Q. Coach, I just want to know how close Royce White was to becoming a Wildcat.
COACH CALIPARI: He didn’t get on the plane, or he would have been. When I met him and his mom, I was blown away. Like I really want to coach this kid. I knew he had some issues, but it wasn’t anything of the heart. I’ve done this a long time, and if a young man has a good heart, I can deal with everything else, and I think he has a good heart. And then having to play him and watching how he’s playing, I’m not real happy, but I’m happy for him. I really am.
Q. Coach, will you talk about the pressure on this game as the Number 1 overall seed. It would seem like everybody’s expecting to you win. Iowa State maybe can play without any kind of pressure and just let it all hang out on Saturday night?
COACH CALIPARI: So who are you rooting for? I think at this time, when you’re in this tournament, you just got to play basketball. What I’m trying to tell my team, forget about tournaments, we’ve got a basketball game to play. And I’ll tell you, it’s not nerves that I’m worried about. Iowa State is a really good team. Fred has them playing exactly how they have to play to be successful, which is why they’ve gotten to this point. I watched some tapes where I had to stop watching the tape because I started getting worried that we can’t beat this team. So I’m trying to watch a tape or two that they’ve lost so I can see like‑‑ but they shoot it well. They play hard. They spread the court. Royce is a point forward. But you have guys that really know what they have to do to have success, and they play that way. They’re a terrific team is what they are, and they’ve got terrific players now. He’s done a little bit like I’ve had to do, which is get a team together. People that have transferred from other schools. And yet, they’re together as a team and you see it. It’s going to be a hard game for us, I know. It will be a very hard game.
Q. Coach, you kind of bumped into Coach Prohm before practice there. Can you kind of share what you guys talked about and a message maybe for the UK fans who could help them out tomorrow in the game tomorrow?
COACH CALIPARI: I would hope the State of Kentucky fans are rooting for all the Kentucky teams. But he’s a good guy.
I just like the fact that Coach Kennedy comes back and he treats him with great respect, lets him speak to the team. Now think about that. I mean, it just shows me a lot about Steve. And he just thanked me, and I just told him he’s got his team playing great. Just keep playing, keep doing what you’re doing.
He’s got a good group of guys. He makes it about his players. It’s not about him. That’s why they’re playing so well.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Chris Allen and what he brings to the Cyclones. Not just his play, but also the fact that he’s been to two Final Fours before?
COACH CALIPARI: That‑‑ and I thought about that with both Michigan State players, that you got guys that are, one, they got to be physical to even make it through a Michigan State practice. So they have to be that way. So they add that.
But he also can score the ball. So now you’re talking about a three‑point shooter who has toughness. Folks, we have our hands full. I mean, I can go on and on if you want. But we’ve got our hands full. This is going to be one of the toughest games we’ve played in a while.
Q. Anthony Davis seemed to really be getting backed against the goal in the low post, wasn’t standing his ground last night. What are you going to be able to do about that in 48 hours?
COACH CALIPARI: We are what we are at this point. That happened in the conference tournament, the same thing. We’ve worked on some stuff. But at the end of the day, this is a very young team. If they’re allowed to be dislodged, like pushed three steps, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Now, the rule says they cannot be dislodged. If they have a guarding position, you cannot move them off that position, but if it’s‑‑ you know, get lower, push them with two hands. There’s not a whole lot you can do. You hold your ground if you get pushed, maybe front. They’ve done fine. I think every team that we play, the whole point is be really physical, push, grab. They’re a young team. Get them rattled. And we really haven’t gotten rattled. Now, there have been teams stronger than us, no question about that, but we’ve probably played about ten of them that have been stronger, more physical than us. The great thing about this game, it’s basketball. It’s not won in the weight room. You’ve got to go on that basketball court and make shots.
Q. One more Royce question, if I may. Had you known about his grandfather, would you have asked him if he could have just driven him to Lexington?
COACH CALIPARI: I knew of his grandfather, and I knew he was a big part of his life. But never entered my mind.
Q. That he could actually drive?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, you could do that, and if he didn’t want to get on the plane, maybe he just didn’t want to come to Lexington. That’s at the time probably how I thought. But you’re talking a couple of years ago.
Q. What does it say that they didn’t drive here? It’s not like he didn’t want to come.
COACH CALIPARI: That’s what makes it neat. When we all think these young men are machines, they’re computers, that they never miss a shot, that they never make a mistake, that how could that guy do it? They’re human beings and they make mistakes, and they have failings and flaws just like we all do. I think we all go through life trying to overcome our shortcomings, and we have strengths, and we have weaknesses.
He’s a fine young man. He’s doing well, and everyone should be happy for him.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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