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January 7, 2012

John Calipari


Q.  What did you think of the way Terrence played today as opposed to the way he's been playing lately?
COACH CALIPARI:  That shows ‑‑ he took that last three which made me angry.  But short of that, I wanted to get a couple more rebounds.  But just getting him to be aggressive offensively, make baskets, make free throws, make that three at the end of the second half or first half, that's who he is.
But I told him after the game, now you work even harder than you've been working.  I said, "Do you want to go back to where you were?"  He said, "no."  You know you've got to work harder than you've been working.
The other guy that I thought was outstanding, and this was a hard way to be a point guard.  That zone they were running was confusing, and we had to do four or five different things to get the ball where we were trying to get it.
Marquis Teague played well.  They pressed our press attack, our spacing was better.  Instead of him trying to beat it, he was letting us try to beat it, and that's the difference.
I think now you look at us, we're hard to press.  Every guy can handle it, and at the end of it, we've got Spiderman under the basket that you can't leave.
So I thought that Marquis Teague‑‑ and I just told him, you have to continue to listen.  Play how we're trying to get you to play.  You're going to score without trying to score.
I will say this, and I don't have any issue saying it, if there's a better lay‑up shooting point guard in the country, I want to see him.  He's as good a lay‑up shooting player at that position as there is in the country.
You know what?  Take a bunch of those.  Don't get them blocked.  At the end of the half, he drove in, it doesn't get blocked, we tip dunk it.  It's all good.  I was really happy for him.
Couple of the guys didn't play up to snuff, but that's fine.  We haven't really had a team full cut a game yet.  But we'll see.

Q.  Talking about Marquis, what did you think of his defense today?
COACH CALIPARI:  Not bad.  He still didn't come up with enough balls.  You know, he was better.  He made a couple great downs.  I'm trying to get him to play that perfect game.  Let me say this, it's really funny.  You guys, even though he's a freshman, he's played in 16 college games‑ 15 up until this game ‑ and because he wasn't playing perfect, he had four‑and‑a‑half assists to three turnovers.  That ain't bad.  If he passed it a couple more times, he'd be averaging six assists to three turnovers, which is perfect.
He's a good free‑throw shooter.  He stops on defense, which is typical of a freshman, and he's playing in Kentucky for the second ranked team in the country that probably could have easily been undefeated.  Everybody's saying he's a disappointment.  What are you talking about?  The kid is doing fine.
Now I expect more out of him, but you shouldn't.  I'm coaching him.  I mean, he is doing fine.  Today, like I said, what he did today, he's capable of doing.  But he's got to play within what we're saying and how we need him to play.

Q.  Watching and knowing what Darius Miller can do, is it frustrating to watch him play like he did today?
COACH CALIPARI:  Oh, oh, oh‑‑ every once in a while that's what he is.  Just passive, they trap, he loses it.  Has open shots, doesn't take them.  Drives to pass, instead of being strong and score.
He wants to do well.  He's not like out there like he doesn't care.  It's just there is something that switches on and off with him.  When it's on, he's as good as anybody in the country.  But when it's off, oh, my goodness.
You know at the end of last year, the reason we made the run we made was Darius Miller.  The other guys played okay and did what they've been doing.  Darius Miller took it up two notches and MVP of the conference tournament.  He just took over.  Made plays, made shots, defended, rebounded, toughness.  That's what we need out of him.
But Doron ‑‑ what they did late in the game to make it close where they got it to 12, 11, whatever it was, they went at Doron five straight times, and he got scored on.  So I said you're out, and we went up to 20.  He said I'm ready to go back and I said I'm not ready to put you back.  We're up 20 now.
So those guys got to go guard, get balls and do some things, and they're capable of it.

Q.  Yesterday Terrence said he was going to follow your orders and concentrate on rebounding.  Points weren't important.  But it looked like he was much more assertive offensively.
COACH CALIPARI:  He flew up and down the court.  When you run that fast, and you try to play that hard, you'll be aggressive offensively.  When you are passive on defense and passive going for balls and you don't want to mix it up, there is no possible way you can be aggressive offensively.  It doesn't work that way.  Your body doesn't switch on one end, and go soft on the other.  It doesn't.  You're either always tough or you're always soft.
And he hadn't been wanting to mix it up.  You saw him get in there.  Early in the game he was a little shaky, but after he got it going, he was terrific.  I wanted him to get two or three more rebounds, but I tell you, he played well.
Let me tell you, Kyle Wiltjer played well too.  They're really starting to figure out how to play defensively with Kyle on the floor.  They had some match‑up issues I didn't like and took him out, but the reality of it is the kid can score baskets.
In the time he played.  There were five points and they were big points.  Points to get us up to 20, which has kind of taken the wind out of his sail.
Let me say this about SouthCarolina:  Didn't go away, area playing the way they have to play to win, had a lot of young kids playing well, and they'll win games in our league.  No question they're going to win games.  That is a hard game in SouthCarolina for any of us to win.  It will be a tough one.
Ellington just coming back.  You could see he was a little bit‑‑ the cobwebs a little bit.  You have to understand that other ball was long.  This one is round, and he just left that field not five days ago, and now he's playing this one, and he's still out there controlling the game and doing the things he did.  So you give him another two weeks, three weeks or a month, and you're going to see a different player.

Q.  In the games leading up to this for Terrence, how much of it was him trying to get comfortable with his shooting finger?
COACH CALIPARI:  None of it.  He can say that if he wants to.  It's coming in, taking everything up a notch in practice, playing harder and playing with unbelievable intensity, sprinting that floor.  We started do being 3‑second runs for our team.  They get on the baseline and have 3 seconds to get the foul line.
You know how fast you have to run?  You know what I said?  I said that's how you run in the game.  Well, it's hard when my thumbs are up and I'm doing it like that.  No, you can't.  Your eyes are open, and you're flying.  You've got 3 seconds.  If you don't make it, we go again.
Now we did that three or four different practices.  Now you saw him fly up and down that court today.  It changes your mentality.  You know what, your finger doesn't hurt so much anymore when you're playing so hard.  You're mixing it up and going after it.
He's a young man that, again, I love him to death.  I told you give him a week or two and he'd be fine.  I'm saying the same thing about Marquis Teague.  Now we want Doron Lamb to step on it now I want to see that motor running again like it was early in the year and late last year.
When we've got those other guys, we're not talking about Anthony.  The guy that just goes and gets his double‑double, and Michael dunks on people and guards and comes up with the rebound.  We don't even say anything about those two.  Those two are like two warriors that we have right now.

Q.  Can you talk about Michael's play today, and how you evaluate when he's good and when he's not?  What you look for and makes the difference?
COACH CALIPARI:  To be honest with you, he's always good.  He always competes at a high level, and goes after he every rebound, every ball.  He doesn't command, he doesn't whine about not getting the ball offensively.  Like today he had four shots.  Are you kidding me, a kid that plays that hard?  Would you complain to give you the ball more?
The other kid that doesn't complain, Anthony Davis.  Anthony Davis got four shots to day, but most of them were dunks.  That's a big number for him to get four shots on this team.  So those two every once in a while I go hug them and give them a kiss and tell them I love him.  What else are you going to say to them.  They just bring it every time we play.

Q.  One other thing about Terrence.  There was a play in the second half when Doron took a three from the left corner, and Terrence beat everybody to the ball‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  Haven't seen him in a little while.  He did stuff that he's done in the past and now he builds on this.  This isn't like okay, now I back up and go put my toes up and eat Cheetos.  Now I'm going to go work harder.  I'm going to go spend more time, go harder, lift, spend extra time shooting and I'm not going back to where I was.
We've all been in that abyss and say I'm not going back there, I know that.

Q.  Can you talk about getting this team to where it needs to be.  I'm curious with the freshmen, they played a hundred games of AAU?
COACH CALIPARI:  Throw that out the window.

Q.  Is there a wall they hit?
COACH CALIPARI:  You know what we do with those first hundred games we have to reprogram them after those hundred games.  So I wish they only played 50.  So you're right.  They play 100, but nothing like they play now.

Q.  Is there a wall physically or mentally they have to fight through at this level, the freshmen at some point?
COACH CALIPARI:  It's hard to listen to how you have to play unless someone present‑‑ and let someone present you, because you want to present yourself because you've always done it that way.  I'm going to do whatever I do because this is how I played.  But everybody's saying you shouldn't be playing.  Now they think you should be coming off the bench.  Do you want them to keep saying that way or do you want to listen to me?
Let me tell you how we're going to present you.  Some guys argue that.  I haven't.  They look at it and say you know what, if I listen to them, it works out well.  It's worked out for everybody else, so maybe I should listen to them.
They also know I'm about them.  It's not about me.  It's about them.  So why wouldn't you listen to me?  You're not smart?  Must not be very smart, because this is about you and I'm trying to help you and you're going the other way and then hurting yourself.
So most guys will listen, and this team has listened.  But freshmen, you know, these kids are excited about playing.  I've put on the board, we have 60 days.  It's 59 now.  60 days, 16 games, 8 days off, 8 practices the day after a game.  How much can you do?  And 16 practices the day before a game.  So that means we have 12 practices, folks, and we're in postseason play.  That's all we have.  We have 12 practices.
What are you tired about?  You're either playing or it's the day before, we're getting ready for a game.  This stuff goes so fast that before we turn around, it's going to be March.  Before we turn around, it will be April.  Still playing, hopefully.  That's how it is.

Q.  You called a timeout with less than 90 seconds into the game.  I wondered if it had anything to do with‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  If I had more players, I would have subbed them all.  I've done that before too.  I think I did that in the NBA.  That's probably why they fired me.  But I've subbed the whole team.  You think you're not playing?  Then we'll play these five.
That start was not the kind of start we wanted.  I didn't want to get it out of hand right away.  Make it 7‑9 nothing and I have to call a timeout.  So I did it right away.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  Just how we started and what we gave up.  You understand it's 4‑nothing and let's go, so...

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