Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Video/Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-@Louisville ~ Battle of the Bluegrass Press Conference Interview


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Head Coach John Calipari

On Malik Monk’s statement that he only needs an inch of space to be open …

“We weren’t doing him justice early. Until I watched the Valpo game when he didn’t get the ball for six minutes, I said, ‘The way he started the game and didn’t touch the ball for six minutes – that’s on us because nobody on my team is selfish.’ That’s not their job to figure out who should be getting the ball more. That’s (the coaching staff’s) job. We put in a few little wrinkles for him. Now all he does is practice those wrinkles. The other side of it is, when he says, ‘I can get off any shot,’ that’s good and there’s an issue with that because sometimes you may not take the best shot. You could get a better shot, but he looks and says, ‘But I have a shot.’ You could get a better shot. When you’re dealing with 18- and 19-year-olds, you have to let them figure out some of this stuff themselves and then watch the tape and talk to them. He has to get fouled more. This is a game that you can get fouled more, so go. Get fouled more. Get to that line. (Justin) Jackson from UNC went to the line 15 times. If he can do that and now do what he can do on the perimeter and have a mentality of playing to get fouled, now he becomes, OK, let’s just shore up the rebounding because he’s defending pretty well right now. 

On if he knew wearing jeans to a press conference became a story …
“Was it a story? Was it a story, really? I was getting ready for a nine-hour plane flight. Did they expect me to go in a suit? The suit is $1,500 dollars. I’m not going to wrinkle it up.”

Reporter: In the NFL you get fined.
“For what?”

Reporter: For not wearing a tie. 
“To where?”

Reporter: To the press conferences.
“The coach? I was going to say. They don’t wear ties on the sidelines, do they? I didn’t know that, but you guys know the travel with us. I get changed after every game on the road because I’m going to the plane as fast as I can go to the place. I’m not going to be the one hanging around and making us wait.”

On what makes Louisville a good defensive team …
“They’re long. They’ll mix it up and play different ways. They switch, so they could switch pick-and-rolls. They switch one through five at times. They’ll play their matchup zone and tilt it to somebody to take away guys. You watch what they did to Purdue. They took away their two guys. That kid has averaged a double-double his whole career. Then, down there, he couldn’t get a point. They do a good job of taking guys away. I would imagine, in this game, they will play fast and if they don’t score quickly, then they’ll play the clock. That’s my guess. My guess would be that they play their 2-2-1 on made goals to slow us down and possibly play it on missed goals and get back. How will they play Malik? Will they trap? Will the switch? I imagine they’ll try some different things. Run at him with different people to make him think. They’re a terrific defensive and offensive team. I was just working out and watching tape and I had the guys come on over and look. (Louisville) was up 30-10 against Baylor who’s the third or fourth ranked team in the country. They were up 20. I said, ‘Now, I’m going to have to watch the rest of the game because somehow they lost this game. I don’t know where, but I’m in second half and they’re still up 17 or 18.’ Here’s why I didn’t watch it: What does Baylor play, all you Basketball Bennies? What defense? It’s the greatest. You have no idea what they play, right? If I didn’t watch the game until now, what do you think they play? Zone, because I’m not playing zone. I might in this game though, Rick (Pitino). I might. I may play a triangle and two. I’m trying to figure some stuff out. Baylor played man-to-man against them and they got lobs. They play good against zone or man. Look, they’re a top-10 team and we’re on the road. It’s going to be a hard game.” 

On wanting Monk to drive more …
“The main thing is, when he sees somebody, when you jump this high, you’re not thinking I gotta get fouled. You’re thinking I can get this off. I’ll jump by him and I’ll flip. The problem is he will make about 2 out of 10 of those and he had one against North Carolina where he flipped it and threw it, didn’t go in. My thing is you’re in that position, get fouled and go for and ones. He’s never played that way and we’re trying to create a new habit, and then you just have to do it. The same thing with rebounding. Put him down there with the bigs. He’s never had to do this and we’re trying to get him to create new habits. Trying to get Bam (Adebayo) to create new habits, Isaac (Humphries) to create new habits. That was the best thing we did is hung in there and rebounded against those guys. It will be the same thing here. What I have seen is they shoot the ball and those bigs have one job: Go get it. Just go get it, and if you can’t beat them off the glass then you can’t beat them. You will not beat them.”

On the meaning of this rivalry ...
“I’m happy when it is over. Just get it done. I mean, everyone makes it life or death and it’s not life or death. It’s worse than that. I guarantee Rick is the same way. Let’s just play the game and let’s go. We have our league to deal with. He has his league to deal with. Let’s just move on.”

On being a coach if he were going up against someone that has beaten him eight out of nine times …
“Well, if you listen to Bob Huggins, he would tell that he beat me eight out of nine times. Forgot I got beat by 50 in one of those. I’m just saying that because out of the 800 wins he has had, he has enjoyed beating me more than anyone else, and he has done it more than once. I don’t think any of the past games have any impact on this game. When I’m coaching against a guy that has won some games against me, I’m not worried about the past game, I’m just saying, how do we win this game? I would say that he is thinking the same way.”

On his relationship with Coach Pitino …
“It’s been fine. We’re 90 miles away from each other. Coach at competitive rival schools. It’s hard to send each other Christmas Cards. I have known him for 25 years. I know how good of a coach he is. He is a great coach. He’s a Hall of Fame Coach. He has won at everywhere he has been. National championships, Final Fours. Come on, you know how good he is. And we’re in the same state 90 miles away from each other trying to carve out our own thing. We’re not mean to each other, not nasty to each other. At Augusta he and I worked out together and had a conversation for 35 minutes. We worked out for 30 minutes and talked back and forth. We talked about his son and we talked about what was going on and we just went back and forth. I think that was after something you guys said that he said or I said. Anything I say is geared to somebody – either him or this guy or that guy.”

On if he will have him on one of his podcasts …
“I would love it. Did you listen to today’s? Let me start. I’ve got to do this and then I’m going to answer your question. Guy comes at me and says, ‘Do you want to do a podcast?’ And if you know me – what is a podcast? I don’t know what a podcast is. He tells me what is it. I say, ‘Really? Any coaches doing it?’ And he said no. So what did I say then? ‘Alright, now you’ve got my interest.’ And then it became, ‘How much time am I going to spend?’ ‘Thirty minutes a week.’ ‘Can I do it with my wife? Because it’s her time that I’m stealing?’ ‘Yeah, you can it with her.’ We’re going to have Christmas with my two daughters and son around the table, 35-minute podcast, and I’m going to have a whistle because my daughter Erin cusses, she says stupid stuff, so I’m going to blow the whistle so you can’t hear it. Phil Knight, interviewed him. Karl(-Anthony) Towns. I’m trying to get John Wall and DeMarcus (Cousins) together. I’m trying to get Anthony (Davis) and Michael Kidd(-Gilchrist) together. I’m just having fun with it. It’s nothing – did you listen to today’s?”

Reporter: I haven’t listened to today’s …
“Well what’s wrong with you?”

Reporter: It’s with Coach K, isn’t it?
“Yeah. Coach K and I went about 37 minutes. And I told him before we started, ‘You know everybody is going to be stunned that we would do this.’ Like, I’ve done his. He’s on Sirius radio and I went on his and went for 30 minutes with him probably a year ago, two years ago. I mean, this profession, we’re competitive, but no one really knows what the coaches are feeling except other coaches. That’s why Coach (Joe B.) Hall is in my practice three, four days a week. He’s telling me to play the 1-3-1 zone and play two bigs and all that stuff, but he’s in there three, four days a week. He’s the only one that knows what sitting at that desk is like. And I think we coaches – yeah, we’re competitive and there’s things. ‘This guy hates …’ At the end of the day, if any of the coaches need help, whether it’s Rick or anyone else, I’d help them. Would do it. So, that’s why I did it. And then the other thing was, I said, ‘Are there financial things in this?’ And I said, ‘Can I use that for my foundation?’ Then it’s one less thing I’ve got to do for my foundation to raise money to give it away to kids. That’s why I did it. So now what was your question about this? Cal Cast – say it right. Cal Cast. And no one in the state of Kentucky knows how to get on that podcast. And you know why? Because I didn’t know how to get on it. And if I don’t know how to get on it, that means out of the 4 million people in this state, 3.9 million have no idea how to get on a podcast. I don’t know how to get on it. So, do you want me to tell you how to get on it? I have no idea. Google it. What is it? iTunes! There you go. Does anybody get on iTunes? I listen to Soul Sister every once in a while. That’s about it.”

On Monk’s way working when he takes jump shots even though Cal wants him to drive it more …
“I told the team, ‘Isaiah (Briscoe), what are you going to say to him?’ ‘You better make it. If he tells you to drive and you shoot it, make it.’ I won’t say anything. There was a play that De’Aaron Fox made. He came down and I said, ‘Don’t you throw it in there!’ He was literally right in front of me and he threw it in there and Bam scored. And I said, ‘Nice pass. Way to get that thing to him.’ I mean, it just better work if you’re not doing what I’m asking you to do. And there are times they have a better feel than I do. They know how they are feeling, and I’m not – it’s not my ego. You know I don’t call timeouts to show you what play I know. You know I don’t do that. I’m not. This is about these kids being their best and these kids feeling comfortable competing. Here’s what I said to them and I’ll say it this game: ‘You do not have to be perfect. You do not even have to be great. But you’ve gotta play because this team plays hard, they are competitive, they’re physical, they’re not afraid to bang. If you don’t play, you have no chance of winning. You have a chance. You don’t have to be perfect or great, but you better play.”

On Dominique Hawkins’ big game vs. Louisville and what makes him good in games like these …
“He was great. He probably has a little edge that my other guys don’t being from the state. That game, being here and being a Kentucky fan is whole life, I would imagine he’s probably not a Louisville fan then. You’re not both. And so it probably meant a little bit more. But he was great (last year). He made shots, and he made daggers. Came up with balls. He was good.”

On Derek Willis developing defensive confidence …
“I have no idea because I haven’t seen it. Look, yesterday my thing was to them: ‘Are you starting to feel, freshmen, like every game we play is like life or death?’ And they all bust out laughing. And I said, ‘That’s what it is here. How do I coach?’ And they looked at me, ‘Like it’s life or death.’ And you got to be able to take that. The guys that can take what I’m doing, it has no effect on them except the positive. We still have a couple guys that if you hit you see that look and you go, ‘Sub him. Come on. I don’t have time right now. We’re trying to win this game.’ But Derek has gotten so much better. Mychal Mulder isn’t the same player. He’s just not. He is so much better. Now, like I said to him yesterday: ‘Was I going to take out Malik for seven, eight minutes for you to play? This isn’t communism.’ Am I going to take out De’Aaron Fox the way he was playing? Or was I going to take out Isaiah Briscoe who without him we do not win the game because he rebounded. He blocked out and rebounded. You’re in that position. You’ve got to wait. And the other thing is maybe I play him at some four. We play like Villanova’s playing. Villanova plays four guards and one big. And Bam out there with four guards, I think maybe we can be OK. I’m not there yet because I want Wenyen (Gabriel) and Derek to keep doing their thing, but that is there if we need it.”

On Monk rebounding and how they balance rebounding with wanting to get out and run in transition …
“OK, if you’re near a man and a shot goes up, you probably want to check him out. If you’re not near anybody, go ahead and run. But he is near people and his man is going that way and he’s ending up games with no rebounds. Now we chart rebound attempts. He’s got the lowest percentage – rebound attempts. You’re not going to get every one, but I want to know how many times you attempted on offense and defense. And then we show them. A guy like Wenyen’s trying every time. It’s just physically he’s just not there. Bam is like almost 100 percent on both sides. This last game he didn’t check out a couple times in the first half and they tipped balls in on him, but he’s getting better. We chart that. Look, these kids are learning. Here’s what I’m saying: What this game is to us – Dec. 21. Where are we on Dec. 21 playing a top-10 team on the road on their court? Where are we? When the game ends we’re leaving for Christmas. Are we mature enough to deal with that? Where are we right now? That’s what this is. Love to win it, but let’s really learn about where are we right now. And we know how good they are.”

On if anyone on this team will step up against Louisville like Tyler Ulis did the last two years …
“And then we had Josh (Harrellson). You remember Josh Harrellson in that game a few years ago? What was that? That was the time before (2010) was like ridiculous the way he played. Do you know who did not play in last year’s game, all you Basketball Bennies? Why didn’t Isaiah Briscoe play in the game? I wanted to know if he had the Louisville flu or if he did really turn his ankle. But he is a tough – this is his kind of game, so we’ll see. Our schedule, we still have Kansas coming up. These kind of teams, I’m glad I pushed all these games back. UCLA, they were better than us. We weren’t ready for that game. Now let’s see if we’re ready for this game. Don’t know until we get in the ring.”

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