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March 20, 2008

Ramel Bradley

Joe Crawford

Billy Gillispie


THE MODERATOR: We'll open up with a two-minute statement from Coach Gillispie, then open up the floor to questions for the student-athletes first, then question for the coach.
Coach, go ahead.
COACH GILLISPIE: I have to go for two minutes?
THE MODERATOR: You don't. (Laughing).
COACH GILLISPIE: All right. It was a tough loss for us. We came here with the intent on winning, just like everyone else does. We came here to win this game and try to move on and win the next one and try to cut down nets. That's what we came here for. These guys to my left, that's the only thing they believe in and that's the only way they've approached things.
And I'm really proud of our team. I'm not excited about losing today because that's not what we're all about, but our team never gives up. They never give in. They've had to overcome so many things. They never whined about any of those things. Just great effort all season long and I'm really, really, really proud, even though today's result was not what we wanted.
THE MODERATOR: Open up the floor to questions for the student-athletes.

Q. When you fouled-out, your opponent, Dominic Jones, came over to the bench to talk to you. Can you tell us what the conversation was like?
JOE CRAWFORD: It was just short. He just told me, you know, good game, keep my head up.

Q. Did you appreciate that?

Q. Ramel, you picked up your fourth foul pretty early in that second half. How difficult was it playing the rest of the game, as far as aggressiveness, after picking up that fourth foul?
RAMEL BRADLEY: I don't think it was really difficult. I just had to watch out and not foul again so I wouldn't foul out of the game.
But they were doing a lot of driving the basketball, so I just had to be careful.

Q. This question's for Joe. Joe, can you just talk about your emotions. I mean, 35 points, terrific game, but your last game of your college career. Can you just talk about your emotions?
JOE CRAWFORD: I mean, you know, I came here to win. So, you know, that's what I wanted to do. So, I mean, I'm just kind of sad right now because, you know, I feel like, you know, we had a good chance and, you know, I'm just kind of down right now. But, you know, overall, I'm proud of what we did as a team through the season.

Q. Could you tell us what you thought of Joe's game today and the way he attacked offensively, especially?
RAMEL BRADLEY: Well, I thought Joe played unbelievable for us. I mean, he kept us in the game. I thought he made shots sometimes I didn't think was going to go in and it still went in. I think he gave it his all. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get the win.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions for the student-athletes?

Q. Ramel, I think they only had seven turnovers. I mean, they're really good guard plays. How big of a key was that that you guys weren't able to turn them over any more than you did?
RAMEL BRADLEY: I think that was key. They rely on their guards and their guards did a good job getting the basket, and we just have to give those guys a lot of credit.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions? All right. Seeing none, we'll excuse the student-athletes.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Now, open up the floor to questions for the coach.

Q. Billy, can you just talk about Joe's game. I mean how incredible he was. Just seemed like for stretches there he just put the team on his back.
COACH GILLISPIE: He's done that ever since Patrick went down, he and Ramel both. But the numbers looked like that, I think they had 54 points today, is that right, 54 out of 66, which is not good for our team. But whatever it takes for those guys to give, give their team a chance to win, that's what they've done, even before Patrick went out.
Those guys, I was around probably the most clutch player in college basketball last year, and this year, I think I was around as clutch a player as I've ever been around. We had at times two. And those guys from the time conference started, they were so clutch, it was amazing. They made so many big plays offensively, defensively, rebounding-wise. And that on top of leading our team on the court, off the court, having unbelievable amounts of responsibility, and never wavering from -- they never ran from the responsibility. They accepted it. And I really believe they really enjoyed it, and they fostered so many other guys.
Like I was saying before, every single time something happened, all eyes came on Joe and Ramel. And we have a bunch of young guys; those are the only two seniors. We don't have any Juniors. Every single time something happened, and there was a lot of things happening, Patrick going out, Jodie in and out, those kinds of things, that's not anything he could control, Derrick in and out and whatever, but all eyes from those players were always focused on Joe and Ramel. And they saw strength.
It's hard to be the measure of strength that they were on a daily basis, as strong as they were. And, you know, because as your leaders go, you go. And when you look at those guys, if they have bad body language or a bad day, they can't have one-tenth of a bad attitude for that day in our situation, especially the way we started out the year.
And those guys were unbelievable as far as showing a great measure of strength. Every time someone looked at them, body language, facial expression, any word that came out of their mouth, I've never seen anybody be able to do as much on the court, you know, in practice and those kind of things, off the court. Then when the game time started, they were fantastic.
The thing about it is, everyone knew that they were going to have to play like that for us to win. And nobody did anything -- they couldn't do anything about it. And that's great coaches and great teams in our conference, and just like today, it's very, very good team that has a chance to definitely move and play for a long time if they make some shots.
It's Final Four possible teams because of their quickness and depth, and they knew who had to score for us. And those guys still got 54 points. So that makes it even more amazing.
You hate to see those guys walking out of here for the last time. They've made a definite mark on Kentucky basketball, which is the best tradition in the history of the sport. And they've -- I'm so proud not to see them going out with a loss because I definitely thought we could win it all. I know that sounds crazy, but that's the way we thought. That's the way they thought. That's the way our whole team thought, because we became such a strong believing group, we thought we could do anything no matter what the circumstances.
You hate to see them walking out, but you are really happy you know they're walking out with a great foundation that's going to give them a chance to be basketball players, which is what they want to do. And they're going to do it with a degree in their hand. And they're going to walk out of here and they're going to have a fantastic life.
So this is only a start. It's an ending for today and for our season, but it's start for our program and it's great start for those young mens' careers.

Q. Coach, was this first season at Kentucky what you expected?
COACH GILLISPIE: It was better than I expected. It was fantastic. I mean, as far as wins and losses, no. I thought we would win more games. But if you would have said that, You are going to have over 40 games missed by a really, really, really, really good players, I would have said, How in the world are we going to make it in the tournament?
And, you know, but the thing about it is, the way you do that is, Kentucky has every single thing that you need to win national championships. It's been proven over time. And they've won a lot of them, and, hopefully, we'll win some more. You have great fans, unbelievable fans. The fans helped us win eight games at home in conference. I've not seen a greater effort from a group of fans to be able to help you as much as they helped us when they definitely knew that we needed the help.
You have a great administration that understands the importance that it has not only on the school and to the players, but to an entire state and to, I mean, the big blue nation. And it means everything to them. And they're going to give you a chance as a coach to do whatever it takes within the rules to attain the greatest level of success.
So for me, I'm a basketball person 24 hours a day. I love it. I couldn't -- there's never a place that you could ever see that, in my opinion, that I could ever have any greater feeling for, because no matter what the situation was, even though we weren't playing well, our fans were awesome to me. And they were awesome to these players. Say, well, we had a tough spell, but we're going to get them. I've never seen anything like it in my life.
That's no disrespect to anywhere else I've been. I mean, it's just you are a special person if you are associated with Kentucky basketball, you are a special -- if you are a player at Kentucky, you are the most special person in the world. And they're going to give you the benefit of the doubt over and over and over and over. So for a basketball nut like myself, I don't think it could get any better?

Q. Billy, how much did Ramon getting in foul trouble hurt you?
COACH GILLISPIE: It hurt us because, you know, they're really talented at the guard spot. They're really hard to guard off the dribble. But I didn't think we guarded as well as we needed to off the ball. I thought -- they're very difficult to guard because they can -- they have very, very good skill with the ball, great quickness and great athleticism. I didn't think -- once they got past our first defender, we came over and helped. So it meant quite a bit.
But I thought Mike Porter played great. I thought -- he was great on Saturday. I thought he's been really good down the stretch for us. I thought he played really well for us today.
So, I mean, it's just one thing after another, you know. It's the way the game goes. We were in pretty good foul trouble over the entire game. Joe was in foul trouble. We managed to get through the first half with that. But we just had to kind of work through that a little bit. But we like to have Ramon out there. He's been a great player for us. And he is a very determined player. And he's never satisfied, and it's been great to see his growth along with all the other players.
But, you know, I thought that Mike gave us some minutes that were really good today.

Q. Obviously, you have missed Patrick the whole time he's been out. Do you feel like you missed him even more today considering you really could have used another option besides Ramel and Joe offensively?
COACH GILLISPIE: I think, and I thought this would happen, not saying that I know anything about anything, but I thought the longer we played, the more we would probably miss Patrick. I'm very, very proud of Perry, and I'm very proud of all the guys that we had. But the longer you play, the more tape that you present, and those kind of things, I think that it definitely makes a difference.
And, you know, we're asking Derrick Jasper to play out of position. We're asking Perry to be a low-post presence at 199 pounds and those kind of things. Our roster is not nearly as complete as it needs to be as far as to be able to do much flexibility-wise.
But I thought that, you know, in the Georgia game, even I thought that it really started to show the definite benefit of having Patrick in there. I mean, any team would benefit from having him. He is an All-American-type player, in my opinion, in the future, hated to not have him. I thought it would probably get worse as we went along and it probably played out like that.
But I was proud of the guys we had out there. They tried their hardest. They played a very, very good team and had a chance to win. Just didn't make enough plays at the time we needed to to win it.
THE MODERATOR: With that, we'll conclude the interview.
Thank you, coach.

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