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November 25, 2005

John Calipari


COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It was a heck of a ballgame. I thought we were winning it when it was tied up. I thought we were winning this ballgame. And let's talk about the two plays that cost us the game. They weren't anything with skill or anything else. They missed a layup and then they offensive rebounded, simply effort. They missed two free throws and they offensive rebound. That was within the last 50 seconds. That was the ballgame. And so that's what I told my team. I said we're still -- we're not grasping how we're trying to play, and I backed up a little bit and every time I tried to press, they did some good stuff and we give up some baskets we didn't need to give up but they have a great team. They have great senior leadership and those two seniors went to work. I thought we did a great job. Rodney did an unbelievable job on Redick in the second half and gave us a chance to win, but we didn't have any answers for Shelden Williams. I thought Andre Allen did a great job, we were trying to get him off one of their guards and he went there and stole balls and did things. That's why I left him in the game because he was defending and we were making runs with him in the game. But probably needed to play Chris Douglas-Roberts a little bit more but I thought Antonio Anderson was defending well enough and rebounded and probably should have played him more. Like I said it was a great ballgame. Proud of my guys, fought like heck, we had chances.

Q. How do you feel the freshmen did?

COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I don't know, they thought we were winning the game. They were more convinced than I was that we were winning the game. That's the one thing about youthful exuberance, they have a confidence sometimes that doesn't match reality. Today the toughness, the toughness of their team got us. I thought every loose ball and every loose rebound, they got. And when you're talking a three-point game or whatever it ended up being, and the last two plays were effort plays, an offensive rebound -- who tipped it? Williams and who got the last offensive rebound? Shelden tipped it? So think about it. Those were the plays. And we've got to learn from that. When I talk to them about toughness, mental toughness, I thought they were mentally tough today. I thought they really showed some poise. We waited to do the pick-and-roll until late in the game because we knew how they were going to play it. The last one was going to be either Darius or Shawne, and, you know, Darius got a half-decent look. I thought that ball would have gone in because he usually makes that and he's playing at about 85 percent right now. His thigh is pretty well banged up. He didn't practice yesterday and he didn't even go through the shoot-around today. No excuse, but he's a little banged up.

Q. Have you decided if you had the ball down two, were you going to go for a 3?

COACH JOHN CALIPARI: No. I thought the longer the game went, the better for us.

Q. What makes Shelden so tough to stop?

COACH JOHN CALIPARI: He doesn't stop playing. We got in foul trouble, and our guys wanted to complain, but I was watching, they got beat to every -- like they would be in a position and stop flat-footed and he would make a hard cut and we were too late getting to the ball. So now they are in a bad position before he's even thrown the ball. So he and Redick do the same thing. They just are constantly in motion. They are constantly looking for opportunities, and they have got a team that knows, we're going to get the ball to Shelden Williams and they have a team that knows, we're going to screen and try to get Redick free for shots. I thought Rodney did an unbelievable job of guarding him, a little bit of length and we switched out, did some things to shut him down in the second half. What we tried to do with Shelden is lead off with one of their guards and it did work at times. We got back in a 2, a couple of steals and did some stuff. But at the end of the day, if he's going to work harder than the guy guarding him, and Joey did a good job, it's just that he worked harder than Joey worked.

Q. What is it that Darius is not doing that you want to see more of?

COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, right now he's a little bit beat up so it's hard to say. He's got to get a better feel for how we are trying to play. Here is the biggest thing, he has a team around him that's outstanding players, so whoever he throws the ball to can make a play, so you have to give it up early. You have to understand when it's time to take over a game, I'm going to have him take over the game. You have to trust that that's going to happen. And it may cut off some points off your thing, but, you know, I'm telling all of the players, not just him, if you play for our team, truly you're playing for us. You end up playing for yourself. And if you play for yourself, every one in the building knows it. There's no one -- you're not fooling anybody. And we've just got to get a team full of guys and I'm not saying they are geared towards him, but a team full of guys that are all playing for one purpose, and that's this team; what do I have to do for this team to win.

Q. Would you have guessed coming up here that Shawne would be your leading scorer both games?

COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I would say he's our best player. I say that because inside, outside, size, ability to make plays, I knew he would make those free throws. I looked at him and I said, "you were made for this moment right here." And he went in and just nailed two. He knew it. He was born for that kind of stuff. He's very good. But I also have a young man named Rodney Carney and a young man named Darius Washington, and we have five weeks into a team that's 99 percent have played together, well, five weeks, but you've got Waki, Joey and Darius who have played, this is their second year, the fourth game of their second year. So we have guys that just haven't played together. We're just trying to figure it out. Again, offensively, we're taking so many bad shots right now, it's almost making me want to vomit at times, but we are being aggressive. We're driving the ball and doing some things. We are not getting to the line as much as you would think, as much as we drive the ball, we are not getting to the line, and I don't understand why but I'll have to look at the tape and try to figure that out. He played fine. That's what he's there for. If we had foul trouble, you'll get an opportunity, show you need to play more.

Q. How much did the foul trouble affect rotations?

COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It didn't. Because the first half, Shawne barely played and Chris Douglas played -- Chris should have got more. The flow of the game, I wanted it to keep going, but he played so well. Chris Douglas may have been able to win us the game, the way he played. I just stuck with the lineup because we were hanging in there and I didn't want to make changes.

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