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December 1, 2011

John Calipari

ST. JOHN¬íS ¬Ė 59

Q.  Talk about Davis, his blocks, and did you know at 4:44 that he was two shy of the triple double?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† I didn't, but I think he was‑‑ without him, we probably lose the game.¬† He changed everything about it.¬† He blocked shots.¬† He scored baskets, he rebounded tough rebounds.¬† He came up with balls‑‑ when it got rough, we had guys who could not come up with balls.
Just could not‑‑ it's an Achilles heel for us, and guys think it's okay, and it's just not.¬† But he played.¬† He balled.

Q.  You said yesterday, we need to work on offense, playing pretty well on defense, kind of how it played out again tonight.  How do you reconcile playing so dominant on defense, I think five shot clock violations early in the first half, all of the blocked shots and not on the other end.
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Well, you're playing such a young team that they just‑‑ we haven't figured out each other yet, and it's going to take time.¬† This team will be way better in March than it is right now.
We started the game, we had five turnovers to start the game, first, three, four minutes, five turnovers, of the kind of going after a ball, half speed, running somebody over, walking, not spreading the court.
And then, give St. John's credit.  They scrapped.  They scrapped.  They were physical.  They played a style that they felt they had to play, which was:  Let's run the shot clock down.  That's why there were the shot clock violations, not that we were so good defensively.  They went to run the clock to ten seconds and tried to make a play; then they couldn't get the shot up at that point, worked hard.  But they did what they had to to stay in the game.  And we were just inept offensively.  We started the game, we had 16 points.  I'm like, are we going to get to the 20 this half?
So again, you know, got a ways to go.  I don't know what else to tell you.

Q.  With Anthony, he blocked so many of those, and controls them and keeps them and creates possessions; is that something you teach or something that he's done?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† I'd like to take all the credit for that, how I teach.¬† But the reality of it is, that's him.¬† He's just‑‑ you know, he's a great shot‑blocker.¬† We blocked a lot of shots today.¬† We had some steals.¬† It's a hard game to play when the other team is winding that clock down, and there's going to be a lot of teams that play us this way.¬† That's how they will play us.

Q.¬† Do you think that Terrence‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Terrence is going to have to play better these next two games.¬† He's going to have to‑‑ it's not even about numbers.¬† You've got to come up with balls.¬† You've got to be the guy on the court, being where you're supposed to and you have to show leadership, like coming up with balls and taking charges.
These next two games are vital because you cannot count on young players, freshmen, to go in there in these kind of games, the next two that we have.  The next two are going to be ridiculously hard for us to win, and so if we don't have that from him, it's going to be really hard for us, because again, if it's not him, you're counting on freshmen.

Q.  At the beginning of the game with them milking the clock and playing zone on the offensive end, do you think your team showed a lot of patience?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† We did okay.¬† But we started the first couple of possessions, the guys put the ball all above their head and they didn't get into the gaps.¬† I mean, things that we had worked on for four days, we just‑‑ they didn't do.
Start of the game, and so we end up with five turnovers, and I'm like, what are we doing?  But again, I'm not the most patient guy anyway, and I want us to be better now.
But it's December 1.  We are what we are.  We are a good defensive team and we cannot sustain the energy we need because it's so early in the season, we stopped playing a lot.  And offensively, we just aren't in sync yet, and we have got to get it there. 

Q.  A lot of times you hear, players they don't care about defense, and you have guys that appear to at a young age.  Are they just special that way or is there something else that's gone into it?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Well, if you are not going to guard here, you're don't play.¬† You're not going to get in games.¬† And if you really keep getting ‑‑ if you break down, then we play somebody else.¬† Our practice preseason is all offense.¬† When we get into the season, we are zeroed in on what we are doing defensively.
So, you know, defense has been a‑‑ I mean, if you look over the last five or six years, my teams defensively have been efficient.¬† They have done what they were supposed to do.¬† So this team is no different.¬† I mean, field goal percentage, rebound margin, which isn't what it should be, because they jerk balls out of our hands today, and then blocking shots and steals and giving themselves more opportunities.
But again, look, I'm looking at other teams around the country that are top‑ranked teams.¬† They are just way ahead of us offensively.¬† Just way ahead.¬† And so you're not going to go hold those kind of teams to 32 percent, 29, you're not.
But you certainly can't shoot 39‑‑ score 39 percent of the time and turn it over as much as we've been.

Q.  As far as St. John's, a little under manned with only seven or eight scholarship players.  Can you talk about how as a coach, how difficult it is to coach a team with that few players and how will it help if they are able to get another player or two here in December with the rest of their season?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, if I'm one of those seven, I'm really happy, because those seven are playing every minute.  If the option is, I play less minutes and we have more guys, then everybody in that room says; we are good with who we have.
But what happens is when they add guys that can give them some shooting, maybe some driving ability, I think you're going to see a different team.  And like I said, they played us as well as anybody has played us, they really did.  I've got to give them credit.

Q.¬† Obviously Anthony blocks a lot of shots, yet he does not foul much.¬† What is that about, and did you think on‑‑ he had a block late in the game, didn't seem like much of a foul, but anyway, wondering if you saw that.
COACH CALIPARI:¬† I didn't see that.¬† But when he leaves his feet, he fouls.¬† The great shot‑blockers wait until you release it and then they go after the ball.
So a ball fake doesn't bother them because they are not leaving, anyway.¬† So you can ball fake six times.¬† Until you start to release the ball, when it's out of your hand, a shot‑blocker will go after it.¬† That's what he does.
And the other thing a shot blocker does is he's blocking not his man shot, he's blocking somebody else's shot.  And that's why I'm telling my players, don't foul.  We did exactly what we did against Kansas.  They had ten straight points from the free throw line.  Come on.  Quit fouling.  We are blocking every shot.  Why would you foul or grab or hold?  Why?  We did the same thing with Kansas; as the game wound down, we just gave them all those free throws.  We have to get better at that.

Q.¬† 18 blocked shots, school record, just a little bit about what that does defensively?¬† I know offensively it's not where you want to be, but defensively‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  We are a pretty good defensive team.  We have been this way all year.  We have not had 18 blocks, but we have had ten, 11.
And the other side of it is, most teams haven't done what this team did.  Most teams try to beat us shooting threes.  So they will play a zone, they may hold it a little bit, but they are trying to shoot threes to beat us.  This team went inside, which is why we had 18 blocks.

Q.  How much have you looked at North Carolina and what will you do tomorrow to prepare?
COACH CALIPARI:  First of all, I've got to watch this tape tonight.  Then I've got to watch our game with North Carolina a year ago, watch two or three other tapes of North Carolina.
I watched them against Vegas about eight minutes, ten minutes, and I watched them against Wisconsin, maybe 12 minutes, 15 minute, max.  So I've got a lot of work to do.
I have no idea how we are going to play them yet.¬† You know, they pretty much play how they play.¬† We pretty much play like we play.¬† I doubt if either one of us are going to try to hold the ball.¬† I mean, it should be an up‑and‑down game imagine.¬† You let them get in too much of an up‑and‑down game, you'll get killed.
So you've got to make it so that they are not getting just pass‑ahead layups.
Let me just tell you, what I saw, and the little bit I saw last night, they are really good.  I know Vegas made 13 threes, which is why they won the game, and they really fought like heck and did a pretty good job.  But they came back against a Wisconsin team that's even more physical and tougher than the Vegas team, and really did a pretty good job on them.
So I think they bounced back and recovered from that.  They are a good team.  They are really good.

Q.  I know you have not seen a lot of tape on them, but how would tonight's performance work out on Saturday for you guys?
COACH CALIPARI:  If we play like tonight?  Then I would be a very sad coach after the game I would say.  We have to play better than we played.

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