Transcript: Calipari’s post-game presser

Full transcript of John Calipari’s post-game press conference.

Q. Talk about your bigs, how you think they played tonight.

COACH CALIPARI: I thought they were great. I think both of them played well. We had to put Willie (Cauley-Stein) on number one because he was doing whatever he wanted and Willie did a good job on him.

It was great to see that they could do that and he could go guard an athletic four. Really, the kid is like a three because of his size and Willie guarded him and did a heck of a job. That’s when you went from 18 or 20 to 28 or 29 because you made about four plays in a row where he stopped him from scoring.

But that’s a good team. That’s a senior team. The schedule they played up front is a tough schedule. But they’ll win their league. I’ll be stunned if they don’t. I like their point guard, (Jason) Brickman, the way he plays. But, you know, in the second half we played a little better defense.

Q. Did you know at the end and Archie Goodwin know he was close to a triple double?

COACH CALIPARI: No. No. If I thought that, I would have thought 10 turnovers, too. So it’s a quadruple double.

But, no, I’m not looking at that. Again, you know, we had five guys in double figures, and Kyle (Wiltjer) gets seven. But Kyle gets five assists. Julius (Mays) gets six assists.

Again, I got to figure out how we start games. You saw what I did in the second half. I went to a smaller team because I didn’t like our defense against their team. I didn’t like the matchups. So we went smaller.

Other times maybe we should start the big team. Now I got to figure out if we start the big team, how do we play offensively?

Again, we have a thing right now, 10 offensive rebounds is the minimum. After that, you’re running a 34 second liner for every one as a team after. They had six for last game, now it’s a negative one, so they get one off, so it’s five. Every one of you is responsible. If you want to run, let them rebound the ball. You don’t want to run, you better rebound the ball.

All the drills in the world, you can do whatever you want, at the end of the day there’s got to be a desire to go get it.

Q. Can you talk about Jarrod Polson’s play, what made you decide to go with him?

COACH CALIPARI: Because we were going to go small. I was happy for Jon Hood. Jon Hood played well. I told him after nothing that makes me happier than seeing him play well.

But I’m coaching him like Jarrod and like I’m coaching everybody else. I was on him in the first half, and rightfully so. You watched it. They’re shooting 65%. Don’t tell me they’re faster, quicker. Think about it. We didn’t talk again. We stopped on plays. Every time we stopped, it was a layup or a shot.

We hit into a screen. I can tell you every way that you can stop yourself. One is you run into a screen. You don’t have to but you do because then you can stop, you don’t have to keep playing. Somebody else guard him. He’s your man. We did all that stuff in the first half. In the second half I thought we played a little bit better.

Q. The other coach talked about 50/50 balls, how he thought your guys did a good job.

COACH CALIPARI: Better. Alex (Poythress) still doesn’t get any, but we were better.

Q. Do you have any updates on Ryan Harrow? Where do you feel like you are at point guard right now? Are you happy with the play you’re getting?

COACH CALIPARI: I am. I mean, we want Ryan back. Again, at the end of the day I think he’ll be back tomorrow. I think he’ll be in practice on Sunday and Monday and we’ll get started.

But the time away, he starts down the totem pole like last and he has to work his way back, then he has to work his way to time with Jarrod. Jarrod is playing well right now. He has to fight. He understands. He gets sick, loses the weight. The team doesn’t stop.

At the end of the day I would hope if it were your son, you would want me to deal with this the way I’m dealing with it. If this were my son…

Again, I’m going to coach him. If someone is better, he’s not playing. If he’s better, he’ll play in time. We need him back, need another guy, no question. Like everything else, you have injuries, things that go on as a coach.

This is who we are and I like my team.

Q. How unique is Archie’s ability to go in the air, take the hit, still complete the play?

COACH CALIPARI: He’s a good athlete. He’s long. The one thing the dribble drive gets you to do is play through bumps and he’s playing through bumps as well as anybody.

Like I said, we take good shots. We’re not taking bad shots. We shoot a lot of layups. We’re getting to the line. Didn’t make as many as we needed to. Willie missed a few.

But we got to be a defensive team that rebounds like crazy that can get out and run. If you watched them early in the game, they did what we want to do. Miss or make, fly up the court. Nothing there, let’s play. You try to get some easy ones in transition. One guy falls asleep. Kyle did. Threw it over his head, lays it in. You get three or four baskets like that a half, you’re beating people by 20, 25. If you’re walking it up, you never get any of those.

When you’re not playing as many guys, guys are playing 30 minutes or more, it’s hard to play a total game of running that way, so you give up a little bit of that.

Q. How well does Jarrod play within himself and how much does that contribute to him being on the floor?

COACH CALIPARI: No, he knows what’s expected. In pick and roll right now, I kept telling him he keeps looking at the screen because he doesn’t want to get hit. Instead of going off the screen, they go and shoot the layup.

When you talk about him offensively, he’s played against some of the best players in the college game the last few years and has done fine. I have a lot of confidence in him. He makes the three. He makes free throws. I’m confident in that. And he also is scrappy. 50/50 balls he comes up with probably as well as anybody on our team.

There may be a game or two where he’s just going to spot time because of the opponent we’re playing. But that’s few and far between.

Q. Is this the closest that Archie has come to that type of point guard play you’re looking for?

COACH CALIPARI: He’s capable of this. He only took 14 shots. Still there are four or five plays he made where he tried to make the hardest play he could make. Those all led to turnovers. So the three turnovers he had with that.

I told him at the time, why would you do that? Just make an easy play. But he’s learning. I’m saying that when he goes 22 9 9. But it’s like I said to Alex, you know, still playing 50, 60% of the game. The rest of the game I’m screaming at him to sprint the court, go after a ball, trying to get these guys to understand if we’re to be any good, if they’re to be what they think we should be, everybody else thinks we should be, you can’t give up on possessions and you have to play every minute you’re on the floor or sub yourself, let somebody else play.

Q. You said last week if you played Archie at one it was going to be a little harder to get out and do those things. Are you finding a balance there?

COACH CALIPARI: We worked on it in practice where we’re getting out and sprinting the court. There were still a couple we didn’t sprint. We got guys that have the habit of jogging up and down the court.

The game’s going too fast for some of those guys.

Q. When you look at the big picture, what things did you start to see evolve? How happy are you with or can you sum up this home stand?

COACH CALIPARI: We’re just learning. That’s why we wanted to play these kind of teams that would come after us, not be afraid, come in here with an attitude that they could win.

Then the way we’ve been starting these games, whether I got the wrong starting unit in there I don’t know, but the way we’ve been starting these games, we let these people think they can beat us. They go in at halftime saying, we can beat these guys. So we’re learning that right now.

It doesn’t matter who starts, it’s who finishes. For me it does matter because we’re going to get in games in our league where we’ll be down 25 at half playing the way we’re playing, knowing we’ve got to get more physical, understand, sprint the floor.

We had 28 assists at 10 turnovers today. That’s huge. That’s a big number. Again, I’ve been hard on these guys. I keep telling them, if you can’t take me, I care about you, and you know I care about you, you know I love you, if you can’t take me, how you taking the opponents we play? How you going on the road and playing?

So we’re getting better. But I kept telling them right now it’s my team and I don’t want it to be my team, I want it to be their team. They don’t talk enough, huddle enough, relay offense. Two or three plays out there, guys didn’t know what we were running because the other guys didn’t relay the call. He called a play, one guy heard it, the other didn’t. You relay a call, we’re running two. We don’t do that right now. We’re into our own thing.

That’s why I keep saying, it’s still my team. I want it to be their team. This is going to take longer than last year. May take as long as two years ago to get these guys to really understand what they have to do. But I like my team.

Q. When you have a young team trying to learn to play defense at this level, how much of a challenge is anticipating what the next pass is going to be instead of always reacting?

COACH CALIPARI: That’s the whole point of it. Like I told Kyle after the game, there were three possessions, one that he did a great job of guarding, then he stopped, stood up, they threw it to the guy, now he had to rush the guy, which meant he couldn’t play him, and he drove around and scored.

If that’s happening too much, you can’t be on the court. Someone else has to play. First time you did it, then you stopped. Oh, my. It’s too late. He drives around.

It is all anticipation. You have to stay in the stance and play the whole possession and you can’t stop. We are stopping just about one guy on every possession right now. We don’t have a full possession where I’m looking like it’s a glove, five guys moving, we’re all moving together. It isn’t. Three guys are playing, two guys are standing. One guy looks. The guy cuts. Oh, my fault.

Again, today it happened. In the first half it was ridiculous. So it’s where we are. But we’re talking about a team that is so young that this is the growing pains of a young team.

Q. Did you want these six days off or did the schedule fall this way?

COACH CALIPARI: We got a lot of work to do. They’re going to have off tomorrow. I tried to see if there’s any way, because it was Thanksgiving, if we could practice. If it’s a holiday, there’s no 20 hour rule, there’s no six day rule, there’s no rules if you’re in a holiday. We’re in a holiday, why can’t we go tomorrow?

I checked it again and again. I made them read me the rule out of the book. We cannot practice tomorrow. So they’ll be off.

We’ll go Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, then Wednesday scale back for a game on Thursday. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, we got to get after it, figure out big lineup, how are we playing offensively, what are we doing. We got a lot of questions to answer.

Again, we’re showing signs.

 

 

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