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John Calpari's thoughts from today's press conference:
ON HOW DIFFERENT THE ARE GOING TO PLAY NOW WITHOUT NERLENS NOEL:
“Ah, we did one practice, so you can't be that much different. Just want everybody do a little bit more. Obviously we can make up rebounds and points. Those blocked shots are what you're not going to make up. So, we'll see. This team has a clean slate. It's a blank canvas. It's whatever they want it to be. We just all of us, and fan, just fight compete and battle. If you don't, don't go in the game. Just stay out. The tentativeness is just lack of competitiveness. It's hard to say when you're playing 31 minutes, 'Well, he takes me out.' You're playing 31 minutes. You can't use any (excuses). You've just got to go battle.
“We're playing a good team on the road, a team that plays well at home, that's won their last two games. I think they we're both road games, they won. So they're going to be a confident team. They're a post-up team, and they'll go right at us in the post. They're a grind-it, tough, physical defensive team. We'll see where we are at this point.”
ON WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN SAYING HIS CONDITIONING ISN'T UP TO PLAYING 35 MINUTES A GAME YET:
“Yeah. What we've said is, 'Play five, six minutes, sub yourself.' He's not the issue of subbing himself. I've got some other guys who will not sub themselves, whether you're out there and you're killing us -- I want to be out here kill you. He will sub himself. If you watch him, when he's tired, he'll come out. All I told him is 'just be you. You know what you do well, be you, sub yourself when you're ready to go. You'll play every minute you can play. Stay on the floor. You're not Nerlens (Noel), but Nerlens is not you. There's things you do well that Nerlens didn't do well. So, you just be you. You don't have to be anything else.' ”
ON JON HOOD SAYING YOU TOLD WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN IT WAS HIS COMING OUT PARTY:
“Yeah. It also gives Jon Hood a chance. What we'll do is we'll watch the game and if there's a noncompetitive guy out there, he's coming out. Now you'll have, 'If I don't compete he takes me out every time.' You just say it. It ain't about missed shots, it's not about turnovers. It's about competing. So Jon Hood in practice yesterday, he's competing his butt off. So I can see him going in. I said, 'It's not us believing in Jon, it's Jon believing in Jon.' But you've got to go on that court, demonstrated performance is the only way to build self esteem, self confidence. It's not what I say. It's not what we're all saying to him in there. He's got to go in the game and do it.”
ON IF HE WILL USE MORE OF THE ZONE HE'S BEEN EXPERIMENTING WITH:
“Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. We're prepared for it. That's not why we did all this time, but we're absolutely prepared to play it and play it for long stretches if we want to. Again, were the defensive numbers all based on Nerlens? We'll we're going to find out cause our defensive number weren't the issue. We were turning it over, no aggressive play. You know, 'you make the play.' We've just got to have guys out there ballin’.
“And if we're going to make turnovers with aggressive guys, we're making them with unaggressive guys. So might as well have attacking guys out there trying and going at it. Doesn't mean we don't grind it out and play how we're playing, but I just want to see guys that want to create contact. Not running people over. We got a couple guys (with their) head down. But I'm saying, create. Here you go, you got a gap. The guy's coming. Don't run it and flip. Create that contact. We're working on it. Look, this is a great opportunity. One guy's misery is another guy's opportunity. And that's for all these guys. They have their own picture they want to paint. Let's paint it. You can look at this in one of two ways. Like, OK, can we be better? Well, let's see. Why not chase it? Got seven games left.”
ON WHAT THIS TEAM IS CAPABLE OF:
“I think we still can be good. We got good players. We just got a couple that aren't competing at all, and you're looking for excuses. They just got to stop and go play.”
ON WHAT HE SAYS TO GUARDS AFTER THE FLORIDA GAME:
“It wasn't very good. I thought Jarrod battled, did some good things. I think Julius is doing what he can. Julius is giving you everything he can. But like I said, we got some things to figure out, and they do as a team. One of the things they did I loved in the (Florida) game is, they subbed a guy or two. They just came over to me and said, 'Get him out. Scared to death. Get him out.' And I took the guy out. And I said, 'You got to hold each other accountable.' They're like, 'We want to be positive.' I said, 'Good. Now what if a guy is out there…' hold them responsible. You guys, you tell me to take somebody out, he's out. And it's never for missing shots or turnovers. It's not what they're talking about. You're not talking on defense. You're into your own thing. And they just said, 'We can't win that way,' and they know that.
“You know what's funny? We win five of six. We do have an injury that can either bring you together or separate you. But now we're on the cusp of, 'OK, let’s see what we are. Let's learn.' I'm not afraid of it. I've been here. Not where I've lost a player, but I've been here where you're up against it and you're not playing well. I've done this long enough. My thing and the whole vision is, let's try to make this special and unique. Going to Florida and losing, everybody has this year. Couple guys showed their colors and now maybe they got to take a step back. But the reality of it is, we've still got good players. We're still in the same position. We don't talk enough, we don't play for the team enough.
“And what I mean by that is, if they make a mistake, if things don't go right, they just, a couple guys – it's two – when they hang their head, they got to come out. The minute you see it, 'Get out. You're zapping us.' And they got to recognize it's very selfish. Very selfish. See guys again think selfishness is, 'I don't shoot every ball. I don't shoot every ball. I'm not selfish.' Yeah you are. You're not helping your teammates. You're not in a position to play two guys when you have a chance. You're not talking. You're not switching when you have opportunities. Everything's about how you feel. That's selfish. And we're just trying to slowly get that through. Now we can't afford that. And I think they know it, and I think you'll see guys be subbed out by their teammates. 'Get 'em out.’ Because it’s just: Let’s be an effort team. Let’s be an energy team. If you can’t play that way, then don’t play.”
ON WHAT KIND OF INSURANCE NOEL HAD:
“He had the (NCAA-approved) career-ending insurance (which doesn’t cover loss of income for draft stock decline) that he’s allowed to have. And you guys all read what I said: It’s just disappointing that we don’t take care of that, so he can be fully insured, and then if the kids want to take out insurance for draft position, let them take a loan and do it. Why (not)? ‘Well, only rich kids can do that.’ Have we told the president this yet? I mean, I just don’t get some of the stuff, and this is one of them. And I also think, again, it proves the point of: If a kid’s ready to go, you let him go. Now if we want this to two years, let’s do something to make that happen. Let’s work with the (NBA) Players Association; let’s get those guys in a room to try to figure out how we do it. And I made the point (about people who say) ‘Let’s let them go out of high school.’ I just don’t agree with that. And not because I’m coaching at Kentucky; I’ve never agreed with that. And the reason is you’re going to have all these kids thinking they’re going directly to the league. Let’s do it in football, too, then. Let’s do it in both sports. Let’s do it in football and basketball. Or, what if a kid gets hurt as a sophomore or junior in high school? ‘Let him come out (early) of high school.’ (Rolls his eyes) I mean, let’s do what’s right for the kids. Let’s make sure we’re putting education on the front burner here. In my case, I don’t like the one-and-done rule. I’ll deal with it, but it’s not what I like. I seem to be the only one speaking out about it, unless you say, ‘I can’t get those kids; let them go directly to the (NBA).’ They’re here, so what do we do and how do we deal with this?”
ON THE HARRISON TWINS SAYING IN THEIR RECRUITMENT HE DIDN’T KISS THEIR BUTTS BUT THAT HE SHOT THEM STRAIGHT, AND THEY LIKED THAT:
“That’s how I recruit every kid. I don’t want them coming here fooled, because then you’re dealing with stuff you don’t need to deal with. And when a guy is not doing what he’s supposed to, or not playing to the level – they want you to keep it real unless you’re keeping it real with them sometimes. But that’s how we recruit. I’m not here to BS anybody. If this is a great situation for you to prosper and reach your dreams, come. If it’s not, if you want something different than this, don’t come here.
“But I told our team: The adversity this team has gone through all year, in this environment, Kentucky’s environment, which is a pro environment; there’s not college team that has this (points to all the gathered media) pregame. They have one guy maybe shows up, and he’s a beat writer who fishes with the coach. They don’t have a guy his whole challenge is to be the devil. That’s not what they have. So here’s what I’m saying to our guys: This adversity you’re going through, you’re up against it, it’s all public. Dealing with that stuff is going to help you later in life. Like Tayshaun (Prince). He wins a world championship and they say, ‘How are you going to deal with all this?’ He says, ‘What are you talking about? I went to Kentucky. Dealing with this? This is nothing.’ So this is again a great lesson. I’m anxious to see guys step up and play, and I think it will happen.”
He called Tipton the Devil. Ha.
I love Cal's dialogue. Its always entertaining. If Tarantino put out a movie about College Basketball coaches there would be an interview in there that sounded just like one of Cal's. LOL.
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