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John Calipari's thoughts from today, including a talking about how he'd actually prefer his team to lose its mind against Ole Miss and even bark right back at the Rebels' Marshall Henderson:
"Willie's good. He's making the trip. Don't know if he'll practice today. He's running up and down, I don't know if I want him to do that but he may. I would guess doubtful for Tuesday, questionable, I don't know. He'll probably try to convince me he's ready so we'll see."
MARSHALL HENDERSON CAN GET IN PEOPLE'S HEADS IT SEEMS...
"This is all good. Let me just tell you, they're very physical. You watch the game last year and it was a tie game except for four minutes in the second half where we blew the game open. The rest of the game was a tie game and they battled and did not step back. We were a good team last year. They're all back and they have a guy that must remind (Ole Miss coach) Andy (Kennedy) of Andy. Just get in there and (have) the ultimate green light, shoot every ball if you want. The kid feels, he just gets it going that way."
WILL GOODWIN GUARD HIM?
"I don't know yet. We're trying to figure out how we'll play it. We did some stuff yesterday at practice, but he's going to take 13 threes. Whether you're on him, you're not on him, he's taking 13 threes. I love his energy and excitement about playing, he loves the game. It was a great hing Ray Lewis did and I showed the guys, he said, 'The reason I could last this long is I love it, I love everything about it. I love the game.' I stopped the tape, 'Do you love playing or are you more happy when practice is over than when it starts?' Everything I'm trying to do is get these guys to grow up fast, and the biggest thing is, get them to recognize what they're doing, what it looks like, you have to recognize it before you can change it."
IS THIS A MUST-WIN GAME? MORE SENSE OF URGENCY TO GET QUALITY WIN?
"They're all...every one is. If you told me you're going to lose this and win the next nine, alright, wake me up when it's over and I'll sit and watch the game. It doesn't matter. It's another learning experience for us. They've got to learn about themselves and that's the biggest thing.
"Someone said, 'Well how do you build confidence?' Well, you do it on the court by demonstrated performance. You quit hanging your head. When another team makes a run, quit hanging your head. Quit slouching over, just keep ballin', keep playing. It's just something hard to break, but they're trying. The crazy thing I keep coming back to: we've got a bunch of good guys. There's no evil dudes in there. They've got bad habits and they've got a mindset that's not conducive to team play and all those things we're trying to change, but they're good guys. They played a certain way their whole lives, and you can't win at this level playing that way. But they're learning, they're getting better. I look at certain guys on our team and say, 'Wow, they really improved.'
"Now, we just have to have two things: each individual, what would it look like if each individual played the best version of themselves, and then what would it look like if our team knew exactly what we're going to do and we're going to be the best version of ourselves. We're not close to that yet. Some other teams are. Well, they've been together. I'll be honest with you, Mississippi is. They're the best version of themselves right now. They're playing physical. They get down, it doesn't faze them. They get up, they bury you. They'll make shots. They're strong inside. They run the…Whatever they're running, they run well. So, you're not going to be able to go down there and compete with them either being soft mentally or physically or not being a good version of yourself, preparing to play great. It doesn't mean you play great, but you at least prepare to play great."
ON OLE MISS' BELIEF IT CAN ALWAYS COME BACK TO WIN:
"Well, that's what my teams historically have been. Those are my teams. We always like to play front-running teams, which when they've got it going good they're chest bumping and doing it, and when it goes in they wilt. That's who we've always wanted to play. That's not what Mississippi is. They are the kind of team that I've coached historically, which is doesn't matter what the score is, we're ballin', we're doing this together and if I'm not playing well I'll do something else to help this team win. Cause that's the whole mindset: It's not about me, it's about us. That's how they play. They're good. They're a really good team. They're top 15, they may even be better than that."
IS THE BEST VERSION OF THIS TEAM GOOD ENOUGH TO BE THAT KIND OF TEAM?
"Yeah. We're not. I don't want to say we're the least version of ourselves, but we're certainly not the best version. But, look, we're getting better. It seems like one kid will play better and then another just steps back. All of the sudden, Ryan was playing well, and now it's almost like we got to play Jarrod. Archie does fine, and then all of the sudden he's taking bad shots. And then Alex is not competing, then he's playing well. Now you got Kyle and Nerlens playing well, you got the injury (to Willie Cauley-Stein). So we've had a lot of stuff thrown at us. No excuses, but we've just got to get to that point in the season where everybody totally surrenders to each other. Surrender to each other, man. Do it. Talk more. 'I don't like to talk.' You're hurting your teammate by not talking. 'I know. Do I have to move my lips when I talk, or can I do it without moving my lips?' You just have to surrender and do what the team needs you to do. And we're just not quite there."
IS HENDERSON A GUY THAT CAUSES YOU TO DO THINGS YOU NORMALLY WOULDN'T DO?
"I would say he'd be that kind of guy. There may be special attention paid to him. But you can't – what you end up doing is, if you pay too much attention to him, all of the sudden two big guys get 20 and 20 and then you got no chance of beating them. A lot of times you want one guy to get 30 and let the other guys not get any. There are many times I've coached a game where I said, 'We're letting him get his 30, 35. Let him try. And if he's on fire, OK, we got problems… .' And sometimes we do it with big guys. Why trap him? Let him try to get 40. He'll take out this guy, that guy, that guy. Now, that's not how we played the kid (Elston) Turner. But there are times we do it."
CAN YOU LEARN SOME THINGS FROM WHAT DIDN'T WORK ON TURNER?
"No, but (Henderson) is probably watching that tape, I would say. Their team probably watched that tape. Us falling into screens, hands down, beat on the dribble, beat on curl cuts, stopping, acting exhausted, just wailing, no bones in your body. I imagine they watched it, though."
ON WHY HE WROTE ON HIS BLOG IN SUPPORT OF ARCHIE GOODWIN:
“Because DeWayne (Peevy) said, ‘Yeah, after Alabama some people took some shots at Archie.’ For what? ‘For some of his shot selection.’ I said, ‘We had two other guys play so bad; did they say anything about anybody else? Why would they say something about him? This kid works his butt off.’ So after I slept on it, I said, ‘Look, I want to make a statement, make sure everybody knows he’s the first one in the gym, he’s the last one to leave, he comes in, he does what he’s supposed to do and he’s a good teammate. Just doesn’t have the right mindset, doesn’t know shot selection, plays out of control. Because it’s how he’s always played.
“So now it’s (like) DeAndre Liggins. Can we get him to play the right way? And when you get a kid like that to play the right way, he becomes a killer. Right now, he’s a killer – but sometimes he’s killing us. But I can deal with that versus a kid that’s scared or doesn’t show up for the game. There’s nothing you can tell me about that. That’s why I said: We had other guys at Alabama that did not show for the game and no one said anything. Well why would you say it about this kid then? So that’s the only reason I said anything.”
ON NOEL BLOCKING SHOTS NEARLY AT THE CLIP ANTHONY DAVIS DID LAST YEAR BUT WITH LESS FANFARE:
“Because we’re not winning like we were. If we were winning like we were last year, he’d be getting all the praise. He is getting better and better. Everybody that sees him says he’s a way better player, and I agree. He’s working in practice. I just told him like I told John Wall and a couple of the others: Take people with you. I don’t care that you’re doing all this and stuff’s good. Take some other guys with you. Grab ‘em. If they don’t want to go, push ‘em aside, but take guys with you. It’s not just you. Take ‘em with you. Let’s all play well.”
ON WHETHER HE’LL TALK TO THE TEAM ABOUT STAYING COMPOSED AT OLE MISS – ESPECIALLY IF HENDERSON STARTS YAPPING:
“Oh, I’d like us to lose our composure. That’s what I’m looking for. Like, lose your composure. Get mad. Get angry. Be mad to be great. (Pretends to be moping, then getting bumped by someone) ‘Oh, sorry.’ What? Be mad. And if he talks to you, talk back to him. I mean, just be mad. Compete, fight, battle, toughness, swagger. It’s hard to have a swagger when you’re ducking and you’re running. You gotta dig your heels in. That’s why I’m saying all this stuff is good for our team. If we’re going to get it, it’s competing in games like this and learning and growing.”
Double team Henderson. They don't have 4 other stars.
Or pull a Rupp and let him score 50 but not let anyone else score like he used to do with Pistol Pete, so I've been told. Just win I don't care how we do it
Thats what Rupp did to Pistol Pete. He scored 50 or 60 but the rest of the team had maybe 15 total points. Im not sure Henderson is even near Pistols' level of talent but like you said shut down the others and do the best you can on Henderson and the score will turn out in our favor. I watched a lot of the games Maravich played and I dont think anyone today or back then could stop him from scoring bunches but he was a 1 man show and thats the reason LSU didnt win that much. I think you just keep a man in Hendersons face all night and if he gets his 40 then so be it. It would be fun to watch MKG guard him for 40 minutes, no way he gets a ton of points then.
MKG was just an absolute terror on the perimeter. 6'7 with better lateral quickness, reflexes and instincts than 99% of the guards in college basketball. I truly believed by the end of the season he could shut down just about anyone.
We simply don't have that this year. We had a lesser version of it the year before in Liggins.
I'd say let Henderson get his but we don't have one guy that could keep him from beating us by himself.
Archie is improving but he's not there yet.
What im really afraid of though is I feel like Andy Kennedy has us right where he wants us. They have a guy putting up big numbers and will command a ton of attention right now on the perimeter. It's really the perfect game in their schedule to use him as a decoy.
All that said, Andy Kennedy is still not the best x's and o's guy or preparation guy in the game. He gets his teams to play extremely physical and if they get a good whistle they're in it. They'll grab and hold and bump on defense, they'll push off on rebounds, they'll foul hard on layup and dunk attempts.
They've played that way every year since he's been there.
The good news is they're really not as good as their record. Who have they beaten? They struggled with Tennessee at home, who we beat comfortably, and we're cooked at Auburn until Auburns atrocious final possession.
It's a winnable game if we play a good game. And I mean just a good game by this teams standards. The whistle will play a factor as always I'm sure but as long as it doesn't get too ridiculous we can win.
Just make the Henderson kid shoot the deepest shots possible. We don't need to be letting him get us out of position all game long so they can kill us on the boards. Remember what Devin Downey used to do to us. Thats what I don't want happening. Force him to shoot long contested jumpers. And give him a few different looks. Hell put Nerlens on him. I believe that guy might be able to guard anybody in the country. lol.
Any word on the status of Beckham? Heard a rumor that he might be having back surgery....
He's out indefinitely because of back issue that required surgery today.
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