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 21, 2008

John Calipari

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Derrick Rose


COACH CALIPARI: It was a good win. I look at these stats, and they're all good. I mean, they're all good. I just -- it was like pulling teeth a little bit to get our guys going some, and part of it is we hadn't played since Saturday at noon, 10:30 in the morning. I told the team after, we don't do body to body this time of the year. What happened on that game, it became a body-to-body game. We needed that, though.
We really did. And it took a couple of our guys in the second half to change, to play different, to play rougher and we kind of spread it out.
When I look at these numbers, you know, they're all pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.

Q. Chris Douglas-Roberts, was this what you expected from Texas-Arlington? Or did they play better than you thought? Or how did it turn out for you?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I never underestimated them because they're a tournament team. We are -- have seen before teams get upset and closed games throughout the tournament. We didn't underestimate them at all. This is the type of game we need the first round. This shows how the rest of the tournament is going to be. The next game is going to be even tougher game. I'm glad they came out and challenged us. They really did compete out there.

Q. Derrick, is this the type of game you guys wanted to see as far as your personal performances in a first round game as the top seed in this tournament?
DERRICK ROSE: Of course. Coming to this game, we knew they were going to play us tough because they got real good post presence, and they're really good. They're a tournament team, really good. Come into this game, we thought that we had to outwork them and out rebound them and outhustle them to get a victory and came up with a victory.

Q. Derrick, was it the atmosphere and the energy level that you expected in your first tournament game?
DERRICK ROSE: It was more than that, really.

Q. How is that?
DERRICK ROSE: The fans were crazy. I never thought that the Memphis fans that come to the game, they were acting crazy. We had some fans from Arkansas out there cheering for us, too. I thank them for that.
Really, it was amazing game.

Q. Chris, can you talk about how you think he reacted in his first tournament game?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: He reacted great. He doesn't really have a freshman body. His body, it was to take the contact and made the an easier transition for him. He can take the contact of physical games because his body isn't like a freshman. So, I mean, I've looked at him like this the whole year. I've seen it. I didn't expect nothing but what he did.

Q. Coach, what is the --
THE MODERATOR: Hold our questions for the players and we'll release them in a second, please.

Q. Mississippi State, what's the most intriguing matchup, do you think?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I really don't know about the personnel like that, but I do know that they're a physical team, the SEC. They have two good post players, and that's really all I know about them. We have to prepare for them tonight and tomorrow.

Q. This is a question for Chris Douglas-Roberts. Talk about the way you guys shot the 3 tonight and how that was able to get you guys a margin when they were able to get some scores, easy scores in the post.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Yeah. Tonight was one of the nights where we shot the ball really well. I really think we just like these basketballs. We like these basketballs and talked about it in our shoot-arounds. We're really uncomfortable with these balls. I feel we're going to shoot the ball great this tournament. That's what I expected from our shoot around in our previous practices.

Q. This is for either of you. What about Vereen's game did you find so challenging, and what do you think you'll learn from facing him tonight that will help you down the road?
DERRICK ROSE: What did you say?
COACH CALIPARI: The physical kid.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: He was a load inside. We haven't seen him the whole year, so we really didn't know how to prepare for him. He gave us a lot of pump fakes. He played with a lot of intensity, and his heart carried him this game. I like him as a player.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the players? Guys, thank you very much. Congratulations to you.
Questions for John.

Q. John, there were a lot of easy scores, especially out of the press. Is that a plan that you're going to continue to look at as this thing goes on?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, again, I think that time off, the body-to-body contact that we hadn't done in five days, it showed. I think our inside people kind of got mushed a little bit. But I think they realize if they do that the next game, it's been a heck of a year. It's not going to extend.
I think we've got guys that understand, they've taken on all challenges. Joey and Robert Dozier changed during the game. In other words, they picked it up. They changed how the direction of what they were doing, and that's a good sign for us. That's a good sign.

Q. Coach, towards the end of the first half, I saw that you brought in Shawn Taggart and you had Chris Douglas-Roberts. Were you trying to use that combination to maybe exploit something in the offense against UTA?
COACH CALIPARI: I wasn't sure, but when Vereen and those kids went right at Dozier -- or Shawn Taggart, it didn't matter. His length played no part. They scored right on him. The physical play of those kids and Chris says the heart, you know, they were not going to back down.
What helped us today, we shot the ball well, took care of the ball fairly well, and then in the second half, we made a few defensive plays that we did not make in the first half. They shot the ball 50 percent against us. We're supposed to be one of the best defensive teams in the country. Didn't show today, but again the other thing I would tell you, this first game is a hard one for everybody. The first game is a hard one.
You hope you just come out and blow somebody out, but the other team is playing inspired, and it just doesn't happen very often.

Q. Looked like you had Antonio Anderson playing center there for a little while. Can we expect to see that against Mississippi State?
COACH CALIPARI: He was playing power forward, not center. I've done it at times. It's a tough matchup at that other team if he can guard the 4-man. What Chris told you and Derrick, you know, we know that team from a distance. We haven't watched them play that much. We're not in the same league with them. I know they have good players. Some of the players we recruited, so I do know how talented some of the guys they have are. And to do what they did in the SEC in that division, I know they're a terrific team. And then to do what they did today to Oregon, you know how good they are.
They're a physical team, and, you know, we're just going to have to ratchet it up a notch and battle with them.

Q. I don't know, you have seen Antonio's offensive confidence throughout his career. Seems like right now --
COACH CALIPARI: It's not yo-yo'd. Usually in the year he struggles, and as the year goes on, he gets better and better. Right know he's very confident with the ball. Again, five assists, one turnover. He's making shots. Making most of his free throws today. He missed a couple. He's just -- he's playing better and better.

Q. John, what was your assessment of Derrick's first tournament game?
COACH CALIPARI: He's really good. He's really good. I played him more than I wanted to, to be honest with you. You know, we played him 32 minutes. I wish I could have gotten away with playing him about 30. We played most of the guys around 30 minutes just to keep them fresh. I tried to platoon, and that didn't work. So I probably won't try that again. I really wanted to do that because I thought the morale of our team, and it worked a little bit. But we just, you know, gave up three, four baskets, and so we'll just go back to having a rotation of how we sub and what we do.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Been a lot of talk lately about your team's low percentage of free throw shooting. You did a good job tonight picking that up a little bit. Can you talk about where that came from?
COACH CALIPARI: In our tournament we shot 75 percent in three games. Last year's NCAA Tournament we were around 72 percent or something like that. We missed some down the stretch here, but, you know, whatever it was, 63 percent. But if we're in that 68 to 70 percent range, you know, that's good enough.
I say it again, we've done some things to make free throw shooting fun. I'm not putting pressure on them about free throws. I think we've got good free throw shooters. When the time comes and they have to make it, I have all the confidence in the world they'll make it.
It's one of those things if you're trying to find something to say, I'm telling you they can't do that, that's an easy one for us because that percentage is low. But if we defend and rebound and do what we're supposed to, I'm not so sure that will come into play.
THE MODERATOR: I think that's going to wrap it up, folks. Coach, appreciate it very much.

End of FastScripts
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