When interviewed by the media this afternoon, Coach Calipari was very outspoken about the recent avalanche of foul calls in SEC play. The message was simple: call fouls if they’re fouls, don’t if they’re not.
“Let me just make my position clear: I think we’ve gotta keep calling fouls. Now, we’ve gotta make sure they’re fouls,” Calipari said. “So there are some replays that look and you say, well, that wasn’t even close to a foul. Those shouldn’t be called. There’s a forearm on a drive, there’s a body check on a big, those should be automatic calls. Call the fouls. On both teams.”
Derek Willis, however, wanted to keep the focus away from the foul calls and adjust with the flow of the game.
“It was just one of those games. I know I had radio after that game and I was kind of talking about a lot of people I had seen were kind of focused on the refs and how they were calling it. I didn’t really want to put it on the refs because the refs are just out there to do their job, whether they call it tight or they’re not calling anything. You can’t really base how you’re playing off that. We just had to adjust with how the game was going by.
In his eyes, Willis felt the abundance of foul calls meant he just had to pick up the slack for the rest of the team.
“I know a lot of stuff Bam was doing he was getting called for. There’s calls where setting screens both ways — I know we had some calls on that. So just when me and Wenyen were out there we were trying to pick up the slack for what it was because I don’t think Bam played a lot that game. Isaac (Humphries) came and gave good minutes. I think Tai came in and did really well. Like I said, just picking up the slack where we could, try to do what we could.”
With the recent outrage in SEC officiating, Willis says Calipari has stressed in practice how to get around it.
“It’s pretty much a thing every day, moving your feet. There’s rules we go over all the time. We’re always up and up on the rules. A thing we’ve been teaching now is if someone drives into you in the lane just jump straight up with your hands up because that’s not a foul, regardless, if you’re out of the little circle. It’s either you’re jumping up or you’re taking a charge, something along that nature. But we’ve been focusing on defense, really focused on rebounding now, checking out guys and then going and getting the ball. Just taking it day to day.”