home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 5, 2013

John Calipari


Q.  How do you feel with everything that you've tried to work and all that have and you're only a game out of first place in the league?
COACH CALIPARI:  What happened, Florida lost?

Q.  Florida lost.
COACH CALIPARI:  Wow.  Look, we have to just worry about getting better.  We don't have to worry about position in the league.  You guys know I'm not worried about league stuff.  Everything we're doing is to try to improve ourselves and get better.
The first half I thought we played a pretty good first half.  We had to make some substitutions.  I had to go to a different lineup.  Willie Cauley was unbelievable.  And you say, What did he do?  He just added energy.  So why would you not see what he did and do the same?  Because it's hard.  Don't want to play with that kind of energy.
So then we went to the different lineup with Archie at point guard, same reason.  Wanted to push the ball, wanted us to be more aggressive and tougher, and that's what happened.
You know, we had 17 turnovers and they didn't press.  They have 7 turnovers.  Again, that's when you're tough on the ball.  Everybody who is catching is having a guy on him, is not breaking down.  We don't do that.  Now, they play us that way, and we turn it over and we don't play the same‑‑ whenever I talk about the competitive spirit, whatever that guy's doing to you.  He won't let you catch it, don't let him catch it.  Why is he catching it on you every time, but you can't get open?  It's a competitive spirit.  Get open in the post.  If he's open in the post, you get open in the post.
We broke down a little bit in the second half.  Again, it's hard when you're up 20 at the half and come out.  We're not that kind of team.  But we rebounded the ball.  I thought we did some good stuff there.  I thought in the first half we really passed the ball to each other, but we've got a ways to go.

Q.  (No Microphone) all right?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, I haven't talked to him, but he'll be fine.

Q.  Any significance at all to being up 20 and maintaining that as opposed to letting the other team back in it?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, they got it to 15 and had to sub a bunch of guys out.  No energy, no intensity, just playing.  Well, you're out.  I told him after the game, I said, if I see a face that looks like you're draining our arena, you're out.  I'll play the other guys.
What's happened is if you watch, and you haven't, but Kyle's done that in our practice.  Had a guy that hadn't been in in two weeks.  Walked in, watched us practice and said, "I can't believe the energy in the building compared to two weeks ago."  It's all Kyle Wiltjer, and the team knows it because they've said it's all Kyle.  Kyle is doing everything he can to help Alex Poythress talk, be emotional, smile.  The whole practice he's talking to Alex, and they're playing the same position.  He's talking to him.
Now my issue is, Alex, why aren't you talking to anybody else?  Is this a one‑way street?  We get you going.  How about you get Jarrod going, how about you get Ryan going?  How about you talk?
So this is all the learning stuff that we're going through right now.  But we're making strides.

Q.  Could you expand a bit on what you liked, especially about Willie's game tonight?
COACH CALIPARI:  Energy.  He went after balls.  He rebounded the ball.  Again, I thought Nerlens messed around in the first half.  I thought he played better in the second half.  But he, you know, 13 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes is not bad.  He's active.

Q.  It seems like it's a little bit of an adventure with Alex.  You took him out early in both halves, and yet there was that play where‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  The first half we're going to do that.  He's going to play the first three, and that's about the extent that he can sustain.  Second half, you miss two dunks, you're out.  What's wrong?  You tell me you're tired?  Your leg hurts your toenails what is it?  You missed two dunks.  You've got to come out.
I'm not being mean about it, it's just what it is.  I'm just holding him accountable.  We're up 20, play.  We're not that kind of team.  We've got to ball.

Q.  Yet he had that play in transition?
COACH CALIPARI:  Unbelievable hustle.

Q.  Hustles back.
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, he can do it.  It's just that sustaining it.  The thing these guys are struggling with, a guy makes a mistake, he can't get over it.  He's embarrassed.  So now he goes back on defense and he's still thinking about the shot he missed, the turnover.  He can't play down on the other end, and it's not just Alex.  It's a bunch of the guys.
I keep telling them, if you make a mistake or miss a shot, your thought is I'm getting it back on the other end.  You push that right in your mind.  I'm going to get it back on this end.  I'm going to get it back on this end, I'm going to get it back on this end.
These are 17‑ and 18‑year‑old kids.  They're like, I can't believe I did that.  Oh o, I should have rebounded that ball, and that's where we are right now.

Q.  Early in the game you were down a point, called timeout, and they came out and looked like they had a little fight.  Do you remember what went on in that huddle?
COACH CALIPARI:  No.  No, like I said, we shoot 60%, hold them to 28, and I'm not totally happy.  I must be a jerk.  I've been called worse, by the way.  I don't know if you know that.

Q.  The numbers looked pretty good, but how did you think Ryan played tonight?
COACH CALIPARI:  Played okay.  We need more emotion, more intensity, more touching.  We're talking to him all the time about the best point guards in the NBA and the best point guards in college basketball are always touching their teammates, just touch.  I mean, physically, you touch them all the time.  You're always near them.  You're touching them.  You're talking to them.  We're trying to get them in that mode.  It's just not natural for him.
He's more of a, I want to be laid back when I play, and you all know you can't play that way.  We're just trying to convince them that when he does play the right way, I believe he's as good as any point guard in the country.  The other guy is not really that good.  The one that plays aggressive and is low to the ground, talking to his teammates, he's as good as any point guard in the country.
The other guy shouldn't be on the court as much, so we're just trying to convince him of what he's got to be.  He's got to buy into that, surrender to it, and just go do it.
Think about what I'm saying.  I'm not saying make more shots.  I'm not saying be better with the ball.  I'm saying play with more intensity, play lower, play rougher, talk to your teammates more, be more into the game.  He can do it.  That's all we've been driving him for.

Q.  Nerlens is struggling a little bit at the line in recent games.  What does that mean a low post guy that might get fouled a lot?
COACH CALIPARI:  I was happy Willie made free throws.  So I'm not worried about Nerlens.  He's the least.  He goes a double‑double with five blocks, then we don't throw him the ball as much as we should.  But part of it is if you go to him late in the game, you got to make sure he's making free throws.
But I'll tell you this:  My belief if it's a late game and he has to make them, he'll make them, because he's got that will to win.  Whether it looks ugly or he's missed five, if the game's on the line, he'd make them.

Q.  I'm only asking this because I've been asked this.  You've gone to the no tie look the last few games.  Any significance in that?  Are you afraid you might hang yourself watching this team?
COACH CALIPARI:  No, no.  Part of it is‑‑ and again, I got aggressive in the second half and I told them.  I got a little mean in the second half, and I don't want to coach this team this way, because if they don't want to bring it, then that's on them.  I'm just going to coach basketball.  I don't want to coach emotion.  I don't want to coach intensity.  I don't want to coach toughness.  If you have no toughness, I'm not going to get it out of you, and I'm just going to coach strategy.
Part of it is I wanted to kickback a little bit.  Plus I was running out of towels, and I was sweating through ties.  But my wife said she liked it.  Other people said they don't.  I don't really care.  I care about my wife more than anybody else.  She said she liked it, so I said I'll wear it for a while.  I'm also going to grow a beard, too.

Q.  Do you have a moment that you sit back and say I won the national championship last year (No Microphone)?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, I do it.  I think, we won a national title.  Then when those lights went off in New Orleans, I said, what if that happened to us?  You know we'd all have said it was a conspiracy.  You know that, right?
It would have been a conspiracy.  And if we had lost the game, it would have been the world's against us and everything else.
But, no, I do.  Look, my concern are these players.  I want them to have the great joy that my other teams have had late in the year.  The joy of I'm not about me and how I feel.  If I feel sad, it isn't about you and how you feel.  It's about how you are to your teammates.
When you think of Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd, you're talking about kids that only cared about their teammates.  Did what they had to do for themselves, but it wasn't.  They played for their team.  The joy you get from that, the joy you get from coming together and doing something unique and special, I want this team to feel that joy, and that's why I get frustrated at times.
17 turnovers and didn't press?  Come on, we work on the same stuff every day.  Get tougher.  Get stronger with the ball.  Do the things you do well.
So, yeah, it will pop in there.  But, again, if I thought about that and said, well, I don't care about this year.  I just don't have that in me.  And the second thing is I'd be cheating these players, and I'm not going to do that.  This is about these players feeling the joy that I felt as a coach with the other teams, and we can do that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297