We’ve got a good group. I spent time with them yesterday, they were at the house. This is just a great group of young people. Young, as my teams are normally, but what I’m trying to do and what I’ve been hitting on with this group is just remind them that my best teams, the teams that won 38 games or won 35 games, those players benefitted the most from those teams. Which is why I keep saying, it’s about team during the season, it’s about individuals after. This is about, big team makes a better me. The better our team is, the better opportunities everybody within the team’s going to have.
So, that’s what I’m trying to really get this team to think about because we’ve got a long way to go. And, as much as they’ve gotta be responsible for themselves – and they are, they’re in the gym, they’re [doing the] Breakfast Club, they’ve got all kinds of stuff going on — at the end of the day, we’ve got to have a hell of a team that everyone looks at and says the same thing: ‘How in the world did they get a new team every year to play this way? And they got really good players to share and be about each year?’ And that’s the challenge every year.
On what it would take to renew the Kentucky/Indiana series:
Our schedule is so locked in that I’m not sure, here in the next four to five years, if even talking about it does anything. We’re hoping to something in London next year, we’ve got this challenge that we put together, the [Champions Classic] and then the [CBS Sports Classic]. We have a game we have to play with Louisville. We have our big challenge with the Big 12. Our stuff is pretty well loaded so I don’t see it happening any time in the near future.
On if he is still open to a neutral-site series:
What I did was — here’s what you’ve got to understand. When we first decided, I presented to Indiana that we would play two games in the big building in Indianapolis. Like two games, we’ll play them both there. We’re not going to do this home-and-home but I’ll play both games there. They turned that down, which then, at that point, okay, we’re moving on because I can’t present anything that’s any better.
On his reluctance to play a home-and-home series:
Yeah, we have enough home-and-homes right now.
On the NCAA moving the three-point rule back and resetting the shot clock to 20 after a miss:
Yeah, I think they are good. I like the reset to 20 [seconds]. The game will be faster. I like the three-point line spreading out because the teams that – I’m not a big proponent of shooting 40 threes [per game], and if you are, that percentage is going to go down now. I think it’ll make the game more about movement and spacing and open up the lane a little bit more. I think it’s all good. But, you know, it’ll play out and I just, like I said, for young kids to say, ‘That line’s moving back and we’ll shoot the same percentage,’ I just don’t see it happening. I think percentages will come down and now, as a coach, you’ve got to make a choice: are we going to shoot that many threes or are we going to be more of a driving, lane touch kind of team?
On Eric Musselman, the new Arkansas coach:
Eric and I, we’ve known each other for a long time. I consider him a friend. I’ve known him since his days in the NBA. I remember walking in his locker room in Philadelphia and saying, ‘You did a hell of a job coaching that game.’ We coached against each other when we were in FIBA. I was with the Dominican [Republic], he was with Venezuela. We coached against each other there. I’ve watched him. I watched the Nevada thing. I think they’ve got a great coach. A driven human being who’s smart and he’s really going to do good work at Arkansas. No doubt in my mind.
On the Breakfast Club:
I was told that so – I’m not in the middle of it but I was told one of the guys is grabbing a couple other guys and they’re going in the mornings. This is the kind of the thing – we’ve only had a couple of practices and we’re going to have another one today. I think in my mind, our season here at Kentucky is too long. We go to April. We’re not going to do defense in the summer. The one thing I’m trying to get these guys to do – too much individual work. We need more pickup basketball. We need more movement. We need more spacing. We need more chemistry. They need to play. There’s no arms on the cone. There’s also just you and a guy. Well, guess what, the game has changed. You need to know what you’re going to do with that ball before you catch it. That means you’ve got to play. So, we’re trying to play more pickup basketball. We’re trying to let them be responsible for each other and push each other and we’re trying to bring them together and explain to them that my best teams, the players on those teams benefitted the most, so we gotta make this one of those. Big team. Thinking about this team – and I tell them all the time, we got you. You guys worry about each other. We got you but you’ve got to worry about each other. And this breakfast club, where they’re kind of dragging each other in there. They’re not dragging, they’re saying, ‘Come with me,’ and they’re talking to each other, it’s good stuff.
On who started it:
I don’t know this for a fact, but I heard it was Tyrese. One of my staff said it was Tyrese, But then again, Tyrese didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask. That’s just what one of my staff said.