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Kentucky Basketball Pre-Transylvania Game

Head Coach John Calipari



On the tape of last year’s game vs. Robert Morris …

“I haven’t watched. I had Robes (assistant coach John Robic) look at it and I’m trying

not to look back at it, but I probably will watch it before we play. Mainly to see how they

guarded some of our stuff. The game I watched already, they’re still playing just as

hard, just as physical as they did. They faced. They were down nine and came back in

one win. They were down last night, playing against a zone for 40 minutes is really hard

and Eastern (Michigan) plays 40 minutes of zone, no matter what you do they’re playing

zone so that was a tough deal for them.”

On if he’s seeing what he wants from his team after facing adversity …

“Well, the one thing is when you out-rebound a team like Michigan State; you’re way

tougher than we were a year ago. But still, our guard play is not where it needs to be

physically. The rules dictate some of that, but some of it is just us. We’ve got a ways to

go with this team and I’ve said it from day one. We fought like crazy to get back in that

game. We had to run one play 16 times. Just keep running it. Same play. We found one

thing that worked and it was like, we’re not changing. One coach said to me, ‘let’s run…’

I said are you watching the game? We’re running one thing here ‘til the game ends.

We’ve got to do some other things as a team. We changed some things, the way we

were playing we had to change a little bit of stuff and we’re trying to tweak some stuff

to see what works for this team because this team is different than the others that I’ve


On if it’s a positive to have a guy they can run a play 16 times to …

“We have a couple guys that have to, we need to run pick-and-roll. We need to run

things for our wings. You always have Julius (Randle) to go to. Alex (Poythress) is

playing out of his mind. You know and it was a great thing, kids, especially young kids,

their egos, Alex went from a starter to the sixth-man. Way too many minutes to probably

a few minutes less than he needs. Less shots and all of a sudden he’s not even, he’s

like, his stuff is sky rocketing. So that stuff doesn’t matter. Your shots and points, that’s

all ego. It’s how you are playing. He and Julius carried us (against Michigan State). The

other guys were kind of out there, but those two carried us. And so you’re trying to tell

the other guys, you know, you’ve got to sink into your role and then be the best at that

and that is how you help our team and help yourself.”

On how Andrew and Aaron Harrison reacted to the Michigan State game …

“Well, again (there were) a lot of people crying in the locker room after that game and

they both knew, the guys that didn’t play well, knew they didn’t play well. So, you know,

we did some things yesterday and it comes back to the same thing like, wait a minute,

you didn’t know this? We started working on some things yesterday that I saw on tape.

If you think they know you’re going to make a mistake. They’re no different than any

other young team, young freshman. But Aaron is going to be fine, so is Andrew. From

this you have to change though and I said that yesterday. Just saying, OK they’ll learn

from that, I need to see that there is change, there is a change in their attitude, there is

a change in their approach, there is a change in their effort level, there is a change in

their focus, as long as that’s happening then it was a good experience for us.”

On Andrew and Aaron Harrison’s body language …

“They’ve got to learn. They get upset with themselves but you can’t, you know, you

just can’t do it. They’ve got to learn, this stuff doesn’t, when you’ve had a habit that

you’ve had for 17 years, to say OK, within two months you’re going to change. You look

at Alex, it took him a year, took him a full year, to realize if I don’t change this I’m not

making it. He’s changed.”

On what has changed with Alex Poythress …

“More mentality, it was more mentality. He just wasn’t emotionally ready to do stuff

and right now I’m just telling these kids, let’s worry about being good college players

because we’re not right now. Just worry about being good college players, worry about

being a good college team. When the season is over we’ll worry about all that other

stuff. Let’s worry, unpack the bags boys, unpack the bags, let’s start playing some

basketball, let’s get better.”

On saying before the season that when he watched this team he thought he better start calling

next year’s recruits …

“I know and I probably, some of it is probably me. But I did right, I probably just

shouldn’t have said anything, but I did right; you know it’s a hard thing here to keep

them in the moment and if we were in their shoes and they knew four months from

now this could be happening to me. If it were us? We probably couldn’t talk to us. We

couldn’t talk to us. These kids want to be coached. They want to be taught. They want

to please me. The big difference between what we’re doing is this team is really skilled.

They’re basketball players; they have a physical presence to them. We just have to

get it right. I’ve got to make some things simpler for them. I’ve got to get Andrew really

being the quarterback for this team and he wants to be. Got to talk more, our team

didn’t talk, I had more comments about, your team is quiet, your team, well they’re not

but I think they were like deer in headlights, what happened to them. But to say that

you have 17 turnovers and only create seven because you’re playing defense like that.

To say that you missed 20, you go 20-for-36 from the line, you miss 16 free throws. To

say that they got 22 points in transition and you got two and you had a chance to win.

What just happened? How in the world did we have a chance to win? Again, there was

nice will there, the guys kept fighting. They kept trying, so we have something to build

on. They had a chance of letting go of the rope. We should have been down 20 at half.

Now as we go into this game, this team (Robert Morris) is really aggressive. They get

up in you. They play really physical. The rules should affect their play a little bit because

you can’t do some of the stuff that you could do a year ago; they’re not letting you do it.

But they’ve got a team that’s coming in here that’s saying, we beat these guys, let’s go.

They’re not afraid, I watched this team, they’re not afraid.”



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