John Calipari: “Lot of noncompetitive guys out there”

youngdunk300UK coach John Calipari after win over Transy.

Related link: Brian Lane’s post-game comments.

Q. Brian (Lane) said when you were talking the other day about opponents are going to sag, you were giving him a scouting report how they wanted to play. How much was this sort of a learning experience for your guys dealing with that?

COACH CALIPARI: The biggest thing that’s learned is energy and effort trumps talent. It just does. It always has, it always will. Now, talent that trumps the energy and effort, and they do both, like they come out, then you dominate play.

Obviously our talent isn’t playing with enough energy and effort. But every team’s going to play us the same way. They’re going to hold a little bit, they’re going to try to trick us a little bit, try to make 3s, then run back and jump in the lane and don’t give us a chance to get to the basket.

What we did is we’d throw one pass, hold the ball and try to drive it. You can’t. You swing the ball, you make hard cuts, you open up lanes, where they can’t come in. When we did it, we kept getting wide open shots, but guys started holding the ball.

The biggest thing is you give up 30 points, Guys, they’re making 3s, are you watching the game? We had a lot of that today.

We have a ways to go. Like I told the guys after, that doesn’t look like the No. 1 team to me,

Q. Seemed like at least early Dakari (Johnson), Julius (Randle), the only two guys out there giving an effort.

COACH CALIPARI: James Young, Dakari. The only reason I did what I did in the second half, Dakari, you played great, but I got to get Marcus Lee in the game. You got to play Marcus Lee, so who doesn’t play? Somebody, somebody. Who is it? Because he goes in with that kind of energy, he changes the game.

Q. You tried a few lineups.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, because I had to see guys. I had to see Derek Willis, I had to see Dominique (Hawkins). Let me see them in this game now where a team is more organized, they’re trying to trick you, do certain things, playing a certain way. It was tougher on those guys.

I thought Jarrod (Polson) was good. All that Jarrod did was run really hard and push the ball. We had absolutely none of that in the first half. We didn’t get a breakout. There’s the difference between running and sprinting. We have a lot of guys that running has always been good enough, and, this is me. You can’t be on the court then. You know, it’s okay, but you can’t be out there.

This was a great lesson. Jon Hood played well. I even said after, how did Jon Hood play? He played great. Yeah, he missed every shot, but he played great because he played hard. He just competed.

We had a lot of non competitive guys out there. They’re just going to have to learn. This was a great lesson for them.

If you don’t compete, I’m taking you out, which is what I’ve always done throughout my coaching career until last year. I couldn’t.

Q. There was a moment in the second half I think after Jon Hood’s dunk, you turned to the bench, were upset. Were guys not excited enough?

COACH CALIPARI: I made everybody stand up, like this is what you’re going to do. It’s who you’re going to be if you don’t start competing. Learn it. Stand up, cheer, wave the towel, do whatever you’re going to do, but you’re not going to sit there. You get in that game and you fight like crazy.

Some of it was lineups. Well, then maybe one or two of those guys don’t need to be on the court. When I watch the tape, it will be more obvious. We just stopped. We didn’t talk. We blamed a teammate.

I mean, they scored 12 in the second half, and 6 of them were on a team I couldn’t leave on the floor, the guys I started the game with. I had to take them out again. I said, you guys, c’mon now.

Q. You had a couple five for five substitutions in the second half. Is that something you’re going to do a lot?

COACH CALIPARI: If we get that kind of effort, that’s exactly what will happen. They’ll all come out. Then the guys will be saying, please don’t play me with him and him because you’re going to take us all out. Then all of a sudden peer pressure takes over. Then I don’t have to coach the guy to play hard, they will. Or they’ll walk over to me and say, take him out, just get him out of the game.

This was a great lesson for us. It’s what this team needed. Brian (Lane) did exactly what we wanted Transy to do: played really hard, spread the court, kept coming at us, made 3s, sagged on defense, and were physical.

Like the first guy that caught it and went after it, just said, that’s it, was James Young. Then I looked at Julius and said, why aren’t you doing that? Throw it off the backboard, go get it. You could do that, but you’re going to get clubbed a little bit because when you shot it, three guys were clubbing you to keep you away from the goal. You had to fight to go back in. We had three guys with like one rebound now. One rebound, so…

Q. Willie (Cauley-Stein) played 21 minutes, Dakari played 17. Are you trying to balance them right now down low?

COACH CALIPARI: No, I’d like one of them to step out and play more. But Dakari played well. He did. The only reason he didn’t play more is because I wanted to give Marcus Lee some time. He gets eight rebounds in 17 minutes. Think about that. Pretty good.

Q. How well does Marcus practice?

COACH CALIPARI: Always does the same thing. It’s just that he’s at a position, he doesn’t have a skill set to play a four at this point. So now I got to figure out, do I got to play him at some four and how do I do that, because Dakari has to play. I think Willie is good enough to play. Now you got three guys at that kind of position. How do you play all three? One of them has to play another position.

Q. How different are you guys, certainly offensively, when Andrew (Harrison) is out there? Do you worry a little bit about that?

COACH CALIPARI: No. I think we got to play Jarrod some more. Maybe he plays more point and get Aaron (Harrison) at the position he normally plays. Today the pace of the game was just too fast. I mean, they sprinted faster back than we raced the ball up the court. We had six inches on each guy. So that means their legs were really moving much faster than our legs to get back. We didn’t get close to getting a basket in the first half, a breakout, we didn’t get one.

Again, you got to give them credit. They weren’t afraid. Their kids weren’t afraid. You can’t say, That was a senior group. They were all freshmen, too. They were all freshmen.

So we’ll go twice tomorrow, twice on Sunday, play on Monday, see what happens. See if we can cure some of this stuff.

Q. You said you wanted to see what you thought of Willis. What did you think of him?

COACH CALIPARI: They didn’t perform as well as they have been in practice and what they did in that scrimmage. When the other team did some things that confused them a little bit, they didn’t perform. Derek gave up more than he scored. He scored a couple baskets, but he gave up like 11 points. You can’t give up 11 and score 4. You can give up 11 if you score 20. You can’t score 6 and give up 11. You can’t be in the game.

We left corners, we left shooters. The only way they could beat us is shooting threes. How many games are we going to play this year that that’s what they’re going to do?

Q. You said several times you’re not going to play 11. Yet you said the other day you just started on defense. Is defense going to be the tiebreaker eventually?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, it will be. Energy, effort, defense will be tiebreakers. So that’s why guys like Jon and Jarrod, Just keep playing, man, doing what your doing, and eventually it overcomes any talent deficiency you would have compared to somebody. I’m not saying they’re not talented. They are. They’re maybe just not as talented as this guy.

They’ve got their talent. But that work, energy, effort, defense, will overtake that difference in talent. It really will over time.

Now, if they keep doing that and the other guys get challenged, one, they’re helping our team because they’re going to make us a better team, but they’re also putting themselves in a position where they get an opportunity.

Q. Brian also mentioned that you guys agreed before the game, no fouling out.

COACH CALIPARI: Right.

Q. What was the incentive?

COACH CALIPARI: Because I need the time with players on the court. Like Julius got two fouls, walked over, said, I got two. I said, Don’t worry about it, you’re staying in. We only had about 10 fouls in the game. Is that what it is? We had 11. There were a couple body checks I don’t think we needed.

What I’m seeing, I’m teaching so much no hands, only one guy being active on defense. Let me see if you watched the game. Who would that be? Who was the active guy on defense for us?

I got one guy that’s being active. So by telling them not to get your hands and do all that, some of the guys are using that to say, I can’t get up there and play. Well, James is.

So like I say, we got a lot of stuff. It’s kind of like failing fast. You got to have this stuff happen so you can figure out, Okay, where do we got to go? How do you got to challenge them? Do they understand? The greatest tool I have is that bench. Sit down and cheer. Sit down and cheer.

I’ve been here before. I mean, I think it was 19 17 last year, 11 4 the year before, we were down. I’ve had teams, really good teams, lose in these exhibition games. This is what you want. At least give us something that we can learn from.

Thanks.

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