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April 5, 2008
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could just give us a quick overview of the game from your perspective.
COACH CALIPARI: Heck of a game. We've played kind of like we've played all year. Really proud of 'em. We defended. You know, made it hard on a team that shoots a high percentage. And even at the end of the half, we gave 'em a chance. We were up seven, did a couple things down the stretch to make it a three-point game. And a good team, as they are, made plays.
But I was proud of our guys. I mean, right up and down the line, you know, we need a couple guys to play a little bit better. But the reality of it is I've got a good team. Got a good team of players that play together, take care of the ball, rebound. Got a good team.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Derrick, could you talk about how you felt out there. Looked like you were in a pretty good comfort zone. What's going through your mind right now moving into the championship game?
DERRICK ROSE: Out there, all I'm trying to do is be aggressive. I'm just trying to be aggressive and just lead my team as a point guard. And it still didn't hit me yet that we won the game. But going into the game, we knew that we was gonna win, so...
Ain't too much to say.
Q. Joey, great game with 15 rebounds. What were you able to do particularly defensively against Love?
COACH CALIPARI: And his coach yelled at him the whole time.
JOEY DORSEY: The whole time (smiling).
I was just trying to make it hard for him to catch the ball, you know. I got some dumb fouls in the beginning and then coach came over there and just told me, You're not playing hard enough. You know, play more tougher and play with more intensity. That's what I was trying to do the whole game.
Q. There was a column in the Los Angeles Times today that said this was a coaching mismatch, you were just a collection of players, that UCLA was a better player.
COACH CALIPARI: I don't think Ben is that bad (smiling). I respect Ben and I think he's a heck of a coach.
Q. Did anybody happen to bring that to your attention or is this the kind of thing you've been hearing all year?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: No, we didn't hear that. We just heard it. But even if we did, it wouldn't really matter to us because the negativity just bounces off us. We don't pay attention to it. We just go out and play.
We've been hearing it the whole year, so it really doesn't matter to us now. We're playing. We're playing really well. So that's all that matters right now.
Q. Chris and Derrick, you were pretty dominant out there tonight. When did you know, could you tell that you had it going, that you were kind of feeling it tonight? Did you expect to have this kind of a game against their guards?
DERRICK ROSE: This might sound crazy, but, uhm, you remember, Coach, when the ball got kicked off of Westbrook, like his, uhm, shoe or whatever? I told coach that, like, they was for T, because we just keep pushing it. I kept pushing it no matter if they was fouling me or not on the shots. I just wanted to be on (indiscernible) so that I could keep on going to the hole. So the whole game I was not going to take a jump shot, that was crazy. I was just going to go to the hole and get fouled and try to go to the line, and it worked out.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Every game we expect to play really well. We talk to each other, you know, before the game. And we play off of each other. No selfishness anywhere. Whoever has it going, has it going. And that's why we play so well together.
Today we just carried over from the Michigan State and Texas game. We played really well together.
Q. The first three or four minutes of the game, it looked like they were trying to go up and down with you guys and match basket for basket. Did you feel that was playing into your hands? Was there ever a point in this game you didn't feel comfortable in terms of being in control?
DERRICK ROSE: When teams come out like that, we already know it's not going to last for that long because our defense is going to kick in sometime. So we're not worried about that.
But, uhm, just going out there and just hooping, that's what it's all about really. No matter what's going on, call all the plays, whatever, if you're just hooping, you got nothing to worry about.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: A lot of teams come out and tend to run with us because they really can't prepare for our athleticism and practice. And our depth helps us out a lot because we can bring three or four off the bench, and they're all running, too.
It's hard to run with a team that has this depth the whole game.
COACH CALIPARI: I think there's a couple teams left that can do that, by the way (smiling).
Q. There was a point in the second half, went a while without a basket, you got the big dunk. Describe the impact that -- what you were thinking at the time, what it meant to the direction of the game at that point?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I mean, UCLA has always been known for their defense. And that little stretch where we didn't score wasn't because of us, it was because of them. They were playing really good defense. And they locked in and they focused in.
But we just tried to get a layup or something going to the rim to sort of open the game up. The dunk was what we got. That kind of gave us momentum. And from then we never looked back.
JOEY DORSEY: You know, great teams always gonna make a run, so we always knew they was going to make a run on us. But once Chris got that dunk, you know, they threw me the lob. I missed the lob. I was so mad. I got to get back on defense and block the shot (laughter). That just gave the momentum to us right there.
Q. Derrick, with 2:53 left, Collison fouled you at mid-court. It was his fifth foul. Did you think that was almost like him saying, I give up, I want out of this game, you're too good for me?
DERRICK ROSE: No. I didn't even know he fouled out till you just told me. I swear I didn't know. I thought he hurt himself or something. I be so focused on the game, I didn't even notice that till you just told me right now.
Q. Derrick, you made reference to the play, the ball off Westbrook's shoe. I think that was in the 28-23 score in the first half. How long had you known they were gassed, if that's indeed what was going on?
DERRICK ROSE: Uhm, you could tell after that play, like, throughout the whole game, I think it was around, like, halftime when they come up. So like the whole second half, we was just trying to push it and just make smart plays. If we didn't have the shot, just come out and run a set so they could come around and play defense a little bit longer. That was all we was trying to do.
Q. Could you talk about taking Kevin Love out of his game. He scored one bucket in the second half.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Coming into the game, preparing for a player like Kevin Love is very difficult because he's so skilled around the basket. He's a great passer. He really doesn't have to score to be dominant in the game.
So we came in with the game plan to try to disrupt him more than stop him because he can hurt you from a lot of different areas on the floor. So we just wanted to make it difficult for him on his catches. We ran some doubles at him. We tried to go on the dribble. We did a fairly good job of stopping what he wanted to do.
JOEY DORSEY: Like Chris said, disrupting him, making it hard for him to catch the ball, not letting him be real comfortable in his comfort zone where he catch the ball at. Just running little double-teams at him so he can't pass the ball. Like Chris said, he's a great passer out of the post, so he really doesn't need to score for their team to win.
Q. Derrick, you said at the very beginning you knew you were going to win. How did you know and why did you know? For Chris, you've referred to this negativity. At what point did the negativity start to seem silly this season?
DERRICK ROSE: Our team is so competitive that it's crazy. We never go into a game saying, We're gonna lose. You setting yourself up for failure. Why not say you're going to win? With the team we have, you uhm, man, it's hard beating us (laughter). I know that if a team is gonna come out and fight us at the beginning of the a game for a couple of minutes or throughout the game, we was going to find a way to win somehow because that's what we do.
And we're just a great team.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I feel the negativity was silly the whole year. We believe in ourselves. So that's really all that matters to us. When we hear stuff, we laugh because we don't understand it, we don't know where it came from. But we don't play that "Us Against the World" thing. We don't play that. We just go out and play. I mean, it's really simple.
The media can really say what they want. But we know that we're a pretty good team and how good we can be.
Q. Joey, you've probably been asked a lot this season about Derrick Rose, being a freshman, how good he is. Can you describe what it's like when he's running the show.
JOEY DORSEY: We don't look at Derrick as a freshman. Once he came here, he was coached by the veterans a little bit, he just came in and started playing. And he's playing well right now in the tournament.
So I think I feel real comfortable playing with this style of offense that he's playing with.
Q. Chris, can you talk about the block you made in transition towards the end of the first half, the momentum, your team's ability to play defense in transition.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Uhm, in this tournament, that play could have led to a momentum -- that could have been a momentum changer. This is what this tournament is about: momentum. That layup, if I didn't block it, could have led to them coming back down and getting three. You know, we didn't want that change. We didn't want that.
So I just felt, you know, don't give 'em an easy layup. That's all it was.
Derrick did a great job of chasing him down and changing the shot. I just went up to block it. Every possession counts in this tournament. Like I said, that could have led to many more points and the momentum being changed.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll let the student-athletes go.
We'll continue with questions for Coach Calipari.
Q. You sort of dealt with this a bit before, but the emotions right now, making it to the championship game, what it means to you, what it means for you to lead this team to the championship game.
COACH CALIPARI: You know, you don't believe this, but I walked out in that game and I was feeling like it was just the next game. And I told the team before the game, Does anybody else feel like this is just the next game?
And so when we just finished, I went in and I said, I still feel like we're going to walk out there and Monday and it's the next game. Then we realize if we can win it, oh, my gosh.
So it's the next game. I'm coaching a Dream Team that get along, they respect coaching. They take on their roles and do it. Joey didn't have a point. He was fine. He had 15 rebounds. The guys off the bench, I didn't play them that much. Why? Because Chris and Derrick Rose had it going. Shawn Taggart game off the bench because Dozier was struggling, did his thing. But that's what's happened for us all year.
Q. Does it mean something to you to have made it this far?
COACH CALIPARI: I'm excited. I'm going to go down to the River Walk and do a power walk to use up some energy and then figure out who the heck we're playing on Monday.
But, yeah, I'm happy, excited, for my team, all they've done.
Let me say this. I mentioned this the other day. Of all the teams in this tournament, this is huge for the City of Memphis. The City of Memphis is in the Bible belt, a Godly place, a charitable place. But we've got a lot of poverty. We have a lot of things going on. With this right here, what's happening, can show a lot of young kids there is hope, there is an opportunity, there is chance. Because you're from Memphis or because you've been dealt something, this is great.
This in Memphis will mean more. And it's no disrespect for where the other schools are from. But the City of Memphis is one of those cities that needs something like this.
Q. You were yelling at Joey the whole game to keep him in it, is that what it was?
COACH CALIPARI: I thought he was a little bit timid at times. I want to see him -- my daughter Erin calls him "The Beast." He is a beast. Well, there were times that he wasn't a beast today, and I just want him to go every possession and be that beast.
And so maybe I'm asking too much. I probably am. But it's the same with Robert Dozier. I think he's one of the finest players in the country and he didn't perform that way. I want him to. So I get emotional. You won't believe that. Occasionally I get emotional.
But you know what, you saw the smile on his face. He's like a son, this kid. Now, he's done some of the dumbest things I can tell you over the four years we've been there. But you know what, he's grown. He's come into his own. He's the first high school graduate in his family, and he's going to be five classes away from a college degree when the year ends. I want you to think about that. You start thinking about starting outside the arena, starting on third base. Starting with a mother and father who are a doctor and lawyer. Starting, you're the first high school graduate. This kid has come so far, and I just want the best for him.
Q. Derrick did some things on the court today that left a lot of us slack-jawed. Does any of it surprise you any more and how good is he going to become?
COACH CALIPARI: Every once in a while I just go, Oh, my, and I kind of sit down. And they usually come at inopportune times for the other team. How about that offensive rebound that he got in the basket? That was a big play for us. Got it back to nine. That's the kind of stuff that kid does.
Do you notice when you asked about Derrick Rose to the other guys, did you see him put his head down and go, Oh, gee, stop, don't talk about me. He doesn't even want us talking about him. This kid is one of the greatest teammates. I got a text from Marcus Camby today. He was the same way. He didn't want you talking about him. He wanted you talking about his teammates. That's why that team did what it's doing.
This team, obviously a veteran team that Derrick was -- why he wanted to be here, because he wanted to lead a veteran team. And I'll be honest, he's leading it pretty well.
Q. 38-1 now. Does it mean anything to you tonight as you move forward to Monday?
COACH CALIPARI: Billy Packer said that was the most wins, and I'm like -- my team didn't even know. So my team is behind me, Is it? That's the most wins? And then I told them, No, no, you got to get to 39 to have the most wins (smiling).
Hopefully we'll have one more in us (laughter).
Q. You talked about Rose a little bit. Can you talk about the combination of Rose and Douglas-Roberts, the challenges they present for any defense.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, what I was trying to do from the sideline is put those guys in positions where whoever he put on 'em, whoever the small man was going to get posted up. Whoever the small man was, was going to be put in a position to have to make plays, then try to force them into double-teams where that long player could throw out.
You don't want to put UCLA in pick-and-rolls very often unless there's a specific reason because they're very good defensively in pick-and-rolls. We were trying to get to where if they put a big man on him, we were trying to beat him on the dribble. Which Antonio Anderson did a couple times, but he didn't get the layup in. Missed a couple layups.
Those two, we flip-flopped. Whoever had the guy on him, that's who we went after.
Q. Talk about the role that Antonio Anderson has played this season and particularly in this game?
COACH CALIPARI: One of my proudest moments was him being named MVP of our tournament, Conference USA tournament. And the reason was because the accolades to Derrick Rose and Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas, even Robert Dozier, have all been there. He kind of gets overlooked. What he does is always guard the other team's best player. And he'll rebound, he'll make baskets, and he's long. He can play their two, three, four, one. He plays everybody.
He plays the most minutes of any player I've coached the last three years, and I've coached two or three guys that have been in the NBA now. He played more minutes than them because he just is so reliable, comes every day. Doesn't make every shot, but he -- did he bank one today? He does that every once in a while. But I'll tell you, he comes every day to play.
Q. Derrick played 37 minutes. CR played 35 minutes. There are only two players that went to the line and they missed three free throws between them. You hear a lot of negativity about the free-throw line. How is it right now?
COACH CALIPARI: I'll say it again. Tough-minded kids, players, will make free throws. They're not thinking about free-throw percentage. A weak-minded player could have a 90% average at the line, and his knees are knocking. Well, he's gonna miss. So percentages don't matter.
When you have a tough-willed kid, they're going to do what they have to do. I'll tell you, I would have played those two 40 minutes if I thought they could have stayed on the floor that long. You know, this time of the year, you're playing your best. Let's go. The other guys, give 'em, spell him, give them time, keep them out of foul trouble. I took Derrick out a couple times in the first half. I didn't want him to get a quick second foul. Tried to do the same with Joey. Got a tough second foul.
But you're just trying to make sure that you have your best players down on the floor at the end of that game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH CALIPARI: Thanks.
End of FastScripts