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March 25, 2006

John Calipari

Rodney Carney


THE MODERATOR: We have head coach John Calipari and student-athletes. We'll start with brief comments from the head coach.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It wasn't one of our better performances. I thought we tried to play hard. I thought we competed, but we just did stuff that I haven't seen since the first of the season.
I think part of it you got to chalk up to the inexperience of our team. You know, I'm disappointed in myself that we couldn't make this game faster. Then I made a decision, you know what, we're going to try to win it the way they're playing.
We couldn't get the trap of the pick-and-roll going. We couldn't get the press really where we wanted it. I thought we started wearing them down in the first half. Start of the second half, I thought we could make a little run.
But we were in the game, which is amazing to me. Hats off to them. They played well enough to win and kept it at a pace that they wanted, did a good job.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Rodney, what was Afflalo doing that made life difficult for you today?
RODNEY CARNEY: He's a great defender. Most of my shots I missed were open, open layups. It was more me than anything. I couldn't concentrate on knocking down shots. I mean, I was just off. Everyone played terrible.
He's a great defender, yeah, but I missed almost every shot I took. Want to give credit to him, great defense on him. He's a good player. But, you know, we played terrible.
Q. Rodney, they did seem to clog up your transition offense. Can you talk about getting out on the break, how difficult it was to get through them.
RODNEY CARNEY: Well, it all came from rebounding. Our rebounding starts the transition. We didn't rebound as well as we could have at all. Even when we did get a couple transition buckets, we missed easy layups, easy two-foot shots. I mean, we missed everything around the bucket.
I mean, they did a good job stopping our transition defense, transition press. Couldn't get anything going at all.
Q. You stayed out at center court for a little bit. What were you thinking about at the time? How painful is it not to be going back to Indianapolis a conquering hero?
RODNEY CARNEY: Basically I was reflecting on my whole career, reflecting on having lost the game, reflecting on how we played bad. Everything was going through my head. I needed to gather myself.
It's real hurtful now going back home. I'm going to go back home anyway, you know, but not in the Final Four, not in the way I wanted to go.
THE MODERATOR: Players, thank you very much.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Good job, guys.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the coach.
Q. Every coach has nightmares about the way his team might play. Did you really think it was possible for someone to hold your team to 45 points a game?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: No. But I'll tell you what they did do, they played very physical and they made a decision that they were going to stay on our perimeter people and make us make layups. We picked a day to miss 15 one--footers. What he did was he said, you know, what we're going to clog up the middle with a big man. We didn't do a good job of finding that man. When that man got it, he missed the shot. They stayed out and guarded the perimeter stuff.
It was a little different than what we had seen. We talked about it at halftime and said, you have to go right to the rims and make plays. They did a great job of being physical, too. When you drove, they would bump. They kind of got you off point right off the start.
It surprised me because I thought we'd be more physical than them, and we weren't. They were more physical than us.
Q. Do you think the officiating impacted the game at all from a rhythm or personnel standpoint?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I don't -- we just lost. I'm seeing us 0 for 14 from the three-point line. I understand we weren't in the bonus either half, whatever was going on. When you miss the plays we missed, you're begging for help maybe. I don't know what the fouls were, 30 to 14. But I don't think that mattered.
Q. How would you assess the way Afflalo guarded Carney?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: He did a good job. I mean, but again, you know, Rodney had the layup. He flipped. Went down the middle. He flipped. He didn't play that aggressive game you have to play in this kind of environment. You can't miss those, those five two-foot shots. That's a win.
But he was physical. What he did was the bump-and-grind may have worn Rodney out a little bit. They really were just bumping chest to chest, grabbing, pushing, and did a great job at it.
Q. You got one assist from your point guards. Is that staggering?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: It's not normal. It's not normal. But, again, you have to understand, we missed -- every time they passed us to somebody, the guy missed a shot. You're not going to have a whole lot of assists when you give a guy a layup and he banks it off the back of the rim.
The other thing is, the way we played, which was, you know what, let's see if they're good enough to go right when they get the first pass to drive it to the rim on us. That's how they played. In the beginning of the game, instead of driving to the rim, we drove wide. I have no idea. We just kept saying, take it hard. You're not going to get as many assists. There were probably four or five plays we could have made an extra pass.
I told them at halftime, we took probably 15 bad shots in the first half. We didn't make the extra pass. That's what we had been doing in this tournament. We shot 52% in this tournament, averaged 82 points. You could say, well, two, it's against. No, we made the extra pass, we only took good shots. We took leaping leaners to start this game, go right, spin back, kick your feet. You can't win playing that way.
Let me say that. All that being said, this team fought and gave themselves a chance to win. You're playing against a team that is as good as there is grinding it out when you're down four. We didn't stop. I'm proud of my team. I'm disappointed for them. I told them after, you know, I'm just disappointed that they weren't able to, Rodney and Waki, especially, feel what it's like being in the Final Four. They're not going to do it, those guys.
I told the other guys, I hope the rest of us have another chance or two to get there. But those two I feel bad for.
You know, the game ended up being played in a way that we couldn't get it changed, couldn't make the plays. Miss a layup, throw it away. How about this one? The guy plugs the ball on a free-throw and it goes in, then he banks one. I just said, we're not winning game. The guy is banking them, he's plugging them, hitting the scoreboard, it's going in. What is going on here? That's when you kind of smile and just say, you know what, this is going to be hard for us. We can't make a layup and they're plugging balls and they're dropping in.
Q. There's going to be a lot of talk about how this UCLA team is not nearly as glamorous as their past teams. Can they keep doing this in Indianapolis?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Sure. If they can keep these games from being fast-paced games. With the guys they have out there, they can continue doing this. I even think they can play fast at times. But when we got them playing fast, it was to our advantage, to get them to turn it over a bit, to give us a breakout. When we had breakouts, we didn't make them.
I think with Farmar at the end of a clock, that shot he took at the end of a clock, it was a big play. Fade away over my guy's hand and he makes it. In a close game, that kid can do it. Afflalo could make shots. Bozeman goes clean up the backboard. Sure. If it's in the 60s, they got a chance.
Q. You said the officiating wasn't a factor. Was the crowd a little unnerveing for them early? How long will it be before you can put this season in context?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: We're going to have some individual meetings on the plane back just to talk to them a little bit, settle everybody down. That's a quiet, somber locker room in there right now. I think they had their visions on winning this whole thing. I said it's not one guy. We played bad, and I coached bad. It was everybody. We're all thrown in on this one.
You can't say it was this guy missed that. We all missed and all turned it over and all didn't play up to snuff. Obviously, I didn't make the game fast enough, which means I didn't coach up to snuff. So, you know, it's a little bit of everything. We move on.
Q. Were you surprised that they were able to score inside as effectively as they did in the first 10 minutes?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Well, they did it because we got broken down at the guard. Our big guys had to pick them up. They ended up driving. Our big guy left his man. They got some baskets behind us. It all got back to we got beat on the dribble-drive early in the game. I thought we were a little better in the second half.
I'll be honest, I think we defended pretty well. We're a pretty good defensive team, too. We just couldn't make a basket. Please make a basket. Make a free-throw, anything, hook. Kick one in. But we guarded, too. We out-rebounded them. We held them to 35%. They didn't shoot 50% on us. We created 17 turnovers ourselves, I believe.
Again, I'm not taking away from UCLA. That defense caused us to do what we did. They bump -- the bump-and-grind of it, the physical play of it, when they needed to shut somebody down, they did. We ran a couple things in a row. They'd do some different things. I went zone when they went to that team they guy couldn't shoot, he's racing three shooters in. I'm going out of the zone. It was back and forth trying to figure out how we get this thing done.

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