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Coach Cal’s Pre-South Carolina Quotes

Coach Cal spoke with the media yesterday about the team and their game tonight against South Carolina. Although he never mentioned it, you can tell that he, like the rest of us, had a rough day yesterday without KSR.  Let’s hope that doesn’t show on the court. To the quotes…

On earning a No. 1 ranking…

“I think our kids are excited about it. I think they wanted to be No. 1 which is a good sign, and now we are trying to teach them what it means to be No. 1. We talked at my house last night about it. What will come at them now; the different obstacles, different distractions that will take you away from what you’re trying to do. An added level of that comes with being No. 1.”

On handling the pressures of a No. 1 ranking…

“It will be everything. You’ll have people coming out of the woodwork, ticket requests out of the woodwork, media requests and how we deal with those. All of the sudden, the guy who isn’t very good looking becomes a beautiful young man. We’ll talk some more and I have some other things to give them before we go on the practice court, but this is a pretty level-headed group. You start finding out, if it’s a significant game, if they show up. The issue is, if they show up for every game; they are not machines and they are not robots. They are not going to (show up for every game). They are going to have some bad nights. They are going to have some flat nights. Let’s just hope it’s against an opponent we can beat anyway. But, I do know this, when it is time to show up, put on the uniform, and battle, they have been there.

“As we go farther into it, how are they going to respond to it? Our bench play was outstanding last game. That has to continue. We have to have a bench. It guards against foul trouble, injuries and all the other things that could happen. They responded to this point in a good way. They have been great in practice. They come alive. Again, I’m not a long practice guy. I want them to be fresh mentally and physically. I’m not a long film guy. If they are fresh mentally and physically, they are going to give me everything they have and that’s all I want. I look at this team and I just keep telling them, `You have to play harder than them, and beat them to 50-50 balls. If you do that, we are good enough defensively and we are talented enough offensively. If we play together on both ends, it makes it hard on the opponent.'”

On the differences between this team and his former No. 1 teams…

“Those teams were junior-senior oriented. The Memphis thing was one freshman, and all juniors and seniors. The Massachusetts thing was all juniors and seniors, and the Player of the Year in the country. This is different. The guys are brand new. New style and new system. Again, I can say seven out of our top eight are Patrick (Patterson), and freshmen or sophomores. One sophomore did not play Division I basketball and the other two who barely played. That is our team. How will they respond? I have no idea. But, we are going to find out because we are going on the road against a team who can beat us, in a packed arena. We’ll see how they respond.”

On South Carolina’s Devan Downey…

“He is going to get his, you know he will. He is going to take his shots. He can score a multitude of ways, he gets to the foul line and he breaks down your press. What you don’t want him to do is make everyone on the floor 10-times better too. We’ll guard him with different people. We may even play zone. I’ve seen a lot of teams play him zone, so he doesn’t get in that lane. They try to keep him outside that lane by playing zone. So, that’s another possibility.”

On the maturation of the team…

“They are growing up. I’ll give you an example. DeMarcus Cousins gets his tooth knocked out. What would he have done the first week of the season if someone had hit him in the mouth and knocked his tooth out? He would have said, `A tooth for a tooth.’ He does nothing except go, `Did he knock my tooth out?’ When he smiled the entire bench laughed, and we all laughed. He has come a long way. Daniel Orton had an unbelievable shoot around, which led to a great game. Now, is he convinced that’s how he’s got to play? Eric (Bledsoe) and John (Wall) are talking to each other the whole time they are on the court. That’s what you want your guards to do.”

On Darrin Horn and South Carolina…

“Good man, good coach. What he did at Western Kentucky and now what he is doing there. I know he is from this area. I met his sister and she said, `I’m Darrin’s sister. I hope he loses twice to us this season.’ I know he beat us twice last year. They are good and he does a great job. It’s a great program and it will be a hard game for us. It’s sold out, and you know it’s going to be crazy. You walk in with the young ones and you hope they bring it.”

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR