January 17, 2012
Post-Arkansas Press Conference
Talk about Anthony (Davis) and how many times you’ve seen somebody do that?
Let me say this: This is how he is. This is, in my mind, I walked in and said Terrence Jones, now you’re getting closer. You had two or three other balls you could have dunked. You tried to lay up, but you got blocked and you’re closer. You’re being more aggressive, you’re doing your talking more.
I said, Marquis Teague, “unbelievable floor game. The best you’ve played this year. Unbelievable floor game. Nothing was forced.” He didn’t make any crazy plays. It was unbelievable.
I looked at Michael (Kidd-)Gilchrist and said you’ve got to play smarter and you cannot be fouling. I just looked at him and said “You played good again,” Anthony Davis. You can imagine, he does what he does every game. That’s who he is. I mean, he’s getting points, not being a pig. Getting up there and getting the ball.
Compare the influence or impact Anthony (Davis) has defensively and offensively, you know, each side?
I’ve coached Marcus Camby, and Bruiser Flint called me the other day and said this kid does what Marcus Camby did for us. He clears up all your errors, and he’s back there.
We played Princeton, and the coach that now is at Fairfield was on that team. They ran their best backdoor stuff. He said it was the best backdoor stuff we’ve ever run. Camby had 11 blocks in that game, and we beat them by 30.
Well, they ran their stuff, but he cleaned up all the mess. This kid does the same. He also does it in the press attack. Now all of a sudden you make any kind of mistake, and we’re throwing it to him and he’s dunking the ball. That’s a tough one to deal with.
So on both ends he does it, and he’s getting better. He’s making free throws. He’s making jumpers. You’re seeing more of his game. Again, I’ve got to tell you, Marquis Teague gets seven points, nine assists, three turns. If we are getting closer to getting him right, if we are getting closer to getting Terrence Jones right, all of a sudden this thing takes on a little different look to it.
You mentioned Marcus Camby, and I’ve heard a couple other people say he’s the best shot blocker in the game for college in the past 10 years.
Anthony (Davis) right now is maybe the best in 10 years?
How long ago did Marcus play?
That was ’96. Can you give us perspective on that in terms of how good he is in the past 10 years if that’s accurate in your mind?
I don’t know. Let the season end and you can look back at numbers and find out. I’ve been blessed that I’ve coached two of the great shot blockers who are unbelievably nice people who defer to their teammates, are not selfish, don’t have a selfish bone in their buddy, neither guy, and I was fortunate enough to coach both of them.
Maybe I can coach Anthony (Davis) three years like I did Marcus (Camby). That would be a lot of fun too. I’m going to try to influence him that way.
What was the difference in Marquis Teague tonight? What was he doing that he hasn’t been doing?
He’s really focused and zoned in on how he’s got to start playing. He’s playing as a point guard versus trying to score baskets. He’s still scoring and making free throws. The biggest thing is our team is a totally different team when he’s playing.
I want him to play fast but in control. In other words, if they’re trying to press go, we’re not going to hold back how we play. If it’s back there, we’re going to grind it out. We’re a good grind it out team.
Obviously, I would love to play fast the whole game, but you’ve got to be able to play in the half court, defend in the half court, play offense in the half court, grind out clock and make people make plays late in the clock. He’s got to run us and be able to do that, and he did that today.
Can you talk about what you were saying, you saw more from Terrence (Jones), and also a comment on the way Doron (Lamb) played tonight?
Both of them have made strides. They’ve both got to keep going. I thought Darius (Miller) made some shots. He had some defensive breakdowns. But they, you know we have a bunch of guys taking eight to 10 shots. That’s what we have.
I thought Kyle Wiltjer played well. He made a couple baskets when we needed him. We’re making our free throws, which makes the score a little bit more than it probably would have been.
We’re a good defensive team. We gave them, again, think about this, in the last two minutes, we gave them three baskets which put them from 38% to 40%, which is why it drives me crazy. Why would you let him go 4-for-4 to end the game, which is basically what we did?
We out-rebounded a team that’s really scrappy, and we didn’t shoot a whole lot of 3s to do it. Now they went to the zone. I thought we were good versus the zone. I know we looked good. Got the ball, moved the ball. The first time they went zone, Doron (Lamb) nails the 3, and from there, we nailed it inside out. We got the ball in the middle, got the ball on the baseline, so we made strides.
We got better today. This is much better. Let me say this: They weren’t like a huge team, but they’re just as physical and they play a style that they go after the ball on every play. And we ended up with 12 turnovers, which is pretty good.
Cal, Arkansas played the way they’re going to play, and tried to get the tempo especially early in the second half. But the way you all got up and down, does that reinforce even more that you’re probably going to see the whole grind it out, slugfest type of games most of the way?
Yeah. But I’m okay with that. My teams historically, if you want to play fast, we’ll play fast. If you make us play slow, we’ll play slower. We get breakouts, we’re taking them. If you’re back there, we’ll do it.
You slow the game down versus zone, our zone offense is quicker than a normal zone offense. So we can score on three or four passes, but teams are going to play all kind of ways. When you have seven guys that are all skilled with that basketball and make plays, it’s hard. It’s hard.
I was wondering if you could tell me what you thought of Arkansas, Mike (Anderson)’s first year, and what was the key to only having 12 turnovers?
When you ask me that, I’ve coached against Mike (Anderson) a bunch, so I kind of have an idea of how they’re going to play, so I can explain it to my team. They really play a frenetic style. They come at you different ways. You won’t know who is coming at you. They’re just coming.
The Louisville game prepared us for this game because they played very similar. I will tell you, I watched the Mississippi State tape, and I was like, whoa. I didn’t think we could beat them today after watching. That’s what I watched today.
I watched the Mississippi tape. They easily could have won that game. What was the other game I watched in the league that they won?
And LSU couldn’t even get into anything. And LSU is a good club now, so I would tell you that he’s going to win at home, and then they’re going to steal some games. They’re going to play that style that if you’re not ready and you’re not physically and mentally ready to play, you’re getting beat.
It looked like Darius (Miller) and Terrence (Jones) both were trying to be aggressive right from the jump. Is that what you’re looking for from them?
Yeah, they both were, and I was happy about that.
Why is it important to you in a game that’s already decided that the other team made their last four shots?
Because you take pride in your defense. We have a chance to lead the nation in field goal percentage defense, why wouldn’t we? Well, don’t worry about it. We’ll finish seventh. Well, that’s an honor. That’s a badge of honor, to be that good.
But what happens is the last two, three minutes of the game, those guys got to guard too, or they’re going to end up playing 30 seconds instead of two minutes. So it is important that way.
Plus, I want to see Kyle (Wiltjer) get better. I want to see Twany (Beckham) not breakdown and make mistakes. I want to see that I can go to those guys. Eloy (Vargas), get a block, get a rebound and come up with something. That’s your opportunity to show us what you should be doing.
Can you talk about your preparation for Alabama?
They’re going to have tomorrow off. We’ll practice, Thursday, Friday, and it’s a Saturday afternoon game. It’s going to be a war. Alabama’s a Sweet 16 team in my mind as is Florida, as is Vandy and Mississippi State. They’re all Sweet 16 teams.
So when we play them, they are physical. Last year, they beat us down there. They beat us in the paint. They beat us in the scoreboard. They beat us physically. They beat us a hundred different ways. They’re a really good team, they’ve got terrific players and it’s going to be a hard game for us.