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Everything John Calipari and Hamidou Diallo said at today’s press conference

cal-diallo

By now, you’ve heard the highlights, but if you’d like to read every single thing John Calipari and Hamidou Diallo had to say in today’s media opportunity, enjoy the videos and transcripts below.

Calipari:

Diallo:

Head Coach John Calipari

On the three-hour practice …

“The kids were great. They know we gotta create some habits that we’ve gotten away from and they know that. We did what we have to do. I feel much better with the direction. When it takes you three weeks to get to a point, it’s going to take you time to get out of it’s because you’re trying to create different habits, both offensively and defensively. Some of it was just plain energy, effort and enthusiasm. And others it was some little technical stuff, both on offense and defense, that we had to do different things. It’s not always just play hard. Some of it is. I thought it was — we’re on a good path.”

On how Hamidou Diallo is progressing …

“He’s doing better. He’s doing better. He’s still, you know, it’s hard. He’s been here a month. You’re trying to get other guys ready for games so there are times he’s off the court. When he’s on the court, he has a spirit about him — a competitiveness about him — to go get balls. To make plays. He doesn’t play timid at all. And so, he’ll stand out in practice that way. He’s just, he doesn’t know — to play with our guys and how we’re trying to play, that’s the hard thing right now. He’s only been here a month.”

On if he thinks about substituting Diallo into the game if he sees a lack of effort from any of the guards …

“No because I haven’t — no, that’s not been in my mind. It’s trying to get the guys that we have right now to do what they’re capable of doing. There’s a responsibility each guy has to you know, sit down. Here are the things that you have to do better. You know. Some of this is that guys have to take this stuff personal. When you take it personal, you play a little different. If you think, ‘I’m ok. It’s everybody else,’ that’s when you have issues. So, we gotta have every guy take this stuff personal and know where they’re breaking down and what they’ve gotta do.”

On if it’s hard for the guys to take it personal when they can look up where they are on mock drafts and draft boards …

“Yeah, but here’s what happens: they can project all they want. It’s what do you want. I told them a story of Derrick Rose. We get ready for an NCAA Tournament game and he’s playing against another point guard that they’re talking about, and he says to me before the game, ‘Watch this.’ And I watched it. I watched him just go and absolutely dominate the guy. You gotta take it personal. If you don’t, you’re not what you think you are. At the end of the day, everybody gets hurt. We’ve had it other years where we’ve slipped some and it hurts everybody within. It’s not just one guy. Sometimes you think, ‘Well, I’m going to be fine,’ then you look back and say, ‘Wow. What was I thinking?’ I think they get it.”

On defensive improvement …

“There’s, first of all, you know, the technical stuff of what we need to do and how we need to play, how we need to press, what we need to do — making a few adjustments there. The other part of it is, if you’re playing with a teammate that you know can get beat on the dribble then play tighter. It’s what — you’ve just got to play tighter. Other guys, you’re just taking great pride in I’m not letting the guy just go by me. It’s not happening. We pick-and-roll defense. You know, one of the things you do is just say if you really want to get better defensively, you play your best six defenders and that’s it. Don’t play anybody else. Now, you’re seeing teams across the country start doing that right now. Syracuse went to playing six guys. That’s it. I’m playing six, and I’ll play five if no one gets in foul trouble and you can all play 40 minutes and they’ve won seven in a row. So there’s all kind of ways — you’ve got other teams doing it. You just, I’m not going to play as many guys. You’ve got to deal with it. So, we’re not at that point yet, but again if you’re going in and you’re breaking down or you can’t fight or rebound, you just can’t be in there. I’ve made it clear to the guys. We’ve got to get back to having a defensive presence and making it about defense. Our offense is fine. We’re moving the ball now, doing stuff. You can’t be on defense 70 percent of the time, which means you can’t just come down and shoot a quick-contested shots because now you’re on defense 70 percent of the time and you can’t win that way. You’re going to break down, and you’re going to give up baskets, and you’re going to have some of the issues that we’re having. So, it’s a little combination of both. And I’ll say this, and I said it to the team, the best thing to happen to us is LSU. We were on track. We were going to beat them by 30 and then they make that run in the last seven, eight minutes. And if we had won by 30, possibly me would have looked at it and said, ‘OK now we’re right’. We’ve got this right. And by them coming back on us, it showed me, we’ve got to, this ain’t no — this is not going to work this way. And I was able to do and change and get these guys to doing it. And I’m going to say it again, it takes you three weeks to go one way. It doesn’t just (become) OK in two days. So for 75 percent of that game, I liked what I saw. Seventy-five percent of that game. And then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ If this is in us, we’re going to have issues. So that’s what we’re working on. Thank goodness we gotta month to get this right.”

On Sacha Killeya-Jones being an option for stepping up …

“He’s got to do it first in practice. You’ve got to do it in practice first. Not you just saying, ‘Well, I’ll give you a chance.’ You can’t. If the other two deserve to play before him then they’re going to play first.”

On Bama coming off a big win and what he sees from them on tape …

“They’ll probably go at us like Florida did. Let’s go right at them. Let’s punch them in the mouth. Let’s shoot balls and forget about missing them; just shoot them and we’ll go rebound them. Let’s move the ball a little bit; make them stay in a stance long, see what they do. Throw them into some pick-and-rolls. They’ll probably go off that game plan. Hopefully we are little different team from that game down there.”

On what he see from Alabama against South Carolina …

“It’s unusual for me to tell you that South Carolina got beat to all the 50-50 balls. They had one player that just took the team on the back, and that’s how they even survived. They got beat to a lot of balls, and it shows me that Alabama is going to fight. They’re going to battle. They play. They do a lot of isolation post-ups because they’re big. Their guards are 6-7 and 6-8. And their point guard is big, too. They’re a big team.”

On what’s going on with the help defense …

“It depends. There’s all kinds of reasons that could be happening. When Bam got his third foul, he stopped playing defense. And I told him. He has not been there before trying to play with three (fouls). That just doesn’t mean you stop guarding anybody. You just let him go by. What are you doing? And then you get a fourth foul 94 feet from the goal. Again, I mean, it’s like, wait a minute. Some of those things have been frustrating, but again, you’re looking at teams all across the country trying to figure stuff out, and we’re one of them. I love that I’m coaching this team. Where we are defensively I’m not happy with, but the last two days and even Monday’s practice, where we were zeroed in on moving that ball on offense, they’re responding. They respond. And again, I think that this has got to be a personal thing, and that doesn’t mean go foul people. Just go compete and play. Dive on the floor. Take charges. Extra-effort plays. A rotation. And then, again, you gotta understand, you’ve got high school kids who have played on some bad high school teams. When things went wrong: ‘I’m fine. It’s them.’ Well, you can’t do that here. You just can’t do that here. That’s no longer that defense mechanism. I’ll act like it doesn’t matter because that’s what I did in high school because I’m blaming it on (the other kids). You can’t do that here. This thing is, you’ve gotta compete, and then I’ve gotta figure out who the five are that we play. Who are they? And maybe we stick with them. Play them as long as we can, give them a little sub, let them play as long as they can, give them a little sub, play them as long as they can, and let’s start building a team. It’s hard. The best teams I’ve coached, other than the platoon team that is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, was the teams that I played less guys — not more. Be ready for your opportunity.”

On threatening a player like Malik Monk with the bench …

“Well I said to him, you’re not rebounding, you’re not defending the way you should. How are we dealing with this? He said, ‘Coach, tell me, and if I don’t do it, sit me.’ He said it to me. I didn’t say it to him, and I told the team what he said. ‘Anybody else want to have that comment?’ You have other guys that were like, ‘No’. You know, but that’s how they should feel. If I’m not doing my job, sit me out. We can afford to sit anybody.”

On addressing rebounding to the team …

“Well, I want Bam (Adebayo) to go get double-digit rebounds every game. Wenyen (Gabriel) will fight like heck. It’s our guards that got to stick their noses in there and go rebound. This team is going to shoot it and send four guys to the rim. That’s what they do. And if your guards don’t rebound, it’s going to be ugly. If your guards do rebound, we can fly because you’re giving up something by sending them to the rim. And if we do what we’re supposed to, then we fly. Like I said, this is — it’s all a process. It’s, you know — stuff’s not easy. If they walked in and thought it was going to be easy, they’re finding out now it’s not. If you thought you could shift what’s happening to somebody else and say, ‘I’m going to be OK’ — you’re not going to be OK. You’re going to be hurt just like everybody else is hurt by this. And so I think they get it. We got great kids who are learning. I had a friend of mine call me last night and just say, ‘Man, what’s wrong with (Kentucky)?‘ You know, you’ve got a bunch of young guys trying to figure this out for the first time, thought it would be easy, no it’s hard. Alright, now let’s find out what you really are so you really can be evaluated, because those lists don’t mean anything. They don’t. It doesn’t mean who (they’re going to draft). I’ve seen guys where you’re the fifth and you go second round. What happened? Or you go 28. That stuff doesn’t matter. That has no effect on how this stuff goes. We got a month to get this right. These guys are in a great frame of mind right now. It’s going to be a really hard game for us to win down there the way they’re playing and how hard they rebound the ball. It’s exactly the medicine we need to say ‘Where are we right now rebounding the ball?’ Because you’re going to find out, similar to what Florida did, shoot it and go get it.”

 

 

Hamidou Diallo

 On how it’s going so far …

“It’s been going great.”

On how far behind he felt coming in midseason …

“A lot behind. Guys have been here almost for–I don’t know the exact amount of months, but they’ve been here for a long time just working together during the summer and through the first semester. So, quite a bit behind, but I’ve been getting the hang of things.”

On whether he’s tempted to play when he sees the team struggle …

“I mean, me and Coach had spoke. I came in with a certain plan, so the biggest thing for me is just sticking to that plan and just preparing. This semester is just preparing me for next year, for the most part.”

On whether that’s been difficult to do …

“It’s been hard to do, but it’s a plan that I have thought about, well thought about before coming. So it’s a plan I think is best for me to stick to.”

On whether he can already feel the value of it …

“Oh yeah, definitely. Coming in, Coach told me that this was going to be tough. And I’m right now — I’m just witnessing it firsthand. It’s been very tough and every day, day in and day out, is just a tough battle. Teams are playing so hard against us, so I’m just seeing it firsthand. It’s a learning experience.”

On the difference between living in Queens vs. Lexington …

“Living here versus Queens, it’s very different, first off. Queens is a city that–everything’s always moving. Everything’s always open. Out here, everything is just a little bit slowed down and things like that. But it’s been a great adjustment.”

On how he can help this team right now …

“I would (say) just competing with them in practice. Coach just wants me to go at Malik (Monk), Isaiah (Briscoe) and De’Aaron (Fox) every day in practice and just make them better players. And just try to help them and prepare them for the tasks that they’re going to have when they go out there and play against those other guys.”

On who the toughest guy to defend is …

“They’re all great players. They all do different things well, so they’re all tough to guard I would say.”

On who the toughest player for him to guard is …

“Nobody’s really that difficult for me to guard, honestly. They’re all good players and I’m a good defender. So we just match up pretty well with each other.”

On whether defense is his strength right now …

“I just feel like I’m good at defense. I wouldn’t say that’s my strength though.”

On how he would describe his game and which players he’s similar to …

“I honestly couldn’t tell you one player, but my game is–I’m a two-way type of player. I like to defend and I feel like defense brings offense. I just love to defend and when I defend my offense gets going and that’s when I can just be a great player.”

On whether he remembers a day that opened his eyes to how difficult this might be …

“Yeah, definitely. First day, just conditioning and things like that. Just getting used to everything has definitely been tough, for sure.”

On whether he’s had any days when he felt like he was turning a corner …

“Yeah, definitely. From the first day I came until now, it’s been a big change. I’m getting the hang of things a little bit, but I’m still trying to learn everything. It’s a lot to learn in just a couple weeks, maybe a month.”

On the biggest lesson he’s learned at UK …

“The biggest lesson I learned? Just staying focused and working hard. That’s pretty much it.”

On who’s put him under their wing and shown him around …
“Pretty much the three guards because I’m a guard as well. So, pretty much Isaiah (Briscoe), Malik (Monk) and De’Aaron (Fox). They’ve been showing me the ropes in practice, showing me how things are done and when I mess up just guiding me so I won’t mess up the next play. Things like that.”

On how much this week of intense practices has helped …
“It helped me a lot because coming in Coach told me it was going to be tough. Right now I’m seeing it in practice first hand. Practice has been tough the last couple days. It’s good because it’s getting the guys back together and getting them prepared for games they’re going to have coming up.”

On if he’s dunked on anyone yet …
“Have I dunked on anybody? Nah.”

On if he’d tell the media if he had dunked on somebody …
“Yeah, I would have told you.”

On if anyone has dunked on him …
“Nah, I don’t get dunked on.”

On what part of his game needs the most work …
“I feel like I’m just working on every part of my game to be honest. Just working on strength, quickness and things on the court. Just lateral speed, ball handling, shooting. Just working on a whole lot of things. I wouldn’t be able to tell you I’m working on one certain part.”

On if he’s thinking about this summer’s NBA Draft …
“Coming in, the plan for me was to get prepared for next year, so that’s the plan me and Coach Cal are sticking to right now.  When the season ends me and Coach Cal will sit down and have a talk about that.”

On what he’s absorbing about the process from the bench …
“Just seeing the mistakes that they make and trying to learn from them. Seeing mistakes and then seeing the good things that they do as well and trying to learn how I can put that into my game maybe.”

On if he’s recruiting anyone for next year …
“Definitely active. I’ve been trying to recruit a couple guys. We just had a couple guys on campus. But definitely trying to land a couple more pieces to get prepared for next year for sure.”

On if next year’s group talks to each other a lot, especially him already being on campus …
“Yeah, definitely. We speak a lot. We just talk about (how we) can’t wait to play with each other next year. Things like that. The guys are just anxious to get up here and get it going.”

On what he thinks of all the attention UK players receive for everything they do …
“It just shows you that the stage that we’re on is a different type of stage. Night in and night out you just gotta be the best version of yourself.”

On if it’s surprising to have so many people take pictures of him and if he’s had any encounters with fans …
“Not really surprising. I’ve seen it. New York is pretty much — it’s not the same, but it’s pretty much the same. I mean, people have fans everywhere. We’re just blessed to have the fans that we have.”

On how many times he’s been asked by people around town whether he will play or not …
“I couldn’t be able to tell you a number.”

On what he tells those fans …
“I mean, I just tell them ‘I don’t know at this point,’ because me telling them the whole story would take a lot of time I’d say.”

On if he’s aware of any other guards from New York who have gone to Kentucky …
“I was aware of it, but I’m not really close with any of them. They were different age groups, so I haven’t really spoken to any of them.”

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

4 Comments for Everything John Calipari and Hamidou Diallo said at today’s press conference



  1. runningunnin.454
    6:38 pm February 10, 2017 Permalink

    I’m thinking he could help this year. I’m tired of the SEC officiating; and think it has a direct influence on our defense, or lack thereof. Half of Bob Huggins team would be fouled out by halftime if they played in our conference. It’s about time to say hell with the officials, and get in everybody’s grill…Diallo would be another warm body to throw at the referees.

    He’s 6’6″, he could probably play the 4 and rebound. Barkley was was only 6’6″, Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe of UCLA were 6’7″ and 6’8″. The glass cleaner, Dennis Rodman, was only 6’7″.
    I think if he sits on our bench for a semester, and leaves for the League….some people are going to be upset….maybe rightfully so.



    • syrin
      10:09 pm February 10, 2017 Permalink

      You think he would get drafted? I would hate to waste hid eligibility, but you are probably right.



    • runningunnin.454
      9:08 am February 11, 2017 Permalink

      If I were an NBA Gm, no, I wouldn’t throw money at a guy I’ve never seen play one minute against elite competition. But, the NBA does strange things…look at the kids they’ve ruined; Skal, the Harrisons, Marques Teague, Doron Lamb, Dakari Johnson…I could go on. Even Liggins and Terrance Jones are just now having some success in the league, and they left UK years ago.



  2. syrin
    10:08 pm February 10, 2017 Permalink

    Does Cal really think Bam has earned his playing time? Should we show him the replay of getting out of the way so the opponent can get a lay up? Sacha won’t do that. Plus Sacha rebounds much better and gets more blocks. He can’t be worse. I am not buying it. Cal gets in his mind who should play, and then doesn’t deviate. It’s why the Harrison twins got to keep playing while Wisconsin beat us and our guards off the bench were better.