UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 21, 2012Richmond High School
Kentucky - 81
Morehead State - 70
THE MODERATOR: Coach John Calipari is here.
COACH CALIPARI: Yes, questions?
Q. What do you think of Morehead's play tonight and your kids' reaction to it?
COACH CALIPARI: We started the game shooting all jump shots, because it was the easiest thing to do. You gotta give Morehead credit they just came after us, got up under us, got body?to?body, hand checking. Needed it. It's exactly?? I said it before the game: They are going to come after us, and we didn't respond early. You can't shoot jumpers in a game like that, and what happened was we just started saying, okay throw it to the post every time, we threw it to Alex or Archie in the post. Couldn't throw it to Nerlens early because he couldn't make a free?throw. We can throw it to you, but if you're not making free?throws, how do we keep throwing it to you? You've got to make your free?throws. What, are you going to miss two more and two more and two more?
It was a good game for us. You walk out again, we don't rebound the offensive end, yet we gave up rebounds. We're shooting a high percentage, we're making free?throws. They shoot 36%; it's not as though they shot 55% against us. Alex and Archie were tremendous, for young kids, but we just?? they wanted Kyle, and I told Kyle, "This isn't last year. You want to be on the court, you got to guard somebody. They went at you every single time."
He's gotta learn. He's also got to come up with balls. Willie looked a little overwhelmed because it got a little physical. You want to stay in the game you better fight like heck. If not, sit over here, let the two guys play.
Look, we are where we are. I watched 20 minutes of the game the other night. These dudes?? it's like they're in Februaryright now. They have their teams back, they're hyped up. We're not there. We're just trying to get better.
Q. Can you update a little on Ryan Harrow?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he practiced for two days. I say, "practiced" in the facility with us. He called yesterday and said, "Coach I've got an issue I've got to deal with, and my mom is here, and I've got to deal with it."
If I knew more, I would keep it from you, but I don't know more.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI: Yes, it should be this weekend. It may be Friday but I don't know. We all love the kid, we want him to do well, we're trying to walk him through this. Mom is a little concerned; he's a great kid. We need him, but it's bigger than basketball for me.
You want the kid to be right, and you want to make sure in his mind he's right.
Q. You've said that Kentucky is not for everyone. Is Ryan struggling with the adjustment of this?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't think so. No, I don't think it's that. Might be some of it, but I don't believe that. He was getting better; that's the sad thing about it. He had?? I was all over him.
I just saw Alex's father and I said, "You know, I'm on him half the game, and he's playing better and better, but he's only 50% of the way there now."
His dad said, "That's why he came here. He wanted to be challenged, and he wanted to be coached, and he wanted to be pushed, and that's what my son needed."
They know that coming here. This is an open book; this is not we embellish and?? we don't do it. So I think he's fine. My hope is he comes back this weekend, and he's got to start on the road gettin' with the team and practicing and seeing where we are. His weight is still down, though.
Q. You talk about you can tell them what it's like when you try to simulate it in practice, but when they play a team like this do they get the message?
COACH CALIPARI: Let me ask you: How did people play us last year? They played us exactly the same way. Now what I see is that's how everybody is going to play us. You've got to mush and hope it's a day that they're not getting low and they're not getting through bumps and we bail out on shots.
The minute a guy took a fade?away, I subbed him out. You're either a man or you're sittin' down, because they're coming after your face, so go at the rim or sit. If you couldn't come up with balls in this game, I put somebody else in. The issue is I played Archie and Alex too many minutes, and you won't believe this but I wanted to win. I didn't want to lose the game, and those two had a will to win. Their will to win was unbelievable. Nerlens' was good, but he didn't have as much energy, and I liked the fact that they pushed and shoved on him because it makes him fight back.
Q. They were up 16?6, you call the time?out. Alex comes out, dunks it, scores 8 points in the next four or five minutes. What is that button you pushed?
COACH CALIPARI: We threw him the ball. We said, "We're posting Alex and we're posting Archie. The rest of you dudes get out of the way. If you want to win, you'll figure out stuff to do." This isn't brain surgery. Alex and Archie had it going, you keep going to him. My staff, the whole time, was saying, "You know it's Archie and Alex"?? "I know, I know. What do you want me to do? These other guys are out on the court. You should let 'em touch the ball a little bit."
The only thing I can tell you is we got a ways to go. There are a lot of teams better than us right now but I will say this: I like my team. We haven't figured out how we have to play but I like my team.
Q. At the end of the ballgame I saw Poythress grabbing his hamstring, is he??
COACH CALIPARI: He's fine. Archie had the cramps, and they're both fine, they were just?? they're good.
Q. As you know, Morehead had 16 offensive rebounds. What's going on there? Is that getting better?
COACH CALIPARI: We're better. We got some tough rebounds, Alex got a bunch of tough ones, Nerlens got some; Kyle is still not getting any tough rebounds. And when you look at this, if I go back, the long, bouncing balls that we don't get, those are guards, those aren't our big guys. But the ones around the goal that we don't get, those are our big people, and we will keep analyzing it and breaking it down and showing them on tape and obviously we gotta get better. We can't give up 16 offensive rebounds.
What they did is they just came right after us. You gotta give 'em credit for how they played.
Q. The problems you key with Kyle on defense, does that concern you? You thought he would be better at this stage or no big worries??
COACH CALIPARI: No, I don't have any worries because if he doesn't guard, he's not playing; it's real simple. I told him, I said it to him in front of the team, "If this is what other teams do to us, the minute I see it, if you don't stop the guy, do something to stop him, then you're out, and I'll play Willie or I'll go small and go Alex at 3, and we will go three guards."
I was going to do that tonight, and I didn't, because I want to get Willie time. I need Willie to be out there. But I almost did that and went small. But Kyle is capable. But, listen, here it is: You stop the man or you're sitting. Would you figure it out? You better try like heck, and I told him after, "Kyle, you know I love you, but you're not playing and guardin' that way; I'm just telling you now."
COACH CALIPARI: He's got to anticipate, he's got to be rougher, he's got to be nasty. You don't want to be nasty, you're probably not going to play. Doesn't mean dirty, it means playing people before angles and all those things, but I'm gonna tell you, playing that way is really, really hard. It's easier to loping up and down and letting the guy catch it andthen trying to play him, obviously that's not getting it done.
Q. Quick turn around to Friday night. What will you and the team do over the next few days?
COACH CALIPARI: We're going to have Thanksgiving at my house tomorrow. We're going to do a walk?through later in the afternoon; we're not going to practice. We may do a little bit of film stuff at my house, and then we're going to do a movie?? there is a movie that I want them to see. We may do that tomorrow night and go Friday.
As you know, we always give them off Christmas. They're going home for three or four days, I don't care. Mainly because I want to be with my family, to be truthful, but it gives them a chance to go home, and I've done that every year I've coached. We never will stay here over Christmas, not happening. I won't play in a tournament that we would have to miss Christmas; that's time with our families. Usually I give them a day and a half off over Thanksgiving. The way the schedule fell it's not what's happening, so we will just have to deal with it.
Q. When they were down like that, was there something that you saw in them where they were starting to get it, it's like, we have to react to this pressure, we have to do some things differently?
COACH CALIPARI: No, I was thinking it's going to be a long Thanksgiving is what I was thinking. I didn't know and hadn't seen these guys in this environment. You have to understand, I'm learning about my team and they've got to be thrown in situations like this. We need another team to play a zone the whole game. We need another team to do what this team does, foul you and get up into and grab you, and I know there is one more we're playing, there may be a couple.
We got to play those guys. We've got to play a team that's going to hold the ball, spread the court and hold the ball and make us play defense for 35 seconds and shoot a three. We need all those kinda games.
Q. In the Maryland game 15?0 run, tonight a 16?0 run. Is there any similarities you're seeing from your guys when they're giving up these long runs?
COACH CALIPARI: We're not stopping them, and we're not scoring. (Chuckles.) It's not brain surgery, no. Look, there were a couple of plays where we didn't come up with balls and didn't block the shot, and I looked at the guy, "Why didn't you get the ball?" "Well I tried." "You tried?" "Why didn't you block that?" "I tried." You what? We're in the mode where we think it's okay to try. What about them? "They tried harder." "I know he tried harder than me, but I did try." That ain't gettin' it. That's what happens when you get a bunch of young guys. We're getting better. Isn't it nice that we were down and had to fight back? And how about the second half? They didn't go away, and I think we got down 6 again and we had to come back.
It's good for us. It's what this team needs. There are games you may be up 25, but what do you learn other than okay we got stats and nice stats and all?? this is how you learn. Let a team come in and bang you around and do their thing, you know? Thanks.