Monday, February 20, 2017

SEC Conference Teleconference Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-@Missouri Press Conference Comments

SEC Conference Teleconference Transcript: UK Coach John Calipari Pre-@Missouri and the reported NBA trade of DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans Press Conference Comments

Opening statement …

“I’m watching tape on Missouri, and again, I always want to look and watch what coaches are doing if their team is struggling a little bit. And what I’m seeing is Missouri is playing their best basketball of the season – and they got dinged at Tennessee, but we did too. From Alabama to (Texas) A&M to beating Vanderbilt by 20, they could have won the Alabama and Texas A&M games easily. They were all one-point games with a minute to go. Kim (Anderson) is doing a job in how hard he’s getting them to play and compete, and again I imagine we’re going to walk into an arena that’s going to have a ton of people in it, and a blackout or whatever they’re doing. It’s another game for us to figure out who we are.”

On if he sees a benefit of doing media through his own controlling, such as his podcast and CoachCal.com …
“I think social media has done that for all of us. How you use that and what you do with that is a big part of it. The podcast was done because I was approached and they told me no coaches are doing this and it was another avenue for us to open up and be more transparent. If you listen to it, it’s a back and forth, it’s almost like a conversation over coffee. Whether it be Mark Cuban, or Drake, or Dan Patrick, or Phil Knight, or Jim Harbaugh and Karl Towns, this week coming up is going to be John Wall, we sit and talk. It’s another way for us to be transparent in that this is who we are and this is who I am and what I’m about, and you get to hear it on your own. It’s not filtered.”

On the reported NBA trade sending DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans to play alongside Anthony Davis and the inevitable rumors linking his name to coaching the Pelicans …
“Well, first of all that’s not happening. Alvin Gentry, who I think is one of the bright offensive coaches out there, is probably working day and night trying to figure out, OK, how do we start playing, and where do we go from there, what are we trying to look like? They gotta get some guards. They gotta get a couple perimeter guys.

“But the bottom line is, both of those two, Anthony and DeMarcus, want to win. They want to win. You can say what you want, but DeMarcus, when he was here, he shared, he wanted to win, he played to win, and then when he was with USA Basketball it was the same. You talk to Mike Krzyzewski they’re going to tell you, ‘Look, the game we needed him to really play he played,’ and there were other games he was a backup and he was fine with that. Now, obviously, he’s not going to the Pelicans to be a backup, but he’s going to be with another player who only cares about winning. You think about it, Anthony Davis had 52 (points) in an All-Star Game. You can say, ‘Oh, no defense.’ OK. Go out on the floor by yourself and try to score 52 and see how long it takes you. Not only that, you’re out there with the best athletes, the best skill players in the world. And then when he played with me he took the fourth most shots. That’s how unselfish he is, or like I said today, how dumb I am.

“I think, again, the only issue I have is you must give them time to figure each other out. You must give them time. It’s not happening in a week. They got like 25 games left to try to figure out where this is going. If you remember when Cleveland did their thing and everything was going to be, ‘Wow, this is going to be –‘ it took time. And it’ll take those two time. But I think, again, you’re talking two – Anthony could be the three man for that matter. He doesn’t have to be the four.”

On how much Tuesday’s game is a test to play to his standard as opposed to playing the opponent …
“Well, that’s always the case for us. But, you better be ready to play harder than they play, and you better be ready to take things personal, because they are. A lot of times we’re playing teams that have house money, and they’re letting it go, and making shots and making plays. They haven’t all year because it’s house money. And so, we’re going into a game, it’s a dangerous game, and I can’t believe they lost the game to Alabama. And they went to Texas A&M and had them beat. It was a one-point game with a minute to go. And they beat Vanderbilt, who’s beating everybody now, they beat Vanderbilt by 20. So, this team, if we walk in there and act like they’re not – we gotta worry about us. Let’s be at our best, let’s understand what we’re trying to do. We’re still trying different things. The reboot moves on. Some things offensively we’re going to have to change a little bit based on what Georgia did. Everybody’s watching tape, everybody’s analyzing, so you gotta do the same. Know what are they looking at from us, and what do we have to do to try to get better.”

On where he sees consistency in his team and in his players each game …
“Well, we’re consistently trying to figure things out. I know that. We’re watching tape this morning with the team and showed them some things that were good and some of the stuff that wasn’t good, and where we have to improve. We’re using every day to get better. We’re one of those teams with an enormous upside, even now. There are times I think we’ve figured it out, and then there are other times I look and I’m like, ‘We haven’t.’ Look, I forget from year to year. My wife tells me all the time, ‘You just forget how it was.’ This is what it is for us. Now, at some point you gotta go on that run where you’re really starting to play better, and you’re really starting to groove it, and you’re really starting to mesh. We haven’t quite hit that run yet.”

On his message the past couple years when facing Missouri …
“Well, if I remember, the last time we were at Missouri the first half for like 12, 14 minutes it was touch and go and then we spread it out a little bit. But I fully expect – I’m going to say it again, when I’m looking at coaches it’s not when a guy is on a 10-game win streak, it’s when stuff goes bad. How does your team – do you keep them together, do they keep growing, do they keep trying, do they stay positive? That’s what he’s doing. Like I said, I know what their record is so I expected to see something different when I started watching tape. But I fully expect that they’re going to come and play. You know what they do, they shoot the ball better than you give them credit for. Like, if you’re like, OK, how do they shoot? You know what, they’re dangerous because they can make perimeter shots.”

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