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


March 20, 2015

Troy Caupain

Gary Clark

Larry Davis


Q. Guys, being in such close proximity to Kentucky, you know doubt heard all the chatter of what a historic season they're having and just what a great team they are. I wonder what, if any, extra motivation does that give you heading into the game?
GARY CLARK: We look at each game as being the same, being that we have to come out and play Bearcat basketball. Being that they are really close to us, we see the things fans and all the blue. We go over to Kentucky to the movie theater, and there's dinner and restaurants. So we see the fans all the time. Being on this stage, you just have to be ready every night to play a great game.

TROY CAUPAIN: Like you said, we see them down the river on the banks or at dinner places or in the movie theaters. I wouldn't say it's like extra motivation. They don't ever really say nothing bad to us or anything. We still get respect, and we still respect them. We've just got to be ready to play. It's a basketball game.

Q. Just for both players, how much have you watched Kentucky play this year? And just what do you think of them as a team?
GARY CLARK: I probably watched them like once or twice. They're just a big team all around, from the point to the centers. That's about it. I just watch how big they are. Most teams can't match up with them because they're so big, from the point guard being 6'5" and three 7-footers in the back. They're a good team, but at this point you're going to play good teams.

TROY CAUPAIN: I watched them a few times on TV. I catch a lot of the highlights on ESPN or Sportscenter. Like he said, they are a big team. Not a lot of teams match up with their size. I haven't really like scouted them myself. We leave that up to the coaches. The coaches did a wonderful job of scouting Kentucky. They watch a lot of film all the time every day. So we're just going to follow the scouting report and follow directions.

Q. Larry, the general manager (Head Coach Mick Cronin) is in the locker room talking to media, and he said that he's -- you're like the jockey. He's just letting you take the reins and run your own race. He's not going to be a bug in your ear during the games of the how's that work for you?
COACH DAVIS: I think one of the greatest things that Coach did is he trusted me early on. Now, we have grown up knowing each other for a long time, and we have commiserated about basketball way before I ever worked for him. So our philosophies are very similar. When it all happened, one of the things he said is, look, early on, I'm going to stay away from practice. They've got to hear your voice. They've got to get used to you. And he used to text me all the time, trust yourself. Trust yourself. You know what you're doing. Trust yourself. I trust you. Trust yourself. We talk, about this team, about scouting, all those things every day. But what it's allowed me to do is think clearly and not worry about what's Coach thinking or what would he do? Certainly, those things come in my mind in terms of our philosophy, where are we at? But it allows me to be me and allows, I think, for me to think clearly, which is what you have to be able to do if you're going to get your team to win.

Q. How much scouting did you do from last night's game when you did your scouting from last night's game? What stood out about Kentucky's play last night that you really have to gear up for?
COACH DAVIS: We watched, from the time we got back to 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, we watched a lot of tape and a lot of people playing them. Last night's game, you get a chance to scout them live a little bit. You get a chance to pick up maybe a play call or two. But at this day and age, most of your scouting is done off the tape because you can really break a lot of things down. It's much easier. Obviously, they've got tremendous size and athleticism and length. Their rebounding is a real problem for everybody and being able to keep them off the backboard is a huge problem. Obviously, you can't give them transition. If you turn the ball over against them, they are great at finishing because they've got eight or nine guys that are pro prospects, and they're going to go finish it on you if you turn it over and get it in open court. So keeping them out of transition and keeping them off the backboard is two of the biggest concerns that we have. How we handle that probably will determine what the game's like.

Q. My understanding is you were born in Mt. Sterling and moved to Indiana. Also, can you talk about you went to Asbury to play basketball but wound up not playing basketball. Is that correct?
COACH DAVIS: The church I went to in Selma, Indiana, the pastor's son ended up going to Asbury, and he's a little bit older than I was. Coming out, I had baseball scholarships and small college basketball scholarship, wasn't thrilled about any of them. Most of the small college stuff, you're getting part of your stuff paid for. So he said, why don't you come down here? We're getting ready to start basketball. They're getting ready to start an intercollegiate basketball team. Come down, and you can be on the first team. I was excited about that, went down there, and they ended up not starting until after I graduated actually. So I didn't get a chance to play in college basketball. But we had one of the most unique -- I always thought Sports Illustrated should do an article on this. We had a thing called class basketball. The freshman class, the sophomore class, the junior class, and the senior class all had a team with a coach, with uniforms. Every Friday night you rotated, and the sophomores played the juniors, juniors played the seniors, and so forth. We actually played like a 16-game schedule, which was nuts. We should have just had an intercollegiate team. But that was the basketball for me in college, AAU basketball in the summertime, and that kind of stuff. But I actually went there because they were going to start it. They didn't, and they have since started it. I always say this. I think people out there -- my dad has taught me a lot of things, and one thing he taught me is, son, you can do anything you want if you're willing to pay the price, scrap, and fight for it, and I wasn't a guy that was born, from a coaching standpoint, with a silver spoon in my mouth. I didn't play at North Carolina or someplace, and somebody said, hey, we'll give you an assistant's job when you first get out, all that. I fought my way up the chain and ladder. Mick Cronin fought his way up the chain and ladder, and I think our team reflects that because that was our experience that nothing was given to us in terms of a head start. I got my first job in college because I showed up at the guy's office for seven straight days when he told me he didn't have a job, no grad assistants, anything else. I kept showing up at 8:00 in the morning. He told me, if you show up again next week and the grad assistant doesn't come, I'll give you the job. He said, what are you doing here? I want to coach. I don't have anything for you. But, Coach, I'll do anything. I'll do anything. I want a job. Next week, I was there, what are you doing here? I want a job. Finally, he relented. The guy didn't show up. I worked for a dollar my first year. One dollar my first year. He paid me that so I could get my tuition at East Tennessee State was waived because, if he paid me something, they would waive my tuition at graduate school. Again, Mick was the same way. Mick was the son of a high school coach. He fought his way into coaching by bugging Coach Huggins to let him on the staff and showing he was worthy to be on the staff. When he got his advantage, he took advantage of it. That sucker rode guys to five-star basketball camp, to be part of five-star basketball camp. Again, two guys that fought our way up. Again, I think that's why our team does what they do.

Q. Being born here in Kentucky, also coaching here in Kentucky, did you grow up a fan? Were you ever a fan of the Cats?
COACH DAVIS: I'm not going to say I wasn't. When I was little, my dad was a huge Kentucky fan. We listened to it on the radio. If you're born in Kentucky, you're either a Louisville fan or a Kentucky fan or they shoot you. Yeah, I grew up -- when I was in college, I was 15 miles from Lexington. And I had some friends there in college whose father had some tickets, and any chance we could, we followed the National Championship team with (Jack) Goose Givens and those guys. So I've always had a lot of respect for Kentucky basketball. I've got just as much respect for Cincinnati basketball and the tradition and things that Cincinnati's done over the years. We've got a great rich tradition as well.

Q. So what did you live off of that year? How long did that thing go?
COACH DAVIS: A lot of ramen noodles. Obviously, I had to work part time and do some other things. I was able to survive.

Q. Larry, with this team, after you took over when Mick's problem came up and he wasn't able to coach, was there one specific thing that you wanted to get across to show that you were now the guy in charge? Or was that a gradual thing of how it happened?
COACH DAVIS: Well, early on, in the first time that I walked out, we didn't -- I didn't get to prep any for the VCU game. That game was surreal. Coach left the team a couple hours beforehand, not necessarily by choice, but that was the circumstances that happened. I knew the night before. After that game, in the first team meeting, the first practice, I said, hey, guys, look, I don't like the circumstances in which I'm here, but this is the hand we're dealt, and you guys got to understand, this is the way it's going to be. I'm now in charge, and I'm going to lead you, and things are not going to change. We worked too hard to build this program. I've helped Mick too hard, and he's built it for too long. This is not going to crumble and fall apart. We are going to keep doing things the way we do them. And if you don't like it, there's the door, and you'll have to get out of it. I think early on the guys understood that things are not going to change. We're going to stick to our tradition of defending and rebounding and playing really hard and being coachable because that's the foundations that Mick built this program on, and we'll always have in place. We talk about it all the time. You can't lose your culture. If you lose your culture once you establish something -- and you see it all the time. You see programs all of a sudden that were winning, they fall apart. It's because they lose their culture. One thing I determined early on, we weren't going to lose our culture. Mick and I talked about that a lot. That was the most important thing. Forget the wins and losses. Don't lose your culture of who we are.

Q. Larry, I apologize if you've been asked this already, but does it make it easier or harder having Mick there as a resource? Yes, it the your team, but you know that he's there, you can go to him, he comes to you. He'll text with the players. Does that help, or has that made it occasionally challenging?
COACH DAVIS: Let's make this clear. It's our team. It's not my team. It's our team, which includes Coach Cronin, Coach Savino, Coach Jackson, Coach Berger, T.J. (Wolf), and Greg (Youncofski), our grad assistant. It's everybody. And Coach (JaQuon) Parker, our student who's a former player. So it's our team. It makes it easy. Mick is this great coaching mind, and, again, we're not -- we don't bump heads. We're in this together, and that's how we approached it when I was the assistant and he was the head coach, and now he's the GM and I'm the head coach until he gets healthy. We've been working together. We don't bump heads.

Q. What was your conversation with Octavius Ellis after the game? Did you kind of talk with him about trying to keep his head in the game and not let emotion get the best of him, let physicality get the best of him in a moment like that? Especially now with what you face with Kentucky.
COACH DAVIS: Don't take this personally, in all due respect, he didn't do that intentionally. If anybody said he did, I'll call them a liar. Did he go to block out and raise his elbow and put it in the guy's chin? Absolutely, he did. He would tell you he did that. He didn't do it on purpose to hit the guy. It was going to be a physical game. We knew it from the minute we got the draw and we started looking at the tape, we pounded in our guys' heads, you'd better be ready for the fight in this one, fellas. You'd better be ready to play physical on the offensive end and the defensive end if you want a chance to win. And Octavius didn't do that on purpose. He felt terrible that he got ejected from the game for his teammates. But I can tell you, tomorrow he will go to block out physically. He will try to watch his elbow and not get it up in somebody's face because, again, if that happens and they view it that way, just like if they view a Kentucky player doing the same thing, they'll probably eject him. But I want to make it clear, Octavius didn't -- he wasn't trying to headhunt the guy or elbow him in the face on purpose. What happened was it was a physical game and he went to block out. The very next play, Purdue player passed the ball and then went like this and hit Coreontae DeBerry in the mouth. They deemed that wasn't intentional. That wasn't my decision, that was their decision. You can watch it. Did the kid mean to hit Cory in the mouth? Probably not. Probably not. But he hit him. Again, I'm not saying the official should or shouldn't have called it that way. I'm just telling you that Tay (Octavius) didn't do that intentionally. That was just physical play, and he got his elbow too high and caught him. On film, I'm sure it looked bad, but it wasn't in his mind, hey, I'm going to go drill this guy because I'm emotional. If you understood where Tay came from -- and I don't know if you know his background and circumstances. He watched his mother die at 11 years old and has had anger issues for a while. He's got those under control. Trust me, he has those under control because I saw him at a time in his life when he didn't and we started recruiting him. Tay has come so far and he is so conscious of it. That's why I know that that didn't happen.

Q. Larry, how well do you know John Calipari, and what do you think of him? How do you feel about him, his strengths and so forth as a coach?
COACH DAVIS: I've known John for a long, long time because we both worked Five-Star Camp for many, many years together. I've seen him, obviously his career, come up through his career. Obviously, I have great respect for him. He's done a great job. People don't understand -- everybody thinks, hey, you've got all those All-Americans and all these future pros, you just throw them out there, and it's easy. It's not easy. It's not. I coached at Oak Hill Academy where I had six or seven high Division I players the two years I was there. It's not easy to mesh those egos, and he's done a good job of that. He's won every place he's been. You've got to respect him as a coach. One thing I do like about John, he speaks his mind. He doesn't hold back. It isn't always politically correct because he says what's on his mind. That's refreshing in today's coaching. He's done a good job with his team and meshing the egos and guys. He's got a lot of good players. He's got arguably eight, nine, ten pros. But that's not as easy as you think it is. Now, the flip side of that is you've got a lot of guys that can really play.
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