Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.
As provided by UK Athletics:
November 1, 2010
An interview with:
COACH JOHN CALIPARI
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we really had no real fight or viciousness to our game. We didn’t really rebound. We did turn it over 15 times. Couldn’t make a three. Other than that, I thought we showed some good signs (laughter).
The only good news is last year when we played Campbellsville, it was kind of the same. We had 24 turnovers, whatever assists, couldn’t make a shot. We looked discombobulated. It was kind of the same. Then we came out and started playing a little bit better.
The thing with a game like this, I think Pikeville came out, which every team we play does, with a high energy level and aggressiveness. They were pretty big kids. They were seniors. They banged our freshmen around.
If we learn from this, this was a great game to play. If we don’t learn from this, we got to do it some other way. I got to get them to understand. That means probably got to get meaner, which I don’t like to do. Just learn. You know what just happened. Let’s get better.
It wasn’t just that guy, that guy. I mean, right up and down the line at every position. I couldn’t take seeing a free ball and their guy pushing us out of the way and grabbing it. We don’t win that way. My teams, we get that ball.
Q. What did you think of Brandon (Knight)?
COACH CALIPARI: I thought he played pretty well. I mean, look, again, he’s got to get a feel for how we’re playing. He’s got to understand, you can’t just drive in the first play of the game. You got to get everybody involved. He’s got a green light. Get everybody involved. When you see spots, go take your place.
But what he does, what I like, is he has a fight. When he saw we were dying, he took it and drove it, like I’m going to do it. At times I’m going to just let him go. If no one else wants to do it, go do it all.
We can’t do it that way. We have to have him run our club. He’s a scoring guard that has to run our club. We only had seven assists. Part of that was we couldn’t make an open shot. We missed them all. This is a team, that shooting is one of our strengths. But we got to do it with numbers on our back and people in the seats. We got to do it then.
I mean, offensive rebounding, that’s got to be one of our main things. We’ve got to be a team that really goes and offensive rebounds. Today, again, some of our guards got them, but you’re not going to get them in a real game. A two-guard or a point guard is not going to rebound in an offensive game. You got to go back.
This is one of those games I’ll go back and watch the tape and we just got to start figuring it out. We changed a little bit of transition for this game because I felt more comfortable on what we’re trying to do to make it simple. We did get to the rim and drew fouls, which is what the dribble‑drive is supposed to do.
I didn’t see the fight. But these kids don’t understand. They don’t get it yet. The advantage we had last year is that they could go back to practice, and we have enough guys, if you didn’t play, you got dunked on or scored on, that’s what you missed, so then you think you’re working hard. You come out to a guy that’s really working and it shows. It shows.
So we’ve got to do some things in practice. I’ve said I’ve got to make these practices rougher, we have to get more physical, physical without fouling, but we got to get more physical. Guys got to accept it.
Small lineup wasn’t particularly good today. I mean, if there’s no energy, you can’t play small guys. Doesn’t work. So we were better with one of those big guys in there with the smaller guys, and one of them has to come off the bench. That’s just how it is. Unless they really want to go in there and fight and go crazy, you can play that kind of lineup then.
Q. Any other way to add more depth for practice than walk‑ons?
COACH CALIPARI: Here is the problem. I’m not going to put guys on there just to put them on. If I don’t feel comfortable with anybody, we’ll stay how we are. It is an issue. I’ll be honest with you. I had this same situation in 1995-96. Exactly the same. I think I had eight guys on scholarship and four walk‑ons, something like that, if I remember back. That team was a little bit more of a veteran team. We got to play together better.
I mean, we’re just trying to figure each other out, create for each other more. You’re not just running this so you can go get something. You’re doing it to see if you can get something. If not, figure out where your teammates are.
We’re not there yet. This is going to be a daily chore. The biggest thing is, are we in shape? I’m not sure we are. Are we physical enough? I know we’re not. We’re not tough enough. We don’t play vicious enough. Do we find each other on the court? We don’t. Are we skilled enough? Yeah, this is one of my more skilled teams, no question about it. They should be playing together better.
So I think some of it is we’re just going to have to force it in practice. If they pass on a guy, we stop. No, you need to pass that, pass the ball. If they’re not being physical enough, we got to have some remedies for that.
Q. Obviously you guys were shooting better free throws tonight. Is that something you’ve been working a lot on or the guys are better free‑throw shooters this year?
COACH CALIPARI: We’ve been working on 3‑point shooting, too. We’re one-for-11 from the three. Of the 11, I don’t think anybody was guarded. So you’re talking about a horse shot that we were one-for-11 for. When I watch the tape, I’ll make sure of that. I bet you nine of them were wide open.
But what you want them to be is confident and go in there and get fouled so you want to go to the line. Darius goes 11 for 12. Brandon goes nine-for-10. Doron goes eight-for-10. That’s because they’re driving the ball and getting fouled. At halftime, I’m like, ‘Why do they have so many more shots than us?’ Because we kept getting fouled. And that’s why we shot 50 fouls and they shot 20.
I look as us defensively, we didn’t talk enough, we didn’t help enough. When a team drives down the length of the court and shoots a layup, there’s something wrong right now. Again, it’s what happens when you’re trying to play all young guys.
You know, last year we were deeper. We had more guys. This makes it even more important that guys understand how they got to play. Then it’s our job as coaches, let’s just come up with stuff. Look at our weaknesses and let’s get better with it.
I’ll go back and watch this tape. I’m going to have a clear picture of, ‘OK, where do we need to take this?’
Q. Can you create that toughness that you are looking for?
COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah, absolutely you can. What you have to have is a player understanding that it’s one of two things: He outworks me or I outwork him. This isn’t about cool. This isn’t about style points. Either he outworks me or I outwork him. So now we got to go to practice and make it that way.
I thought we were. But obviously not to the level we needed because, again, we had guys that were getting outworked. And it’s OK? It’s not OK. It’s not OK. It’s not OK to start the game the way we started the game. We could have been down 10‑0. We did some good things. There were things in there that I liked.
But, again, where we are right now, what I told them in that room, ‘It’s November 1st, guys, as long as you don’t make excuses for how you played, as long as you accept you got outworked, you got out‑toughed, you got out‑hustled, as long as you accept that you did not make each other better offensively, you almost worked against each other, as long as you’ll accept you would not go offensive rebound, if you accept it, we can work on it. If you want to come in here and have excuses, we got problems.’
I think they all know. You got to give Pikeville credit. They came in, weren’t afraid. They had a veteran team. They had some physical guys. They were like, ‘Bring it.’ They did a great job.
Q. What did you think of the leadership you got from Darius (Miller) and DeAndre (Liggins) tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: I just think that we’re not where we need to be. I think Darius (Miller) did some good things and there were other times he just stopped playing. You can’t do that with freshmen because they are going to stop playing. I didn’t think DeAndre (Liggins) in the first half had the energy he always plays with. If he doesn’t have the energy, we have problems.
The hustle points we had today were probably the lowest I’ve had in four or five years for the team. The first half was the lowest hustle points I’ve ever seen one of my teams have. We got beat in everything. 28 (hustle points). Usually a bad game will be 38, 42. A good game will be 50. If we get up to 60, we’re up 25 at half. We were at 28. Second half was 36.
So when you put those two numbers together, that’s one of the lowest I’ve seen my teams do. That’s where we are. The other team outworked us. Simple. I don’t care who they are. You play a team, and they play harder than you, you’re losing. You’re not going to look good. You can’t have one or two guys doing it, then two guys stop playing like it doesn’t matter.
This is a team sport. It’s five guys becoming a fist. Five guys together. One heartbeat. We all know what we’re doing. We’re all responsible to each other. That takes time. This group, we’re going to have to learn it because we go have a home game against an NCAA tournament team, go on the road and play four games. Oh, my gosh… Going to be interesting.
So we’re going to have to, in a hurry, get some guys up to speed.
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