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March 22, 2008
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
THE MODERATOR: From the University of Memphis, we're joined by Anthony Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose. Question.
Q. Chris, how often have you had a chance to see Mississippi State, and did you get a chance the see any of last night's game before y'all took the floor against UTA?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Throughout the year I seen them play a couple times, but I really wasn't focusing on them because I didn't know we were going to end up playing them. But I watched the first half yesterday against Oregon, and they're a great team, you know, they're out of SEC. They're a physical team, and they have players who are capable of creating their own shot and take over the game. So we definitely have our hands full.
Q. Chris, I just wanted to ask you about how you developed your offensive game, kind of different moves than a lot of other people. Kind of how you developed that.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I never worked on it. I never worked on it. I just have an unorthodox kind of game from Detroit that everybody from Detroit has. We like to create our own shot and shoot a lot of scoop shots and in-between shots. It's honestly nothing I ever worked on but --
Q. Derrick, can you talk about your initial NCAA Tournament experience yesterday? Did you have jitters that maybe you got worked out, and also what do you feel like you've brought to the team this year that's helped them get to this point?
DERRICK ROSE: It was amazing yesterday playing in my first NCAA game. The crowd was crazy. My teammates was getting me pumped up, and really, I was just excited just to play in the game. I think what I bring to this team now, just a little bit of control, little balance. I have to say not excitement yet, not yet. But it's coming really just a balanced team this year than last year.
Q. Is it fair or what is your reaction when you hear people say that the SEC may be a little more battle tested than Conference USA? And do you feel you guys are playing as much for Conference USA as you are for Memphis?
DERRICK ROSE: Can you repeat that?
Q. Just half the people will say the SEC is stronger than Conference USA. Do you agree with that? Disagree with that? And do you feel like you're playing as much for Conference USA as you are for Memphis?
DERRICK ROSE: I really don't care about the conference or whatever. Our non-conference schedule is tough. Even our conference games were tough because they were playing it like this was their last game. Any game is going to be tough for us because everybody is coming out, giving us their all and just balling. We care less about that.
Q. Antonio and Derrick, can you talk about Chris and what makes him so difficult for other teams to deal with?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: He's got a weird game. No explaining it. I've been playing with him for three years and seen him in practice. Playing against him and covering him. He just finds a way to score either -- you stop a move, he can somehow flip it over or under your hand. He's got a way of putting the ball in the basket.
DERRICK ROSE: He's got like a weird gift. I'll be sticking him in practice, little one-on-one drill. He's long, too. People don't notice that when he gets to the hole, it's real easy for him to lay the ball up because he can spin the ball, do little old man tricks with the ball so you'll go for it. It's real tough to stick him, I'll have to say. I'm happy I'm on his team.
Q. Following that up, then, have you ever tried to do any of the things that Chris has done and what kind of success have you had with that?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: No success. You can't try that. That's just something he has with him. He got a way that he can spin the ball. I don't know how he does it, but it goes in and he's the only one who knows it can go in. "How do you make that?" That's nothing. I can make that all the time. He does it with a guy in his face or when he's by hisself. Something that Chris can do. Part of his game that it's very rare you see nowadays.
DERRICK ROSE: It's real tough if you try. No point in trying because only he can do it. You look stupid if you go out there to try to react what he's doing on the court. It's hard.
Q. Chris, if could you just comment on old man tricks, what they are. Have you stole any of them from watching 1960s films?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I swear I did. Earl the Pearl is my guy. I seen how he used to play. I kind of tried to imitate him a little bit. Didn't work out that much. I took a little bit of his stuff. D calls them "old man tricks."
DERRICK ROSE: Saw the layup yesterday.
Q. Chris, along those lines, one thing I've noticed over the last couple years I developed that little floating almost like a hook-shot along the baseline. I don't know how to describe it. Just where did that shot come from and how did you develop it?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I feel all guards should have an in-between game and it could be a pullup jumper, it could be a floater, but mine is a floater. I mean, it's really as simple as that, a floating shot, and I developed it -- I really worked on that over the summer. I really tried to make that, you know, my go-to shot. That's what it's become, my go-to shot. Just a floating shot.
Q. What's the funniest story you guys have told your buddies about Coach?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: There's so many. It's a lot. Coach has a lot of stories.
DERRICK ROSE: Comedian.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: He goes back when he was coaching at U Mass and the Nets. Nothing really -- when I'm home, I don't really try to talk too much about Coach. I'm just excited to be home. We don't get to go home. We talk about our family and friends. We try not to mention anything about Coach. Or I don't. I don't know about those guys.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: There's so many stories. Coach, like D Rose said, is a comedian. There's so many stories he tells, we're laughing, trying to hide the laugh sometimes because he's serious, but we just find it hilarious. Like Antonio said, when we're home, our mind is away from basketball.
Q. Derrick, as one of the newcomers to the team, how much influence did Coach Calipari have on your decision to come here and what were your impressions of him?
DERRICK ROSE: Coach Cal, he's a caring person. He told me if I came here, I'll just be comfortable and I wouldn't be homesick. I haven't felt that yet. That was one of the biggest reasons why I came here.
Q. Chris, what do you see about this Mississippi State team that maybe catches your eye or that impresses s you as to how they play the game?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: They tend to control the game. Like the second half yesterday of the Oregon game, they control the whole second half. They definitely did, and they have a real good point guard that's big like our point guard. That makes it easier for a team to control the game and they go to the post. They run high-low, so that makes it easy easier. They slow the game defense a little bit they definitely control the game. That's what really caught my eye.
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions? Gentlemen, thank you very much. Enjoy your evening. We look forward to a great game tomorrow. Thank you.
Memphis coach, John Calipari. Questions, please.
Q. John, Derrick was just in here and calling some of the things that Chris does with the ball "old man moves."
How would you describe his game, and what about that makes him so tough to defend for opponents?
COACH CALIPARI: The one thing I would tell you, if you can think back to Earl the Pearl Monroe, he has that kind of herkey, jerky, you know unbelievable ways left, right to score the ball, runners, has improved his shooting, but that's -- I start to age myself when I say "Earl the Pearl Monroe," but that's who I would kind of compare his game a little bit to. So old school. Hate to say that to Earl, but it is old school.
Q. John, you guys play a very challenging non-conference schedule. One of the reasons why it's kind of make up, for lack of a better term, not as strong of a Conference USA schedule?
COACH CALIPARI: It's all to prepare your team for the NCAA Tournament. When you look at the teams we played non-conference, there were all different kind of styles from team, from U-Conn to Oklahoma. U-Conn had the shot blocking center. You look at Georgetown played the Princeton offense. The star power of USC, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Arizona, they were all there for a reason what we were trying to prepare for.
We played teams late in the year that way. But our league has gotten better. Our league has improved from the three years since the breakup. They've gotten better. I thought we'd have two or three teams in the NCAA Tournament, and both UAB and Houston stumbled the last ten days of the season. Both of them were on the edge of NCAA berths, and they just both stumbled at the end. UAB is in one tournament doing well, and Houston is in the other tournament doing well.
U-TEP has gotten better. Tulsa has gotten better. We get a lot of teams that have really improved themselves, Southern Miss and others. It wasn't about our league. It's just preparing what we need to do post-season.
Q. John, Frank Haith was just in here talking how Rick Barnes fell asleep 20 minutes before his Final Four game against Syracuse because he doesn't sleep much. Can you talk about whether you sleep much and what do you worry about that you wish you didn't worry about?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, last night was a tough one because you're still kind of jacked up on the game and it didn't end until late. So I didn't get to bed until about 3:00 last night. I slept in a little bit this morning. I think I got up around 8:30. So, you know, normally I'm trying to get seven, eight hours sleep. The stuff that you worry about is are you prepared, and I wish -- I think we are. Is our team in the right frame of mind? Have I done the things to get them to think positive and think about winning? The anxiety I have is usually is I'll tell them if we've had a great shoot-around and a great practice, I'll say, "Hay is in the barn, man, Hay is in the barn. Let's go do what we do now." That means I'm very comfortable that we're ready to play the game.
Texas would understand that when I say "The hay is in the barn," wouldn't they?
Q. Coach, can you talk about how Derrick Rose may have sort of completed the picture for you this year as a newcomer and maybe comment on your chances of hanging on to him next season, given his potential NBA prospects?
COACH CALIPARI: If he wants to do what's right for he and his family, he's going to consider strongly leaving, and if he wants to do what's right for me and my family, he's going to consider strongly staying. What was the other question?
Q. Talk about how he maybe completed things for you on the floor this year.
COACH CALIPARI: He gave us a physical presence at point guard. I think throughout -- tournament play is about guards, it is, but it's also up the middle. It's your 1 and your 5, Joey Dorsey is vital to us. What we have now, we have a backup in Andre and even a combo in Willie who started at point last year for us. We have three options at a position that's critical in the NCAA Tournament.
Up the middle with Joey, Shawn Taggart, and Robert Dozier. Now, they didn't play particularly well last game, but they've had games, all of them, of brilliance throughout. Now, they haven't strung 12 straight together, but they've all at different points in the season have really shown some unbelievable play, post presence, both on offense and defense. And so, you know, for us to do this, yes, Derrick is a big part of adding to a good team that we had last year.
Q. John, there's always kind of been acrimony between Memphis and the SEC crowd and the way they mix in the city where you and I live.
Can you just talk about that, and now that you guys have had this run of success, do you feel like your program has been a little bit of a target for the SEC crowd, whether it's in recruiting or scheduling or whatever?
COACH CALIPARI: I would hope we're a target for a lot of leagues that, you know, they're shooting at us. That kind of means they're looking up at you a little bit, and, you know, you would hope that. But the SEC is such a strong league, and there are other leagues the same way, that it makes you feel proud that you're being thought of in the same breathe or in their minds.
I remember back in '95 -- I hate to do this, but I have to every once in a while -- we're watching TV, getting ready to play Maryland. They'll play Colgate at Maryland, students start chanting, "We want U-Mass." They want us? Why do they want us? I think we've got a lot of that right now at Memphis where opposing teams are thinking in those terms. That's great.
Every game we've played this year has been the other team's Super Bowl, has been a huge game, has been a -- so we faced it. I mean, this team has responded, and, you know, if the SEC is looking at us as we want to go at them and this, that, and the other, that's fine. That means we've arrived a little bit.
Q. Kind of a follow-up on that, you guys have played Ole Miss nine of the last ten years, but you haven't played Mississippi State since I think sometime in the '80s. Have you looked at playing them before, and if so, why didn't you? Would you consider playing them in the future in?
COACH CALIPARI: The only issue for us is our schedule is very important and our schedule to build toward NCAA play. Part of it is our non-conference games, you know, the highest game we can play we need to play that can be televised.
You know, we have to get on TV as much as we can. Our non-conference schedule does that. We moved away from teams from our region and moved more toward teams from outside of our region, and the reason being they're more likely to be televised.
It's important. Our scheduling, it's a little different than just put it together, let's get two good opponents in our non-conference schedule that we can sell to our season ticket holders. We've got to play that full schedule.
Q. Coach, Stansbury made the comment that he feels that his team is maybe more prepared for the physicality of this game because they play in the SEC.
How do you view that statement?
COACH CALIPARI: Probably he's right. That's the great thing. We've all got to play the game, though. We'll see. He's probably right, though.
Q. Coach, what kind of a game do you expect this to be along those lines? What do you expect on the floor when you tip it off in?
COACH CALIPARI: I think it will be a great game. I think they're really talented and well coached. They way play, the way they want to play, some man, some zone. Throw a little trapping stuff at you. They have great presence in the post in Varnado. They've got the Rhodes kid that's coming into his own here the last month of the season and just knocking it down.
You've got -- obviously Gordon is one of the best players, Stewart and Hansbrough and the guys off the bench that are helping them. They're not playing a lot of guys, but they're playing enough and each of them does their role, which is all you're trying to do as a coach.
I would expect at this time of the year if you're still playing, every game is very, very difficult, and for both us and them, it will be a difficult game.
But I expect it to be, you know, two athletic teams going at each other pretty good.
Q. Your impressions of Rhodes and also you've coached on the next level, do you see him as a player who can play in the NBA?
COACH CALIPARI: First of all, I just think the kid is really competitive. He creates shots. He manufactures offense somehow, and that has a premium. The question is, does it carry over to that next level? Because if you can create and manufacture points, you have a great value.
I think in his case because of his size and strength, it does. If you ask me, I would say yes. But he's been, you know -- he goes after it. He's a competitive -- you know what, you know, what I've seen on tape, he's a competitive player and good player.
Q. John, Rick was sitting there last night watching you guys make 9 out of 20, 3s. As a coach when you sit there and coming in with maybe an idea of a game plan, the way teams have tried to play you, sagging off, you go make 3s. Do you think that changes the equation at all?
COACH CALIPARI: They played 40 minutes of zone at Florida, never even one stitch of man-to-man, 40 minutes of zone.
If he thinks he wants to play zone, he'll do it because they've done it. If he thinks they can play us man and stick Varnado in the middle there, they'll do that, too. We're throwing out the kitchen sink, whatever we can do to try to win a game. Triangle and 2, he'll play 1-3-1 at times.
So he'll do everything, and the hard thing for both us is to try to prepare for everything. What you got to zero in on is what do you think they'll do and how do you think they'll play? He's trying to do the same with us.
I mean, we've played triangle and 2. We've played a 2-3 zone. If we have to play it, I would. Obviously don't like to play those defenses, but at this point, whatever we have to do to try to win a ballgame against an outstanding team who has had a great year, we'll try to do.
Q. Joey Dorsey said after senior night, Ellen told him he's sort of a son to you. How does he compare to your real son?
COACH CALIPARI: They're about the same age. My son is 11. (Laughter). He comes over the house, they play videos together and do stuff together. You know, Joey is like a big teddy bear, and I do love him. I even told him, I said, you know, when you're coaching and you're about access and opportunity, about giving kids chances. You're about intervention when you need it, just like a family would.
Jeremy Hunt and others that have had to have interventions with, what you don't want to do is throw kids under the bus. It's not about what they come in with. It's what they leave with. Joey Dorsey made a statement today that he was the first high school educated person in his family. I didn't say college, I said high school. He wants to become the first college educated of his family.
He's just come so far. He still does things that you and I would look at and say "What was he thinking? Why would he do that?"
He wasn't thinking. It's just like our own children. They do some of the dumbest things you've ever seen, but you still love them, you try to change them. If they're willing to change, you hug them and tell them you're proud of them. If not, there's an intervention. Throw them off the team for awhile or forever. You try to do what you can to try to get them to change.
In Joe's case, he's made strides. Still has a ways to go. He's made unbelievable strides, and I am proud of him. I love him and I get mad at him, but I'm real proud, too.
Q. Based on your past two teams that got to the Elite 8, is this team more talented than the previous team?
COACH CALIPARI: Last team was this team plus Derrick Rose and Shawn Taggart and Jeff Robinson. And the team before had Darius Washington and Rodney Carney and Shawn Williams. They were pretty good, too.
This team is a unique team. We play really fast, and we're pretty good with the ball. But, again, in the past tournaments, a lot of what it is is who you play. Right now we're playing a team that was like an Elite 8 game for us or A sweet 16 at Texas A and M. We're playing them in the second round. It's how the draw is. That's what happens sometimes.
They're a team that's confident that can beat -- they're coming in, thinking they're winning this game, there's no question. I would say I'm excited about my team. You know, they asked about the draw, your possibility of playing here. None of that matters to me because I like my team. I've got a good team. Now we just got to get on that court and perform against another really good team.
THE MODERATOR: Other questions? Coach, we appreciate it. Get a great night's sleep. Look forward to a great game tomorrow.
End of FastScripts