Friday, February 24, 2017

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


Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Head Coach John Calipari

On what first place and winning the SEC means …

“Well, I told the guys yesterday: ‘It’s a big game if you win. It’s a huge game if you win. If you don’t, then it’s the next game and we march on. It’s not the end of the season. We have to play on.’ I’m trying to get these guys focused on what we have to do. They looked great yesterday. I thought the guys were really focused and locked in, and that’s the best that we can ask go from there.”

On De’Aaron Fox’s status …
“He didn’t practice yesterday. He did a little bit of stuff and I haven’t been in there to see. But I would guess that he’ll be a game-time decision.”

On what Fox’s condition is …
“Game-time condition. I don’t know. He got his knee. He hit his knee. It’s nothing. It’s not sprained or anything. I think it was a bruise.”

On if the team is inconsistent …
“Not this team; just a couple of guys on the team. And if you have a couple of guys on the team that are inconsistent that way, it’s hard to get rhythm in how you’re playing. So I’m saying to the guys, ‘You have to come with this mindset. You don’t have to be perfect, but you have to be in the same area – in the same area code. You can’ be here and then the next time we don’t know (where you are).’ Again, I’m trying to let these guys know. The biggest thing is prepare to play well and letting it go. You have to let it go. You can’t have all this other clutter hanging around that’s slowing you down, that’s keeping you from being aggressive, keeping you from playing with great energy. You gotta wipe that stuff out and be ready to go.”

On talking to the team about just having fun …
“That’s all we’re talking about. You gotta go out – and I’ll say it again: The inconsistency makes it hard to have fun because sometimes that’s demoralizing. One guy, you’re like, ‘What in the?’ And I’m not saying for me; I’m saying if you’re on the court. You need a team full of guys – they don’t have to be great; they don’t have to be at their best – but you have to be in that range of what you are as a player so we know what to expect. And I think we’re getting closer to it. Look, you want them to peak at the end of the year. That’s what you want, and we haven’t peaked yet so that’s not a bad thing. Now the question is we gotta get them there to where we start playing a little more aggressive, more energy, more 50-50 balls, we play tougher, make easy plays, stay connected defensively and offensively, lock in more. All that kind of stuff is what we need to do.”

On what they need need to do to rebound better … 
“We have to rebound the ball better. They beat us to every ball and every 50-50 ball tipped.”

On Kentucky having more turnovers in the later part of the season and if that goes back to playing anxious … 
“No. I think, here, again, you guys that have followed us in my time here – and some of you haven’t paid any attention but you followed us for all this time: You know early in the year we got our thing because no one knows our team. We’re new. But then there comes a point they say, ‘Alright, here is what you got to take away and this is what you gotta make hard.’ And then you’ll have guys at that point say, ‘Well, this isn’t fun anymore.’ No kidding. They just made it harder. So you gotta figure out how do I have fun when the game is rough and tough and they’re taking away our best stuff and we got to figure out now what do we do? And it happened this year the same way. It was fun to run up and down the court throwing hook passes and reverse dunks. And all of the sudden they shoot the ball and the coaches ran back, the players ran back, and the guy that shot it before it left his hand, he was running back. OK, now you’re not getting as many layups and makes it a little harder. Not playing a couple guys. ‘We’re not going to play these two.’ Now it becomes, ‘OK, how are you going to play now?’ And that’s this team. We have gone through this every year and then we make adjustments and they get it back and then we get going. We just have to do it with this group. Like, I’m, you know, I said to the: ‘This is, this is what you play for – this kind of game where both teams have something to lose.’ Every team we play has house money. They’ve got house money. Well, we all (have house money now). When we went to Alabama and Tennessee, we both had something to lose. Now, this game, we both have something to lose. They have something too now. They’ve played great, and so we’ll see. We’ll see. And again, I keep telling them, there is going to be a time this season when you lose your season ends. This ain’t it, so just play. If you win, it’s huge! Big! If you don’t, you lose the game. Next game. Who do we play next? If you win, it’s huge. ”

On how Florida looks without John Egbunu … 
“They’re still good. Their guard play and what they were (hasn’t changed). They’re missing one big guy but the other guys, they – the games I watched, the two without him, I mean, they beat South Florida and they beat them pretty handily. So, they’re good. They’re what they’re ranked. They’re one of those top five, eight, 10, whatever they have them there. They’re good and they’ve been good on the road, too.”

On Isaiah Briscoe being more confident …
“He was better yesterday. Yesterday was a good practice for him. We did some stuff. Stuff’s not easy. Every game’s what it is and you can’t--you’re trying to get better as you’re trying to figure out what we do here. I’m going to say this: I don’t think anybody’s feeling sorry for us, that’s one. And the second thing, I’m telling everyone out there, every team at this time of the year has issues to deal with. Every team. There’s something that happened that their program is having to deal with or their coaches or their team. Every team has issues. We’re trying to figure our issues out better than they’re trying to figure their issues out. And we’ve got a bunch of good guys that want to do this that we’re trying to do what we need to do as coaches to help them.”

On who the point guard will be if De’Aaron Fox cannot play …
“I don’t know. We’ll have to figure that one out. What do you think?”

On Dominique Hawkins being the first one off the bench …
“That’s not a bad idea.” 

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