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Everything John Calipari, Isaiah Briscoe, and Mychal Mulder said about tonight’s game

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John Calipari, Isaiah Briscoe, and Mychal Mulder addressed the media yesterday about tonight’s game vs. Ole Miss. Prepare yourself for the game with these videos, or if you’re the reading type, a complete transcript of their quotes after the jump:

 

Head Coach John Calipari 

On the team focusing on situational awareness …

“We’re just scrimmaging more. The biggest thing was putting them in situations because there are so many that come up in the game that they haven’t seen, so we’re doing more situational work, whether it’s man or zone, and scrimmaging. And we’ll do it again today.”

On the importance of getting the ball to Bam Adebayo in half-court offense …

“Well, they know it. We’ve made it clear that when he gets it, it puts pressure on the defense and helps us all. The biggest thing (for) these guys is with 25 seconds on the shot clock, a good shot is different from when there are seven seconds on the shot clock. Three minutes left in a close game, what a good shot is is a little different than 15 minutes in the flow of the game. That’s what they don’t understand yet. That’s what we’re trying to do when we’re scrimmaging, but I come back and say this: We’re playing on the road at Mississippi. Hard game. Ole Miss is a good team. Where are we on the 29th of December on the road within our league, we’ll find out. Not only find out, then it’s where do we have to go? Where do we have to take this? I think it was more discipline. I’ve been a little bit tougher in practice as far as holding them accountable. Making it clearer what we’re looking for and then holding them accountable. So that’s what we’ve been doing.”

On coming back from a break …

“Good. It wasn’t short. It was four days. They were good. This is a great group of kids. It’s just that we’re really, really young. For me, I remember the end of years. I don’t remember the grind of it. Like, I forgot how hard some of the stuff is with what we’re doing, playing all these young guys, knowing they need to be more disciplined, knowing shot selection, where to put the ball, what they’re thinking about. The only way you can do it is in practice scrimmaging. Like, in other words, I can stop a scrimmage and say, ‘No, here’s why.’ Can’t stop a game. Only have so many timeouts. You’ve got to let them play through stuff. And so that’s been an issue for us, but it is for every young team.”

On balancing transition, with settling into half-court offense …

“We’re pretty good in the half court. Again, what happens in the half court at times is, OK, shot selection, where the ball needs to go, situational why are we doing this? When to put them into pick-and-rolls, and that’s all stuff that I’ve got to teach and they’ve got to learn. We shoot it well enough. We penetrate well enough. We have enough of a postgame. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be good enough in the half court. Historically, my teams can play really fast and beat you or play in the half court and beat you. There are situations that this group has never been in that you try to put in in practice so they can see them and then talk through it. You think they know. They don’t know. ‘Well, I had a shot.’ But, there’s 25 seconds left on the clock and we could’ve gotten a better shot or we could’ve used clock and made them try to foul. It also goes to defense in the half court — the discipline and again with what we’re demanding now. It’s going to take time. I hope we’re ready for a road game in the league in an environment, where I would imagine is going to be off the chain like everywhere else we go, that these guys are ready for it.

On the players trusting each other …

“Yesterday I stopped them seven times (in practice). Why would a guy not do this and run to his own man? He doesn’t trust that somebody has him. So yesterday, every time a guy lacked trust in his teammate, I stopped it and said, ‘Do you understand that’s what that is, guys?’ Then, the other side of it is why would a guy not trust? Normally, he’s looking through his own glasses: ‘Can’t trust me, so I’m nor trusting anybody. I’m not focused on what I’m trying to do for the team. I’m just trying to find my man. If everybody’s playing the way that I’m playing, then I can’t trust anybody.’ It was only like four months ago that they were in Las Vegas playing three games per day and trying to guard their man. This is all new. They’re not selfish. They’re good kids. They want to get better. They want to be coached. It’s just that we’re young.”

On keeping the team from getting too high or too low after wins and losses …
“Well, they’re playing at Kentucky and there’s either you win or there’s death. I mean, that’s how it is here, and they have to deal with it. But, what I’m doing as a coach is I can’t get caught on the highs and the lows of this. It is — there is a process that we always go through. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I can remember the team that everybody would say, ‘Oh, we are so good.’ We started four or five freshmen, lose our first game, lose a bunch of games, and end up going to the final game and have a chance to win the national title. And I kept saying to everybody, ‘We’ve got a good team. I like my team.’ And this team is the same. We’ve got a good team. We’ve got to have a couple of guys catch up. We’ve got a couple of guys who have got to get better. I’ve kept it real the last couple of days. ‘A couple of you guys should kiss me for playing you, because you should not even get in the game. When you see me, don’t think I’m mad you. You should say, ‘Ah, I love this guy. He puts me in games, and I know I shouldn’t be getting in.’ ’ I mean, I kept it real. I could sit here and lie to them. But, the reality of it is everybody has a responsibility to the other guy to do what they can do. And if they can’t do what is asked of them, then they shouldn’t be on the court. It is so simple. That’s it. You could say confidence. Well, you better have some confidence because it’s hard to stay in there if you don’t. This is — this is the big-boy game. Every game we play is like that. I’m watching Mississippi, they’re physical. Andy (Kennedy) has done a great job. They post the ball. They’ll shoot 3s. They’re doing their zones — their one-three-one, they’re two-three. They’re throwing a little two-two-one at you. They’re going man and trying to steal and deny. They’re playing physical. They’re rebounding. They’re playing like his teams play. And he’s got a whole new group. A couple of the kids are coming back and those are his — you can tell — the leaders of his team, the guys that are the seniors. But, you know a hard game for us. A hard road. They’re all hard. On the road, and you’re us? Doubly hard.”

On Ole Miss playing a 1-3-1 zone a lot lately …
“Well, they did the last game. The game before they didn’t.”

On if he anticipates Ole Miss playing that zone against Kentucky and the challenges it presents … “Well, you think about this. If you spread the court on my team, it’s usually pretty good for us. If you spread the court on us, whether it’s in a press — it’s usually pretty good for us. But, this is a young team. We’re prepared to go against it, but in that environment, you don’t know. That’s why I said these are all great learning experiences. You want to win every game you play. You want to win every league game you play and road game you play, but it’s learning, especially when you’re as young as us. Keep learning. It doesn’t mean I’m not coaching to win or I’m not passionate about what we’re doing; it’s just that the reality of us as a team. We’ve got work to do. We’ve got to get better.”

On how much they’ve been working on getting Briscoe the ball on the break …
“Well, he’s been — we’ve kind of split up the teams a little bit so they’re more competitive. But, I’ve talked to the team about it and told them. And he needs to probably play with the ball in his hands more in the half court. We’re trying to work all of that out. We’re trying — who’s where and how are guys doing? That’s the other process of this.”

On the difference between free-throw shooting and 3-point shooting, as they relate to Isaiah Briscoe’s improvement …
“I think free-throw shooting, you’re standing there. It’s more of a confidence thing. I think 3-point shooting is more of being ready before you catch the ball. Being ready to shoot it, score it before you catch it. And he’s getting better. You can’t aim it. The 3-point line, you’ve just got to let it go. Foul line, you’re up there by yourself. He’s getting better. They’re all — I was surprised that Bam shot it poorly from the foul line (last game). He had been shooting it well.”

On what he got for Christmas …
“What did I get for Christmas? Well the girls got me — what did they get me? [Pauses to think.] I can’t even remember what Brad gave me.”

On if he knew his kids took a picture of him and compared him to a guy from “Home Alone?”

“No. Somebody had told me they took one. They’re really funny kids. They’re really funny. Take pictures of me when I’m not watching and stuff and then put them out. How about that? Do you have kids like that? And then you wonder why I would never remember what they got me for Christmas.”

On NFL prospects sitting out bowl games and what he would do if one of his kids wanted to sit out a game …
“I haven’t thought a whole lot about it. I saw a couple of those situations where players are doing that. You think about it. You don’t want to get hurt before this stuff, and I can understand it, but I would probably have to think about it a minute. I just kind of glanced at it. ‘Wow, interesting.’ But I haven’t’ spent any time really dissecting or, ‘Here’s why, here’s why not,’ to where I could think through. Give me some time. If you ask me that in a couple of weeks I’ll have a better answer.”


#13, Isaiah Briscoe, Sophomore, G

On how his season has gone …

“I’m pleased with it. It can always be better, always got room for improvement but I’m just in the gym every day working to get better.”

On whether he’s gotten much better since last season …

“Yeah, I feel like I’ve gotten much better.”

On what he needs to improve …

“Still my shooting. That’s really it.”

On the reason for his improved free-throw shooting …

“Just staying after practice, shooting free throws every day, getting in the gym late nights. Things like that.”

On his 3-point shooting not improving as dramatically …

“It’ll get there. I’m sure it’ll get there.”

On 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting being very different …

“They’re totally two different things. Free throws are free and you go at your own pace. I still gotta work on my 3-point shot and I still am. With confidence, I think that it’ll get better.”

On whether playing at Louisville will help the team heading into Ole Miss …

“Yeah, absolutely. That was a good game, actually. It was a good test for us. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with the win, but I think we all grew from that loss.”

On whether it was good that they stayed in the game against UofL in spite of not playing their best …

“Well, yeah. I think that’ll be a lot of times. That’s just us competing. If things aren’t going our way, we gotta find a way. It’s like that in practice a lot of times when we’re not hitting shots and things like that and Coach just keeps the scrimmage going. He doesn’t stop it and says, ‘Find a way. Find a way.’ At the end of the day, if our shots aren’t going in and we’re not used to things that are going on in the game, we just gotta find a way.”

On how practice has been going with more scrimmages …

“Fun. We all like to scrimmage and we all just like to play. I think we’re getting better. We don’t have school or anything like that. We’ve been scrimmaging two times a day, so I just feel as though everybody’s starting to compete and we’re all starting to get ready for conference play.”

On whether the younger guys are starting to turn a corner …

“I think they’ve (already) turned the corner. Since the beginning, I don’t think they’ve been playing like regular freshmen. They’re players that I can count on in a game and so I feel as though they’ve (already) turned the corner, honestly.”

On what Calipari means when he talks about trust …

“Just when we’re in the game, we get a lot of breakdowns and our breakdowns come from us not talking and Coach started preaching, ‘Well, maybe if you’re not talking it’s because people don’t trust you, so you feel as though you’re going to take matters into your own hands.’ And that’s when we have our defensive lapses. So pretty much what he’s trying to say is, talk, communicate, understand one another, get to know one another. We’ve been going out to dinner and things like that to cut down those defensive lapses. There’s still mistakes. We watch it every time. Just to cut back on those would be great.”

On how much Calipari has stressed discipline since the UofL game …

“A lot. And a lot of that comes from us talking and communicating with each other on the court. And we’ve been trying to be better at that ever since we got back. So just with more practice and us talking to each other and making one another feel comfortable on the court.”

On how beneficial this last week of Camp Cal has been …

“A lot. I think from that loss everybody grew. We had chances to win that game, but we just couldn’t. We couldn’t find a way, but we were competing and it was a good game. Give credit to Louisville, but I feel as though we got a lot better after that loss.”


#11, Mychal Mulder, Senior, G 

On how Camp Cal has been getting the team ready for Ole Miss …
“It’s been great. We ramped up the intensity in practice, working really hard getting ready for SEC play. I know we’re all excited. A lot of opportunities to get better these past couple weeks and I feel like we’ve been grabbing as many opportunities to really work as we can. Getting in the gym. It’s been really good.”

On coming off their first road game and now traveling to Ole Miss …
“We’re excited about that. You know their fans will be packed in that gym. It’ll be a great opportunity for us to see our first real road test in SEC play. We’re all really excited about that. We’ve been working hard and focusing, really locking in. We’ll see how that goes.”

On what practices have been like since the loss to Louisville …
“Really intense. The Louisville game is behind us now, but it was a great opportunity for us to learn. We saw what we did wrong. We had a lot of days to really work on what steps we could have taken to prevent something like that from happening again. I feel like we learned a lot from that and we’re just ready to keep moving forward.”

On what they learned from the Louisville game …
“It was a really hard-fought game. Everybody who watched it loved that game. We end up losing by three, but then we go watch the tape and there’s so many moments that could have been avoided — double-digit moments — defensive lapses, opportunities to rebound the ball that we missed, things like that. Just understanding that the entire game there’s opportunities to really show dominance at times, and when you get lackadaisical like that bad things happen. Just learning how to focus. We have a good group of guys who want to win and understand what it takes to win. That’s just something we’ve been working on.”

On how much they’ve heard Coach Cal talk about “discipline” …
“We heard it a ton. It depends on what you’re talking about, but it can happen in all areas. Lack of discipline on defense, you get caught standing up, being lazy, a rebound goes your way and you’re not ready, ball comes out to you and you’re not ready to shoot. Things like that. That’s something we’ve been getting better at. Just working together as a group, collectively, and trying to get better as a whole.”

On what he remembers from his first SEC road trip last season …
“Just the intensity of these games. The gym is packed. The fans are going crazy. They all want to beat you so bad. You’re at Kentucky, it’s their big game. That kind of stands out to me the most when I think about SEC play.”

On what they learned about half-court basketball from Louisville …
“With our team, we’re really good at getting up and down the court, flying, getting transition baskets. When a team wants to play like that in the half court you need to understand what a good shot is, what we’re going to run, how we’re going to play. Just in case you don’t get that transition bucket it’s like, what do we go to now? I feel like we’ve worked on that and we’re prepared for that. It’s going to be a good opportunity (Thursday) to see what steps we’ve taken to go that way.”

On how much the Louisville road game will help the freshmen now going to Ole Miss …
“Going to Louisville, you understand they hate you over there. So now coming on the road you get an idea of what kind of intensity those gyms are going to have for you. You walk into those gyms and all their fans want to beat you so bad. It’s a huge, intense game. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to see what steps we’ve taken to get better over the past week.”

On if he’s played more of the four-position lately …
“I play whatever is asked of me. In practice, you get switched onto somebody, I might guard Bam (Adebayo) on accident. I just kind of do whatever is asked of me at this point.”

On how he feels about his own game …
“I’m confident. I’ve been playing better. I feel like I have a lot more trust from Coach and I know the guys want everybody to have their opportunity, and I feel like we all look out for each other. That brings confidence in itself.”

On Ole Miss being a strong rebounding team …
“I feel like rebounding wins games. If you get beat in the rebounding battle it’s really hard to stay in a game like that, especially against a good team. That’s something we’ve been focusing on. We always want to try to outrebound our opponent and crash the boards as hard as we can. That’s something we’ll continue to do.”

On scrimmaging more in practice …
“It’s been good. It’s been really competitive, really tiring because our team likes to fly up and down. Like they said, we’ve been working on stuff in the half court. If we don’t get that transition basket, what do we do from there? What kind of offense are we going to run? How are we going to play? Defensive schemes. It’s been really good. I think we’ve all learned a lot from it.”

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.

1 Comment for Everything John Calipari, Isaiah Briscoe, and Mychal Mulder said about tonight’s game



  1. Memphis UK Cat
    11:27 am December 29, 2016 Permalink

    Several Kentucky fans coming in from Memphis. Will find a bar to party and post. Any places to go let us know.