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March 16, 2012
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we'd like to welcome the University of Kentucky student‑athletes to the desk.
Q. Can you discuss the matchup with Royce White? He can do some things with guard skills that he can bring the ball up and things like that. Just a unique matchup because he's such a big guy?
DORON LAMB: It's going to be a challenge for us. We've been working on ways to stop him. Going to be a great challenge for me, Terrence, and Michael. Got to come prepared.
Q. What are the challenges here? What do you expect to see out of Royce? What do you do with a guy like that?
TERRENCE JONES: He's a guy that's trying to make plays. Not only trying to score, but just be a play maker. Trying to create for others. Just make sure he does it. Makes plays not only for himself but for other guys to get open shots and for them to get open threes.
Q. Stay on Royce White for Terrence and Anthony. How do you defend the guy? You know he's going to bring his body into you and stay out of foul trouble. Is he similar to anybody you've played this year?
ANTHONY DAVIS: I haven't seen him play, so I'm not sure if he's similar to somebody we've played.
If I'm guarding him, we've got to try to make him score and see somebody block the shot or at least contest it. Can't get in foul trouble. It really hurts our team when we get in foul trouble. So we have to stay solid defensively.
Q. Is there any level of disappointment that UConn lost last night, or is that a fan thing?
DARIUS MILLER: That's really a fan thing. We don't care who we play. We have no preference who we're playing. We're going to have to play all the best teams to make it anyway. We really don't care too much that they lost.
Q. Darius, there's a question for you, and then I'd like to have Anthony too. Have you seen the replay of the alley‑oop that you had to him last night? Can you kind of just comment on what it's like to have a guy that you can just throw it anywhere, and there's a good chance that he's going to get it and throw it down.
DARIUS MILLER: It helps us out a lot. It kind of opens up the court for us. When you get into the lane, we look at the lob. We could pretty much throw it anywhere, and he'll go get it. He's a huge weapon to have for anybody, for any team to have a guy like him where you can throw it up and he'll go get it most of the time. That opens up a lot for us.
Q. Anthony, are you ever impressed with one of those that you get?
ANTHONY DAVIS: The one last night was pretty crazy. I saw it. Darius threw a bomb, and I stretched out to go get it and then dunked it. So it was pretty amazing.
Q. Anthony, a little off topic, but I've been noticing your mouth guard. Is it oversized? Do you like wearing it out? It seems like it's out as much as it's in on the court.
ANTHONY DAVIS: I don't know. I just do it. I don't know why. No reason for it. It just so happens to be there, but there's no particular reason for it.
Q. Terrence, one more thing about Royce. You talk about how he's going to make plays for other guys. How many guys like that do you guard? How different will that be for you?
TERRENCE JONES: It's just like practice, really. I'm guarding Darius, Michael, Anthony in practice that are trying to make plays. It's more like guarding someone from our team.
Q. Coming into this postseason, Iowa State wasn't given much of a chance to get past UConn. You guys think that this is a team that was a little bit underrated coming in after seeing what they did to UConn last night?
DARIUS MILLER: Yeah. I was pretty impressed with the way that they played. They've got a lot of talented players, and I feel like they play good together.
I know it's going to be a tough challenge for us. Like you said, everybody was looking for UConn to win that game, and they did a great job of getting ready to go. We've got to come out and try to make them match our intensity and try to make them play like it's any other game.
Q. Actually, for all the guys. For Darius, Doron, Terrence, last year, you guys were a four seed, and you used the underdog role to try to knock off Carolina and Ohio State.
What did you do last year that you can avoid Iowa State trying to do the same thing to you?
DARIUS MILLER: Like I said, I know they're going to be ready to go. They're going to be ready to play. We saw that yesterday. They came out with a high intensity. They're ramped up to play the game. We got to play high intensity. We can't come out lackadaisical. We've got to play the whole 40 minutes.
DORON LAMB: We know they're going to come out and play hard, just like last year. We came out of every game and played hard because everybody thought we were going to lose. We played Ohio State and North Carolina, and we won. So we've got to play hard and guard them all 40 minutes.
Q. Fellows, you talked about just take this like it's just another game. How much of an advantage do you think you guys have in the fact that you play kind of on the bright lights every night, whether it's in the SEC or the NCAA Tournament experience you have from last year.
TERRENCE JONES: Every game is a target on our backs, and teams are coming out to give us our best shot. Usually after the game, Coach said that's the best they played all year. So we took a lot of teams, tough shots, and it just got us prepared real well for the tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you.
We'd like to welcome university of Kentucky basketball Coach John Calipari here. We're going to open it up to the media for questions.
Q. Coach, I just want to know how close Royce White was to becoming a Wildcat.
COACH CALIPARI: He didn't get on the plane, or he would have been. When I met him and his mom, I was blown away. Like I really want to coach this kid.
I knew he had some issues, but it wasn't anything of the heart. I've done this a long time, and if a young man has a good heart, I can deal with everything else, and I think he has a good heart.
And then having to play him and watching how he's playing, I'm not real happy, but I'm happy for him. I really am.
Q. John, you've mentioned several times that at this time of year, your players need to pull you across the line instead of you pulling them. Where are you at in that process at the moment?
COACH CALIPARI: That first game, we had a lot of guys that‑‑ you know, the guys that played well did the best for us. Really they all played well, but Terrence Jones and Doron have been here. Darius did okay, but those other two have been here.
So I think now you'll start seeing these other guys‑‑ I think Kyle was a little intimidated by the situation where normally he would play better. Anthony did fine. They're doing fine.
I'm still kicking and screaming a little bit, but I'm not‑‑ it's a different thing. It's totally different. They know I may be loud at times, but it's not like I'm trying to drive. I'm just trying to get across something that we're trying to do.
Q. Coach, will you talk about the pressure on this game as the Number 1 overall seed. It would seem like everybody's expecting to you win. Iowa State maybe can play without any kind of pressure and just let it all hang out on Saturday night?
COACH CALIPARI: So who are you rooting for? I think at this time, when you're in this tournament, you just got to play basketball. What I'm trying to tell my team, forget about tournaments, we've got a basketball game to play. And I'll tell you, it's not nerves that I'm worried about. Iowa State is a really good team. Fred has them playing exactly how they have to play to be successful, which is why they've gotten to this point.
I watched some tapes where I had to stop watching the tape because I started getting worried that we can't beat this team. So I'm trying to watch a tape or two that they've lost so I can see like‑‑ but they shoot it well. They play hard. They spread the court. Royce is a point forward.
But you have guys that really know what they have to do to have success, and they play that way. They're a terrific team is what they are, and they've got terrific players now.
He's done a little bit like I've had to do, which is get a team together. People that have transferred from other schools. And yet, they're together as a team and you see it. It's going to be a hard game for us, I know. It will be a very hard game.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your recruiting of Royce and how it all went down. I know he was very upset about not coming down and the circumstances and just the twist of fate that now you'll be facing him.
COACH CALIPARI: Again, I can‑‑ there's times I call my players by number because I forget names. So when you go back that far. Someone there called me to say, Cal, you can help this young man, and he would be a terrific player for you. And I said tell me about him.
Then I called Tubby, and I said, Tubby, do you have a problem if we talk? Tubby was great about it. Then I flew up, and I met with he and his mother. It was done, and I was happy. I said, you know what, this is going to be something good. And then he couldn't get on the plane. And I'm like, if you don't come down here now, if you can't show up in the summer, you're not going to be able to do this here, and he just couldn't do it.
I was okay with it. There was no‑‑ I told him at the time, we're here for these young people, and they all have things that they go through in growing up that they have to do, and some have issues that others don't have. But at the end of the day, our job is to try to make this an experience that sets them on a path for the rest of their lives.
What Iowa State and the State of Iowa has done for that young man, he's on that path that I would want him on if he played for me. So I just hope he's not on the path one more game. I hope we're good enough to do that.
But they're good too, and he's good. He's also unselfish. Here's a kid that would rather pass and get 15 assists than score a basket. It's amazing. And he plays tough, and he's got huge hands. So you'd better grab the ball with two because he'll grab it with one.
I'm not thinking in terms of any of the other stuff. Like I said, I'm happy he's playing well, doing well.
Q. How unique of a challenge does Royce present in trying to contain, and how much does their three‑point shooting present sort of a Florida‑like problem?
COACH CALIPARI: They have both. One, you've got to figure out how you're going to guard him. We have yet to do that, and we may never figure it out. Not many people have.
Then the other thing is you've got to guard them to the three‑point line. But there's one difference. They don't really have people standing around the basket. They're all out. So as you go to guard threes, if they do drive, they're getting to the rim. They really do a great job of spacing the court.
So I'll say it again. It's not about seeds or anything else. This is going to be a very hard game.
Q. I was wondering if you could comment on what a guy like Sam Malone brings to the team, even though he's not going to see the court, what he brings during a tournament run.
COACH CALIPARI: He's a great teammate, and he's been with our team. He had the knee injury that basically made him shut it down for the year, but the guys love him. They all live together, and he's one of our members of our team, and the guys treat him that way, and he treats them that way. So it's been a good experience for he and Brian Long, both of them.
Q. Coach, you kind of bumped into Coach Prohm before practice there. Can you kind of share what you guys talked about and a message maybe for the UK fans who could help them out tomorrow in the game tomorrow?
COACH CALIPARI: I would hope the State of Kentucky fans are rooting for all the Kentucky teams. But he's a good guy.
I just like the fact that Coach Kennedy comes back and he treats him with great respect, lets him speak to the team. Now think about that. I mean, it just shows me a lot about Steve. And he just thanked me, and I just told him he's got his team playing great. Just keep playing, keep doing what you're doing.
He's got a good group of guys. He makes it about his players. It's not about him. That's why they're playing so well.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Chris Allen and what he brings to the Cyclones. Not just his play, but also the fact that he's been to two Final Fours before?
COACH CALIPARI: That‑‑ and I thought about that with both Michigan State players, that you got guys that are, one, they got to be physical to even make it through a Michigan State practice. So they have to be that way. So they add that.
But he also can score the ball. So now you're talking about a three‑point shooter who has toughness. Folks, we have our hands full. I mean, I can go on and on if you want. But we've got our hands full. This is going to be one of the toughest games we've played in a while.
Q. Anthony Davis seemed to really be getting backed against the goal in the low post, wasn't standing his ground last night. What are you going to be able to do about that in 48 hours?
COACH CALIPARI: We are what we are at this point. That happened in the conference tournament, the same thing. We've worked on some stuff. But at the end of the day, this is a very young team.
If they're allowed to be dislodged, like pushed three steps, there's not a whole lot you can do. Now, the rule says they cannot be dislodged. If they have a guarding position, you cannot move them off that position, but if it's‑‑ you know, get lower, push them with two hands. There's not a whole lot you can do. You hold your ground if you get pushed, maybe front.
They've done fine. I think every team that we play, the whole point is be really physical, push, grab. They're a young team. Get them rattled. And we really haven't gotten rattled.
Now, there have been teams stronger than us, no question about that, but we've probably played about ten of them that have been stronger, more physical than us. The great thing about this game, it's basketball. It's not won in the weight room. You've got to go on that basketball court and make shots.
That's the scary team about the team we're playing. They can post it. They make shots. And they could make‑‑ they're taking 25 threes. If they make 20, it's been a heck of a season. They can make‑‑ they're going to take 25, and what you try to do is just guard them.
If they rebound, the ball comes out, you'd better rebound like crazy because they are going to go after the ball.
Q. One more Royce question, if I may. Had you known about his grandfather, would you have asked him if he could have just driven him to Lexington?
COACH CALIPARI: I knew of his grandfather, and I knew he was a big part of his life. But never entered my mind.
Q. That he could actually drive?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, you could do that, and if he didn't want to get on the plane, maybe he just didn't want to come to Lexington. That's at the time probably how I thought. But you're talking a couple of years ago.
Q. What does it say that they didn't drive here? It's not like he didn't want to come.
COACH CALIPARI: That's what makes it neat. When we all think these young men are machines, they're computers, that they never miss a shot, that they never make a mistake, that how could that guy do it? They're human beings and they make mistakes, and they have failings and flaws just like we all do. I think we all go through life trying to overcome our shortcomings, and we have strengths, and we have weaknesses.
He's a fine young man. He's doing well, and everyone should be happy for him.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, we're out of time. Thank you and good luck.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports