Nov. 16, 2012
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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
Q. Cal, before the Duke game, it was try to push Alex (Poythress)'s buttons and get him going, and then you said yesterday, that you need to talk to Kyle (Wiltjer) if you're not making shots, you can't be on the floor. I guess he gets to be on the floor?
COACH CALIPARI: Here's the biggest thing. You've got to work to get open to shoot it. Today Julius (Mays) found him about five times. Julius had ten assists. So Julius had an idea to find him. Even the last one when Julius had the three, and he passed it to him for the three. But you know, my point was we started the game making every shot, and they were right in the game because we didn't come up with loose balls. We did not come up (with loose balls). They had three offensive rebounds which led to baskets. It's 15-10. You made every shot. It should be 15-4, 15-2, 15-3.
I told them at halftime, same deal. Lafayette did not have their best player. This would have been a different game. We probably could have still won the game, but it wouldn't have been like this, because that kid can play and I felt bad he hurt himself today. But he is a terrific player, and somebody that I was anxious to see play against us because he can score. He's really smart.
But the thing I'm telling our guys, the energy that Nerlens (Noel) plays with, if I can get all my guys playing with that kind of energy, think about what we'd become as a team. Now we're aware of the vision I have with us. I can't get Alex right now to buy into that. He drove baseline and tried to one hand it. They block it, and he jogs back. Later in the game, he did the same thing, and they went up and dunked it. Why? It's harder to do that. I'd rather just do this --
Again, 23 assists. We pass the ball to each other. Shot a pretty high percentage from both the three, and we're not a 57, 58% three-point shooting team, but I believe we're a 40.
Q. Segueing into the Nerlens Noel hustle. 50-50 plays. When is the last time you had a big man like that get on the floor and hustle?
COACH CALIPARI: He was coming into every huddle. I was telling the team, give him a hand. The guy's diving on the floor, playing with energy. Would the rest of you please look at him and try to do what he's doing or do you think just let him do that and you're not going to do it?
We had Alex and Archie (Goodwin) and Kyle combined for one rebound at halftime. What are you doing? Why is that? You think you're just the offensive machine and everybody else should dive on the floor and rebound and not you? It's all stuff that we're learning right now.
Let me say this: My team is getting better. We're getting better. We went against the zone yesterday for 20 minutes. You could see they were comfortable. I've got a very smart team. They understand when you talk, they have a good basketball feel about them. So you can talk basketball. Yesterday we went through it. We're going to work every day, 15, 20 minutes on zone, and 15, 10 minutes on press attack so that we take those things out of the equation.
I liked our post game today. Again, we should have thrown it to the post. But it's what we are. We are a team that should be flying up and down looking for shots, if there are no shots, then post the ball. It's not brain surgery here. Just keep it simple.
Q. Any updates you might have on Ryan Harrow, and then talk about Jarrod (Polson)'s play tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: No update other than he's working out with the weight strength coach. Hopefully -- we have off tomorrow, and hopefully he comes back Sunday. But Sunday, Monday, Tuesday we'll practice, so it's three good days to get ready for our next game. Jarrod was fine. I wanted to get he and Jon Hood on the floor more today. I wanted Willie (Cauley-Stein) on the floor a lot more today. And we were able to do it again, the minutes we played, instead of 37 minutes like we did against Duke where you just -- it's funny. We had the energy the last six minutes. Think about that. We ran back into the game in the last five minutes of the game. And I played guys too many minutes.
But now we’re talking 28, 23, 24, 25, 30, 26, 24, that's what you'd like. But that means that Jon Hood has to play 11. You know what I mean? He's got to get those minutes to cut minutes from everybody else so they're not playing 35 minutes a game. Especially right now, they're not ready.
Jarrod went in the game and rebounded. Again, had two rebounds. I'm looking at Archie. You jump above the square, and Jarrod has two rebounds you have none. Why is that? He has a nose for the ball?
Q. I think some of us thought of Julius as a shooter primarily, but ten assists, no turnovers, what does that say about maybe his floor game?
COACH CALIPARI: He's a very smart player, but we need him to shoot the ball. With Archie and Julius and Kyle, and even Jarrod, who I'm not afraid if he pulls up for the three we've got pretty good three-point shooters.
Q. Were you at least pleased to see Kyle was getting open and getting what he needed to get done?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, but there was a stretch in the second half where he wasn't. He was not moving. He wasn't -- he has to work hard to create the shot before he catches. If he doesn't, I'm going to play Willy. That's just how it is. I'm telling you what I told him. If you don't work hard to create space and a shot for yourself -- before you catch the ball, and I'm watching, you're out. So today what he did, he is personally in the second half, he saw gaps, erased to those gaps and guys found him also, and he made shots.
He's not going to go 7 for 11 from the three every time. But I believe he can go 4 for 11 or 5 for 11 every time. I believe that. I believe he's that good. But he can't do it jogging to his spot, or not being prepared to shoot. You're not going to do it.
Like I said, Alex goes 9 for 10, and he played about 60% of the game. The rest of the game, he kind of jogged around and looked around and. Look at Nerlens, play like him, and you become ridiculous. That's hard.
Q. You talked yesterday that you need to get out in transition and you needed more easy buckets. Was tonight an improvement?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, we did it yesterday in practice. There were things we worked on yesterday in practice that they follow through on. Basically, they're going to focus on what we focus on as coaches. So we had them work on the zone. We needed this against the zone, would you say? We've played two possessions against zone and we've had two dunks by Alex. That was our zone offense. We didn't know what we were doing.
We threw it in, threw it to Alex, he dunked it, against Duke and against Maryland. Today we had to go against a zone which was good for us. We worked on sprinting the ball up the court. If you did not sprint, you had to cross half court in two seconds. Defense, defense, rebound. Go two seconds to cross half court. If you didn't, we went on the baseline and we ran. So we're just challenging them. You have no choice. There is no option here.
We're doing the same thing with rebound attempts. They're having to run if they don't attempt to rebound. You don't have to get the ball. Somebody else got it. But you've got to attempt to get it. If you don't attempt to rebound, everyone, you have 20 liners, 20 liners -- you're doing 20. Then go attempt rebounds. You don't even have to get the ball. You've got to attempt the rebound. That's where we are as a team right now.
But, again, we played great defense here, and sustained for the first time this year about six straight trips. Wow. Now could we ever get to where we could do that for 20 straight minutes? Or 30, or last year like it took us how long to get to that 35, 40-minute mark? Right now we're at 6 minutes. That's where we are. We're young.
Q. When you talk about getting guys to play with that energy that Nerlens has, you've had guys, Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) was that way. Can it run off?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, and I told Nerlens just keep doing it, and they'll get it. Because it becomes embarrassing when he's diving and you're jogging or you're standing straight up and get beat on the back door, and this kid's diving on the floor. You all start writing like why is this kid not playing? It's not just Alex, it's Archie, Jarrod on the back cut, and all of a sudden Nerlens is covering for everybody. The issue is then he goes to block the shot in the lane. He's doing what we're asking. Last year someone always picked up Anthony (Davis)’s man. This year no one's picking up his man? Why? Because they're running out. They're not even attempting to rebound.
When people say he's going after every block shot, no he's not. He's playing how we want him to. What's happening is the back line defense isn't playing. They're stopping and not only not helping, they're running out. But that's all the stuff we've been working on.
Q. Could you comment on your big men and their ability to pass out of the post?
COACH CALIPARI: What I liked is their ability to score the ball. They can score. They can take you left-handed, right-handed, and they can score. They're quick and agile. They can pass, but I want them to first of all score the ball in there.
Look, I've coached all kinds of ways over 20-something years. I've never had two guys like this in the post. I've had DeMarcus Cousins, but he wanted to shoot threes. All right? Now you have these two guys and they're truly post players. I have two of them. So we've got to play that way. Force you to double team and then we'll kick it out and shoot threes.
Like I said, there was a lot of good stuff. I told them. We're getting better, but there are certain things I'm not going to settle for, and we talked about it after.
Here's Alex can't believe it. 9 out of 10, four for five from the line, and I'm all over him. Yeah, because I want him to be the best version of him. Not just play good. You're better than this. You can do more than this. Why won't you? It's hard. I know it's hard. But you've got to get in better shape. You've got to force yourself mentally to do these things.
Archie, the same thing. Why wouldn't you end up with ten rebounds a game? Ten rebounds a game. Now what do you become as a player? Scoring, assists, speed, ten rebounds, what do you become? You're the best guard in the country. Why wouldn't you want to do that? It's hard. I'd rather just run out and let them mix it up. You get bumped in there.
I mean, it's all stuff that we're capable of doing that I'm looking at these guys saying I want the best version of you, and the best version of our team. Right now we're pulling a lot of -- I'm dragging guys. But that's okay. It's early.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
#3, Nerlens Noel, F
On Coach Calipari's comments about his hustle…
“I think it is pretty good. I have to make sure I stay up with it and just really get the guys going. Whether it has to go through me to get the energy level up, that's how it can be, but I'll do anything to help my team.”
On if he has always been a high-energy player or if it is new in college…
“I have always been a relatively high-energy guy, but now since I'm at a higher level I have to bring it every night. I just always have to be active for my team, make opportunities for the fast break and getting steals on the floor. I'm just doing it for my team to get going.”
On if he has always been a guy that dives on the floor…
“Yeah, yeah, I've always been on the floor. It's the only way you are going to get that ball.”
On Kyle Wiltjer's shooting performance tonight...
“He's an assassin, a sniper. He gets the ball in the rim. It is amazing how effective he is on the perimeter.”
#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F
On how he reacted to Coach saying the team needed to work on getting up shots and staying on the court as much as possible …
“We did a good job in practice moving without the ball. I didn’t move without the ball and that’s why I didn’t get any open shots. He just wanted me to shoot open shots when I had them. He is confident in me as a shooter. I just wanted to come out tonight and move and space the court well so I can either get stuff from my teammates or get open shots.”
On hitting four shots in less than three minutes …
“It is always good as a shooter when you see some of them go down. Especially when I kind of went on a bad shooting spurt in the beginning of the second half and to see some go down is a good feeling as a shooter.”
On being able to shoot baskets from any spot on the court and not just having a sweet spot …
“It was a great feeling. I really want to give credit to my teammates just finding me the ball. In new sets we just really worked on spacing. It is great from Coach Cal teaching us where to go when we don’t have the ball so we are not just standing around.”
#22, Alex Poythress, G
On his energy level matching Nerlens Noel in the future…
“Hopefully I will be like Nerlens. He is a character out there but hopefully I can have his energy out there.”
On connection with teammates…
“Yes I feel the connection. We are coming closer as a team, we are getting used to playing with each other and we are just having fun out there.”
On what goals the team has…
“Just improvement as a team. We are trying to get better, make strides to progress so that we can be good. That is all that really matters.”
On knowing his own strength…
“No it has not dawned on me yet. Archie and Julius tell me I don’t know how big I am because I bump into them and stuff like that. I am just trying to get a feel for the game myself.”
Lafayette College Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon
On the game…
“First of all they’re more athletic than us so it’s hard for us to get out there and pressure them, double-team them and turn them over. It’s not something we can do. I don’t know if maybe there are some other teams that can do that, but it certainly wasn’t going to be us chasing them.”
On Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel’s game…
“I think he’s terrific … He’s getting better at his post moves around the basket. I think every week he’s going to get better. Certainly he can clog up the middle. They’re going to get out and pressure us, try to force us to the basket and try to speed us up, which they did. He’s a handful back there. Our perimeter game is not going to be nearly as good because of his presence out there. I think offensively he’s just getting better and better when I watched him on film and then tonight.”
On forward Dan Trist not playing in Friday’s game…
“You need a post presence, you need somebody you can throw it into. Dan Trist has been scoring the ball very well for us. I’m not sure he’s going to be getting 20 points against Kentucky, but he gives us an inside presence, and then he makes our outside a little bit better. He’s just getting better. We are a much better team with Dan Trist. We’re not Kentucky good, but we are much better.”
On dealing with Kentucky forward Kyle Wiltjer…
“We knew the problem we were going to face with Wiltjer, and we said this, when you’re playing Duke they’re much longer than we are so there was not as much space for him. He’s somebody you really have to be up on, but with their quickness on the perimeter and getting into gaps is going to give him a lot more space out there. We didn’t have the ability to plug up the holes and the gaps that we needed out there to pressure him. You have to make him put it on the floor. We’re a young team as well as Kentucky. We lost our poise certainly tonight.”