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April 7, 2008
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started by asking Coach Calipari, if you could give us a brief overview of tonight's game, your take.
COACH CALIPARI: All I want to say is I thought we were national champs, and that's the great thing about college basketball and sports. Within 30 seconds, they make a play and it's OT and it's on again.
Hats off to Kansas. I'm really disappointed. Proud of my guys. You know, again, as a coach, when you're up five with whatever seconds left to go, supposed to win that game. So I take as much responsibility in this. You could say rebounding or free throws or whatever. Supposed to win that game.
I'm disappointed for my team. I wish there were a few more things we could have done there to make it easier for them at the end there. But I'm proud of 'em.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Being that Coach Calipari described it as you thought you had it won, did having to go out and play in overtime, do you think that having to go through that may have taken away some of the momentum that you were feeling?
DERRICK ROSE: A little bit, knowing that they hit a shot like that, they got the momentum going to the other half, the extra half. Just playing a team like that, they're a very good team.
So we knew that it was going to be another war going into that overtime. And we couldn't get it done. That's about it.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: It pretty much just came down to them just winning the game. I mean, they made a lot of plays. Mario hit a big shot to send it into overtime. They had the will to win tonight. And, you know, they beat us. It had nothing to do with overtime. They just had that will to win, and that's what they did.
Q. People talked about the free throws. You had shot them well. What happened in the last 30 seconds?
DERRICK ROSE: It wasn't the free throws. It was the plays before the free throws.
But, uhm, when we was on the line, we was trying to make 'em. That's what everybody go up there and try to do. But I guess we didn't do it.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Yeah, I mean, it came back and bit us. We missed 'em. We missed 'em at a crucial time.
But, you know, we were still up. We were still up with 10 seconds to go. We were still up three, you know. Yeah, I think it was three with 10 seconds to go.
But I guess you can boil it down to the free throws.
Q. You were up nine, about two minutes to go. What were your thoughts? Did you relax any or did they just make a lot of great plays or what?
JOEY DORSEY: We was up nine with two minutes to go. You know, Mario came off a screen. I got my fifth foul. I was like, Oh, my God. You know, I felt like I was letting my teammates down again 'cause I fouled out of the game. And I was hoping it didn't go to overtime, you know.
And that, you know, put them on the line, he made those two shots right there. I was just hoping the guys could pull it out for me, so...
ANTONIO ANDERSON: It just came down to them making plays. They made a lot of tough plays in the last minute and a half. That's just how it ended up.
Q. Derrick, did you suffer some sort of cramping at the end of regulation? If so, did that affect your performance at all in the overtime? How close did you come to Chalmers' shot at the end of regulation?
DERRICK ROSE: Oh, yeah, my left, uhm, calf was cramping a little bit. But it didn't bother me in the second half because I drunk a lot of fluid, but when we was in the timeouts.
With Mario's shot, I was right there, left hand up. Uhm, he's just a good shooter. He just shot it right over me, I guess.
Q. Derrick, can you talk about the stretch in the second half, he scored about 10 straight points, 14 out of 16 for you? There was a stretch in the second half when you scored about 10 straight points. Can you talk about what you were feeling during that stretch.
DERRICK ROSE: At that time, I was just trying to keep us in the game. They were sagging a little bit. I just thought that if I started making shots, that everybody else would start getting open. And I was just trying to drive the ball and just make them come towards me so I could pass it out.
Q. Could you talk about your future plans. Have you decided about coming back to college? Have you made any kind of decision on that?
DERRICK ROSE: No, not yet. I don't know what I'm doing right now. Got to talk to my family.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Same. Same here.
Q. Chris, back to the free throws, why do you think it was that you missed them?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: I really can't explain why. I mean, I don't know. I don't know. I mean, when you play basketball, you can't describe things like that. You really can't. I missed 'em.
Q. Chris, at the beginning of overtime, the first few seconds, there was a moment where you had the ball in your hands. Could you tell us what happened on that play?
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Kansas, they were really sagging. They were really sagging. They were helping a lot. So wherever I drove, you know, it was a man there. It made it real difficult to drive.
And they pretty much played like that, you know, the whole game. They ran some box-and-ones. They had a really good game plan. They had a really good game plan.
But that's what happened there. Sagging, extra-help defense.
Q. Derrick, I saw where Dr. Jackson was talking to you after the game. What did he say to you? What did it mean to be able to talk to him in that situation?
DERRICK ROSE: He was just telling me to keep my head up, champions don't show their weakness. Just talking to him, man, it just got me excited. Right after the first time I met him, I called my mother and told her that I met him. She was all anxious then. He called my mother today when I went up to his room, and he probably made her day just by talking to her on the phone.
And just to know he got so much history, it's crazy just being around him because he's a role model to a lot of people.
Q. Joey, can you talk a little bit about how difficult it was to watch overtime and the last couple minutes of regulation.
JOEY DORSEY: Tough. Just watching, you know, a couple loose balls out there and not getting rebounds. I know I let my teammates down because I should have been out there on that floor, you know. So it was very tough.
You see sometimes in overtime, I was on my knees trying to, you know, tell some of the guys, Keep on playing, we gonna get through this. So it was tough.
Q. Derrick, how far back do you go with Sherron Collins and what did you think he did for Kansas when he came off the bench? How did he change Kansas?
DERRICK ROSE: High school. Played against him my junior year about two or three times.
Came in, played. He did what he supposed to do as a point guard: control the team, push the ball up the court, and make tough plays at the end. He just controlled the game.
Q. Can you talk about your view of Mario's shot, sort of your emotions when it went through.
JOEY DORSEY: I just dropped to my knees. I just dropped to my knees. I was like, Man, I can't believe he hit that shot, 'cause I just knew we was ready to cut the nets down.
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: It was tough. I mean, when you're out there, it was tough because you're looking at the ball, you're looking at the rotation. But I seen it was going in. I seen it was going in. Hmm, it hurt, but I knew we had another, you know, five minutes to play. So I didn't -- I didn't think we lost the game when he made that shot 'cause I knew we had some more time to play.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll continue with questions for Coach Calipari.
COACH CALIPARI: Somebody asked me about the foul, what we were doing. If we made both, we were forming a wall. If he made one, we were fouling. Sherron Collins got away -- we were going to foul at halfcourt. He got away from our man. And then when our man did foul him and pushed him to the floor, probably didn't foul him hard enough because of the space.
But we were fouling. He separated. I imagine their coach said, They're going to try to foul you, so run from 'em. And we were fouling.
Q. What did you tell your players after the game?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I told them how proud I was. I told them that they did everything they were supposed to to put us in a position to win a national title, that what happened out there is not on one person, it's on all of us, including me as the coach. You have the kind of lead we had, you're supposed to win the game.
Bill had burned a lot of timeouts, and I didn't want to rest his team. The play where Antonio threw the one out of bounds, when I saw what was happening, I probably should have burned one there.
But I told them, It's on all of us. You know, I think they're hurting bad because they know they were, you know -- how close were they to a national title? You think about that.
But you got to give Kansas credit. Let me put it this way: everything that had to happen to us, missing free throws, turning it over late, them make the three in the corner, think about it, them make the three. We're gonna foul with 10 seconds to go and they run from us. We push the kid to the floor, but we don't foul him hard enough and the kid makes a shot over our arm. And that's why we lose. That's bottom line what happened.
And, you know, I look at it and I just -- you want to think back as a coach, What else could I have done? I will probably do some soul searching on this. Look back, what play or two could we have done? I love how we came out in the second half. We came out and played. We balled.
And Joey's foul, that fifth foul, hurt us because we didn't have him in overtime. You people ask what happened in overtime? We didn't have Joey Dorsey, that's what happened in overtime. So that did hurt us.
But you've got to give them credit. For them not to stop playing and just keep fighting and making plays, my hat's off to them. I just got to tell you. You look at them statistically, they're the best team in the country, in my opinion, other than us or with us. When I looked at the stuff prior to the game, their stats are unbelievable.
Billy has a heck of a team. And the way they fought to take that game, they deserve to be national champs.
Q. You spent a lot of March telling us we were making too much of the free-throw shooting. Do you feel differently about that now?
COACH CALIPARI: No. Because I agree with Chris. If we don't throw the one ball away and we foul, we win. We don't throw the ball in the corner away, they make a three, we don't do that, we win the game.
So, yeah, you could say, Well, if you made those other free throws, you would have been up nine or 10. That's Kansas. To be up nine or 10 on Kansas, you know, like we were, probably amazing in itself.
I wish we would have made the free throws. But let's put it this way: did we have the guys at the line that we wanted at the line? Yeah. They don't make every one. They're not machines, these kids. They're just not. And under that glare of that significance -- you know, I'm still kind of numb, to be honest with you. What just happened, you're kind of numb to it. It will probably hit me like a ton of bricks tomorrow, that we had it in our grasp.
Q. What were your emotions? Obviously you were looking for the foul. Looked like you might have gotten the foul. What were your emotions when Mario went up with the shot?
COACH CALIPARI: I went -- I'm going to tell you what I said on the bench when he was on the line, when Derrick went to the line. You know, I think everything in life happens for a reason. And I sat there and I looked up and I said, Lord, if he makes this, these two, we're supposed to be national champs. And if that's your will, I'm fine. And if he misses them and we're not, I'm fine with that, too. That's what I said in my mind.
I'm probably not supposed to say that, religiously, but that's what it was. And when he missed 'em and he made the shot and we went to overtime, I just -- we did everything we were supposed to. It wasn't in the cards. It wasn't our day. It was their day. And that's -- I just sat there and went, Wow.
But I felt good about everything. We missed a few free throws. We throw it away at the end. We have a good plan at the end. We don't quite get there.
I come back to this: you have a lead like that, you're supposed to win the game. So the culprit here would not be these players. They did everything. Think about it. They're up nine. They fought like heck against a great team. C'mon, let's figure out how we finish this game off. Yeah, we could have made some free throws, been a little tougher with the ball. But, you know...
Q. Can you talk about from a scoring-production standpoint why Chris was so prolific in the first half and Derrick basically took that role in the second half.
COACH CALIPARI: What I needed to do, you notice I was trying with that lead to just finish the game off. So I didn't do a whole lot of subbing those last eight minutes. And that really beat down Chris and even Derrick. And I rolled the dice. I basically said, We better get out of here in regulation. And so I didn't play Willie and I didn't really play Doneal that much. Those two never really came off the floor. Neither did Antonio. I didn't play like that all year. Those kids played 27, 28 minutes. When you're playing for the national title, I left them in there, Let's get out of here, they can be tired tomorrow.
But those extra five minutes without Joey Dorsey and then they came out and made the two baskets, and then we got it back to where maybe we were fighting it, you know, we were right there. But we were running uphill from that point on without having Joey Dorsey on the court.
Q. Could you talk about the contribution your program has received from Derrick and from CDR over their careers. Do you expect them to come back for another season with you guys?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, you know, first of all, you have to have them look to see -- do their research a little bit, which I'll help them with.
I would be ecstatic if both of 'em had the opportunity to leave and were first-round draft picks. Joey, too. That would make me very happy. That's for another day. Right now we're all kind of despondent to what we just went through.
But we will -- you know, I would be happy for all three if they had an opportunity to play in the NBA and be drafted and those things.
Q. I think the first thing you said when you came in was, I thought we were national champs. This might be hard to pin down, but do you recall how late, at what stage you sort of had that in your head?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we were up five and I said, you know, you just kind of look at that and say, Let's just finish this thing off. And it was more that than, It's us. Finish this off and we're national champs.
And we just -- like I said, if you watched, it was kind of like in the stars and the moon, we just did everything we had to to get them to get what they had to and the shots they had to make they made. You know what I mean? You know, like I said, to be that close for these kids and our City of Memphis, to be that close, and have these kids suffer in there like they are right now, as a coach, you're just like, Man, I wish I could have just done one thing to get them over the hump, because they're suffering right now.
But you think about what they've done, 38 wins. They took on all comers. They put themselves in a position to win the national title. They did everything they were supposed to do really against the odds, and they did it, and they were there, and it slips. I mean, it's devastating to 'em.
You know, right now, like I said, I'm a little numb. But it will hit me tomorrow, you know, how close we really were, and some things down the stretch that kind of bit us a little bit.
Q. Joey goes the first half without a rebound. Was that him or was that Kansas?
COACH CALIPARI: Both. Most of it was Kansas putting a body on him. And he was reaching with that one hand, and he just couldn't bring any balls in. They're very big. Their team -- let me just say this: Kansas is an outstanding basketball team, outstanding - great size, great speed and quickness. They shoot it from the three. They shoot it from the free-throw line. They've got a post game. They're able to go inside on us when they needed to. They're an outstanding team. And we had our opportunity to win the game.
But they are an -- how about this? Defensively, they guarded us as well as anybody all year. They're in the top five in four different defensive categories. They went to box-and-one and zone. I was ecstatic because I thought we were struggling versus man. I thought, Okay, now let's do some things, and we did. Again, that last two minutes, just not finishing it off, just disappointing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
End of FastScripts