARI: Two great practices. He had two great practices. For two weeks, he was BS'ing. He was. Look, there's one person you cannot fool: yourself. You're not fooling yourself. You can fool everybody else. You're not fooling yourself. If you go through the motions in practice and act like it's this, that. When you get in the game, the first raindrop hits your back, you know what's about to happen. If you work your butt off and the raindrop hits you, you're like, I'm not worried about that.
He worked hard for two days. He said, I'm gonna get back, coach. I'm gonna get back. I said, We'll see. The guys each made a commitment. Each guy on the team made a commitment to the team.
I'll give you an example. Doron: I will sprint the floor. You're going to sprint the floor every time. Terrence Jones: I'm going to rebound the ball. Guess what? He committed to it and he did it. He even put percentages on it. Darius said he'd be tougher. DeAndre said he would rebound. DeAndre gets five rebounds in the game. Brandon Knight said, I will run this team. He ran the team.
They got to commit to each other. This is all new. They've all been about themselves. Getting beat up a little bit hopefully made it good for us. It would have been a tough loss here. But if we got better, they played better, we lose, move on. Now you got to go to Vandy and figure it out. We were good enough to win against a good team. Now we move on.
Thanks, folks.

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