NEW ORLEANS — Transcript of Kentucky press conference after national title game:
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you want to give an opening remark.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, really excited about how we started the game. Our first half, the last couple minutes of the half, weren’t real good, but these guys for two days were in a great frame of mind. They had an unbelievable shoot‑around today. We kept talking the same way: This is a basketball game, it’s a basketball game, just do what we do.
Second half I will tell you that we missed a few shots. I pulled the reins back a little bit and tried to get them going again and they did fine and made plays. Marquis Teague’s three and those two free throws were huge. I like the one that Anthony Davis goes 1‑10 and you guys say he’s the biggest factor in the game.
When I asked these guys a month ago what do you do to help us win when you’re not making baskets, you have an idea when you do what he does.
Q. Is it time to admit this actually means something to you?
COACH CALIPARI: You know what it is, I told my wife, I’m glad it’s done. Now I can get about my business of coaching basketball and getting these players to be the best that they can be, helping young people, you know, create better lives for themselves and their families, and also helping them prepare for life after basketball.
I can get on with that. I don’t have to hear the drama. I can just coach now. I don’t have to worry. If you want to know the truth, it’s almost like, Done, let me move on.
Q. Coach, you are a competitor, though, you played to win. There has to be some joy in a championship?
COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah. Listen, this team deserves all the accolades that they’ve been getting. And what I wanted them to show today is that we were not just a talented team, we were a defensive team, and we were a team that shared the ball. I wanted everybody to see it because it became, They’re more talented than everybody. We were the best team this season. We were the best team. The most efficient team. We shared the ball.
I’ve wanted that. I told them I wanted this to be one for the ages. Go out there and show everyone what kind of team you are, even though we were young. It doesn’t matter how young you are, it’s how you play together.
Q. Michael, on the play when they went to the back‑door pass to Tyshawn and you managed to block the shot, can you take us through that play?
MICHAEL KIDD‑GILCHRIST: I got beat on the back door. I apologize, coach (smiling).
COACH CALIPARI: It’s okay, Michael.
MICHAEL KIDD‑GILCHRIST: But I just blocked the shot, so…
I don’t know, that’s it.
Q. Anthony, everybody in Charlotte and throughout the great state of North Carolina would like to know if you’re considering coming out in the NBA draft?
ANTHONY DAVIS: No, I haven’t decided. Coach Cal we have until April 29th to decide. I’m going to wait, sit down with my coach, sit down with my family, see what the best decision is for me.
Q. You know what this means to people in Kentucky. What does it mean for you personally to be the conduit to that? Secondly, as a team you’ve argued about the one‑and‑done thing all along. Does this validate that can work?
COACH CALIPARI: I don’t think it’s a good rule. I hope we change it before this week’s out so all these guys have to come back.
But it is a rule. It’s not my rule. It’s a rule we have to deal with.
Let me go back to your first question.
The fans, the Big Blue Nation, all the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we did this for them, too. We know what it means to them. We know 5,000 of them camp out for our first practice. We go around and meet them all. Everywhere we go on the road are packed with blue. Tonight’s building had to be 70% our fans. So we want to do it for them.
But more importantly, what a lesson for these young people, that if you share, you give up some of yourself for everyone around you, if you care more about the teammates than yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. It doesn’t matter your age. That’s the lesson in this.
Everybody wants to go back, that they’re all 19 and 18 years old. Yeah, they are. But they’re special young people who really decided that, We’re going to do this together.
When you say Michael Gilchrist and Anthony Davis taking the fourth and fifth most shots on our team, that’s saying something. I wanted them to feel this, to understand the rest of their life, it’s about servant leadership, it’s about teaching all those guys how to lead. It wasn’t just one guy, I wanted them all to learn how to lead.
Q. You talked about Davis struggling offensively but still impacting the game. Can you expound on that.
COACH CALIPARI: He rebounded. He had 16 rebounds. At halftime, I knew he didn’t have a point. Before he left the gym, the locker room, I said, Listen to me, don’t you now go out there and try to score. If you have opportunities, score the ball. If you don’t, don’t worry about it. You’re the best player in the building, so don’t worry.
I think he went out and shot the first three balls.
ANTHONY DAVIS: I was open (smiling).
COACH CALIPARI: I know why you were open. You were 1‑10, they were leaving you open.
He had six blocks and 16 rebounds and five assists. Again, about a month ago, I looked at them all and I said, Tell me what you do to help us win when you’re not scoring balls. You saw today with him.
Q. Darius, when you were a freshman and the program was where it was, did you think your senior year you’d be wearing a net like this?
DARIUS MILLER: No, not my freshman year.
Q. So that changed. How meaningful is that for you?
DARIUS MILLER: It’s totally different. My freshman year, I was in the NIT. All y’all know that. For it to change so fast, it’s amazing. I’m blessed to be a part of something like this, especially with these guys.
Q. When the buzzer sounded and you knew you had won, I you screaming and hugging. What was going through your mind at that moment?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Michael got up real early this morning screaming, playing music, saying, We finally here. I was like, Michael, will you be quiet. It’s was just a joy to win a national championship, especially as a freshman with this team that we have. We have a great team. We all go out there, play hard, defend. When the buzzer went off and we have more points…
Kansas is a great ballclub, defend, play hard. It was just a great moment.
MICHAEL KIDD‑GILCHRIST: I was just really happy for all of us. I mean, this is a young team, stuff like that, so…
I’m just happy for all of us.
Q. Coach, this has been your life. You’ve devoted thousands and thousands of hours to this. You’ve been happy with your accomplishments before, getting players to be successful after their careers. With everything you’ve gone through putting your life through this, you’ve reached the culmination, can you take a look at your inner‑self right now? What goes through your heart and mind right now, inside?
COACH CALIPARI: Guys, I feel the same as I did before the game. I don’t feel any different. I’m not going to change who I am. I’m here for these young people, and they know that.
I would hope they tell you they play hard because they trust me and what I’m telling them it’s in their best interest. And so I don’t feel any different. I’m not going to feel any different in the morning. I’m going to go to mass in the morning. I’m going to be the same guy I am.
I’m telling you. It’s over now. I can get about my business of coaching young people and not have the drama of all the other stuff.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI: I’m really tired, to be honest with you. I’m hoping you guys stop asking questions so I can go back to the hotel.
But I wasn’t emotional. This is about them. It’s not about me.
Q. Take us through the moment when Kansas made that last run. You huddled up there. What was going through your minds and what were you saying to each other in the huddle?
DORON LAMB: We huddled up and at that moment we just wanted to get stops. Told ourselves we got to get stops to win the game. At the end of the game, we got stops. Marquis made the big three, made two foul shots and I made two foul shots and that was the game.
TERRENCE JONES: That was pretty much it. We just huddled up and said we wanted to get stops, that this was the time to do it. We got ‘em and we just executed on offense. Marquis made a big three and two free throws.
Q. I know this was just another game, but now that you’re national champions, can you give us an idea what it’s like?
DARIUS MILLER: I can’t really explain it or put it into words. All the hard work that we put in this year, the sacrifices that people have made on this team means a lot, especially with these guys. We’ve grown as brothers. We’ve had a lot of fun with this. I can’t really put into words how it feels.
Q. Doron, if you could tell us what this win means for you and your parents, who helped you learn the game of basketball at a young age.
DORON LAMB: It mean a lot to me. I worked hard to get here. Coach Cal told me I’m going to have a big game today. Had a great shoot‑around. I made a lot of shots today and helped my team to win.
Q. Terrence, you were holding on to the trophy out on the floor saying, I’m not going to let it go. Who got you to let it go?
TERRENCE JONES: I mean, it was great. I just had to let it go because I had to get up to my mom and my family. It would have took too long to get up there holding that big trophy (smiling).
Q. Coach, can you talk about how big those two threes were by Lamb? Doron, how does it feel ending the season being the leading scorer?
COACH CALIPARI: At the shoot‑around when I watched him, I said he’d get 30 tonight. I’m a little disappointed he only got 22. I exaggerated, I said 25.
He is as good a guard when his motor is moving as any guard in the country. He can play multiple positions. He shoots it. He makes free throws. He’s good with the ball. He’s crafty. His shoot‑around today, I knew he’d have a big game. I knew it.
DORON LAMB: Just like coach said, I had a great shoot‑around. He told me I’d have 25 today, but I had 22. It feels great. My sophomore year, a championship, my first time to the Final Four, can’t get no better than that.
Q. Anthony, when you have a night like tonight when the shots are not falling, is it hard to not press? Is it harder to not take a backseat but do the work on defense? If this was your last game as a college player, is this about the most perfect way you could go out?
ANTHONY DAVIS: To answer your first question, it’s not hard to take a backseat, especially with playing with a great group of guys. All these guys could play. I knew I was struggling. So I told to them, I’m going to defend and rebound, you all make all the points. That’s what they did tonight.
The answer to your second question, it’s a great way. Like I said before, I’m going to wait till April 29th and decide what I’m going to do then, sit down with my coach and my family and see what is the best decision for me.
Q. Terrence, you had a decision to make this time last year and decided to come back. Can you talk about how rewarding it is to come back and have done this?
TERRENCE JONES: Having that meeting with coach, trying to come back and win, getting myself better, rewarding myself and my whole team with having a successful season is just a great way to finish.
Q. John, these guys might be too young to appreciate it, but you keep talking about how happy they are for you. Someday when they bring their kids and there’s a banner and they can say they were a part of that.
COACH CALIPARI: They’ll have a big picture in the Craft Center of their national championship team. They can walk them up show them, This was me, I was skinny then, I know, but that’s what I looked like.
It’s for the ages now. It’s the eighth national title.
Q. Do you think based off this one year, that Anthony deserves to have his jersey retired?
COACH CALIPARI: I’d like to retire all the jerseys. What they did this year. Is 38 wins the most ever? We did 38 in 2008. I think that’s the most ever.
You know, they’ve done that. This team has done a lot of stuff.
Q. Terrence and Doron, what does it mean for you guys to give Coach Cal his first national championship?
TERRENCE JONES: For us as players, play for him, it means a lot just because he gives us so much credit anytime we win and he’ll take all the fault if anything goes wrong. Just to win for him is something special.
We play so hard for us to just play for him.
DORON LAMB: Means a lot for Coach Cal. His third year at Kentucky, he finally one. I’m so happy to win it for him.
Q. Terrence and Doron, coach talks a lot about how unselfish all of you are. Where does that come from? What is that like for you that came back and had these great freshmen join the team? Is it hard to share the spotlight? If not, where does it come from to be able to do that so well?
TERRENCE JONES: It just comes from us just getting along and liking each other so much, just being friends and brothers off the court just makes it easier on the court. We just built chemistry all over the summer that made us play real well together. We got along. No one cared who got the accolades. The main goal was to getting to this point and winning. That’s what we focused on.
DORON LAMB: Just like Terrence say. I don’t care who get the spotlight really. I just go out there and play hard and try to win game. We won the whole championship, so I’m just happy for my teammates.
Q. Coach, before the game, I had an opportunity to speak with your in‑laws, and they’re proud of you. They spoke about when they first met you when you were a graduate assistant at Kansas. Can you talk a little bit about what you feel, how far your career has progressed from the days when you were a graduate assistant back in ’82, ’83, now having won a national championship.
COACH CALIPARI: A friend of mine called me today from Massachusetts, Kenny Ford, and he said, I met you in whenever it was, and the greatest compliment he paid me is, You’re the same guy now as you were back then.
So I hope my friends in Kansas who we worked together and I lived there say, He’s the same guy. My friends in Memphis, you know, I don’t know, it’s hard to look back.
Right now I’m going to have two days and then I’ve got to go out recruiting Friday. So you tell me to look back. I’m just looking forward. Let’s keep marching. Not trying to offend anybody, but…
Q. Darius, I believe you and Darrell Griffith now are the only players to win Mr. Basketball, a state title and national title. Your thoughts on that? What do you think this means to UK fans back home?
DARIUS MILLER: I know it means a lot to them. Like you said, they’re huge UK fans. That’s even before I got there. I know it means a lot for them, as well as the rest of the people in the state. It’s a big accomplishment for all of us here. We’re proud to be a part of something like this.
Q. Coach, we all know you have six professional‑caliber talents. How did you get young guys to play as if they were not auditioning for the NBA?
COACH CALIPARI: Anthony, answer.
I just do what I do. I don’t know what to tell you.
First of all, it starts with how you recruit them. I mean, you can’t tell them you’re going to shoot 30 times a game, the offense is going to run through you, you’re going to start. None of these guys were promised they would start, how many minutes.
Then you got to recruit them the right way so they know you’re trustworthy. And then they got to trust that you’re doing it for them, it’s not about me.
Is that about accurate?
Then they’ll do what you ask them to do because it’s for them. I’m not doing it for me.
I said this a couple years ago and everybody got crazy when we had five guys drafted in the first round. This is one of the biggest moments, if not the biggest, in Kentucky history. The reason was, I knew now other kids would look and say, You got to go there. What I’m hoping is there’s six first‑rounders on this team. We were the first program to have five, let’s have six. That’s why I’ve got to go recruiting on Friday.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations. Thank you.
COACH CALIPARI: Thank you.
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