John Calipari: “We had two guys that gave up on the game”

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John Calipari’s post-game transcript after loss to Arkansas.

Q. (Question regarding if free-throw shooting was the reason UK lost the game.)

COACH CALIPARI: They beat us to loose balls. We missed 10 one foot shots. We missed all free throws that mattered. We have a lead late, we’re leaving timeouts, not executing.

We took two steps back today. Give them credit, they played hard. They turned us over, but we turned them over. They had 20 turnovers. We left two timeouts. At one point I sat down and I would not speak to them. What are we running? I already told you in the timeout.

We took a big step back. Great lesson. Had our chances to win. They made offensive rebounds. They miss a shot, the ball comes, we got no one. It was frustrating.

A lot of stuff today, all the things I’m talking about, player driven. Everything was coach driven today. There was not one player driven thing today. That’s what happens in that kind of game. When the other team is fighting, you got to be challenged by it, coaches, this is what it looks like.

Q. Looked like some guys were hesitant to shoot from the perimeter. Second straight game where you struggled to make anything away from the basket.

COACH CALIPARI: Our guards didn’t play well. I mean, you could say shooting. I could tell you dribbling. We had three guys that had 11 turnovers between them. So our guard play was horrendous today.

Q. Some people projected a two team league over the course of the weekend.

COACH CALIPARI: This should be five teams with maybe a sixth. That’s what this league should be.

The sad thing is when we beat each other, the league is soft. Really. When everybody beats each other, it shows the parity of their league, how strong their league is top to bottom.

This league should have five to six teams in.

Q. How disappointing is it at this time of year to have a team that takes two steps back?

COACH CALIPARI: Disappointing. But it’s done now. We’ll have to deal with it. We have one practice and go to South Carolina. It’s almost like: Next, let’s see.

The difference with the Florida game was there was so much to be encouraged about, we could move on. This one is almost like you’re waiting, what’s going to happen in this next game. Hopefully they understand and take stock.

The biggest thing is you have to take responsibility. We throw the ball late to James Young in the corner, really, with timeouts, talking every timeout. You have timeouts, don’t throw it away, don’t put anybody in a bad position. The guy that had to get open didn’t attempt to get open. So we throw the ball to James with the timeout. Turn it over, that’s the ballgame.

None of the three want to take the responsibility. That’s what young guys do. Can’t alibi. Every one of them, ‘My fault, I should have done this,’ you’re right, but I could have done this. You know, ugly.

Q. With all the talk about that celebration after the LSU win, what that would do, did you think this team had turned a corner?

COACH CALIPARI: You know what, at halftime I needed to take more guys out. Dakari (Johnson) just missed a bunch of one footers. A couple guys shouldn’t have been in the game. They should have been backups and we should have played other people. I knew that.

You’re trying to nudge them to get them to go. You know, all I can tell you is disappointing. I didn’t expect it. I thought they’d come out and play. They didn’t. The other team played harder than they played. The game got physical. We couldn’t make one footers. It’s physical, so what? There’s bumping and grinding. Then don’t play.

You know, you can’t miss 12 one foot shots. The guy bumped me, grabbed me, hit me in the face. So what. Let someone else play.

Q. You talk about how this was a good lesson tonight. Are you starting to worry that your team is running out of time to learn from these lessons?

COACH CALIPARI: No, we’re still good. Just like anybody else, you have a bad game and now you move on from it. We had one at LSU and we just had another one. You know, in both games we had our chances.

The thing that disappointed me today is even with the lead, we had two guys that gave up on the game. You know it because you watched and you saw. They gave up on the game.

You got to just keep fighting. It doesn’t matter how you’re playing; it’s about our team. That’s what we’re trying to bust through right now.

Q. You’ve talked a lot this year about having fun.

COACH CALIPARI: This was the game to have fun in because of how they play. They’re running and trapping and scrambling. There’s no real plays. Pass it, move it. One on one. You can get out and run.

This is the game to have fun in. We took 76 shots. 20 of ‘em bad, but…

If the game got physical and they played really hard, you’re not having fun ’cause they’re playing harder than you. But this was the game. You know, you outrebound them. This is the game to have fun. There’s no plays. They’re trapping. Just throw it and run, go. But if you’re not into it, if you don’t have that energy, if you’re not into team, you can’t have fun. I don’t care what kind of game it is.

Q. You’ve talked about that, having them complement each other, huddle the right way, touch each other. Are you running out of buttons?

COACH CALIPARI: We’re young. We’re 18 and 19 year olds. The biggest thing is take responsibility. As long as you take responsibility and know you need to change, you’ll change. If you listen to the clutter telling you it’s everyone else on the team and not you, now you don’t change.

Just take responsibility, know what happened, let’s make some changes and let’s move on.

Q. Can you explain the number of lobs that you attempted that weren’t successful? Is it just guys trying to make an easy play?

COACH CALIPARI: They gave us layups. They backed away and the guys were trying to throw lobs when they weren’t there. A couple we didn’t run where the lob would have been there. We weren’t getting out and running. We were jogging the floor.

But the reality of it is they backed away, took away the lob. We’ve had that before. We’ve had teams do that to us. You shoot layups. Just go in and shoot a layup. You don’t need to. Or if they’re all in the lane, you won’t believe this, come to a jump stop, pass it to somebody. They crowd the lane, you got to make that pass.

We got a little anxious today. Like I said, it’s a great lesson for us. Hopefully they take stock in what happened, individual players take stock in how they played. Look at what you did. Look at your numbers. Look at what you did defensively.

We played defense. There was about a five minute stretch I thought, Now we’re playing. About a five minute stretch. Then all of a sudden two guys started walking around, heads went down. I’m like, You got to be kidding me.

That’s where we were in this game. Again, give Arkansas credit. They competed and battled. Neither one of us shot the ball very well, but they made their free throws.

It’s really disappointing, 1 2, 0 2 in crunch time, in a game like this. You know what, this is where we are at this point. We’re not going to be great every night out. This is one of those efforts that I’m not happy about, but it’s what it is.

Q. What did you think of Willie (Cauley-Stein) being active?

COACH CALIPARI: Willie was good. Willie tried. Offensively rebounded, went after balls, blocked shots, had a presence. Again, this may have been a 15 or 18 point game if Willie wasn’t in there.

Q. (Question regarding Julius Randle.)

COACH CALIPARI: He was. He played too many minutes. I’m trying to get guys to sub themselves. They just don’t get it. The longer you’re in there, you’re not going to play better, you’re going to play worse. If you’re in there for numbers, you end up missing free throws, missing shots, not getting the key rebounds. You don’t look good. You don’t only hurt yourself, you hurt your team.

Less minutes. Sub yourself. Get yourself out of games. Wasn’t just him. We had a couple guys that tried to play too many minutes.

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