Monday, November 28, 2016

Video/Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-Arizona State Atlantis Showcase Press Conference Interview


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Head Coach John Calipari

On being in the Bahamas …
“To see the fans downs here. They go through a practice – I asked them to raise their hands if they’ve ever seen one of our practices, and they all were like, no. I said, ‘You add about another hour to our normal practice, but that’s the pace of the practice. That’s how these kids are challenged.’ So it’s pretty good. Then to be able to have them each take a picture with the team – I think for them to make an effort to be here and be with us for a few days is good. We’ve had two good practices. Doesn’t mean we’ll play great, but we have a bunch of guys in a great frame of mind about playing for each other, about being more about their teammates than themselves, yet being responsible for themselves. What we’re trying to do is have them develop the habits they need to win. It’s each individual, and it’s our team – to develop those habits, so it’s been good.”

On this year’s team sharing the ball …
“Well, when your guard play is at the level of (these guards,) even though they’re young they share. They have the ability to score, but they’re not worried about it because they know they can when they choose to. Then they just know through the recruiting process you’re not going to shoot 30 times a game here – 25 times a game – you’re not. You’re probably going to get if you’re our best players 13, 14, 15 shots. So make them good shots. If you’re the guy taking the most shots – 13, 14, 15 – you don’t take bad shots because those shots belong to the other guys who accept they’re not gonna take as many. You’re talking about six, seven, eight guys that are doing it. Then we have some guys who’ve got to shoot better. Dom (Hawkins), who had (seven) assists and one turnover, just gotta make some open shots. The same with De’Aaron (Fox). But I think all in all they are a team that shares. They are a team that plays for one another, and they play hard. We compete. Even in this setting we compete.”

On Isaiah Briscoe’s health …
“He’s fine. It was a butt bruise is what it was. So the MRI came clean, which meant it was like a thigh bruise. Alright now that I know what it is let’s go. Enough. It’s a thigh bruise. Now it was a deep one, and he had to miss a couple games, but at this point let’s go. He practiced yesterday. He was ridiculous yesterday. Really was. Then I was saying, ‘How in the world could you not play in the game and then the next game practice like you just did.’ Here’s what I said to my staff: ‘All these kids, there’s a fear hanging over them of what if something? Like, if you don’t know what that is, you probably take games off.’ After he knew what it was – with the MRI – he’s fine, but I don’t blame. I trust a kid when he tells me, ‘I’m not feeling like I can go.’ Then don’t go. We’ll figure it out. I just hope that someone doesn’t play really well and take your spot. Because that can happen too.”

On Derek Willis’ finger injury and his status …
“He shot better yesterday than he has in a month with a bad thumb. Looked like a sniper got him during the game, and then the next day he’s making every shot, so I’m not sure if, you know. But he’s fine.”

On if he has some “drama queens” on his team …
“No, I don’t, but I just think that, again, not knowing what it was – if you’ve ever had a strained thumb, anytime anybody touches it it’s awful. So I don’t blame him. I laughed. Maybe it’s that they’re tougher than we think, that they’re playing through stuff. Like Derek said right after the game (on Friday), ‘I’ll be good.’ I said, ‘Are you OK?’ The doc told me there was nothing there. They did the X-ray and he’s fine. ‘Are you OK? How bad it is?’ He said, ‘No, I’ll be ready.’ So they may be tougher than we think.”

On how he got this game together …
“Well, look, I say it all the time, we’re doing something that’s really never been done before, and every team is so young. You can’t go play three and four tough games early in November. You just can’t do it. Now other people can do it. I’m not saying it’s bad, but I do know there are some teams have got caught now because they have young guys and they’re playing in those events. I don’t have anything against the event. I’ve done it my whole career. We’ve played in Maui, the Rainbow. I coached in the Alaska Shootout twice. I mean, we’ve been everywhere, but I am now coaching all freshmen. And the teams that we have coming up now – Arizona State, UCLA, Valpo, North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas – we’re playing them all. We’re just not playing them Nov. 15. So to be able to come down here, I’d like to be able to do this every year – to come down and play a team that gets our fans that want to travel and do what this group of fans did. They traveled. They get around the team. They watched us practice. They took a team picture. Who could take a picture with our team? (Only) the fans that came on this trip. So, you know, I think that makes it kind of neat. And we get to travel a little bit, which is good for them, but not at the expense of playing three games back to back to back against teams we’re just not do that yet.” 

On how they came up with the idea to do the team photo with the fans …
“Anything that we can do to make it special for the fans that made this trip. The open practice they all sat through – they’ve never been in a practice. Now they know. But I said (to the fans), ‘Now you’ve got to add an hour (is what we usually do). This was an hour and 15 minutes. Now you’ve got to add another hour. And so that part of it is, it took us 15 minutes to take all those pictures. Come on, what’s the big deal? So I’ll go out here in the hallway (and take pictures) because I tried to stay away so they’re not just taking me by myself and then jamming up the pictures. I wanted everybody to get a team picture. But now I’ll go out and sign autographs and do what I have to do. I just wanted to get the team out of there. That’s what I was trying to do.”

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