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February 26, 2011

John Calipari


Q. Florida had next to no second-chance points. How well do you think you guys competed, especially rebounding?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, that was great. When Chandler had one offensive rebound, that's a big day for us. You know, I put the challenge to Darius, just saying: You're as good as anybody in this conference. Please, this is your game to show it. And he showed it. I mean, he's -- the thing for him now that's a problem, we are going to expect that kind of effort. Because you're capable of it; now, come on, bring it every game.
But it was -- overall, we played fast without turning it over much. We played a team that's a Top-10, 15 team, whatever they are, and we rebounded the ball, defended pretty well. You know, we got caught up in some stuff late, but we had enough of a lead to not worry about it.

Q. You spent most of yesterday talking about needing to want it more than the other team. Did you see that today?
COACH CALIPARI: I did. I did. And not from just one guy. Again, a team full of guys has to play that way. We still had some breakdowns. You know, Terrence played too low. We were all week about play high, big guys, play high because they try to duck you in. He was low and he got his fouls because of that.
There were a few pick-and-rolls where we came late and didn't do what we were supposed to do. But the reality of it is we just made the game hard for them. After watching the Arkansas game, we told you, they would put us in a thousand pick-and-rolls, and that's what they did today. Billy is a great coach and knew what he was doing.
But we made shots today. Darius, when you get Darius and Terrence getting some easy baskets, you're going to shoot a high percentage. So all of a sudden now we are good enough defensive team to try to create a gap.

Q. When you first got a lead in the second half, they made a run at you and kept coming at you; how did you feel you responded to that?
COACH CALIPARI: I thought we were fine. I thought we put Brandon out and held the lead and even extended it, it shows me that's a point in the game just have to go and figure out how we are going to play when he's not in there because it got him fresh for the finish in the game. You know what I'm saying, you're not down, and you don't have three guys playing poorly, and you have to keep them on the floor so that he carries us, which is what he was doing at Arkansas. But I thought Terrence did some good things, and like I said, I'm -- Josh, 12 rebounds, how about him, 12 rebounds. I mean, just went after every ball.

Q. (No mic).
COACH CALIPARI: No, it's not what I did. It's what he does.
And Darius, you've got to figure out from within how you can step out and put it on auto pilot and play. The players know on this team, if you get it going, I will go to you ten straight times, and that's what we did. You get going, I'll keep throwing you the ball.
Now, you know, again, if you get it going and all of the sudden you do something crazy, shoot a fadeaway, go nuts; no, I'm not going to you. That's not why I'm doing it. I'm saying, go at him. He just kept going at him and at him.
And I thought Brandon Knight we are not saying much about him, but he goes six assists, no turnovers. Can you see that he's running our team better and better and better? Just there was one play I wanted to grab him. We were up ten or 11 and he throws it ahead to Terrence near halfcourt, and Terrence -- why? There's four minutes left in the game, pull it out. If he was ahead of the pack and had a layup, you throw that. And he even heard me say it, when he threw it, he looked at me, like, what, he has a layup, and the kid lost it. Now there you go. That's why you don't do that. But he's learning. I thought he was terrific the whole game. And he defended. He did a good job.

Q. Can you talk about the quality -- consistently enough right now in the tournament?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, there's a couple of things. One, the good news is the NCAA Tournament is not played on the road. As a matter of fact, we'll have so many people there, it will probably feel like we are at home. So that's a good thing for this team.
We have not responded, and let me say this -- my teams historically have won close games. They have not, this team, which comes back to me. Come up with a play; do something to help them down one; come up with something.
So again it comes back to me coaching this young team trying to figure out, how do I help them because that's what my job is. How do I help them do what they are trying to do to finish off a game on the road. Obviously I haven't done a good job of that.

Q. Florida scored two or three times on in-bounds plays. What's going on there?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't know. I'll watch the tape and probably punch the TV. The one play, Doron just left the guy. We were going to switch. They kept coming right off the screen and catching it and shooting it on the wing right in front of the ball and so we were going to switch. And we told Doron, stay home, Doron, you're going to take the guy at the rim. And it was Parsons. Parsons catches the rim and he doesn't guard him and it's m-one (ph), I'm like, you have to be kidding me.
But they scored -- if they could have taken it out about 15 more times, they probably could have won the game, because they were scoring every time on out-of-bounds plays. I almost went zone.

Q. In the first half when you were switching Lamb and Hood and Lamb had two fouls, how do you think Hood played and how difficult is it for you to play with guys with such a short rotation?
COACH CALIPARI: We have to figure it out. I didn't feel comfortable not having him in our offense and he made that big shot and I took him right back out. Our game, whichever game is a four-point game, that basket is big.
I thought Jon Hood did fine. Now, he broke down on a side pick-and-roll, and we talked all week on make the guy come off the ball screen, especially Parsons. And he turned him down and shot a lay. That was a critical play. And that's when I said, okay, let's give this a try. He deserves a chance, too. Jon did well. Jon did fine.

Q. Talk about No. 500.
COACH CALIPARI: All I was worried about was No. 20. That's all I was worried about. I'm not -- that stuff is, you coach long enough and you survive, I've been fired once, but you survive, you win some ballgames.
.but I appreciate all of the players and staff that I've had. Hopefully I've helped them develop and reach their dreams but the reality of it is I was only worried about Florida. This one is a huge game for us this. Wasn't like some little game. This was a huge game.

Q. Could you elaborate often why it was such a "huge" game?
COACH CALIPARI: Because you're talking a great basketball team that's well coached that's coming into our building with an idea that they are winning this game, and I've got a fragile team at times on the road, and now you wonder, are they going to be fragile at home.
And let me tell you, the shoot around today was our best shoot around of the year. That's what they don't get. The best practices lead to the best games. The best shootarounds lead to this kind of game.
But that means, everyone is going hard. You know, who the first guy in the shoot around was today? Doron Lamb. Now normally he's last. The shootaround at Arkansas, I almost threw him out of the shootaround and you saw how he played.
So at least he's learning. He's getting it. He's understanding. And I'll say, this I told him before the game, I believe in my team and I like my team. I think my team is as good as any in the country. Now we just have to finish and get better. Terrence has to be more consistent. Doron has to be more consistent. Give us something, Darius, you're capable of it. Keep running the team, Brandon. Jon Hood, if I need a few minutes from you, give us some. And they did that today and so that's why we win a game.

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