Thursday, March 09, 2017

Video/Transcript: UK Head Coach John Calipari Pre UK vs Georgia ~ 2017 SEC Men's Tournament Quarterfinals Bridgestone Arena Comments

Video courtesy of kywildcatstv

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari 

On whether UK could turn to senior guard Dominique Hawkins to defend Georgia point guard J.J. Frazier …

“Well, I watched—when the (Georgia-Tennessee) game ended, guys told me, I didn’t watch the game, but when it ended I put on the tape of our game with them. And the guy that won the game for us was Dom. The way he played, how he changed the complexion of the game and the things that he did. And the other guy was Mike Mulder making some shots because we had a bunch of guys that couldn’t make a shot, but, look, Georgia has—both games. When I watched the tape, I didn’t realize that it was like that. Because you have a vision that we won by eight. What? We were down with 50 seconds to go. I mean, so, I know how good they are. I know how well coached they are. (Yante) Maten is back playing. You know what he—he’s one of the better four/threes in our league and a 20-point scorer, so it’ll be a war. They all are at this time. I called it. I said, when you look at all these games, they’re all going to be decided late in the game because our league, we have 11 teams in the top 100. I think we have six in the top 50. Well, teams lost. How about Missouri? How about them fighting for their coach, which I thought was outstanding. It’s going to be a heck of a tournament for people to watch.”

On how practices have been …“Good. Well, we just—I’m emphasizing some different things that we want, in this postseason, what we want to look like. And I always come back to: This tournament is our way of getting ready. It’s our way of getting ready and every one of these teams is capable of beating us. We know that. This is about, how are we getting in a frame of mind of how you’re going to have to play in another week.”

On preparing for three games in three days …“We went 45 minutes today. We spent about 30 minutes here and then it’s just—other than maybe coming in the evenings we may not get back to a basketball court. And that’s if we’re lucky enough to win.”

On film sessions …
“We didn’t have much film because we didn’t know who we were playing, so the only film that I put up was some film of us offensively of what I liked and this is what we’re trying to get to. I wanted them to see us at our best, so there were some clips in some games that we really got some great movement and yet attacked the basket and got to the rim. I just wanted them to see that. Now today Georgia played every possession zone. They played every possession zone. They played two possessions against us last time zone. So now do they come out and play zone? I don’t know. I don’t know. And that’s why walking in there you don’t know what a coach is going to try to do. I think Georgia’s in (the NCAA Tournament). I can’t imagine when they’re talking about some of these other teams being in. Then Georgia’s in. But, you know, they’ve done with Maten out. They’ve done some good stuff.”

On what he’s seen from his team that tells him they’re ready for March …
“Just that you see a cohesive team that’s patient yet attacking, that’s aggressive, that’s not on their heels waiting. They’re trying to make things happen. That’s who we should be. And the only way you get that is your team plays with high energy. And that means individuals. The greatest thing about Dom: We all know he will play with high energy. So if you look out there and someone’s not, you’re out. The same thing, you got Wenyen (Gabriel) and you got Derek (Willis). If that doesn’t work, maybe you go Mychal. Mychal’s been playing well. So we got enough guys, but at this time of the year there should be nothing else you’re thinking about other than, man, I’m going to play hard. I’m going to play with unbelievable energy. You’re not holding anything back right now.”

On what makes Frazier so difficult to defend off high ball screens …
“He gets to his left hand and because of his size he really accelerates on layups. In other words, he’s not slowing down. He accelerates and lofts that ball up and it’s a hard things for a big guy to guard when you’re trying to move your feet to stay in front.

“The other thing is he can shoot that 3 behind it, so you go under or let’s do this, it’s a hard thing. And he’s a good player. I mean, you look at our league, he’s one of the best in the league.”

On if there’s anything he can do to combat getting down early …“You know, it’s funny, I watched this tape, guess what, we got down early. I watched Tennessee back home, I was on the elliptical and I wanted to see it at home where we won by 20-some. We were down early that game too. So obviously whatever I’m trying is not working.”

On not having a shootaround for a noon tip …
“They gotta be responsible. They gotta come early – we have an hour to get loose. Get loose. You got an hour. Get up early, have a nice breakfast, don’t go back to sleep, get ready. This is about your responsibility about yourself to our team. So, yeah, I don’t feel that we’ll shootaround. Again, we’re just worried about winning one game: this first one. And it’s going to be a very hard game for us. We know that.”

On what gets a team to its peak and if he’s had a team that hasn’t reached that point …
“Well, I would say every one of my teams, none of them reached their full potential. But what you’re doing as a coach is you’re striving for it. And if they’re striving to be better than at the end of the day when the season ended you got them as far as they could go at that point. Now, if you had them longer – how about if I had them two years? How about if I had them three years? You don’t, so this is what it is. You’re trying to just keep them on that path of growing and this team is. I look at each individual player, they’re playing better than they have ever here. Basically, that means they’re playing better than they have in their career. See, some of them, ‘Well, I was a high school player, I was able to –’ ‘You’re not in high school, Dorothy.’ And if you think you’re going to that man’s league, No Boys Allowed (NBA). No Boys Allowed. You better understand what you did in AAU out in Vegas ain’t working in that league. When I look at them, every one of them has gotten better. Every one of them has improved. Now, alright, are we ready to just swarm and scramble and play with great energy, and pass the ball and fly up and down the court? I’d rather have a team that doesn’t run a whole lot of plays, just go, move the ball, create good shots for each other. If it’s a dead ball and you have to, OK, we’ll run something. But every year you’re looking, you want to be your best all season at that time and this team is starting to get there. Are they where they need to be? I probably would say I never would be satisfied.”

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