Friday, January 13, 2017

Video/Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-Auburn Press Conference Interview


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Head Coach John Calipari

On his relationship with Bruce Pearl …

“We coached against each other a few times when I was at Memphis and then coaching here. (He) does a great job, mixes up the game. (Auburn) plays hard. They battle and fight. He’s good at what he does.”

On how he expects Hamadou Diallo to fit in with the team …
“I split up the group a little bit. We have a little six rotation on both sides, which is going to be good. It’s his first time. He’s probably anxious and nervous. I gave him a couple of things that we’re doing so that when we go up and down he can play those things and we can go against him. What I would imagine is that he’ll look a little lost.”

On athletes graduating early …
“They’ve done it in football for awhile. I don’t think, in most cases, that if a kid is 17 or 18 that he’d do it. But if you’re a little older and you’re in a prep school, then I don’t know why you wouldn’t. If a young man is 18 and he has a chance to go to college as an 18-year-old, then he should do it. That’s just my opinion. Unless you’re in a high school situation that’s really (good) where you’re going to benefit because of everyday practice. It’s like Karl Towns. There was no reason for Karl Towns to go back another year as an 18 year old. I don’t recommend it. I’m not saying to do it, but if you’re of age and you can do it, then I just don’t know why you wouldn’t.” 

On the practice situation for Diallo … 
“This is great for him. He’s going to get to workout all the stuff that he needs personally – we can be about. You can focus on what he needs. Then kind of shove him into this stuff, let him get a feel for it and go for it.”

On if he would play Diallo this season, even in the NCAA Tournament if needed …
“No. I wouldn’t do it for the program or me. The only way that would happen would be if it were in his best interest. The situation wouldn’t matter – up, down, sideways – it wouldn’t matter. It would be about him. What I know, what’s in his mind, and what I see – he needs to get squared away, get his base set, and come back and do his thing. That would be my recommendation if you ask me.”

On what Diallo brings to practice …
“He can guard them and make them have to come every day and bring it. He’s a long athletic player.”

On Diallo in the open court …
“I don’t know. Let me coach him one day and I’ll let you know. It’s so different when you’re driving against a 6-2 guy and now you’re driving against 7-footer or a guy that can put his head on the rim. It’s a little different. Your decision-making is different. He’s going to be fine. He’s a good player.”

On guys in practice that come during the season and how they can help in practice …
“Helped us. Really helped us. Tai (Wynyard) last year did not choose to play and didn’t want to play. I was going to stick him in a game and he said, ‘No. I’m not ready.’ I’ve had all kinds of different stuff like that happen. Again, you roll with the young person.”

On Auburn’s Danjel Purifoy …
“He’s really good. They’ve won a game without him already. What it ends up doing is taking shots and giving to other guys. It could help them. They’ve got some other guys that can score the ball in bunches or they could go into the big kid more. Sometimes it’s addition by subtraction.”

On if Hamidou Diallo will travel and dress… 
“He will travel but he won’t dress.”

On the Cal Cast with Rick Pitino … 
“I have numbers of coaches and they have my numbers. Rick has my number and I have his. If he needs to talk to me he picks up the phone, and if I need to talk to him then I pick up the phone. I’ve said it before, we don’t send Christmas cards to each other. We’re 90 miles from each other of whatever it is, and it’s a competitive environment. I just said, ‘Hey why don’t you do this Cal Cast with me, the podcast I’m doing, and we’ll have some fun with it.’ He said, ‘Sure I’ll do it. When do you want to do it?’ I said, ‘This afternoon.’ It’s in the can. There are some things around it that you’re going to want to hear. I don’t know yet when it’s coming out because if people keep asking I’ll wait another week. The stuff we did with Geno (Auriemma) just broke the record. If you listen to it, it’s really some good stuff. There are some things you wouldn’t know about him and you can say now I know why he wins like he wins. The stuff with Rick, other than the scuffle, was fine. [Sarcasm]”

On if Auburn is a dangerous team to play…
“It’s just like Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had some shots that they could’ve made, but they missed, and the game could have been different. I don’t think Auburn will hold the ball and then try to shoot it. He might – he’s done it in the past – but I don’t think he will. You knew Vandy was going to come down and take 20 seconds, move the ball and try to get a shot that way. They’ll probably press us some. One game I watched today they played all zone. They got in the zone and they stayed in the zone. They’re good. They’ve beaten teams, like Oklahoma. They lost to Georgia; had them down 16. They lost to Mississippi; had them down 15 or 16 and lost. They’ve been up big. They play active and they’re aggressive. It’s going to be a hard game. We lost to them last year, had to watch that game again and wanted to throw up.”

On how he decides the plans for the game…
 
“My whole thing is just how we play and if they’re better than us. The thing that bothered me when I was at UMass was we had like a 6-7 center when we were try to play the best teams in the country. Then I got a guy that they had, (Marcus) Camby. Then we beat the crap out of Kentucky. I wasn’t going to change and I don’t think he’ll change. I think they’ll do what they do on the baseline out of bounds; they switch everything. I think they’ll do the press after free throws and they’ll probably do a 1-2-2. They’re going to play how they play. Anytime I keep switching from game to game it’s not good on my team It never has been.” 

On Isaiah Briscoe stepping up …
“Well, I had to stop him. A good friend of mine saw that there was two minutes to go in that game and I had to stop him. He looked at me mad like why would I tell him to stop because he was one on five and he was going to go shoot that thing. Then we pulled out and we worked the ball. I think De’Aaron Fox got a shot on the base line that put the shot where we needed it. He’s getting closer. We practiced yesterday morning and he had them so ready to practice. My worry was that we cannot waste a day. If we can’t practice in the morning then I won’t travel. I’d like to get a travel day done because then I can see three kids and it saves me two or three days. When I walked in that morning at 7:25 a.m., the guys were clapping for me like I was late. He had them ready and we had a great practice, which shows me a lot about the team and his leadership.” 

On Bam Adebayo switching on guards… 
“He is really good. He bounces. He stays in the stance. He can guard every position. He is getting fouled like crazy when he catches the ball. Like fouled. The last game was worst than this game, this past game. But, you know – and he is keeping his cool. He never changes anything. By the end of the year, he will be that guy. That is my prediction. I asked the guys yesterday, in a group, because I brought him up a couple of times, I said, ‘Look. I am not trying to throw him in your face, but who is the hardest worker we have in the gym?’ And the group, they all pointed to Bam. And I said ‘There you go. My point is made.’ That is why he is making strides that are just crazy. ”

On De’Aaron Fox being ready to take better shots… 
“He is ready to shoot balls before he catches them, which he never was. He was not ready to explode. He was tip-toe shooting. These guys, it is funny, I told Isaiah Briscoe, ‘You are going to shoot high in practice every day, but you will get in a game and you will shoot your normal shot. Unless you think it is going to get blocked, then you have a another weapon and now you can shoot it higher. De’Aaron Fox, you can say it is not the workouts that did it, but what was it?’ ‘Well, the stars and the moon kind of crossed a certain way and the light hit me and it just changed me.’ Oh, OK. It is not the work. So, you know, what we do is hard. What they have to do is hard because of what they are up against in every game we play. But, he has been great. He is shooting 62 percent the last three games. Couldn’t make a shot. He was 1 for 16. Now, it has got to be something. It isn’t because he ate his Cheerios. There is something that has happened between where he was and what he is doing now, and I believe it is getting here early, spending more time, coming back at night. I am telling him to get Malik (Monk) with you. Now, he and Malik do the same thing, because Malik has to get more consistent.”

On NBA All-Star voting closing and him doing the “Dab” and saying “YOLO” to help promote DeMarcus Cousins …
“Because I just learned what it meant. I didn’t know what it meant. Then, they just told me to do this. I don’t know what that means. So, that is what I say to that.”

On if his daughters ever tell him it’s embarrassing …
“Yeah, yeah. My daughter (Erin) was in an article in the New York Post today for some of her research. I am pretty proud of her. Megan is getting married this June and told her fiancé you are going to be going into the family now and he is going to be embarrassing you like he embarrasses us. Look, you know, life is too short. I like to have fun with what I am doing. Whether it is the podcast or you know – I do not take myself that serious. I know who I am. I know where I came from. I don’t try to, ‘I am the best ever.’ No, that’s not what I think of myself. I do what I do and try to do it for the kids. You all will judge how I am. Twenty years from now they will try to tell me what kind of job I did. Great. Right now I see myself getting older and I really just want to have fun with what I am doing. Guy grabbed me last night and said, ‘I am getting old. I really want to shake your hand.’ I said, ‘I am getting old, too. We are both getting old.’ 

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