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November 1, 2012

John Calipari


JOHN CALIPARI:  They had 17 turnovers, Archie and Alex had nine.  I told them if they don't get better with the ball, then they can't have the ball as much.  We can't go at them if they're going to turn the ball over like that.  But that's one thing.
The way the game started, again, we just‑‑ we weren't what we needed to be, but I will tell you that we were better than I thought we'd be.¬† We're way away from being where we need to be, but the guy couldn't stop today because I was screaming the whole time.¬† I'm exhausted right now.¬† I can't coach that way.¬† But I was on Alex every bounce of the ball to play, and Ryan, just to make them play through possessions.

Q.  (No microphone).
JOHN CALIPARI:  Yeah, just I want to keep looking.  I want to see what's what.  I like the big team, I like the two big guys together.  I'm fine with that.  Nerlens was really good today.  Willy was good, Nerlens was really good.  I thought Julius played steady, which is what he does for us.  Ryan in spurts played how he's got to play for us, in spurts, and then he reverts, and then it's okay to get beat or hung up on a screen or stop playing.
It's just like I told them after, I'm just not settling for that.  If you want to stay on the court, it's not about missed shots or turnovers, it has nothing to do with that.  You can never say he takes me out every time I make a mistake, I can't play, because I don't do that.  If you don't sprint back, you're coming out.  If you're not rough and the guy throws you out of the way, sit down, you're not ready.  If you don't dive for a loose ball, if you don't help a helper, if you're standing there watching the play, you're out.  It has nothing to do with a missed shot or turnover.

Q.  Is this what you've seen Nerlens in practice?
JOHN CALIPARI:  No, what's happened is he and Willie have made each other better.  They're both better because they go against each other every day.  I like the fact that I put them in together a couple days ago and they really talked to one another, like up and down the court they were telling each other I'm here, you go up, you do this, and it was good to see.

Q.  All those lineup combinations, I think it was just seven guys but in a bunch of different combos, will you narrow that down at some point?
JOHN CALIPARI:¬† Well, you may look at one lineup and say, this one is better.¬† I may not like that starting lineup.¬† You can't start that way, so maybe we start different, and then you just rotate.¬† And I'm telling you, it does not matter who starts, it's who finishes the game, so maybe a starting lineup is different for us.¬† If a kid's ego about starting is the biggest thing, maybe he shouldn't have come to school here.¬† When you're playing seven guys, what does that mean, all seven are going to play, what, 28, 30 minutes?¬† You're going to play all the minutes you can play.¬† Now I've got to figure out if we can stick in Jon Hood, which I'm going to go against Transy, and I told me and Jarrod I've got to go with these seven, and I've got to go figure out stuff.¬† We're so far behind.¬† But I told him now seeing that Alex just didn't have the energy to finish the game, that means that maybe we shove Jon Hood in there three or four minutes a half while we're playing and that's a rotation where he goes in, and we will look at that against Transy.¬† And Jon Hood is way better, because he is playing within himself.¬† He's not listening, "You know these guys ‑‑ ", he's playing the way coaches tell me to play and the way I know I should play.¬† So he'll be fine.

Q.  Archie really scored the ball, but how big was the defensive deflection in the first half and how big is that going to be down the road?
JOHN CALIPARI:  He's a good player.  I like the fact that he was seven out of 12, makes his free throws, but the issue becomes he gets so out of control, you can play fast but don't be in a hurry.  When he plays fast, he hurries, and there's stuff he's learning.  I'm all over him.  One of the reasons is I had to see who could take me when we're in the heat of battle and who, if I got on, I had to take him out, can't take it.
Part of what I was doing today, and the other thing is having to get these guys to play through the whole possession, which they're just learning to do.

Q.¬† There were so many lineups it may be hard to even pinpoint them‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:  Did anybody look at the points per lineup or the score in the lineups?  Did anybody yesterday?  You guys are only media.  You don't do crap.  There are fans who have already broken it down.  It's great for your story because just go on the boards, they'll tell you who scored, what the score was with each lineup and then you put it in your story.  It's good stuff.

Q.¬† When it was a 14‑13 game, you went with your smallest group.¬† It was the three guards, Alex and Nerlens and it was like a 7‑0 run ‑
JOHN CALIPARI:  Did they do good?

Q.  Was there a favorite lineup that you saw?
JOHN CALIPARI:¬† No, but there may be a catch‑up lineup that we've got to go and be more active and do stuff, but if Alex doesn't play with high energy like the energy bunny, then how can you have him in a catch‑up lineup?¬† That means those guys are just flying around, going nuts, playing the whole dive in, throwing their heads, boom, and playing not like, okay, now I'm tired, let me just jog.
He's a great kid, too.¬† He's trying.¬† This is all new to these guys, and then they've got a coach that's going absolutely bonkers in front of 25,000, and we walk out of the timeout and break down, I'm like killing the guy that broke down.¬† Well, guess what; in about a week‑‑ we got a game Monday and then when is the next game?¬† What's today?¬† What day is this?¬† Thursday.¬† In a week we're on national television, and we've got to figure out what in the heck‑‑ are you going to play 72 lineups against those‑‑ I don't know.¬† I'm trying to figure this team out.¬† I got upset they didn't drive it a couple times.¬† They pulled it out.¬† Drive the ball, get to the rim, come to jump stops.¬† We're going to drive, what do they have to do to guard us?¬† They got to take a charge.¬† You don't know that?¬† I say it every day in practice 75 times:¬† The only way they can guard you is take a charge.¬† So if you want to never leave your feet, you're not focused, sub, out, you're not thinking, you're exhausted, so you just let‑‑ all that kind of stuff is what I'm trying to drill in these guys so when they get in those games, pressure‑packed, that we just play.

Q.¬† Before the game you said defense was awful, first half looked sluggish, second half you got what you wanted, guys driving, getting blocks‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:  Here's what you had.  What did this team say that they had to do to try to beat us?  Shoot threes.  How many teams are we going to play this year that's how they're going to play.  15?  We know we've got to make threes.  So we've got to be good at driving them off that line.  Now, they shot 27 percent.  Not bad from the three, but some of those were open where other guys will make it.  So I've got to look at all 29 of those threes and see how we guarded it so I can show them you can't give them that.  You make them drive.
When they started driving in the second half, what happened?¬† We had 11 blocks.¬† I don't know what we had at half, but I know we had a bunch in the second half.¬† You've got to get them to drive the ball, not straight‑line drives, but you've got to get them to drive off you and spin back so we can go get it.

Q.¬† Can you talk about Kyle's play?¬† He only had one rebound and one assist, but how did you‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:¬† I was on him because he's got to come up with balls.¬† You can't play a game thinking, well, if I make shots, I play.¬† My thing is you have no‑‑ we'll show them the tape.¬† There were five or six balls that he could have gotten that he didn't.¬† You must get those balls.¬† There's not an option.
Now all of a sudden if your game is predicated if he's making shots, do you really want to be that guy?  If I don't make shots I play three minutes.  If I'm making shots, good, I'll play 28, 30 minutes.  Now all of a sudden the rim goes like that, you can't make shots.  He is way better than he was, way more athletic than he was but still has to get in better shape and still anticipate things better.  I keep telling him, you must anticipate.  You have to see, force yourself, because if he anticipates he's close enough to the guy to guard him.  If he doesn't anticipate, he tries to run and then they just run around him.

Q.¬† This isn't the first time you've had to start from scratch, obviously.¬† I'm just curious‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:¬† This is really scratch.¬† This is scratch‑scratch.

Q.  Is there anything in the previous years you've learned to aid in this process or to help you maybe streamline this process a little bit?
JOHN CALIPARI:¬† I just scream more, I guess.¬† I don't know.¬† I mean, it's‑‑ I'm tired because I'm thinking all the time.¬† My whole day is how do I do this?¬† I've had more individual meetings to this point than I've had in the last three years because I'm having to build guys and feel guys and challenge guys and some guys hug, some guys kick.¬† I've got one guy that's in my book club now.¬† He's getting a book every two weeks that he's got to read and tell me what's on it because he's messing around academically.¬† So I said, well, good, you're going to learn to love reading because you are going to read.¬† You and I are reading the same books and we're going to talk about what we're reading.
So all this stuff I do is not just on the court.  On the court it's the tough stuff, the challenge stuff.  But I've got to do the other so they understand I care about them and I love them, I'm looking after them.  I had a great text today, one of the greatest texts I've had since I've been a coach here.  Wasn't from John Wall, wasn't from DeMarcus, wasn't from Brandon, Eric Bledsoe.  I talked to Michael Kidd today because he plays tonight, wasn't Anthony, Darius and I talked three or four days ago, but none of those guys, Derrick Rose.  It was from Eloy Vargas.  Eloy texted me and said I want to wish you luck and I want to thank you for everything you've done for me.  I know I didn't play a lot, but all the things I've learned, it's helped me to where I'm trying to go, and I just want to thank you.  That means something.  That means he knows, yes, I want him to play more, but we care about him, that this is more than just the guys who are playing.  I want John hood to feel that way.  People around him might be mad he's not playing more.  That's how it is.
But I want him to know we care and that we're trying to make him better.

Q.  What were your thoughts on Rollie getting the comeback?
JOHN CALIPARI:  I thought it was great.  Aren't our fans the best?  How about giving them a huge ovation.  The video, I think Jason and those guys put together, correct?  DeWayne usually takes credit.  Do you want to take credit?  Okay, we'll save it for next time, something bigger.
But they put the tape, and then to have them come back and‑‑ like I told his team, go win the national title.¬† They're No.1 in NAIA, No.1, and I watched their semifinal and final of a year ago, probably had‑‑ they were that close to winning it last year.¬† The other team made three threes in a row and that's why they lost.¬† Short of that they would have won it last year.¬† Would be kind of neat.¬† I don't know how many coaches have won the NCAA Division I national title an NAIA national championship.¬† I know there's a few that have won the NIT and the NCAA.¬† Probably I think Nolan won the junior college and an NCAA, but I don't think there's anybody that ever won an NAIA and NCAA.¬† Let me say this:¬† They just started that program six years ago.¬† How about that?¬† I mean, that's not like a 30‑year program.¬† No, they started‑‑ they didn't have balls and uniforms, shoes, they didn't have anything six years ago.¬† So you've got to understand how good he is and what he does and how he gets a team to play.

Q.  Two parts:  Where is Eloy now, and if you would, what was the procedure or why did you add Tod Lanter to the team?
JOHN CALIPARI:¬† We just needed one more guy with size.¬† Right now Eloy, what we talked about, also, was do I do the D‑League thing or do I go to Europe, and we went back and forth, so he's in the Dominican trying to figure out what to do, which way to go.¬† So he and I discussed that.¬† But like I said, when you're hearing from a guy that's really performed here and played a lot of minutes and then go to the NBA, he called and said, Coach, I just want to thank you.¬† But when a guy doesn't play and he knows that I still‑‑ I want to tell you how much I appreciate it, I told him, you don't know how much that meant to me.

Q.¬† On a footnote, Joe B and Rupp rough both won NIT and the NCAA‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:  So did I.  (Laughter).

Q.  Nolan won all three.
JOHN CALIPARI:  I never coached junior college.

Q.  You were talking about guys not finishing plays, and I'm wondering if you were surprised by that given that they're all plays for minutes and things like that, did you see that coming based on what you've seen at practice?
JOHN CALIPARI:  I was laughing, I didn't hear one word you said.  Say it again.  What did you say?

Q.  You were talking about guys, I don't know if they were loafing or not finishing plays or whatever.  I'm wondering if you were surprised by that given that they're competing for minutes.
JOHN CALIPARI:  We've got seven guys, maybe eight, that are going to play.  They all know they're going to play.  I'm trying to get them on the same page.  It doesn't matter who starts next game.  I may start Archie and Willie and Julius, I may do that next game just to see.  Shouldn't I see if we start better that way?  If we start better it really doesn't matter.  If you want we'll introduce seven players at the starting lineup.  Two of you sit.  How about that?  It really doesn't matter.  Darius went from MVP of the SEC tournament, a starter Final Four, and not draftable.  Was not draftable.  Then he becomes the sixth man on last year's team.  Not only does he become draftable, they say he's the steal of the draft, and now he's getting minutes in New Orleans.  So it really doesn't matter.  Shots don't matter because Anthony and Michael kid proved it.  It's can you play or not.
Does somebody want to coach you?  The only reason they'll want to coach you is because you will help them win.  Because in that league, that next thing, if you don't win you get fired.  So I don't want anybody near me who can't help me win, that's how they are.  And I think our guys prove that they help teams win.

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