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March 24, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Up on the stage for Memphis, Coach Calipari and student-athletes. We'll open it up for questions for the coach and the student-athletes.
Q. John, can you briefly tell the story about how you found the offense talking to the Fresno City coach?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It's not quite like that. Vance Walberg, who coaches at Fresno City College came in two years ago and was studying our program and came to our practices, spent like three or four days in Memphis. After two days, I said to him, "Why don't you tell me how you guys play." He started laughing and says, "You don't want to know."
I said, "Yes, I do, tell me how you play." He gave me some ideas about spacing that I instituted for Antonio Burks. Antonio Burks with that spacing help went from being a pretty good player to Player of the Year, drafted with the NBA and is with the Memphis Grizzlies now.
Then I got all these guys. I said I'm going to spend some time with these guys and look at his offensive and defensive stuff. I like it. It's stimulated by thinking. I thought it was the best way to utilize these players. So I changed. People thought I was crazy. "You've won all these games doing it one way, all of a sudden you're changing everything."
I've had more fun coaching this style. The players have had fun playing it. Vance Walberg, I'm not sharing it because it's his. If he wants to do tapes on it, I'm not selling it, it's his. He will be a Division I coach here in the next year or two. May get a job this year. His teams will score over a hundred a game. They'll score over a hundred a game.
I'm not crazy like him. I can't do it all 'cause I just have the old roots of you have to be able to slug it out, grind it out. But it's been a great experience. He and I are dear friends now. I helped him with his defense. So we go back and forth and exchange ideas, talk two, three times a week.
The basis of what we do is still what I learned from Larry Brown. You share the ball, you play great defense, you try to make your teammates better. It's more of a wide-open game.
Q. John, could you talk about how you came to discover Rodney Carney and how a kid like that slips through the cracks in a way.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, we had signed or committed a Amare Stoudamire. He decide d for some reason to go pro. I have no idea why he didn't come with us.
Tony Barbee from Indiana, my assistant, said, "There's a kid in Indiana that I'm hearing is really good." I said, "There's no way this late in the day a kid could be that good."
So I went and saw him. I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. He jumps, he shoots." I met him, and I'm like, "This kid is a great kid." He didn't play AAU basketball, no one really knew who he was. But it was -- don't think that he wasn't a great high school player, he really was.
So Indiana and Purdue messed around. That's about what they did, is messed around. We jumped in there. The kid ends up being a four-year starter, third leading scorer. It's an incredible story. Shuts out Redick in a half. Kid doesn't score a point on him. He can be a great defender, rebounder, shot blocker. He's going to be great in the NBA. He needs to get on a wide-open team, somebody like that is going to get him with a point guard that can find him.
Katie, bar the door. Let's just hope he keeps improving himself and we keep extending what we're doing right now.
Q. Rodney and Darius, would you talk about how much fun it is to play in this system.
RODNEY CARNEY: Well, it's very fun. I mean, I like the open court. I like to drive to the hole, try to dunk on people. This style of play really helps me do that. Coach Cal let's us do what we can. We can shoot threes if we have them, take open drives if we have them. It's basically designed for us. We're very athletic. We like to drive, we like to shoot. Let's us play to the players we are. Everyone up here knows that.
DARIUS WASHINGTON, JR.: This offense really lets you do what you do best. If you're a driver, it's going to let you drive. If you're a shooter, you know you're going to get open shots. This offense really lets you do what you do best. It's a great offense. You should try it (smiling).
Q. John, how much better is your team since that November match-up with UCLA? From what you've seen of the Bruins, how much better are they?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I watched the tape last night. They're way better, and we're way better. We shot threes like fumbled balls. I really chuckled. I'm laughing at the tape. I imagine Ben was doing the same thing.
Both teams are way better, more organized, better defensively. We scored 88 on 'em. I don't think we're getting 88 on 'em tomorrow. I mean, they scored 80 on us. Let's hope they can't get 80 on us tomorrow.
When I watched it, I'll be honest, I did not draw a whole lot from it. But I watched it to say I watched it.
Q. Rodney, how in this day and age do you not play AAU?
RODNEY CARNEY: My high school coach Wilkins told me not to, it was going to lead to bad habits. I believed that, so I didn't play. I only played one year, that was with a bunch of guys we just put together a team, was out there having fun.
Q. Do you regret that?
RODNEY CARNEY: No, not at all.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I was a center in high school. He played center. 10 blocks in a game, 12 rebounds a game, but he could step out and shoot.
Q. Coach, at what late stage did you find Rodney? Do you think he's gotten the attention he should get this year?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Oh, yeah. I mean, the thing that I'm most proud of is that he has matured, he's become more self-disciplined, he's become more driven. I just laughed at him today. I'm looking at his chest. I'm like, at the end of every year, you have to understand, for three years, he was about 146 pounds at the end of the year. You look at him now. I don't know if he's ever been stronger, which means he's taking care of his body, which means he's driven to do all the things you have to do to be special.
I said before this all started, I don't know how this is going to play out, I believe the Player of the Year should come off the national champion. That's what I think. The best player on that team that's driven that team.
No one ever agrees with anything I say anyway. My wife, my kids, my players. But that's what I believe. I mean, there are a lot of good players. But who's driving their team now?
Q. John, how much of UCLA being much better is a product of their freshmen improving?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, their freshmen have gotten better. But Farmar is doing a better job of controlling the game, getting people involved. Their young kids inside have just gotten better and better and better. They're playing truly the way they have to play to win, and they've all bought into how they're going to play.
They're an outstanding team, outstanding.
Q. Joey and Rodney, would you talk about how the big picture has changed for both of these teams since y'all played way back in November.
RODNEY CARNEY: Well, you know, throughout the whole season, we really just concentrated on getting better as a team, getting the chemistry better. As the season progressed, we became a better team. The chemistry was great. We love each other up here. We're a totally different team.
UCLA is, too. We can see that as the season progressed. We've seen them play. We've seen how much better they got. The freshmen emerged. Farmar got better. Both of us, you know, we came from a long way throughout the season and now we're both great teams.
JOEY DORSEY: Question?
Q. Same question.
JOEY DORSEY: I just think we both better on offense. Our defense, we doing better on defense by talking. Coach said we got to talk a lot. I think our defense is kicking in.
UCLA is getting a lot better, too, since we played them in New York. So it's going to be a good battle on tomorrow night.
Q. Memphis basketball has had a less than flattering public image for a while. What have you personally done to rehabilitate that image?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I think stuff that happened 20 years ago didn't really have anything to do with us. I would tell you, we're going to graduate nine of our last 11 players. We took over, it was a zero percent graduation rate. Anthony Rice graduates this term, it gives us nine of our last 11. Our five seniors associated with the program, two will graduate in May and three will graduate this summer. Rodney better take care of business to help us there, and I think he will. He graduates in August.
What we've done in the community. I mean, within the City of Memphis, they know. Outside the City of Memphis, they may not know. But I think when they see us play, they have to appreciate that they do this together. The only way they share is that they've got good hearts.
Rodney Carney not shooting 30 balls a game means he's got a good heart. Reality of it is, he's playing for a draft position. It's reality. You don't think they're in his ear telling him to shoot every time? He plays for us. You look at Shawne Williams and Darius and Joey, our other freshman Antonio, the other guys, they're all playing for us. If you watch them, you say, they play hard and they have fun playing, and they get along and they share. How many times would you see a team this deep with this many good guys accept playing less minutes? It means one thing: they're good guys. You can't fake that.
If they're doing well academically, we had the best term academically in 20 years this past term. The best academic term in 20 years. One guy on the end wears an academic patch on his uniform, Antonio Anderson, one of other freshman, because he did so well academically. Shawne, if he didn't screw up one class, would have been wearing an academic patch for how well he did academically.
All we can deal with is what we're involved with, and that's what we're doing now.
Q. Any thoughts on that, Rodney?
RODNEY CARNEY: No, he said it all (smiling).
Q. John, could you delineate how you got the four players from Laurinburg Prep? Did they all come together? How much impact did Joey have coming in the year before from the same school?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: That Joey hurt us. No, I'm just kidding (smiling).
Two of them were there for two years. The other two went down the following year. We had to recruit each of them in their own right. It wasn't like, "Okay, you four are going." It was not that. And it's dangerous having four guys that you're recruiting at one school. What if they don't get along? What if they don't like each other? What if they're all stars and they want to be the star by themselves? Everybody says, that was a really smart thing. What if they didn't like each other?
We did not say, go here, go there. They were there. Two of them were there. Kareem had committed to us the year before. Shawne had committed to us before he even went down there. It's kind of worked out. I like the fact that they're better suited academically for college work. I like the fact they get away from home and have to grow up. I like the fact they're on a team where other good players are playing there, that they've got to share and accept and respond to each other. They're not the only guy shooting balls. I think it worked out wall.
Laurinburg is a hundred years old. Charlie Scott went to Laurinburg, who went to North Carolina. Probably a hundred Division I players or more went through Laurinburg. I think it's prepared a lot of kids for a lot of success.
Q. Do you feel you were more prepared? We talked about the impact of the freshmen on UCLA. Ben said they're not 18, they're more prepared than typical freshmen. For the players, did you hit the ground running faster?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Usually everybody will be more a little bit nervous when they come to college, do things like that. But we knew coming in that we were going to be able to play some minutes. Coach told us that we can't be out there playing like freshmen, we got to able to be out there and take some of the punishment that the older guys take, be able to get out there and take screens and do things like that.
We all came in with that mentality. None of us really show that we're afraid of anything like that. As of now, like none of us were never nervous, things like that. That's why everybody say we don't play like we're freshmen.
SHAWNE WILLIAMS: I feel basically the same way he feel. I feel like we still are real freshmen because depth in the college game is way different than high school. High school is just go around, walk around, shoot threes, do whatever you want to do. It's like AAU.
Coming into college, it's a bigger depth, adapt to make. You got to adapt to the environment, you got to get coached. It's different from being coached and just playing basketball. Coach is coaching us, we got to listen. We got to do things he tell us to do. We got to run all the right offense. We had probably like 30 plays, 30 set options. That's what we got to do.
Q. One of the things you've done well in this tournament is break open games with runs. After seeing what UCLA was able to do, talk about the importance of playing a full 40 minutes.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: You know what, I'll be honest, I think we've played a full 40 minutes the three games that we've played. Now, the other teams are going to make runs at you. Every team that we've played has. Oral Roberts went up on us. Bucknell started up on us. Bradley I believe went up on us. We just keep playing.
I mean, the other teams are good, too. If there's a team left in this thing, and they're one of eight, they're very, very good, they're well-coached, they're tough, they're hard as nails, and they expect to win.
You're going to have to play 40 or you don't advance.
Q. Darius and John, could you talk about the impact of playing a team that did what UCLA did last night. Do you get a feeling there's some destiny on their side or do you think maybe they left a lot on the court?
DARIUS WASHINGTON, JR.: I mean, UCLA is a good team. You know they're going to come out and play us well. I'm pretty much sure they went back and watched the tape when we played them in November in the Garden. They're going to come out with a different mind frame on trying to play us.
Destiny, they won a couple of games, we won a couple of games. I mean, that's behind them, that's behind us. It's time to play.
Q. John, a lot of talk about how different both teams are from when you played before. Will you talk about specifically maybe when you saw a change and improvement in your team, a particular game or time when that happened? In what ways in particular are you better?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, the road games helped us. We had to go to Cincinnati, to Mississippi, to Providence, to Alabama. In our league, every game we played was like a sell-out, the biggest crowd in the history of the buildings, the highest ranked team ever to play there, and they were all dogfights.
We survived them all. So I think we got better as the year went on. We hit a lull, like every team does. It's usually about in the middle of February where you cannot see the end line and you got to keep marching forward. It's kind of like being in a darkroom. But this team responded. Part of it was we were so deep, if someone didn't play well or wasn't ready, we just went with somebody else. We were able to survive that time.
Now what I have is a team that's fresh mentally and they're fresh physically. They have fresh legs and fresh minds, and that's what we're always trying to strive for in March, and that's what we have.
Q. Having rebuilt this program, what do you think are the most important ingredients in the recipe for rebuilding a program to national prominence?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, you go in, it's changing a culture. The kids have to be more committed. The ones that aren't more committed have to go. Then you go out and you recruit championship players.
I'm grabbing onto them right now. They are dragging me. It's fast. They're like a bullet right now the way they're playing, what they're doing. But they've all won. They've all won championships, AAU national championship.
Raise your hand if you won a state title.
They're all champions. So you recruit that. You know why, because all they know is winning.
If I go to a kid's gym and he's 7 and 20, I'm not recruiting that kid. Wow, he can really play. If he could really play, his team wouldn't be 7-20. I did the same thing at Massachusetts. When you talk about Antoine Brown, state title, Jim McCoy, state finalist, Will, state finalist, Tony Barbee's team was the best in 20 years, Derek Kellogg, state finalist. I could go right down the line.
That's what we've done here. It's taken us longer, and mainly because the NBA stuff is different now. Kids don't stay as long. I've had three not come. "I'm coming. I'm coming. I can't come, coach. I swear I'm coming. I'm not coming."
It's changed a little bit. It's taken us a little more time. But this is about having players that want to win, players that have good hearts, players that understand why they're in school, to be educated. An educated man is not going to get fooled or robbed. Educate yourself. If you're here two, three, four years, educate yourself.
Again, the great story for these guys is Arthur Barclay. Arthur Barclay graduated from us last year. He was the Player of the Year in the state of New Jersey. Came from Camden, New Jersey. High crime, high unemployment. Three knee surgeries later, he's not going to be a pro, it's over. He's working now for Federal Express in Washington, D.C. as a planner. Called me the other day. "I got my own office." Because he went through our internship program at FedEx which all these players have an opportunity to go through.
He graduated with a college degree and he's working in FedEx, and he's on a media right. He's going to be great within their company. They love him.
That's when you start changing. The kids are graduating, getting on with their lives. The culture is changed. It took six years. At UMass it took five.
Q. Relating my question to Rodney not having played AAU ball, in your coaching career how much has the emphasis on AAU ball changed?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It's more and more and more and more. I don't know the answer to how they, you know, get it and grab it and get it under control. There are some great AAU programs. I mean, great. They do the right things by these kids, that coach, that aren't in it to say I need three players so I can get a job. There are great programs.
But there are also the other ones that the kids don't benefit. Those are the ones that you just -- it's, again, hard.
But I will tell you, it has changed. We always recruited the high school coach. Now the high school coach is taking a backseat a little bit. In Rodney's case, his high school coach is saying, look, I don't feel comfortable with these AAU programs that are out there for you to play, so he didn't play. Lucky for us.
Q. Rodney, I saw you laughing a bit when coach was talking about these guys have all won. What is the biggest thing you've won in basketball? Coach Howland from UCLA was in here earlier saying you'll win the dunk contest in the NBA All-Star weekend next year. What is your vertical jump? What do you think about his prediction?
RODNEY CARNEY: My vertical, last time it was, what -- it was 45 in vertical. The dunk contest, I don't -- I don't know. I don't predict the future or anything like that. I'm just playing for right now, what we got to do as a team, win this game tomorrow. I'm only worried about that, so...
Q. (No microphone.)
RODNEY CARNEY: Probably it's all this year, winning the Conference USA championship, the conference tournament, advance to the Sweet-16. Now the Elite 8. High school New York City state championships, no city championships. That's what I like. When they say they won state championships, "Let me sit back because I didn't win anything (smiling)."
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: When you jump that high, you don't have to win the state.
RODNEY CARNEY: We tied for the (IPSAC?) Championship. That's the public school championship. We tied for that, but we didn't win it.
Q. Antonio and Joey and Shawne, can you talk about Laurinburg, why you went there, what it did for you.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: I was getting recruited by Coach Cal and the staff while I was at MCI, which is a prep school in Maine. When I decided to commit to them, I found out that the guys that I was going to be going there with were all at a school down in North Carolina. I asked the coaches if it would be okay if I left the school that I was at to attend the school just so I can get to play with them, get to know them a little better, because I knew I was coming into college with them.
It benefited a lot. We all became real close friends. We played last year together. We won a national championship. Just us winning there carries along here at Memphis.
JOEY DORSEY: What was the question?
Q. Being at Laurinburg.
JOEY DORSEY: You can survive at Laurinburg, you can survive anywhere. Man, Laurinburg helped me out a lot. There were some people there that believed in me, pushed me, just made me a better person in life. It made me a better player, too, and a student. It helped me out a lot. That's all.
SHAWNE WILLIAMS: I look at Laurinburg as a great school, you know. It helped a lot of us be successful. A lot of people thought we wouldn't be sitting here right now. Laurinburg gave us the chance to come, you know. I also had a chance to go to IMG. For some reason, I didn't want to go there, I just went to Laurinburg. I heard I had some fellow players that were going to be up there, I had played against them at AAU. I thought it was going to be a great thing.
The first year I was up there with Joey and Kareem. Kareem played on the other team. We played on the prep. I told coach, I'm going to stay another year because I need to iron out some more wrinkles. I stayed another year. Rob, Antonio, the rest of the players came along. We was winning. It was a great feeling. We couldn't do nothing but look forward to coming to Memphis.
Q. John, you mentioned the road. Because you're in the west now, UCLA has the home court advantage. If you would talk about that. If any of you guys would comment about how well you've played on the road this year and why.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, first of all, they do have that advantage. But we're happy we're still playing. I mean, the biggest thing right now is to just keep playing. The biggest thing of that is enjoying it. So we're going to enjoy the environment. That's the biggest thing I want these players to do, enjoy this. So what they have more fans than we'll have? Enjoy it. We've been up against it, as you know, all year.
Normally we have a lot of people that travel. I think we'll have two or three thousand people here from Memphis at this game. We're not going to have the 15,000 that UCLA will have.
The challenge of that maybe even keeps you sharper because you know this is like a road game for us and you're trying to do some -- what we're doing, chasing greatness, and it's a big-time obstacle. It makes it harder, but I think we're up for the challenge of trying it and getting after 'em.
THE MODERATOR: At this point we're going to release the players. John Calipari will be staying up here to take more of your questions.
Q. UCLA or whomever, you particularly in a rematch situation, second time around, how do you feel about that?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I watched the game. It really doesn't matter. He watched the game, and he knows it doesn't matter either. We're both different teams now. He has different players on top of being a different team. We play totally different offensively and even defensively.
At that point, it was an absolute rat game. We both were so sloppy, both teams. Defensively we gave up so much, both teams. We scored 88, they scored 80, and it didn't go to overtime.
Q. The other day you left me with the impression you don't like for your players to watch a lot of tape of the other teams or watch their games. That's sort of against the grain here. Why is that?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, I think I learned it from Larry Brown. When I was with the Nets, I was watching so much tape of the other teams. Then I went to work with him in Philly. He never watched the other team. You know whose tape he watched? His team. We watched our games together. His idea was, I have no control over that other team. I only control my team.
He knew enough about the actions in the NBA that he'd watch the tape with the players prior to the game. Now all of a sudden our team's thinking about us getting better instead of thinking about the other team's stuff, which we really have no control over.
I've watched five or six tapes already of UCLA. I watched our game last -- I did not watch their game as it went, but I watched the Gonzaga tape and I've watched probably three or four other games. My team have seen no tape of them yet. Now, we just went out and walked through their stuff, did drills to work on their offense.
Tomorrow after the shoot-around, they'll watch about a five-minute clip of their tape. If I think they need to see more, we would. At times -- let me tell you what tape they like to watch. Tape of themselves. Now, tape of themselves, you could give them seven DVDs. Now, if they sub, they'll go fast forward. Then when they're in there...
I think you start wearing them down when you're saying you should be like a coach and watch all this tape. They're players. They're not coaches. Now, I may be wrong, but it's how I've done it in the past and how I do it here.
Q. Antonio was saying earlier, commenting about how these guys don't play like freshmen. Why do you think maturity hasn't been a factor so far or is it a factor?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It is a factor. It's not as much maturity as it is experience. What I would tell you is we have so many guys, if someone's not playing well, you're not going to see it for a very long period of time 'cause I'll just go to somebody else. We've done it all year.
Chris Douglas-Roberts has played so well, that last game in the first half, he didn't play well. He played about three minutes. The second half, he played better, he played about 10 minutes. We were fine.
Now, in a normal situation, you may have to keep that guy out there 25 minutes, and all of a sudden you see the things he's not doing well or maybe he's nervous, maybe he's a little scared. We just don't -- we just go with somebody else. Who's running hot right now? Who's running hot? Leave 'em in the game.
I left Rodney in for 35 minutes. Our people here that have watched me coach, he's played about 27, 28, 26 minutes. I played him 35. Different time of the year. I played Shawne Williams I think 32. The most he's played is probably 27 minutes. Different time of the year. It's won and done now. If somebody really goes, you're going to leave them in a little bit longer, and the other guys have to accept that.
I'm in the hotel after the game, a guy asked us, "Do you know who I love on your team, who I absolutely love? Robert Dozier." He played nine minutes in the game. He loved Robert Dozier because he watched him play. I didn't even play him that much. You haven't even seen him. There's other games he played 27, 28 minutes. This game I played him nine.
That shows you that you don't have to be out there 30 minutes to impress people with your game.
Q. How different are you either as a coach and as a person from the UMass days?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, the thing I said, and I told the team today, I was nervous as heck with that Elite 8 game in Massachusetts. I'm nervous now. I know how good UCLA is. But it's not going to change my life. At Mass, it was going to change my life, and it did. Went to the NBA. It did change my life. And I knew it would or could.
Now that's not the case. But I will say this. It could change every one of these guys' lives. It makes me feel good that it's more about them than me. My life is -- we can win the whole thing, it's not going to change a whole lot. My job is to prepare them, get them mentally in the right frame of mind, let them loose, go play.
Q. UCLA has been so impressive defensively. How do you attack that defense with your offense?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I just hope we make more shots than they do is what I hope 'cause they're really good and they're really physical and they really help -- they really stay in front of people driving. They really help on screens. They're really good in pick-and-rolls. You're talking about two pretty good defensive teams. We're pretty good defensively, too. Our numbers probably mirror their numbers.
Could be a 60-point game, 62-60.
Q. You mentioned how fresh your team is right now at this time of year. UCLA obviously came off a very hard, emotional victory. In your experience, when a team has come off something like that, do they have a difficult time going the next game?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Do you want my hope or my opinion? My hope was the game was going to triple overtime. That was my hope. I will tell you it all depends on the team. They could be playing, like someone said, destiny, that this is destiny, find the adrenaline to just go crazy. But then the other side of it is they could be worn down. I don't know.
Let me say this: I have no control over them. I can only deal with my players and my team and preparing my guys. And all we'll try to do is what we've done this whole tournament: make it very hard on them and try to make it easy on us by making the extra pass and taking good shots, defensively make it hard.
Q. You're coaching at a classic city university. Not a lot of those get into the Final Four. People in Memphis think it might change their lives. You've knocked off Bradley. UCLA did some damage to Memphis, and Villanova did some damage once upon a time. They're still alive. Is there perhaps a chance that destiny is on your side?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I hope so. That would be fun. We're a, I don't want to say were an urban school, we're more of a suburban school. I live across the street from our campus. I have a family of five, three kids. I live truly a block from the campus. We're more of a suburban school, even though it's an urban/suburban school. And it is unusual. It's unusual for a non-BCS team to do this well -- from a league this well.
You know what, Memphis expects it. The expectations in the city are very, very high. They have always been that. It is a provincial place. For the people in Memphis, there's nothing really outside of Memphis that they really care to see or do. It's about Memphis.
There was no crime. There were no accidents because there was no one on the streets our last game on TV. I imagine on Saturday, there will be no one on the streets. They'll all be watching. The numbers on the TV were higher than the Super Bowl in Memphis, our game. The numbers for TV ratings were higher than the Super Bowl for our last game. Well, that's ridiculous. These people, that crazy about basketball? Yes, they are.
Q. You spoke about your time at UMass before. In particular '95, you got to this level after three fairly comfortable games, if are there any parallels or lessons to be made?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, if I remember right, we played Central Florida, and it was a two- or four-point game at halftime. We played Stanford, they have Brevin Knight, and it was like a two-point game. Dante Bright (ph) made an elbow jumper to put us up four and we won the game. Then we went to the Elite 8 and played Arkansas and Georgetown. In both games, we were not predicted to win. Everybody said, they'll lose, forget about it. They're not winning either one of these games. Kind of heard that stuff this year. There are some similarities. The thing that is different is the year before we had gone to the Elite 8, the year before that we went to the Sweet-16, and I had a junior/senior team with a kid by the name of Marcus Canby on it.
Q. Not the Stanford year, the year before that when you lost to Oklahoma State.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: You know what, similar. We played Tulsa in the Sweet-16 and we played Oklahoma State in the Elite 8. They had that big kid, Country, who was an absolute -- I've never seen a body that big. Marcus struggled with him. So did Lou. Lou did not play well in that game and we got beat. It's a comment I'll never make again in my life. I walk in at halftime, I say, "We're going to the Final Four, boys. He we just shot 29%. We're up three. You know we won't shoot that bad again in the second half." We shot 26% in the second half and lost the game. I will never again even think about making that statement.
Q. Could you clear up one thing. In yesterday's game, Rodney took off from the wing, started to go up. It looked like a shot.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Is that the one he lost? I don't know. He lost the ball? He may have lost it. I don't know. I think he lost the ball. Let me just say that some of the things you've seen here, it's become like not amazing to us any more. Until he's gone, you'll expect someone to take off. Just leave from the foul line and dunk it. He just does stuff now, we've seen it for four years, you expect it. But he is an amazing, amazing athlete and a wonderful kid.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
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