Sunday, November 30, 2014

Video/Transcript: UK Coach Calipari post-Providence Interview

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

JOHN CALIPARI

COACH CALIPARI: Let me look. All right, it is November 30th. Good. It’s my wife’s birthday. I just wanted to make sure this was the day. Yes.

Q. John, was this the kind of hand-to-hand game you wanted?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah.

Q. What did you learn?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we got to play with more energy to start the game. We still, you know — I’ve had three Chicago guys do what Tyler Ulis did today, which is change the game.

I had Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, and Tyler Ulis. And I — very rarely do you see a guy walk in and just change the game. Like, change the whole flow of it. And he did that today.

But let me go back and tell you, Andrew Harrison was really good today.

Four steals, four assists, in 20 minutes. That’s like an eight and eight move. And he still scored. And I told him he needed to score more when that group is struggling. He’s going to figure out to be the point, yet he is a terrific scorer. And when they’re struggling he’s got to –

I was happy for Alex (Poythress). Karl(-Anthony Towns) is still struggling a little bit. Willie (Cauley-Stein) was unbelievable, defensively.

It was a good game. And they did what teams are going to do. They’re going to try to move the ball, try to go into the shot clock, they’re going to sag in a man or a zone, they’re going to play like everybody else is going to play us.

Q. What did you get specifically out of Willie, defensively? And how important was he with what you guys did with (LaDontae) Henton?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, Henton’s averaging 25 a game, and it’s hard when you’re a seven-footer (Cauley-Stein) with feet like that to really get shots off.

The basket he had, Trey (Lyles) put his hands down and he lulled him and shot a 3, which we had talked about for two days. That’s the move he has. That’s when he gets his three. Make him put it on floor.

He’ll average 25 this year. Their team is going to be fine. They’re beat up little bit and not really healthy, but they’re going to be fine.

And like said, I was happy, we were up at half, and I told our team, this is what we need, and we got another one coming up Friday (vs. Texas).

Another team that’s going to come in here undefeated and Top-10, and they’re beasts. Their inside game is awesome in Texas, so this is all good. These kind of games are good for us.

Q. Re: Willie Cauley-Stein

COACH CALIPARI: Willie also was good in the post today, which gives you the added dimension. Now he’s guarding one of their best players, and he’s able to go on offense and score.

It was a tough matchup for them, because a guy guarding him was going to be about six-six, six-seven, and he’s about seven-foot one.

Q. As much as you guys started to lock down defensively, they had the ball, down six, they’re going to the rim to cut it to four with 10 minutes to go, and Alex rises up and blocks and has a little stretch there.

COACH CALIPARI: Alex had a block, he had a rebound, and he is still finding his way. This — this isn’t easy for these guys.

But, I will tell you this: They don’t have time to say, well, it takes me five minutes to get going. You just don’t have time for that. You got to come in and get after it.

And I — Trey struggled today a little bit, but he’ll be fine. Trey was great in practice yesterday, so that’s why I was surprised.

But, again, there was a loose ball he could have got. There was two rebounds he could have gotten. There was another block he could have gotten. And those are plays that he’s capable of making.

Here’s what I’m telling my team: I’m not asking one person in that room to do something that they’re not capable of doing. I’m not asking one player to do something they’re not capable of.

Now, you may choose not to do it, you may not want to do it, you may give up before you get to that point, but I’m not going to ask you to do something you can’t do.

Q. You mentioned, again, that this kind of a game is good for you guys. Why?

COACH CALIPARI: Because it’s how everybody’s going to play us, and we got to see where we are when the game’s tight. Who can make shots, who is making plays when the game is the other team — there’s no one going to surrender.

Especially in the first half of games they’re coming at us. They’re playing here or even at home and it’s a highly ranked team and it’s Kentucky. They’re not giving up and we got to see what we can do and how we’re going to have to play.

I told them today, I made some substitutions, which I will make. One guy wasn’t playing well enough, you’re out, you lose a few minutes, be back and be ready next game.

I went to the small lineup at one point, I shuffled Andrew and Tyler in because of foul trouble, offense to defense, which we can do easily.

But we, again, — listen we got a ways to go. I loved our execution at the end again. We made the right plays. We can finish off a game. We have proven that.

Now we got to get a little bit more comfortable and confident against the zone. I thought we held the ball too long at times.

Q. Could you just elaborate a little bit more on Tyler’s play.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, just his energy. That’s all it was. Came in with unbelievable energy and bothered their point guard. Took him out of all the stuff they wanted to run. They couldn’t get in a rhythm.

To start the game they were in a rhythm. They came down threw it to the wing, they threw to the elbow, he dribbled around, he went off a pick and roll, he did.

Well then it was like, oh, my gosh, you’re almost pushing off to keep this kid away from you and then it makes us more confident defenders behind him. So now we’re taking some chances.

It’s like I said, it wasn’t all the other stuff. I think he made a couple shots. You know, he makes a couple baskets, doesn’t matter, only had one assist.

But the energy. Now, after he came out, you saw Andrew and Aaron (Harrison) energy go up. And that’s when you start beating teams down.

But the start of the game wasn’t what we needed it to be.

Q. Can you talk about how this platoon system wears out the opponent, especially in the second half?

COACH CALIPARI: I don’t know if it does. All I know is we’re trying to keep energy on.

As the season goes on, there are going to be teams that will play eight or nine guys that can take this.

I just want to see us do what we’re supposed to do and play with high energy and share the ball.

Again, we had 13 assists only seven turnovers. Didn’t shoot a whole lot of threes. I thought Devin passed up a couple threes.

But, we are what we are right now. Aaron Harrison has four assists and six points, but he’s still, he missed a couple baskets he usually will make, but he’s getting better.

Q. What do you want to see, when you talk about being comfortable and confident in a zone when you’re watching out there, what do you want to see?

COACH CALIPARI: That you’re not putting the ball above your head. See, the minute you put the ball above your head the zone sags.

You have to be an aggressive player catching it on the perimeter like you’re going to make a play and then make a pass.

That means you got to be willing to make plays. You can’t just say I’m giving it up and let somebody else do it.

We’re, right now, with Alex and Trey, we’re trying to get both of those guys to get a shot before they catch the ball.

In other words, you know where you’re going before you catch this. Not catch it and then try to make a play. They’re not, they’re not as effective that way.

Q. When the other team is trying to grind it down, slow it down, is there anything you can do to impose your will and say, no, we’re going to force this tempo?

COACH CALIPARI: You could do the old stuff that they used do at Loyola, you stick one guy down the other end and then they still hold the ball, put two guys down the other end, say, shoot it.

But this, I like this. It makes us grind it out. It makes us have to stay in a stance 30 seconds, it makes us have to put more pressure, so they turn — you can’t let them hold the ball 35 seconds and get an easy shot at the end of a clock.

And what happens is, if they’re holding it and they take a tough shot, and you run it right down at them, they start wearing down.

You could say we start wearing down, but, okay, then we put another group in.

So, I just say, hey, if that’s how you want to play, that’s fine. We’re trying to be more playmakers off the ball, trying to get them to do that. In other words, deflect the ball from the guy you’re guarding. Everyone else, you’re a playmaker, blocks, steals, do stuff off the ball.

Q. Alex is playing similar minutes as last season, has similar numbers. What’s he doing differently or what’s he doing better than he was last year?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, he’s going to get better and better. He’s doing some of the same stuff. We just, he’s got to — we got to get him more comfortable in, offensively, where he’s taking shots, plays he’s making, and offensive rebounding like crazy.

That was the biggest thing that I’m saying to he and Trey. I want those two to offensive rebound. Trey got two, Alex got one. I want those both to have three a half, between them. So you have six offensive rebounds between you two.

There’s no reason for not. You’re six-ten and you’re six-eight and you put your head on the rim. Every shot that’s taken you don’t have to go back, go rebound.

So those are the things we’re trying to — but we’re not there. Look, this is a work in progress. It’s no different than last year. The difference is we got some vets, so we’re a little bit ahead of where we were. But it’s still a process. It’s a brand new team.

Q. How big is, in the overall scheme of how what you guys are doing, like Willie, who can guard up in the perimeter, how good was that?

COACH CALIPARI: Willie was good today. He took on the challenge. Took on the challenge. And again, I, you have to talk to him about it, but I was proud of him.

Still think he should be a double figure scorer. He’s a good enough shooter, he can make free throws.

He gets too small in the post, he doesn’t get a wide enough base at times, so he could be aggressive.

We got to get Karl to stop fading away. They will never call a foul on a fade away. Stop fading away. He’s missed 10 one-footers now and he looks around like, “They hit me,” they ain’t calling — you fade away they’re not bailing you out.

So we got work to do with him.

Dakari was better later in the game. Early, he struggled. Basically they out-fought Dakari early in the game. As the game went on he started out-fighting them and he played better.

Q. What’s the situation currently with Tod Lanter and Sam Malone?

COACH CALIPARI: They’re fine. They’re with our team.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports….

Video/Transcript: UK Players Cauley-Stein, Andrew Harrison, Poythress Post-Providence Interviews

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN

On his game …
“I played OK. I still—there’s plays that should’ve been made, like two steals, missed layups, a lob that I missed should have been a bucket, getting around screens and stuff. But other than that, it was high-energy, and it’s really all you gotta play with.”

On playing a tough game …
“It was good. We needed that. They’re a really good team and they’re going to do a lot of really good things this year. I’m just glad we came out on top and kind of spread the lead out how we did. It wasn’t close, but there for a second it could’ve went either way.”

On why they needed this kind of game …
“Just experience. You’re not going to bury everybody when it comes time to—any tournament time, any time when stuff starts to get rough, you gotta know who can be in the game and who can’t be and what matchups work and what lineups go with who. Those games are perfect for that now.”

On Tyler Ulis’ defense …
“It’s just an annoyance. He’s all over the ball and he’s so quick and his court vision is so good that he’s able to impact the game on both sides.”

On whether he was surprised by Ulis’ blocked shot …
“It was funny ‘cause the other day in practice Coach said he was never going block a shot. Right when he blocked it, I said, ‘Oh, he blocked it.’ ”

On whether he was aware LaDontae Henton was averaging 24.3 points per game …
“I was told he averaged 28, 30 points (laughter). Yeah, I did know that. They also said that about Perry Ellis too. Just play defense on him.”

On whether Cal fudges numbers sometimes when talking about opponents …
“I think so (laughter).”

On Cal saying players can sub for each other …
“It’s more of a mutual understanding. You kind of give an eye contact, like, ‘Should I go get him? Should I get him?’ And then he kind of gives you the nod and you go. I don’t think you’ll ever just get up and go.”

On not getting worried when the game is close early …
“Just how we play, the platoon system, you can’t get settled into a game, so it’s going to take the second half before you (see), ‘Oh, well there’s going to be a spot in their defense here. If we put a guy there it’s going to be a bucket.’ It’s just going to take a half before you realize what the weaknesses (are) on their defense and what our defense needs to do. By the time the second half comes, you know all that. You can make adjustments.”

On wearing opponents down with depth …
“It’s just good that you know you don’t have all the weight. All the past years I’ve been here, it’s like you’ve got a certain weight on your shoulders knowing that you don’t have a guy that—especially my freshman year after Nerlens (Noel) got hurt—you don’t have a guy that’s coming to get you. So you gotta play really, really high minutes and you’re tired most of those minutes because you’re not getting off the floor and if you do you’re only getting off for two minutes. So it’s like a blessing and a curse at the same time because you’re not really tired because you only need a couple minutes out, but then once you’re in there you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, I think I can go back in,’ but you gotta wait for the next platoon set to go. But it’s just good because it gets everybody as a team to get their minutes and everybody gets their playing time and gets to showcase what they can do. It keeps everybody happy, so that’s the most important part.”

On the team dominating defensively with not as many blocked shots today …
“That’s a big factor about our team. That’s what we focus on is just defense and being defensive playmakers, like stealing balls off the ball, not on your guy. Like anticipating a pass to steal it or digging on a guy and tipping a ball away. That’s what we’ve been working on in practice. It’s starting to show up. Guys are starting to get a knack for it. It’s going to be good.”

ALEX POYTHRESS

On the balance the team had …
“I feel like when everybody comes to play we are such a balanced team. We’re all trying to get baskets for each other.”

On the beginning of the second half’s defense …
“We just tried to pressure the ball more, get in the passing lanes, get more deflections, make the elbow passes harder, and get weak side from blocks and what not.”

On how he feels now after missing those two games and what the illness was …
“Yeah, I’m good. I had tonsillitis. I was in bed for a couple of days. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, body was feeling weak. But I’m good now. 100 percent.”

On what he’s doing differently this season …
“I feel like defensively I’m doing a lot better – getting more steals, getting more blocks, being in passing lanes and disrupting the ball more.”

On what he saw in Ulis’ energy …
“He came in and picked up the pressure, picked up the ball pressure and got up in them, moving his feet and making them real uncomfortable out there. (He) sped the game up. That’s what we like to do – speed the game up. We like to get an open court, get in transition.”

On if he could tell Providence was getting frustrated …
“I mean you can always tell how frustrated someone gets, especially when you’ve got a little guy like Tyler up in you. He does a great job doing what he does.”

On it being frustrating wanting to run the floor and Providence was slowing down the game …
“It’s real frustrating. They changed defense a lot on us. You just got to get into a rhythm and settle down offensively and attack the defense.”

On if there was ever a moment where he decided he was going to lock down on defense since he wouldn’t be scoring 20 or 30 points like in high school …
“I mean, we’ve always stressed defense here, and I felt like last year I kind of picked it up on the defense last year at the end of the year. And this year I’m just trying to pick up where we left off.”

On the team’s depth and wearing teams down in the second half …
“We just try – we come at you in waves. We’re 10 deep – 12 deep counting Dom(inique) and Derek. They could easily be playing right now. We keep on coming at you. We’ve got fresh legs and we just keep on attacking you, coming at you, and we’re just bringing all we’ve got.”

On if his primary goal is to dominate on the glass going into each game …
“Yeah, you know it’s hard for teams to box all of us out. We’re so big, we can’t accept being blocked out. So we just attack the glass, especially with our size and length.”

On if Coach Cal has always been on him about offensive rebounding, or if that’s just something that’s picked up this season …
“I mean it’s always been one of my things I’m real good at, one of my skills is offensive rebounding. He’s just on me to make sure I’m doing it each and every time I’m out there.”

On his block and dunk in the second half that helped start UK’s scoring run …
“It kept us going. We were on a run, we scored a couple baskets, and I got the block. We scored again, and then I went down and got the dunk and the layup and, you know, it was just part of the little run we were on. It just picked up the energy out there.”

On if he feels like this is the best defensive team in the country …
“Honestly, yeah I do. When we’re all playing like we can, I feel like it’s hard for teams to score on us. We’re so big, so long, so active, we can switch and really do anything we really need to do on defense.”

On what Ulis does so well defensively …
“He’s up in you. He’s real quick, (has) real quick feet, disrupts the ball, up in you, just like a fly trying to get away.”

On if he sees other teams get frustrated because of Ulis …
“I mean yeah, ‘cause we see what he does in practice, so of course he’s going to do it to other teams.”

ANDREW HARRISON

On what Willie Cauley-Stein did to shut down Providence’s leading scorer …
“I mean, Willie did what Willie (does). He can really lock up anybody. The way he can move his feet, and his length, it’s amazing. I love having him on my team. He’s the best center in the country.”

On if Cauley-Stein gets matched up on him in practice …
“He’s usually on my team in practice. I’m used to it. People don’t understand how hard it is to get simple layups in practice, so those practices definitely make the guards better at maneuvering their shots and stuff like that.”

On how his steals and defensive pressure helped turn the game around …
“They couldn’t slow down as much as they wanted to. I felt like that helped a lot, just energy all over the court.”

On how Ulis played today …
“Tyler played great defense. He’s really a pest on the defensive end, and that really picked up the energy of the team.”

On if Ulis compliments him well when they switch off as point guards …
“Definitely. He’s a great player. I mean, like everyone else on the other platoon, everyone compliments each other.”

On if Cal inflates stats when talking about opponents …

“I don’t really want to comment on that (laughter). I mean, maybe sometimes. It’s just motivation, trying to get us to play as hard as we can. You can’t blame him.”

On how good Coach Cal is at pushing the right buttons for each player …
“The right button (laughter)? I don’t know. He’s tough to play for sometimes, but you have to know he always wants what’s best for you. He’s always looking to add something to your game. That’s what he’s doing for me and it’s really helping me.”

On if he feels like his coach sometimes pushes the wrong button, but down the road he sees that it was the right one …
“Way down the line (laughter).”

On what he knows about Texas …
“I know a couple of guys on the team. A couple of guys actually played in my district in high school, so I’m looking forward to them. I know they’re a great team with great size like us. We’re going to have to play our best game to beat them.”

On needing hard games to figure out who needs to be on the floor in crunch time …
“I mean, we’re just trying to play every game as hard as we can. Having close games are great. We’re gonna have fun, and we’re going to try to win the game defensively. We’ve just got to execute and play it like any other game.”

On talking about close games after winning over Providence by 20 …
“We ran away with it at the end, but it was a very close game. They’re a talented team. I think they got a little tired at the end, but it was a close game throughout.”

On Ulis’ play influencing he and his brother …
“I think it was just the ball pressure he put on the point guard. And you can see how the game changed no matter what the score was. That’s what I tried to do, and I tried to make sure the rest of my team did that as well.”

On how he and Ulis being two different point guards wears on an opposing point guard …
“It’s tough, especially when you go back and forth and you don’t really get tired throughout the game, and you have to play with energy or Coach is going to take you out. It would be hard.”

On how realistic the idea that Cal has about the players subbing their teammates out for lack of energy …
“He wouldn’t want me to do that (laughter). I just need a sip of water and I’m ready. Hey, that’s a big responsibility. I don’t know if we’re there yet. Hopefully we can get there by the end of the year.”

Video: UK 58 vs Providence 38 Game Highlights

Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kentucky vs Providence....A Preview

Kentucky vs Providence 11/30/14 
(Sunday 2 PM) (ESPN 2)
UK leads the series 2-0

Providence Friars (Big East Conference)

Location: Providence, R.I.
Enrollment: 3,810
Arena: 12,410

Head Coach: Ed Cooley
Career Record: 149-113 (56.9%) 8 Seasons
At Providence: 57-44 (56.4%) 3 Seasons

2013-14 Record: 23-12
2013-13 Big East Record: 10-8 
2013-14 Postseason: 0-1 NCAA Tourney

2014-15 Record: 6-0

Providence 64 Albany 60
Providence 66 Binghamton 45
Providence 88 Navy 51
Providence 80 Florida State 54
Providence 75 Notre Dame 74
Providence 72 Yale 66

Providence Stats

PPG-74.2
FG%-49.4%
3 PT%-35.5%
FT%-67.1%
RPG-38.6
APG-16.8
TO’s-12.6
SPG-8.0
BPG-4.6

Probable Starting Lineup

Carson Desrosiers-C 7’0” Sr.
Tyler Harris-F 6’9” Jr.
LeDontae Henton-F 6’6” Sr.
Kris Dunn-G-6’3” Soph
Kyron Cartwright-G 5’11” Fr.

Other Key Players
Ben Bentil-F 6’8” Fr.
Junior Lomomba-G 6’5” Soph.

Providence is off and running with a 6-0 start including wins over Florida St. and Notre Dame. The Friars two returning starters are leading the way in scoring. Senior LeDontae Henton is averaging 24.3 PPG while shooting 55.7% from the field and 38.5% from the perimeter. While 6’9” Junior Tyler Harris is averaging 13.7 PPG and shooting a nifty 54.0% from the field. Henton and Harris also lead the team in rebounds. A huge key to defeating Providence is to stop Henton and Harris. Importantly, sophomore PG Kris Dunn leads the team in assists with 37. 

Thus far Providence is a surprising team that is ranked 25th in one poll. The Friars have good experience and height as their center Carson Desrosiers is 7’0”. They also have depth with 8 players garnering at least 12 minutes PG. The Friars will be a big step up in competition from UK’s recent easy wins.

Kentucky Stats

PPG-80.6
FG%-46.7
3 PT%-30.3% (30-99)
FT%-65.8%
RPG-45.2 (+29.6)
APG-17.6
TO’s-10.8
SPG-8.6
BPG-9.8

Thus far the UK platoon system has been working beautifully, but it will be tested in coming games with facing more talented and bigger teams. The Cats are playing tremendous defense and fortunately the offense is now beginning to significantly improve. 

Devin Booker has found his eye from the perimeter and is hitting 46.4% on 13-28. Aaron Harrison and Trey Lyles, both good long range shooters, continue to struggle from the perimeter. Aaron is 7-28 and Trey is 3-16….as the competition stiffens the team will need Aaron and Trey to significantly improve their long range shooting. 

Teams will be looking at every possible way to create problems for UK’s offense and that will likely mean tough zones and very physical play. Cats by 15…..GO CATS!