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January 12, 2013

John Calipari

TEXAS A&M – 83

COACH CALIPARI:  Well, the NBA coaching, obviously there's a couple guys that would do that to you, but in college, that was like phenomenal.
I think it was 63‑59 with about 4:00 something to go, and it was a situation that I talked to the team yesterday about, gut time, stop the runs, stop the bleeding.
And they were listening to what I was saying, but I don't think they heard me, what you do defensively, what you do offensively, because we had Maryland do it to us; we had Duke do it to us; we had Vanderbilt the other night do it to us.  We had other teams and this team went on a 16‑1 run, and you're not winning that way and it's both on defense and offense.
But I will tell you that that performance was‑‑ that's as good as it gets, the way he shot the ball.

Q.  Talk about Nerlens.
COACH CALIPARI:  I thought he was outstanding.  Nerlens played well.  You know, what happened, again, when you're in that game and it's four minutes to go and it's crunch time, it's gut time, you don't take chances.
So we took a chance on their guard, left our feet, drove in, made a basket.  We took a chance on Turner who went behind a screen and we tried to flick it from him instead of just guard him.  We took a chance on their post player, Alex got switched on him, instead of just guard him he tried to steal.  That's six points.  That's six, and there was one other, which was eight of their 16.
So even if it were an 8‑1 run, now it ends up being a three‑point game with a minute to go, you've got a chance.  And we just don't have the discipline as a team yet because we're so young.  But Nerlens was good, and I thought Willie worked, but they were physical with Willie.  He didn't get to the basket like he had.  And they were talking about it.  There was a lot of talking going on out there.

Q.  Elston said he could tell the youth of the team with the body language, when one team goes on a run, and he felt they were able to take advantage of that.  Can you speak to that a little bit?
COACH CALIPARI:  Probably.  He's probably right.  But there's probably only one or two guys he's talking about.  You have one or two guys that are right in his area that he's looking at, I don't think it was a whole team, but again, this is a young team.  He's trying to learn.
We were lucky to win on the road.  Every game we play in this league is going to be a hard game for us, every single one.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  Mistake.  It was a mistake.  I was talked into it.  I didn't want to do it and it was my decision.  It was a mistake.  Because from that point on, he was getting 50.  Stupid on my part to do that.
As a staff, we said he's going to have to guard a 5‑11 guy or Turner.  And I said, let him guard‑‑ it was just a mistake.  He's not ready to guard a kid like that, he's just not.   Doesn't have the intensity.  You've got to have an unbelievable fight in you to guard a guy like that to have pride that you're not going to do this to me.  And he may have done it anyway to be honest with you; it may not have mattered who guarded him.
But when you start that way, making every shot; he had seven points of their first nine or something, seven of the first ten, now you're feeling pretty good.
I thought the zone slowed them down.  We tried to go zone.  But again, we didn't have to go zone in the second half.  It was a four‑point game with four minutes to go.  We were up four or five‑‑ I don't know exactly the time.  So we were fine.
Then we took all kind of chances on defense and we took some bad plays on offense, and all of a sudden, you're reeling.  And this team to this point has not been able to stop the bleeding, and we've talked about it, but now we're going to have to address it again.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  And if they take chances, they are going to make the basket, because you are giving them an easy basket.  When it's a tight game like that and it's a gut time in the game, it's a crunch time; you don't take any chances.  You don't try to steal any balls unless something is deflected and you get a run through.  Other than that, you're not going to give them an easy basket.
We did.  We left our feet.  Like they had made jumpers, one kid did.  We leave his feet and he goes in and shoots a four‑footer.  What?  Why did you do that?  He has not made a jumper all game.  Try to steal from Turner; you can't steal from him; now he had a shot.  Why did you play behind the post and try to steal?  Why did you ‑‑ you know what I'm saying?  It was all discipline.
And again, this is big stuff for these guys.  I mean, you think about it:  There's a bunch of young guys and they are at Kentucky, every game is a Super Bowl we play, and you know, it's not easy.
But, you know, they are‑‑ we showed signs again tonight.  One guy goes for 40 out of their 80.  Think about what I just said.  One guy went for 40.  And we trapped a little bit.  We put‑‑ we did a lot of different things.
So I look at it and I look at our numbers, and I say, those numbers are good enough to win.  Again we have 14 offensive rebounds to their 15.  We could have had four or five more.  And that's one of those areas, just an effort thing.

Q.  Inaudible.
COACH CALIPARI:  I was okay.  I thought he did okay.  I thought he did a pretty good job in the end there.  The one three that he made when we were up four, he got whacked on a screen and we didn't switch out.
I mean, we sat there and let him shoot it, and that's‑‑ again, it's young freshman errors to recognize that and say, we know who is beating us and who is not going to beat us.  This guy is not beating us.  You just huddle and‑‑ but again, we are still coming together.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  Got to practice that way.  Can't just do it in games.  Have to practice every day and have everybody know that you're preparing yourself to be great.  And as he does that, yeah, he could be one of those guys.

Q.  I want to talk about Alex a little bit.  He had a really good first half, and had a big play in the second half, and one of the teammates came up and really pumped him up.  What do you think of the effort level of him and the team as a whole?
COACH CALIPARI:  It was okay, but we need more from him.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  Whose?  Surprised what?

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, again, I mean, we did what we were supposed to to stay in the game with a kid going nuts on you, and then we cave in at the end.
Just stuff that we are trying to teach them:  How you play, when a team ‑‑ when they start to go on a run, it's a 6‑0 run and you call a time‑out, you have got to stop the bleeding.
One, you have to get fouled.
And two, you have to offensive rebound, man.  Go after every ball because it stops the bleeding.
And then three, you have to make easy plays and you're not making hard plays; you're not making the hardest shot.  And we talked about it, and we didn't.  On defense, I just told you, you can't let them rebound and you have to make them make hard plays, and you don't foul.  And at that point, you've got to become really a disciplined team, and that's that will to win.  The will to win is having discipline with three, four minutes to go.
Right now, we don't, have that discipline.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
COACH CALIPARI:  I like my team.  I wish we could get Alex with more, you know, scream, yell:  "Ahh, I want to win, stopping this guy."   That's what the guy was talking about.  I'm looking at the dude and he's got his head down.  I mean, that's‑‑ you know, we need him to play better.  We need‑‑ you know, Archie, he's got to play in better control.
But these guys, they are all freshmen.  We are expecting them to be finished products.  It's still early January.  It's going to be another month before this team comes together.  I just hope we are winning enough games as we learn to do this.  To win on the road against Vandy ends up being a big game now.
Think about it:  Any road win in this league is a good game.

Q.  That emotion you were talking about with Alex, there was one time when Nerlens dumped the ball and you turned around‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  No.  What happened when Nerlens went back clapping:  "Yeah, yeah, let's go."
And I just said, "You do that.  You do that."    And again, got to get him just more energy and more fight and more of that to get him to play at his best.  But he's a freshman.  He's playing like a freshman should play.  He doesn't know any of this stuff.  But he's at Kentucky.  You're on warp speed here.  We expect you to play like you're a junior, and their coach included.
So you know, but like I said, this is part of the growth of the team.  You lose a game, you're disappointed, a guy goes crazy on you, and you do what you have to to stay in the game.  There's four minutes, you have your chances, and now learn what you did.  Accept what you did, and let's watch the tape and learn from those last four minutes and say, what happened, what did we learn from this, what do individual players learn from this, and then come together.
I mean, what happens as our team doesn't do well, each individual player starts, like you start questioning each guy.  That's what happens, fans, media and everybody else.  And that's why they need to come together to stay together, keep working through it.  We are 1‑1, see where it goes.

Q.  You said you hope that you win enough as you learn.  Are you talking about winning enough to keep yourself in the NCAA Tournament?
COACH CALIPARI:  I think we'll be fine, but no, you've got to win games.  For us going forward, each game we play, we just have to worry about being the best team in the gym.  We don't need to worry about anybody else.  Just be the best team in the gym and do what we are supposed to be doing.
As a coach, this one is done now.  I'll go watch the tape now.  We'll show a little bit of it tomorrow; done.  Next game.  We have a game Tuesday, third game in six days.
I think we showed fight.  I think we showed fire.  You know, we are getting tougher.  There was a lot of good things.  We had 11 turnovers and two were at the very end of the game.  So we had nine turnovers in that kind of game.
You know, a lot‑‑ we shot 77 percent from the free throw.  There was a lot of good.  But again, it was taken away, with four minutes to go, you start taking chances on defense, you start fouling; and on offense, you're trying to make too hard a play.  Takes away all your effort for 30‑some minutes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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