Kentucky 87 - Loyola 63
An Interview With:
COACH JOHN CALIPARI
Could you talk about what Kyle (Wiltjer) did offensively and then what
you still need him to do defensively to give him an opportunity to do
those things more?
COACH CALIPARI: Well,
one, we've got to help him defensively. I mean, we've got to do
some schemes with him because there are certain match ups that he's
just not ready to go with. But we need that shooting and that
scoring on the floor. So I've got to come up with some schemes to
I was really happy because he didn't
shoot the ball particularly well last game, and in the last huddle I
said, we're going to see what this kid is made of. He hasn't been
close to making a shot. We're going to give him another one I
want to see. And he swished it. I think the kid has a
toughness at heart, but we're just going to have to help him.
I've got to get him to take more charges, not going to block shots,
charge, block out more, and then when he's in the post we've got to do
But let me say this first of all
about Loyola: I knew it would be a hard game. They were
8-2. I watched the tapes. I knew it would be a hard
game. They're athletic and tough and older than us, and they
weren't afraid. They came right after us.
I'm going to say they'll probably win their league. I mean,
that's what I think they'll do. You know, from the 3 point line I
was scared to death because I knew they had some guys that could launch
3s, but I thought we did a fairly good job.
Here's just so you understand, when we break down on
a 3 point shot, a guy goes under a screen, a guy goes under a handoff,
they make them all against us. If we don't get a rebound that we
should and they kick it out and there are open 3s, teams are making all
of those against us. In transition, we don't match down, they are
making them. They're not making the ones we guard.
We have to be focused each time now, which we're not because we're
young, to be able to say, ‘Hey, get up on these guys.’ But they
defended, I loved that they played us a little zone, I loved that they
did some things on the out of bounds plays to make us think, and I love
that they played a power game against us because it's what we needed.
Q. How important is it for you to schedule opponents you've done
in each of your three years here that give you different looks,
especially with young teams?
CALIPARI: That's what we try to do, and we're also trying to
schedule teams that we think will do well in their league.
But it's all a guess. Somebody gets hurt and all of a sudden a
team goes from an 18 win team to a 10, you're guessing. But
that's what we try to do, and style of play is important. If
there's a team that will play all zone we may want that team because we
know what they're going to do. Teams that will press, we need to
get pressed a little bit.
I guess today when
you watched us against the press, we were pretty good against the
press. Unless you grab and hold and trip and bite, if it's normal
basketball, I think we'll be fine.
You said it helps when you guys need the shooting and scoring on the
floor from Kyle (Wiltjer). What difference does that make when
Stretches out the defense. I mean, it really, really stretches
out the defense. But we you know, in the first
half we had no toughness. We had guys other
than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis, no one even tried to
rebound. Darius Miller had one rebound, and had a couple where
his man ran right by him and just laid it in. Doron Lamb had a
rebound, Marquis Teague had one rebound. No one rebounded except
those other two. They had almost every rebound. Well, we
can't be that way, and that's why they rebounded against us in the
So the toughness kind of jumped up at
us a little bit, but at the end of the day, we had some pretty much
balanced scoring, and we're doing some good things.
Let me just say this: We all need a break. I mean, what I
said to them after, I'm fighting guys too much, and I'm not fighting
Anthony (Davis) and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) because they're just
getting after it. But I'm fighting my point guard to be a point
guard, I'm fighting Darius (Miller) to be tougher, fighting Kyle
(Wiltjer) for defense and fighting Eloy (Vargas) to come up with
balls. You can't they've got to want that stuff
more than I want it. But we all need a little break.
I knew this would be a hard game, one, because of the opponent, and
Jimmy (Patsos) is a terrific coach, the way they play and what he
does. They had a chance of being up at half.
Q. What can you say about Michael's (Kidd-Gilchrist)
mother? I know there was some tweeting and stuff, and his play
despite whatever that situation.
CALIPARI: Well, we were trying to figure out whether we should
send him home this morning early, and we just the way
and what she's going through right now, it wasn't so immediate that
there was going to be things done today. It's in the early
process, and like I said, I hope that what we find out is all
good. But I would say, again, the Big Blue Nation prayers are
strong, and I would say everybody say a prayer for his mother and their
Q. Talk about the way that
Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) played. Jimmy talked about he was
surprised and thought maybe they actually had a mismatch or an
advantage at that position, that he kind of underestimated him.
Is it hard for you to imagine anybody underestimating Michael with what
COACH CALIPARI: I'll be honest
with you; he's dragging our team, which is great stuff. He's
dragging us. He's doing it whether it's rebounding, scoring,
making free throws, making 3s when he has to. In transition if
you give it to him ahead of the pack and it's him and one guy, he's
scoring 99.9 percent of the time or he's going to get fouled. You
know, he drags us in practice, he drags us in morning workouts.
He means so much, it's becoming I said this this
morning: My job as a coach is to teach all these young people how
to lead, but as your season goes on, a couple of leaders will stand out
amongst that group.
Teaching players how to lead
starts with leading and serving. The second part of it is you
lead by example, you don't lead by talk. And then you've got to
go on the court and perform to lead. So they've got to look at
you with confidence for you to lead. Well, I'd like to have 12
leaders. Now, one or two at a time are leading, but I'd like to
have 12 guys capable. That means I've done my job teaching young
people what it takes to lead in whatever organization they're in.
Q: Closing statement …
COACH CALIPARI: Merry Christmas to all of you here and to all of
our fans out there. Let's catch our breath and come back.
We have one third of our season gone. Can you imagine, we still
have two thirds to go? We've got a long way to go with this team.
To this point I'm happy, even though I'm
dragging some of these guys more than I want to. At the end of
the day, I like my team. I've got a good team. And when we
click and we all come together and we're all playing aggressive and
we're all bouncing and talking and we're all making easy plays, this
stuff gets scary. We're not close to that right now. But
this thing could get scary. Thanks.