Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Video/Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-@Ole Miss Press Conference Interview


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Head Coach John Calipari

On the team focusing on situational awareness …

“We’re just scrimmaging more. The biggest thing was putting them in situations because there are so many that come up in the game that they haven’t seen, so we’re doing more situational work, whether it’s man or zone, and scrimmaging. And we’ll do it again today.”

On the importance of getting the ball to Bam Adebayo in half-court offense …
“Well, they know it. We’ve made it clear that when he gets it, it puts pressure on the defense and helps us all. The biggest thing (for) these guys is with 25 seconds on the shot clock, a good shot is different from when there are seven seconds on the shot clock. Three minutes left in a close game, what a good shot is is a little different than 15 minutes in the flow of the game. That’s what they don’t understand yet. That’s what we’re trying to do when we’re scrimmaging, but I come back and say this: We’re playing on the road at Mississippi. Hard game. Ole Miss is a good team. Where are we on the 29th of December on the road within our league, we’ll find out. Not only find out, then it’s where do we have to go? Where do we have to take this? I think it was more discipline. I’ve been a little bit tougher in practice as far as holding them accountable. Making it clearer what we’re looking for and then holding them accountable. So that’s what we’ve been doing.”

On coming back from a break …
“Good. It wasn’t short. It was four days. They were good. This is a great group of kids. It’s just that we’re really, really young. For me, I remember the end of years. I don’t remember the grind of it. Like, I forgot how hard some of the stuff is with what we’re doing, playing all these young guys, knowing they need to be more disciplined, knowing shot selection, where to put the ball, what they’re thinking about. The only way you can do it is in practice scrimmaging. Like, in other words, I can stop a scrimmage and say, ‘No, here’s why.’ Can’t stop a game. Only have so many timeouts. You’ve got to let them play through stuff. And so that’s been an issue for us, but it is for every young team.”

On balancing transition, with settling into half-court offense …
“We’re pretty good in the half court. Again, what happens in the half court at times is, OK, shot selection, where the ball needs to go, situational why are we doing this? When to put them into pick-and-rolls, and that’s all stuff that I’ve got to teach and they’ve got to learn. We shoot it well enough. We penetrate well enough. We have enough of a postgame. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be good enough in the half court. Historically, my teams can play really fast and beat you or play in the half court and beat you. There are situations that this group has never been in that you try to put in in practice so they can see them and then talk through it. You think they know. They don’t know. ‘Well, I had a shot.’ But, there’s 25 seconds left on the clock and we could’ve gotten a better shot or we could’ve used clock and made them try to foul. It also goes to defense in the half court – the discipline and again with what we’re demanding now. It’s going to take time. I hope we’re ready for a road game in the league in an environment, where I would imagine is going to be off the chain like everywhere else we go, that these guys are ready for it.

On the players trusting each other …
“Yesterday I stopped them seven times (in practice). Why would a guy not do this and run to his own man? He doesn’t trust that somebody has him. So yesterday, every time a guy lacked trust in his teammate, I stopped it and said, ‘Do you understand that’s what that is, guys?’ Then, the other side of it is why would a guy not trust? Normally, he’s looking through his own glasses: ‘Can’t trust me, so I’m nor trusting anybody. I’m not focused on what I’m trying to do for the team. I’m just trying to find my man. If everybody’s playing the way that I’m playing, then I can’t trust anybody.’ It was only like four months ago that they were in Las Vegas playing three games per day and trying to guard their man. This is all new. They’re not selfish. They’re good kids. They want to get better. They want to be coached. It’s just that we’re young.”

On keeping the team from getting too high or too low after wins and losses … 
“Well, they’re playing at Kentucky and there’s either you win or there’s death. I mean, that’s how it is here, and they have to deal with it. But, what I’m doing as a coach is I can’t get caught on the highs and the lows of this. It is – there is a process that we always go through. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I can remember the team that everybody would say, ‘Oh, we are so good.’ We started four or five freshmen, lose our first game, lose a bunch of games, and end up going to the final game and have a chance to win the national title. And I kept saying to everybody, ‘We’ve got a good team. I like my team.’ And this team is the same. We’ve got a good team. We’ve got to have a couple of guys catch up. We’ve got a couple of guys who have got to get better. I’ve kept it real the last couple of days. ‘A couple of you guys should kiss me for playing you, because you should not even get in the game. When you see me, don’t think I’m mad you. You should say, ‘Ah, I love this guy. He puts me in games, and I know I shouldn’t be getting in.’ ’ I mean, I kept it real. I could sit here and lie to them. But, the reality of it is everybody has a responsibility to the other guy to do what they can do. And if they can’t do what is asked of them, then they shouldn’t be on the court. It is so simple. That’s it. You could say confidence. Well, you better have some confidence because it’s hard to stay in there if you don’t. This is – this is the big-boy game. Every game we play is like that. I’m watching Mississippi, they’re physical. Andy (Kennedy) has done a great job. They post the ball. They’ll shoot 3s. They’re doing their zones – their one-three-one, they’re two-three. They’re throwing a little two-two-one at you. They’re going man and trying to steal and deny. They’re playing physical. They’re rebounding. They’re playing like his teams play. And he’s got a whole new group. A couple of the kids are coming back and those are his – you can tell – the leaders of his team, the guys that are the seniors. But, you know a hard game for us. A hard road. They’re all hard. On the road, and you’re us? Doubly hard.”

On Ole Miss playing a 1-3-1 zone a lot lately … 
“Well, they did the last game. The game before they didn’t.” 

On if he anticipates Ole Miss playing that zone against Kentucky and the challenges it presents … 
“Well, you think about this. If you spread the court on my team, it’s usually pretty good for us. If you spread the court on us, whether it’s in a press – it’s usually pretty good for us. But, this is a young team. We’re prepared to go against it, but in that environment, you don’t know. That’s why I said these are all great learning experiences. You want to win every game you play. You want to win every league game you play and road game you play, but it’s learning, especially when you’re as young as us. Keep learning. It doesn’t mean I’m not coaching to win or I’m not passionate about what we’re doing; it’s just that the reality of us as a team. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got to get better.”

On how much they’ve been working on getting Briscoe the ball on the break … 
“Well, he’s been – we’ve kind of split up the teams a little bit so they’re more competitive. But, I’ve talked to the team about it and told them. And he needs to probably play with the ball in his hands more in the half court. We’re trying to work all of that out. We’re trying – who’s where and how are guys doing? That’s the other process of this.”

On the difference between free-throw shooting and 3-point shooting, as they relate to Isaiah Briscoe’s improvement …
“I think free-throw shooting, you’re standing there. It’s more of a confidence thing. I think 3-point shooting is more of being ready before you catch the ball. Being ready to shoot it, score it before you catch it. And he’s getting better. You can’t aim it. The 3-point line, you’ve just got to let it go. Foul line, you’re up there by yourself. He’s getting better. They’re all – I was surprised that Bam shot it poorly from the foul line (last game). He had been shooting it well.”

On what he got for Christmas …
“What did I get for Christmas? Well the girls got me – what did they get me? [Pauses to think.] I can’t even remember what Brad gave me.”

On if he knew his kids took a picture of him and compared him to a guy from “Home Alone?”“No. Somebody had told me they took one. They’re really funny kids. They’re really funny. Take pictures of me when I’m not watching and stuff and then put them out. How about that? Do you have kids like that? And then you wonder why I would never remember what they got me for Christmas.”

On NFL prospects sitting out bowl games and what he would do if one of his kids wanted to sit out a game …“I haven’t thought a whole lot about it. I saw a couple of those situations where players are doing that. You think about it. You don’t want to get hurt before this stuff, and I can understand it, but I would probably have to think about it a minute. I just kind of glanced at it. ‘Wow, interesting.’ But I haven’t’ spent any time really dissecting or, ‘Here’s why, here’s why not,’ to where I could think through. Give me some time. If you ask me that in a couple of weeks I’ll have a better answer.” 

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