Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.
Provided by UK Athletics:October 26, 2010
Q. Can you talk about the play of Terrence Jones, what you saw and what you liked?
COACH CALIPARI: He’s pretty good. Pretty good. Did some good stuff. One of the things you’ve got to have is you’ve got to score the ball, and that kid right there can score the ball. But we are still ‑‑ if you watch, we are still trying to figure out how we are going to have to play.
Look, I’m not the kind of guy that recruits players and says, you must play like this and if you can’t, you’re not going to be a player. I try to look at a kid and say, how does he play, what’s the best style for him to play.
Even Brandon, I grabbed him after and I said, “Brandon, we have to just define your game a little bit. I haven’t had a point guard shoot like you.” So we have to define a little more of how we play. And to stay with Doron (Lamb); I thought he did some stuff with the ball, got really quick with the ball where he wanted to.
But we had not worked on switching. We had not worked on any trapping. We had not worked on any ball screens. So when it looked like we didn’t know what we were doing ‑‑ that’s right, we didn’t. We had no idea. I was trying to talk them through it and scramble it up a little bit just to see what we would look like, but got a ways to go.
Q. Is this a good two hours, or two hours better spent in practice format?
COACH CALIPARI: No, I’ll tell you why it’s good. I want to know: When you’ve got numbers on your back, and the lights turned on, how you play now. And let’s put 10,000 people in the seats. Now how do you play? How do you shoot? How do you make free throws? It’s important.
The other thing was, we went 40 minutes without a sub. So every kid played every minute. So we got the conditioning we wanted. I get to see, all right, who is a little panic-stricken; and I also get to watch tape of us in that environment and see where the breakdowns were.
But obviously, look, guys, I’m not lying to you when I tell you, we are a ways away. I like my team. We have got to get, you know, Josh (Harrellson) is getting like 24 rebounds. I don’t think he’s ever done that in a rebounding drill, like by himself, with a zone ‑‑ I don’t know what that means. Does that mean, wait a minute, and I switch to Eloy (Vargas), because I’ve got to get some fight out of Eloy. He loves the chance, but it’s not just playing; in that position, you’ve got to battle.
So, but he was ‑‑ but that’s his first (game). You’ve got to give Eloy (a break), first time‑out of the gate. He’s never played in front of 10,000. Wait until it’s 25,000. Never played in front of 10,000. So how about the beginning of the game, we had a lot of anxiety. But that’s to be expected. That’s why you do these things. That’s why it’s important that you do them.
Q. When you found out you could not bring some subs in, did you think about changing the format?
COACH CALIPARI: I heard that about 5:30, 5:00, I got the call. I’m not going to argue; if that’s what they say it is what it is. First thought we were saying was maybe let’s go with some running time. And the other thing was, maybe we can do some drills and other things. But these people wanted to see us go up-and-down. And to be honest with you, we have a day off tomorrow, and then I thought, 40 minutes of conditioning, and I told these guys, make this a conditioning day.
But also, you need a base to look at where you are. And I’ll watch this tape a couple of times and I’ll have a good feel of where we are and how we are going to have to do this. We have some plays like, my goodness ‑‑ you get up 15 or 16, and you make two errors in a row, for no reason. It’s not like they make great plays or diving, you just give them two plays. Well, you may lose that game, but these guys don’t get it. Terrence (Jones) comes out and throws it to the wing; what did you just do? He stole it. What?
So that’s the kind of stuff that we’ll see on the tape and learn about. But I also liked that they came together a little bit if you watched them out there. Like Doron (Lamb), the last pass he made, instead of driving it, he gets Brandon (Knight) a shot in the corner and then Terrence gets a pass across the court and then someone gives Terrence a lob and then DeAndre (Liggins) jumps in. There was some good stuff. We are not there, and we are not supposed to be, it’s October whatever. When do we play our first game, the 12th? What do I got, three weeks? Oh, my gosh. Maybe I should be panicked.
Q. Did you have any kind of backup plan if somebody got injured? What were you going to do; do you know?
COACH CALIPARI: I asked that to the person that told me, you can’t (have the extra guys playing). And I said, “What happens if a guy gets hurt, what are we going to play, four on four, play the zone?” No, we had no backup plan.
That’s why ‑‑ I think it was Doron that hit the floor hard, I said, “Get up, kid, you’ve got to finish this one out.” We started cramping up at the end. I had a couple guys with cramps.
Q. Brandon (Knight), 37 points, 14 of 20, pretty unbelievable. Do you credit that to format? Great play? Pretty unbelievable stat.
COACH CALIPARI: You know, again, I’ll give you one play where the high school play, where it breaks down, so you just jack a three up, can’t do that. But all of the other shots ‑‑ the only thing I’ve told him, you can’t go in there and throw your body into a player and shoot the ball, because the officials will not give you that call in college. You’re not getting it.
That was good. When you asked me what was good, that was great for him. So you know now, if you don’t think you can get to the rim and play up to the bump, shoot at the foul line; shoot a runner. Don’t go in there and throw your body and just like hit the floor, because what will happen, not only will you miss it, but you’ll be our first line of defense. So that means throw; throw it, shoot a layup.
So there are things he’s got to learn. Again, you saw I started doing pick‑and‑rolls. Again, this may be a pick‑and‑roll team. , I haven’t figured it out yet. It will take time. And it may take time as we go through the season. We start defining, look, I was at Memphis, we were 6‑3 and I figured out, maybe Tyreke Evans should be our point guard. And we won 27 straight.
That’s how dumb I was. We were 6‑3 in nine games and dying, and I had the wrong guy at point guard. Took me some time but I figured it out. We have to figure it out. We have some guys that we saw (play great) today, okay, they are fine.
Now, who are those other guys? And you all know what I’m saying. We need to have seven guys, eight guys, who are those other guys? We had some guys maybe play not as well and I’m not worried about it, but who are those other guys? Can Josh do this for 15, 20 minutes a game? If he can go in there and go grab rebounds and do it, either we are the worst offensive‑rebounding team in America or he’s gotten better, one of the two. I don’t know, I’ll watch the tape but we’ll figure it out.
Q. Seeing DeAndre (Liggins) dig in and play that kind of aggressive defense ‑‑
COACH CALIPARI: You know, that’s who he is. DeAndre really picks it up. He missed some layups today, missed a couple shots, and the other thing is, we miss free throws. I mean, come on. 20 for 34, you know, we should be ‑‑ we are a good shooting team. We should be 27, 28 for 34; 25 for 34. 25, 26, 27; 20, and we were like one for five ‑‑ no way, we are a good shooting team. Shouldn’t happen.
Q. You said you haven’t figured out how you’re going to play; have you figured out what you’re not?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I know we are not the beast of a team we were inside last year where we had three horses. We don’t have that.
So now you play a little different. Maybe that guy instead of running to the basket runs into all ball screens and you space the court out with him, I don’t know. But we have just got to watch and you know, try to play this out and just see, what’s the most effective way for us to play.
I think when you look at us, you know we are going to be better against zone. Because you know, now you put Terrence (Jones) in the middle of a zone and you put shooters around him, we are a little different team than we were a year ago versus the zone.
But again, some of these guys, they are going to have to step up and do some stuff. I like the fact that the blue team, again, never played together, how many days of practice? Nine? Eight? We just had 18 assists and seven turns.
Now, you can say what you want. We played fast. We ran the ball up the court. We drove the ball. We attacked. We didn’t pass it 20 times and then try to take a shot. That’s not how we play. We had seven turns. That is good. And we are not playing like we did a year ago where every ball must go through Brandon Knight.
Whoever rebounds the ball brings it up now. We are playing a little different than we did. Last year whoever rebounded gave it to John Wall. So now we are saying, Brandon shoots it so well, if someone else brings it up, bring it up. Let him shoot the ball.
Q. We saw Terrence take a couple of shots from deep, is that something you get him to do to stress the defense a little bit?
COACH CALIPARI: I stopped him a couple of times because he took a couple he didn’t need to take. If the ball is driven in the lane and it’s thrown out to him, I’m fine with that.
But if the ball is swung and he should be driving the ball and he’s just jacking up a three because he’s not in the mode to attack, you’ve got to come out.
What he’ll do for us is get to that rim; get to that rim, he is long. Now what he did not do today and what he must do for us to be any good, he has to offensive rebound. He had one offensive rebound in that game; not only that, we missed 40 shots, so one out of 40 shots you rebounded. Come on now.
But again, he’s never ‑‑ we are going to watch the tape, and he probably attempted to offensive rebound, 25, 30 percent of the time. He needs to attempt to offensive rebound, 80 percent of the time. He’s long. Go get a free basket here. You’d score five, six more baskets a game that way; so would he.
Q. On if people feed off Brandon Knight’s play …
COACH CALIPARI: When you think of it, when he plays that way, when DeAndre (Liggins) plays that way, now you have Terrence (Jones) that picked up his game, you saw him start to play that way, all of a sudden, it does bleed.
Now Doron (Lamb) looks around and says, I’ve got to do it. And I’ll give you some examples. We have not worked on switching anything, and we had to today because guys were getting mixed up, and the second half you saw we did a better job. A lot of that is just energy; I’ve got to go get him.
You know, look, I’m going to have fun coaching this team and figuring it out but it’s going to be a process. And in most years, that’s what it is. Let me explain it. Last year, it was the thing. We are down 18 to Miami (Ohio), 18 in the first half, we were not a great team early. We became a great team. This team, we have got to figure them out. Doesn’t happen overnight. They have got to figure out each other.
I like the fact that you saw some camaraderie out there. Did you see it? You had to feel that they were like talking and passing and chest bumping. That’s what ‑‑ if they are that, then it’s up to us ‑‑ let me say this. I told my staff this and I’ll leave you with this ‑‑ Jerry, this will be his headline.
They are listening to everything we say. We have got to be ‑‑ we had better make sure we are telling them the right thing. They are listening. They are doing whatever we are asking them to do. So now we have to make sure whatever we are telling them to do is the right thing and that’s what we have all got to figure out.
Like I said, early on, a little anxiety, some things I didn’t like. In the second half, you saw them come out of the gate a little bit different, which was great. And both teams did, Doron did; Jon Hood did; they all did.
So you know, we’ll get something out of it, and I hope the fans enjoyed it, and saw that this is going to be a process. Thanks.
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