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Goodbye press conference notes

Dozens of media members were in attendance at this final press conference with the 2011-12 Kentucky basketball team. Local and national figures lined half court with cameras pointed at the five underclassmen along the baseline. Calipari and his crisp suit dotted the center. He praised the five players, and eased us into what we all knew was coming (not without momentarily causing everyone to collectively hold their breath with a cleverly timed pause before announcing that Kidd-Gilchrist and Teague would leaving as well): Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague are leaving school early to chase their dreams playing basketball in the NBA.

KSR College writers Ally Tucker and Tara Bilby, and I were there, and shared in the experience. Here are some notes of what the players had to say.


— The press conference was nationally televised, and Calipari started off with an opening statement. To summarize, he thanked everyone for coming out, and directed the focus to the program being “players first.” He went on to say, “When the season is over, it’s about moments like this… Making decisions about (the players) future.”

— Calipari said he was surprised all five players wanted to announce their intentions to enter the draft together. But he was met by the player’s unenthusiastic response about fishing out the term. But insisted they know they have an opportunity to come back to finish their degrees.

Calipari also called out the critics for the one-and-done’s not connecting with the program or creating a bond with the coaches or players. He said “you’re crazy,” if you believe you can’t create a relationship in one or two years, and “these players are connected to our fans; they’re connected to this University, and they’ll come back.”


A few players were then available for individual interviews after the press conference


— Doron Lamb said he talked to him mom and dad every day to help him make his decision. The feedback for his decision came mostly for UK coaching staff. He said his contact with the NBA was limited, but he feels comfortable with his decision.


— Lamb also shared that he and his teammates, outside of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who needed more time to decide, knew shortly after winning the National Championship they were going to turn pro.


— Marquis Teague confirmed, saying “we knew a few days after the game — we talked to Coach Cal, our family, some of the players.”


— Teague also said “it means a lot” to be able to “continue the tradition” of Calipari point guards making it to the NBA. “Working with Coach Cal and getting better every day; I’m just happy I got this opportunity.” He went on to say, “This is my life-long dream, and to be able to do it with these guys it just makes it that much more special.


— Teague said he felt like he did enough to warrant his turning pro, “Leading this team — it was kind of like an NBA team.”


— When asked what he would miss most about playing for Kentucky, Teague responded easily with “Playing with these guys.  Brotherhood.”


— Teague also dropped two interesting nuggets of information about the press conference in general. According to Teague, Terrence Jones was the one to first suggest that all of the guys announce their decision together. The other 4 quickly agreed. Teague also spilled that Calipari’s moment of misdirection was planned and that he informed them of the joke beforehand.


— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist appeared to be the most emotional from the outset. When given the microphone at the podium he almost seemed choked up. He very thoughtfully brought up Darius Miller and how he enjoyed playing with him so much as well.


— Kidd-Gilchrist provided the quote of the night, perhaps even the season, during his breakout interview. He was asked if he had made friends for life at Kentucky. He quickly responded that “I’ve got friends for eternity here.”


— Kidd-Gilchrist also revealed that his Mom wanted him to return to school. “She wanted me to come back– bad, bad. But I had to make that decision. It was my decision.” Kidd-Gilchrist admitted, along with confirmation from the other players, that he was the last to make his decision. He even jokingly apologized to the fans for proclaiming a month ago that he would be at Kentucky for all four years. Charming as ever, he even included the “media” in his list of things he would miss about Kentucky.


— Anthony Davis fooled no one, though he tried to convince the media that his decision was difficult as well. “I know a lot of people say it should’ve been an easy decision, but nah. I’m just going to miss this place. We all loved each other and had each other’s backs. And that’s the one thing I’m going to miss. I’ll always keep in touch with them. They’re my brothers for life.”


— Cough, apparently eternity Anthony, cough.


— Davis commented on Kidd-Gilchrist’s clear emotional reaction to the day, “You saw Michael getting emotional. That’s because of how close we are. That’s why we wanted to (announce) together.”


— Jones also weighed in on the excitement mixed with sadness surrounding the announcement today. “Seeing everybody getting ready to make that move is real difficult. We’ve spent so much time together having fun. Gonna be hard.”


— Looking forward to next season, Doron Lamb said “Coach Cal doesn’t have a problem recruiting. He can get anyone he wants. I think next year they’ll have a great team.”


— Coach Calipari said “We’re going to have a brand new team. But you know what? That’s the challenge in this — bringing them together.” He went on to say about next season, “We’ve got a good group coming in; we’ve got good players coming back.” But he made it clear that experience isn’t part of what’s returning, “Next year we’ve got one guy with any experience. Kyle Wiltjer, that’s it.”


— Calipari preached to the recruits, as he always does, “This is work here. This is hard. The hardest place they can go is here.”


— The players chipped in on the hard work required to play at Kentucky. Teague’s advice for the incoming freshmen, “If you come here, just be prepared to work hard.”


–Anthony Davis added, “It’s not just about 1-and-done. We really worked our butts off to get to this point.”


Even though the evening was ultimately about the decisions of all five players to enter their names into the NBA Draft, the night, like most with this Kentucky team, was spent talking glowingly about one another. The players spent more time talking about their love for one another, the Kentucky program, Coach Calipari and playing together than they did about their NBA future projections. The word brotherhood came up multiple times in each of the player interviews. This team was uniquely close and this evening’s press conference only proved it even further.

Ally Tucker and Tara Bilby contributed to this post.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

37 Comments for Goodbye press conference notes

  1. UK Freshmen
    9:31 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Hundreds?? It looks more like 30 or so.

  2. Big Blue 66
    9:32 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    not to change years or players, but B Knight is putting up some numbers tonight, love seeing that guy do well.

  3. UK Freshmen
    9:33 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Oh, and what Lamb says, makes AD a big fat……

  4. RaleighCat
    9:37 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    #3 go be an ass somewhere else. Please.

  5. kentuckyrules
    9:38 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Its cool knowing we will be talking about this team for a very looooong time :). Congrats guys, go get your dreams!!

  6. MKG for supreme ruler of the universe.
    9:40 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone have a link to video?

  7. Paul Daugherty @
    9:40 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    I’m a jerk who gets his jollies off by insulting 18 year olds for making tough decisions.

  8. Coach Cal is the man, but repeating that the 5 1st rounders “is one of the best days in UK basketball history”, remember Coach Cal you traveled the state on a bus, train, and plane with a NCAA trophy.

  9. UK Homer
    9:52 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    7 – luckily that guy is completely clueless as to how a player should approach the NBA Draft process. I guess it’s not familiar territory to someone who covers X and UC. He probably doesn’t know what a McDonalds All American is…

  10. Ridge Runner
    9:53 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Nice insight Stuart and enjoyed he players comments.

    **sigh**, this is tough to see them go….tough.

  11. Catsincebirth
    9:53 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Look for Bennet to choose KY, Hood from Miss. State to
    transfer to UK and for us to pick up a juco for next year.
    You heard it here first !!

  12. the Big Dog
    9:54 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Good luck in the NBA but please go to class and stay serious about school. Don’t make us UCONN south. FYI- Knight went 11-12 from the field with 28 pts and 7 assists. Price was 6-8 for 15 pts. Samuels went 2-7 for the Cavs.

  13. Uk fan
    9:55 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t even know the guys personally but I feel like my best friends are leaving…crazy how a team can do that to somebody…Only at BBN

  14. davidduke4uk
    9:58 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Will cal bring in any non colored players this year?

  15. UK Homer
    9:59 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    So proud of these guys. Hope we get 6 in the 1st Round. Darius can go with the last pick in the first round to the NBA champs. Only the best for the kid who went from NIT to Elite 8 to Final 4 to Champion!

  16. BigBlueSkyDog
    10:00 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    It’s almost a shame that MKG was so damn good. His heart is here in Kentucky but it makes no sense to stay. He knew it as well as anybody. Kudos to him for making the smart decision though it had to be very difficult.

  17. really
    10:00 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    11) msu is not allowing hood to transfer to an sec school.

  18. mashburnfan1
    10:06 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks to these guys for not only winning but representing themselves and UK in such a great way. Not just these 5 but the entire team the BBN owes a huge thank you. I love winning but it is really enjoyable when it is done the way you guys won. You showed class to go along with all your hard work. Go represent your next stop in the same manner as you will always be representing UK. As for MKG we can tell you hated to leave but hey man you had to go and your family will now be set for life. You and this team have also got fans for eternity….

  19. Shelbyjoe
    10:06 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    I just luv these kids and will always remember them with great happiness, not because of their championship, but because of the class with which they represented this state.

  20. No, But you are gone
    10:06 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    No, #14 but we will escort you back to the rock you live under…

  21. Stuart Hammer
    10:14 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    1 – Haha, you’re right. I initially wrote that and forgot to go back and fix it. I’ve made the figure more realistic now 😉

  22. Ngbybyv
    10:15 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Unenthusiastic about fishing out the term??? Joe B will be so disappointed!

  23. bmt22033
    10:18 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    I think most reasonable fans realize that this is the right decision for each of these kids. It’s a weird feeling, though. You’re so incredibly proud of them and happy for them to be reaching their dreams but wow does it hurt to see them go. 🙁 Championship aside, this group of guys may be one of my all time favorites.

  24. SexnNursinHomes
    10:26 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    I laugh at the naive fools who thought anyone of the 5 were returning. Fools. Absolute morons. Because here what happens. 1. Fan gets unrealistic hopes up 2. Other fans try to make sense to the unrealistic fan 3. Unrealistic fan won’t hear it. 4. They go pro as everyone and their momma knew 5. Unrealistic fan gets emotional butt-hurt wah wah wah 6. Unrealistic fan then starts making insults towards the very players he/she were rooting for all year long.

    Let the guys go make their money. It’s a crappy economy, gas is $4 a gallon, mark emmerts is paying his $9 million month mortgage off our players. Unrealstic fan, go suck a big fat one.

  25. dick v
    10:28 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t get to see the press conference, did these five talk about the fans/BBN at all baby? Glad to see the players chase their dreams. If it was not for chasing dreams then we would not have ended up with the best coach in college basketball. Sad to see them go, but until the system is changed this will be a repeat every year. What a group of diaper dandies.

  26. NKY_UK_fan
    10:28 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    I absolutely have no problem with any guys going pro. That being said, it still stings when it happens because I get attached to all of the players in such a short amount of time, Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Knight, Jones, Lamb, Davis, MKG, Teague and anyone else I may have forgot (I don’t care about Orton….lol). It’s the bittersweet part of winning a title in the one and done era. My 5 yr old son doesn’t understand and I have to explain to him each year why guys are gone. It’s all good though. Congrats to the guys on reaching their dreams, for working so hard while at UK, and bringing home #8.

  27. Mudcreekmark
    10:32 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Five of the finest young men to even step foot on campus. They showed what being a “team” is all about. Every young kid in America would do themselves and their family proud to emulate these guys. Good luck and keep yourselves humble and hungry and now go get your just rewards.

  28. xcoach
    10:36 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Very proud of the whole team. Their maturity for such young guys are what sets them apart from other talented groups in college basketball. Very excited about the class coming in. If only one of the departing players had stayed in would have been huge. We really are going to need a backup point guard if Polson doesn’t work out. That’s why Teague and Lamb leaving were especially tough.

  29. xcoach
    10:40 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    By the way – 14 must be from one of UK’s rival schools. No one talks that way anymore.

  30. Nathan
    10:41 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who complains about these kids fulfilling their dreams is a selfish a-hole. Any other sport/career we would be celebrating success like this. Good luck guys!! Thanks for the memories!!

  31. Nathan
    10:45 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    19. Nice grammar! #thingsneversaidhere

  32. cats11
    11:04 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    31. I was about to compliment Hammer on his grammar (sarcastically).

  33. WhatSheOrder?KeyLimePie?
    11:09 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink


  34. I hope your right
    11:13 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    So hood is transferring??
    How bout we just trade straight up our Hood for theirs? What’s wrong with that

  35. SuperCats
    11:34 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    27) so true, so nice
    good guys can finish first!

  36. Whose next
    11:55 pm April 17, 2012 Permalink

    Cal said he hoped to add at least 2 more.Other than Benett and Jefferson who else is Cal after? I’ve heard a JUCO does anyone Know who.

  37. I Like Full Quotes
    11:14 am April 18, 2012 Permalink

    Full quote from #Kentucky coach John Calipari on next year & why #UofL should be No. 1: “We’ve got our work cut out for us. Now, I will tell you, we have two teams close to us — Louisville will be preseason No. 1 and should be able to do what we did this year. They got NBA players, they’re talented. Indiana’s pretty darn good. Everybody coming back. We’re going to have a brand new team, it’s going to be hard. But you know what, that’s the challenge of this, bringing a team together.”