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NCAA MEN'S REGIONALS SEMIFINALS & FINALS: ATLANTA


March 24, 2012


John Calipari

Anthony Davis

Terrence Jones

Doron Lamb

Darius Miller

Marquis Teague


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll go ahead and get started with Coach Calipari in the interest of time.¬† The student‑athletes are on their way.

Q.  Cal, in terms of just athleticism and length and talent, is this the most even matchup you guys have faced maybe since Carolina in December?
COACH CALIPARI:  I would say.  What I've seen on tape, pretty impressed.  Not only that they're talented, but how they play.  They play hard.  They play to their strengths.  They attack.
Jackson is a water bug, and he's really good.  Obviously, Acy is what he is.  And the other guys are all in that mold that I like, which are long.  The longer the better, and that's what they are.
They've got a shooter that knocks it down, kind of like John Jenkins or McBee, guys that we've faced before.¬† If you give them an inch, he gets it all.¬† He had 27 against Colorado, and I think he bounced the ball twice.¬† I've never seen anything like that.¬† So he's‑‑ they're good.¬† They're a very good team.

Q.  Cal, you have a team obviously with a lot of good players, but Anthony has been sort of the breakout guy that's gotten a lot of attention.  What is it about this team that doesn't seem to be an issue for the other guys?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, the season's a long season, and these guys have figured out that, if I sacrifice for my teammate, if I care about my team more than myself, it seems like I benefit the most.  I think that's every guy here.
We've had seven different players lead us in scoring.  I think seven different players scored 24 more, 25 or more, whatever it is.  They figured it out.
They like each other.  They respect each other.  They cheer for each other.  And I really believe they want individuals to play well.  They want our team to play well, but they want each other to play well.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for anyone on the stage.

Q.¬† Coach, Quincy Miller told me last night‑‑ I mean, I got the impression at one point he thought he was going to go to Kentucky.¬† Did you think that when you were recruiting him?¬† Could you kind of talk about his game and what you liked about it at that time.
COACH CALIPARI:  I liked, again, his athleticism, his length.  What a great young man, too, just a wonderful person.
He's one of those guys.  You look for long, athletic, skilled players.  That's what he is.

Q.  Is there a time when you thought he might be coming?
COACH CALIPARI:  You know what, it was a while ago, so I don't know if it ever got to that.  I don't know that he ever visited campus or any of that.  I think that he had interest.  There are a lot of players that have that interest in Kentucky and it doesn't go that far.  I don't think he ever visited.  I don't believe so, anyway.

Q.  Coach, I'm just curious, seems like we just saw you up there, what you've been doing the last 12 hours:  how much sleep, how much film watching?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† I got about three hours' sleep.¬† I broke down last night's game, and I've watched a couple tapes on Baylor, and I went and got a coffee with my high school coach and my former‑‑ Bob Marcum, the AD that I used to work for at UMass, and my high school coach, Bill Sacco who's here.¬† And we walked to get a coffee.¬† Dunkin' Donuts, if you want to know specifically, and I get cream and two Splenda.

Q.¬† Coach, with such a young team that you have, how much has Darius' senior leadership‑‑ how critical has that been for you, particularly in the postseason setting?
COACH CALIPARI:  Last year we made a run to the Final Four and had a chance to win the national title because of how he played, no question about it.
Michael Gilchrist did a really neat thing at the conference tournament.¬† Darius was struggling, and he said‑‑ he came in to me before the Vanderbilt game, right before the game, and said:¬† Why don't you let Darius start in front of me.¬† I'll sit and let him start, because we really need him in this NCAA Tournament.
And I did it, and Darius started playing well.  Since then, he's played like he's played now.  Which, when you look at him, you say he's as good as anybody has:  performance, what he's doing, the numbers.  And he is, the way he's playing.  And a year ago, it was the same way.
So he's important to us.  You know, and, again, here's another senior that's accepted coming off the bench because it's the best for our team, and the only reason is you look at Doron, it's better matchups.  If they come out with some small, quick guards, that's not his strength.  So Doron starts.
But we have six starters on this team.  We literally have six starters.

Q.  Doron, could you talk about your game a little bit last night, especially your ability to get to the basket.  I know it's something you said you worked on and how you kind of felt that went last night and how much you got to answer this team when you do that.
DORON LAMB:  I started the game off being aggressive.  They were closing in on real hard on me, so I had a chance to go to the basket.  Coach kept telling me to go to the basket and finish strong.
I did that last night.  Had a couple of opportunities, and I finished strong.

Q.¬† Darius, you've been with UK.¬† You've had a lot of really talented‑‑ played on a lot of really talented teams.¬† I don't know if you've even given this much thought.¬† Is there something that makes this group that you're playing with now unique in terms of the potential or the way you guys play together?
DARIUS MILLER:  I haven't thought about it too much, but some of the main points that we have this year, I think we really bought in defensively.  We really take pride in our defense and getting stops for the most part.  I think we've done a good job of that all year.
Another thing that we really do well is playing together.  Like Coach said, we all care about each other.  We spend a lot of time together and have fun with it.  We're having a lot of fun, especially in this postseason.  I think that's what's letting us survive.

Q.  Coach, you spoke yesterday about the way you were approaching this is the next game, not a tournament.  You talked about your movie night instead of watching other games.  Is that the approach you took just for this team?  If so, why?  Do you have a movie plan for tonight?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Well, tonight‑‑ I think we got done playing at 3:00 in the morning, and I think we're playing a noon game on Sunday; we're going to try to keep them off their feet.
Normally, we try to do weekends.  Let's just worry about this weekend.  We've got a little tournament this weekend.  This team is different.  I've got a good team, and we have good players.  We don't need to worry about anything except us.
Now, if that's not good enough, if someone is able to do that to us, we had a great season, but let's just play basketball.  That's what we do best.  Let's not worry about things we have no control over.  Let's just focus on playing basketball, which we do well.
Last night we scored 102 points.¬† That was a fast‑paced game.¬† How many turnovers did we have?

Q.  Six.
COACH CALIPARI:  We had six turnovers.  We're a good basketball team.  Let's just play basketball.  I don't care what else is going on in the tournament.  I'm not watching any of the other games.  Why do I care?  I'm just worried about my team.
And I got a good team.  So let's just do that.  Is that what I'm doing?  That's what I'm saying.  It's not like I'm saying it to you and not to them.

Q.  Okay.  So, Marquis, do you think that what your coach just described, is that kind of arrogant that you guys don't care, "if we go out and we play our basketball, nobody can beat us" kind of thing?
COACH CALIPARI:  I didn't say that.  I said if we play our best and someone does beat us, hey, it's been a terrific year.

Q.  Okay.  But, still, do you guys have a lot of confidence?  I guess that's what I'm asking.
MARQUIS TEAGUE:  Yeah, we're very confident because we know how hard we work and we're going to play our hardest every game.  We have a lot of talent on this team, so we feel like if we come out and compete at a high level and defend every game, it will be tough for teams to beat us.
We just want to make it as tough as possible for anyone to beat us.

Q.¬† John, you mentioned that Thursday night you went to the movies so they wouldn't watch the games‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  No, it's what we always do.  If we play a late game on the road on a Wednesday night, then we go to that town, and since we're not playing until 9:30 or 9:45 or 9:00, we go to a movie the night before.  It's what we always do.
Now, the added thing was they also could not watch the other games.¬† The movie was awful.¬† But it did get us out.¬† They may have thought it was funny.¬† I'm thinking I'm a 53‑year‑old man sitting in this movie theater watching this thing right here.
But it's what we do.  I want them to understand this is another game.  Everything we've done on every trip, we've handled it like we have all season.  I think that's part of why they've played steady.  No game is more important than another.  They're all important.  Every game has an importance to it.  Let's prepare ourself and let's do it that way.  That's just what we do.

Q.¬† What do you think also about a second game within 48 hours, especially coming off such a high‑paced game last night?
COACH CALIPARI:  It will be hard.  It's going to be hard.  But Baylor has four or five hours of sleep on us.  That's what it is.

Q.  For Darius, could you just talk about playing in the Georgia Dome and what it is that seems to bring out such good performances from you and if last year's play here did help you coming into the game the other night?
DARIUS MILLER:  I don't really know if it's the building or whatever, but I've just had opportunities here.  My teammates did a great job last night of giving me opportunities, especially when I was open, giving me open looks and giving me open shots.  I just tried to do my best to knock them down.  That's one of my roles for this team.
I just try to come out and do my best.  I don't think any of us are ready to go home yet.

Q.  Coach Cal, can you talk a little bit about Kyle Wiltjer, what he gives you in the minutes that he plays and possibly what he can be in the future for this team.
COACH CALIPARI:¬† He's another one that's led us in scoring.¬† He is as good a shooter as we have, or I've ever coached.¬† But you haven't been able to see some of his post‑game.¬† In the post, his coach and his father have taught him very well.¬† He's got great post‑game.
Physically, he's catching up to these guys.  When he gets stronger from his waist down, I don't know how you guard him.  His dad's 7 foot tall.  He's grown.  He may grow to 7 feet.  Now all of a sudden, you've got a load in the post who can step out and make threes.  He's going to be tremendous.
Teams have come in and watched us, NBA teams, and they love him.  They watch him practice, and they say, I really love that kid.  He's going to be good.  The issue is he's playing on a team with really, really good players, and they're tough matchups for him at times, but he's been great about it.
That's why these guys love him.  When he gets in the game, you notice they find him and feed him.  They want him to score.  They want him to play well because they know he's sacrificing a lot right now for them.

Q.¬† Coach Cal, I don't have your exact quote, but you did say that last night was‑‑ I think it was fun or you love to coach those kinds of games.¬† Do you expect that same type of up‑and‑down game against the Baylor team that doesn't mind scoring as well?
COACH CALIPARI:  I would expect it would be fast, but I think they're going to play a lot of zone.  So it's a little harder to go pass, pass, shot, drive against the zone.  So it may slow the game down a little bit.
These guys‑‑ do you want to play slow or fast?
DARIUS MILLER:  Fast.
COACH CALIPARI:  Huh.  If they play the way they enjoy playing, they're going to play better.  They just are.  They're going to be more comfortable.
I trust these players.  Six turnovers, we scored 102 points.  I trust them.  I know they're going to make good decisions.  The only time they don't, I leave them on the court too long.  I left them out there.
Marquis Teague, I play him too many minutes in one stretch, he'll break down a little bit.  That's not his fault.  That's my fault.  He shouldn't be in the game then.  He needs to get out of the game and get in the rotation like everyone else.
If we play slow, seven minutes against Indiana, we pull the reins back, and then we grind it out.  So if we have to play a whole game that way, we can.  Don't like it.  I don't enjoy coaching that way; they don't enjoy playing that way.  But they know they can win if they have to play that way, which is important in this tournament.

Q.  Terrence, there's a lot of talent up on the dais.  Few teams really in NCAA history could put up that much talent at one time.  Do you guys acknowledge that you're a part of something potentially special?
TERRENCE JONES:  Yeah, I believe we do just the way we go every day at practice and game, just going as hard as we can.  I try to take a day off.  If we feel it's getting a little sloppy, then we just huddle together and try to just make the day a lot better by just going as hard as we can.

Q.  For Terrence and Darius, if you all could just talk a little bit about how you've seen Doron's game change and evolve since he got to Kentucky and how much the way he's been able to play, especially as the backup point guard, how it's helped you guys this year.
DARIUS MILLER:  Doron is a huge part of this team.  His ability to score the ball and also get everybody else open looks is a huge part of what we do.  He provides a lot of open opportunities for us just because people are afraid to leave him.  The way he shoots the ball, he gives us open lanes and stuff like that.
He's gotten better pretty much every day.  I mean, since he got here.  He's always been a huge part, but he continues to get better.  I think that's one of the main key parts for our team.
TERRENCE JONES:  Like he said, he got a lot better just day to day and experienced.  He's really gotten a lot better at playing point guard, just ball handling, trusting himself to go both ways and run down the court and stop and just control the offense like Marquis does is just what helps us the most.

Q.¬† Coach, I know you said last night you guys gave up a lot of layups, more than you had.¬† Watching on film, is there something in particular you'd like to see change when you guys go in‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  When I watched the game, I thought we should have just had a red, white, and blue ball and it would have all been good.
It was like both teams were just‑‑ what happens in that game, both of us had five days to prepare, and so you could really zero in on how you could score the ball.¬† We did, and they did.
We scored on them just like they were scoring on us.¬† It was incredible.¬† It was just‑‑ you know.¬† Some of it was tough shots.¬† Some of it were created.¬† Some of it was just being aggressive.¬† Some of it was knowing let's beat this guy on the bounce, let's put this guy in pick and rolls.¬† But we all had five days to get ready for it.
I think you had two teams really prepared to exploit the other team, and I think they both did.

Q.  John, would you elaborate a little on Baylor's length and how it can help their zone defense, the challenge there.
COACH CALIPARI:  I think that's one of the reasons they'll play zone is that they're looking at, okay, you're not going to get to the rim.  If you do get to the rim, there's going to be length there.
One of the things we do in our zone offense is we're throwing a lot of lobs.  So that length has to be back, but that length is on the wings too now.
So now all of a sudden you've got 6'9" and 6'8" on the wings, and that is a huge zone.  So it's created havoc for a lot of teams.

Q.¬† I know this is a hard‑hitting question for the Baylor game, but it's driving me nuts on movie night, and I don't get out to the theater of a whole lot.¬† Can you tell me what was the horrible movie and who picked it.
COACH CALIPARI:  Darius picks the movies.  It was "21 Jump Street."  I should say it was awful if you're 53.  If you're 20, 19, 21, it was a fun movie.  There were some of the stupidest things in this movie I've ever seen.  But people were laughing.  I was the only one not laughing.

Q.  For Darius, I think everyone assumes when you go up and down that it's an easier game to play.  What makes it more difficult?
DARIUS MILLER:  You mean from last night or just in general?

Q.  Last night and then possibly tomorrow, but in general.
DARIUS MILLER:  You've got to be in good shape to play like that, especially when you're playing against another talented team who's really attacking the way this they did last night and the way that they can Sunday.  We're getting up and down like that.  You've got to be in great shape, and you've got to stay focused all the time.
If you slip up one time, you see last night they took advantage of it.  You fall asleep on defense or anything like that, they're going to run back.  That's an easy bucket for them, and that's something you can't have in the postseason.

Q.  Coach, you talked about Baylor's length.  What other concerns might you have about the matchup with Baylor?
COACH CALIPARI:  They're tough with Acy around the goal.  They're terrific in pick and roll with Jackson, who turns him down and splits him and pulls up and shoots it.  They shoot it from the perimeter like they did against Colorado.  It was just bang, bang, bang.
Their zone is something that you‑‑ it's a morphed kind of zone, plays it different ways.¬† If you put people on the baseline, it spreads down.¬† It's probably more of a matchup.
And, again, I have not watched that many tapes.  That's with what I've seen to this point.  But I think Scott's done a terrific job with that team.  They're playing how they have to play to have success, and that's what you're trying to figure out as a coach.  How does this team play?
Not based on last year, this team.  He's done a good job.

Q.  Coach, you talked a little bit about Scott Drew.  When you consider the program he took over and the challenges he had coming into Baylor and the strides he's made, especially in recruiting, what kind of marks do you give him?  How do you assess the strides he's made?
COACH CALIPARI:  He's done a terrific job.  What's amazing is that their football team and their quarterback and their women's basketball team and now what Scott's doing, Baylor has a heck of an athletic department and what they're doing with all their sports teams.
But specifically you're talking about a program that was down.  You had to convince young people that, hey, you can reach your dreams here, and he's done it.  And then when you get talented players, the hardest thing is to, okay, how do we get them all together?  How do we get them to sacrifice for one another?
I always say‑‑ people ask me, isn't your job hard?¬† Well, I got these guys.¬† The hardest thing is getting bad players to play together.¬† This is hard in a different way; it's just that you have good‑hearted people that will sacrifice and share.
I have that, and obviously he has that there.

Q.  This is for Anthony.  I remember talking to Alonzo Mourning one time, and he said he liked playing teams that challenged him, drove to the basket, tried to dunk on him.  Quincy Acy was dunking all over the place yesterday.  Are you looking forward to that challenge that Baylor brings in terms of attacking the rim?
ANTHONY DAVIS:  Definitely.  I always look forward to a challenge, and I think Baylor brings a challenge.  They attack the rim.  They're very athletic, and they can dunk the ball and finish above the rim.  I'm looking forward to the challenge.  Hopefully we prevail.
COACH CALIPARI:  Without fouling.  Just don't foul.
ANTHONY DAVIS:  No fouling.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We're going to excuse the student‑athletes to the breakout rooms.¬† Coach will stay here for a little bit more availability.

Q.¬† John, you mentioned‑‑ you brought up a bunch of times that Mike is if not the youngest freshman in the country he's one of them.¬† What's that kind of say about him going forward, over all these years in high school, he's always been a tough guy and always been months younger than all these guys he's facing?¬† Actually, a lot of your guys are that way as far as they're all 18‑, 19‑year‑old guys.
COACH CALIPARI:  How about being that young and then coming to your coach as a starter and saying:  This senior needs to start this game; we have to get him going.  Which is amazing.
Michael is one of those unique players who has that giving heart, is really concerned with pleasing the people around him, wants to please me as a coach, wants to do exactly what I'm telling him to do.  How do you want me to play?  And is a great teammate.
I said to the team:  What do you do to help us win when you're not making baskets?  In his case, he could name you eight things, ten things.  Here's what I do when I'm not making baskets.  That's what makes him unique.
That's what he did yesterday.¬† He made some baskets, but he rebounded, stick‑backs, made free throws, defended, and helped us win.

Q.  John, obviously, you got a lot of good players, you've got a lot of guys who are really good AAU players.  Scott, the same thing on his team.  You hear good and bad things about AAU.  What's your opinion of AAU basketball and the perception that it has?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† I'd rather call it summer basketball because it's‑‑ I think, again, you're talking‑‑ you say AAU, that's an event down in Orlando.¬† But I think the summer basketball, the one thing it's done, it's brought all these kids together, and so now you have a player that's played against all these other freshmen.¬† If he's really good, then he's played against all these guys.¬† He's not surprised.
They've also played the game at a high level, yet not like a college game.  You're not as organized.  You're playing three games in one day.  If you lose:  How'd you do?  I did well.  I thought they told me you lost by 22.  Yeah, we did, but I did great.
The importance on winning in the summers is not where it is in most of those programs.  They're playing so many games.
But I will tell they stay in touch.¬† They text each other.¬† They Facebook each other.¬† These kids all know now.¬† So when you're coaching, they're in contact with each other.¬† They're talking to each other and‑‑ as it should be.¬† They become friends through that experience.

Q.  Some coaches say I don't want any part of that.  I don't want to get involved in that stuff.  Others do.  Why do you think that is?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Well, I don't know what you mean by get involved.¬† We're not involved.¬† We're just watching them.¬† But I will tell you that there are coaches that think, well, this is bad for the game.¬† Well, yeah, the kids are going to‑‑ they don't understand shot selection.¬† They don't understand the importance of the ball.¬† They don't understand how to guard.¬† They don't understand how to play every possession.¬† Guess what?¬† That's our job to teach them that.
What they come in with is a background of, you know what, I'm good enough.  Now please teach me.
Now, the issue comes in if the kid comes and says, I already know.  You don't need to teach me anything.  Just let me go.  Now you've got a problem.  That's when you say this kid's an AAU player and doesn't want to be coached.  That's an issue.
I've never had those guys.  The guys I have want to be coached, want to be taught, want discipline, want to help.  They want us to help them change their habits.  They want us to teach them and expand their game.  Those are the guys I've got.

Q.  John, you've had a lot of good relationships with a lot of different players over the past couple of years, but I don't know if I've heard a player speak with as much affection towards you as Michael Gilchrist does.  Why do you think that is?
COACH CALIPARI:  It's funny.  In eighth grade he watched my Memphis teams play and said:  I want to play for Coach Cal.  He's a wonderful, caring, giving, and he wants to please me in the worst way.  Is there a better guy to coach when you're a coach, a young man?
I'll tell you who else is that way.¬† Terrence Jones wants to please me in the worst way.¬† They want some affection from you.¬† They want you to‑‑ if you're not on them enough, they'll do something to make you get on them to let you know whether he still cares about me.¬† Those are kids that, you know what, I'll text them, just want you to know I love coaching you, I love you, kid.¬† They'll hit me back too, I love you, Coach.
They need that sometimes.¬† You don't think they do.¬† They do need that.¬† Michael and Terrence‑‑ some guys aren't, you know, if I say, hey, I love you, they'd say, yeah, right.¬† Love you too.¬† Beat it.¬† That's even my son sometimes.

Q.  How have you had to coach each one a little differently?  Maybe a little harder on Terrence.
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, Michael's harder on himself, and he's too hard on himself.  I'm trying to get Michael to love himself more.  You need to love yourself.  You need to be your own cheerleader.  You're being too hard.  You know who else was like that?  Derrick Rose.  That's what we had to convince Derrick.  Derrick, you're too hard on yourself.  You're not making every shot.  You're going to turn it over some.  You're going to get beat on the dribble every once in a while.  Michael is exactly the same way.
Terrence, on the other hand, I've got to get on him to focus more.  I believe, if he'd have played like he's playing right now at the beginning of the year, throughout the year, which is a hard thing, he and Anthony would have been mentioned for Player of the Year.  They both would have.  But it's okay because the talent he has is shining now.  And he's fine with it.  But I'm proud of him.  I'm proud of both those guys.

Q.  John, when you have so many talented players, it's easy for one to get lost in the shuffle.  It seems like the guy who's always forgotten among this group is Doron.  I wonder if you could talk about that aspect of his game.  I mean, for instance, people saying you don't have that many shooters and that sort of thing.
COACH CALIPARI:  It is funny, isn't it?

Q.  How do you deal with him and what did you initially see in him when you were recruiting him?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† The thing I'm trying to get from him, and he's doing it game by game‑‑ I watched that tape last night.¬† For all those Kentucky fans that watch it three times, notice how Doron Lamb is clapping on defense and getting in his stance.¬† He's never done that.¬† So he's getting it.
What I'm saying to him, with more of a motor, he's as good as any guard in the country.¬† I'll say that again.¬† With more of a motor‑‑ no coolness; I don't want to see it, don't care‑‑ sprint that court, get down in the stance.¬† More of a motor, a Rip Hamilton motor.
With that, he's as good as any guard in the country, and now you're seeing him as a point guard, wing guard.  He's 6'5", makes every free throw, needs to be more physical.  That comes with more motor.
And he's slowly doing it, and I've been hard on him.  But I say to him, I think you're a lottery pick.  But go do it.  Go take it.  But he's good because he's good with his teammates.
I think, again, he's one of our leading scorers.¬† He could score 30.¬† If he doesn't shoot it, I'm all over him.¬† I take him out.¬† Because he's not prepared to shoot, he's not‑‑ the motor's not moving and he's slowly getting into the shot, sit.¬† If you're not going to shoot the ball, you're not playing for me.
And I want him to know‑‑ he gets on me.¬† About not shooting.¬† That's what I'm getting on you about.¬† Think about it.¬† Are you going to go complain to somebody?
But another great kid who's never been coached this way.  He's never been challenged this way, and he's responding to it.

Q.¬† Perry Jones is averaging, I think, 14 points and 7 rebounds per game as a sophomore, but is criticized pretty heavily by fans, by readers, by all over the country, I think, because on some level people expect elite‑level recruits like that to be Anthony or DeMarcus or John or Derrick right out of the gate.¬† What would you say about someone whose development process is not as quick as others?
COACH CALIPARI:  Especially when you're that size.  Anthony Davis is different.  Anthony Davis was 6'3", 6'2", and grew to be 6'9", 6'10" in a year.  When you see picture pictures of him, it's really funny, where he was at and then now.  So he's different.
It takes big guys a little longer than it does.  He is a terrific player.  I will say, if you listen to all of it, it screws you up.  Don't read it.  Don't listen to it.  Don't deal with it.  Be your own cheerleader.  And then, if you're working at it, he's fine.
I tell my players you get what you deserve in life and in basketball.  So you work at it, you'll get what you deserve.  If you're cutting corners, you're going to get what you deserve.  If you're doing it right and you're doing it as a good teammate, you're doing it for your team, you'll be fine.  I think he'll be fine.
I hope it's like not tomorrow, though.

Q.  Coach, two questions.  Is this the most talented team that you've ever coached?  And yesterday you spoke about the expectations for this squad, that people have for the squad, and not letting that burden them, trying to keep them loose.  How do you do that?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† Well, the first thing is I've had some really talented teams.¬† We had three different‑‑ well, four different‑‑ three different teams Final Four, we had a team that was in the final game.
But top to bottom, Marcus Camby was really good.  Derrick Rose was really good.  Even a Brandon Knight.  You're talking about really good players.  When you talk about the collection here, this is a pretty good team.  What I like about them is it's not just talent because talent alone does not win.  We're the most efficient team in the country.  We're the most efficient team in the country, both on offense and defense.
We lead the nation in field goal percentage defense, in shots blocked.  We're in the top ten in rebounding, all tough things.  Offensively, we average nine or ten turnovers a game playing like that.  So we are an efficient team.  We're a good team.
Last year's basketball team that I had was a really good team, but they weren't quite as talented as this team.¬† But this team‑‑ this team is unique.

Q.  How do you keep the squad loose with all the expectations?
COACH CALIPARI:¬† We're just worried about playing basketball.¬† I know everybody‑‑ there's only one team in this tournament that cannot lose, and if they lose, it's disaster, and that's us.¬† I'm not putting that on these kids.¬† They're all young.¬† Let's just do what we do best, play basketball, and let's do it at our best.
If that's not good enough, there's nothing else I can ask of these guys.  They've given us everything.  They've had every team.  People say, well, it's the schedule.  What?  Every team we've played has played out of their minds against us.  We've got to be ready every game.
This team has come, battled people back.  They've done it.  I'm telling them, you just play basketball.  Let me worry about all that other stuff.

Q.  I understand Baylor will be wearing black tomorrow.  I'm curious, did you get a look at the electric green yesterday, and, if so, did you have an opinion of it?
COACH CALIPARI:  I only saw it on TV because I couldn't understand why everybody was coming in the arena with sunglasses on.  I didn't know what was going on.  Yeah, you know what, it's different, and it's neat for them.  I bet you their players love it.
What uniform are they wearing tomorrow?

Q.  Black with the green trim.
COACH CALIPARI:  And I bet you they love black, too, because players love those black uniforms.  If it makes them play better, as a coach, you could care less what.  Neon green, you guys love it?  Great, let's play in it.
Now, the fans will go crazy:  That's not our color green.  What is that?

Q.  John, six turnovers, 102 points.  What kind of ball security drills do you guys do?  What do you do to work on things like that, with efficiency?
COACH CALIPARI:  They share the ball, make easy plays, biggest thing we talk about.  We're playing really fast, but we're not in a hurry to score.  I want to you fly, but we're not in a hurry to score.
And then make the easiest play.  If a guy's not making easy plays, he's coming out.  You're not playing on this team.  There's too many good players.  You just make an easy play.  If a guy's open, give him the ball.  And everything we do in practice is geared on it.
Now, again, you have to have a willing team that really wants to listen and wants to come together, and this team does.¬† What's happened to us is our point guard, Marquis Teague, is just‑‑ he's gone from beginning of the year, basically playing at 100 miles an hour, making 100 hard plays and taking bad shots, to playing with unbelievable pace, making easy plays, and having great shot selection, picking his spot.¬† And that happened over four months.
So I don't know if I've had‑‑ my point guards have all kind of gone like this, but he was probably the habit of playing fast and making tough plays more than the other guys that I had.¬† Derrick didn't want to score.¬† He wanted to pass.¬† We had to get him to score the ball.

Q.¬† Coach, you talk about the job that Scott's done at Baylor, this is the second Elite Eight in the last three years.¬† But he's had a much easier road, it could be said, in the both times he's only played double‑digit seeds in both those runs.¬† What type of fortune does March come with?¬† You guys are the 1 seed, and you've had a tougher road.¬† You played Indiana.¬† You played UConn.
COACH CALIPARI:¬† It's how it is.¬† What happens is when you‑‑ that's why I tell the team why even watch the games?¬† We had people in our community worried about we've got to play Connecticut.¬† What are you worried about that for?¬† What if they don't‑‑ and they are good, and they were good.¬† But they lost, so you didn't have to play them.
All you're doing is what's out in front of you.  Who do we have to play now?  And you go on.  And, obviously, if Baylor's been in two Elite Eights, two regional finals, they've done everything they were supposed to do and did it well.

Q.  It seemed like Baylor, they ran out some kind of combination defense yesterday, a triangle.
COACH CALIPARI:  I think it was a triangle and two.

Q.  Have you seen gimmick defenses like that?  Can that work against you guys?
COACH CALIPARI:  We've seen it this year.  We do some things offensively against that stuff.  The good news is everybody's tried everything, so you kind of have an idea.
But this may morph into something different.  We may have to play different.  As the game unfolds, we'll look at what they're trying to do.
Yesterday Tommy played a kind of zone where they were leaving Michael Gilchrist alone.  I'm yelling at my team:  Throw it to him.  Shoot it, Michael.  Then he ball faked and drove, he made one basket, he drove baseline, and now that makes them make adjustments.
So some of the things is just looking at how they're playing saying, okay, this is what we'll do against it.
Again, you have to have a willing team, tell us what you want us to do, and then they go out and do it.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.  We appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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