Here’s everything that came from Coach Cal’s mouth following his team’s win tonight:
COACH CALIPARI: I was watching this stuff in Paris and couldn’t get my mind on the game. And, because you’re sitting there thinking what it was, why it was, just don’t understand. And then you have people, innocent people, knowing that, I’m going to die, I mean now they say there’s 160 people.
I mean, coaches are like come on, come on, I said just hold it for a second. So I think we all tonight say a prayer for all those families and those innocent people. I just don’t get it. But, yes?
Q. What did you see, what change with Jamal from the first half to the second half. Seemed like when you guys needed him, he started doing all the crazy things we have seen him do?
COACH CALIPARI: Well he’s got a ways to go. Our team has a ways to go. I liked what I saw with Marcus Lee because he just fought and played and tried.
I liked what I saw with Derek Willis, because that’s all we did. Derek made a lot of mistakes in the second half. But you know what? You watched and said, man, he’s just playing.
We have other guys that are more worried about what it looks like or we just don’t have the fight or the grit to really beat a good team. We don’t.
And I say that Albany, if they make any shots, like any, they beat us. They didn’t make any shots now. And that’s a team that’s a good shooting team. They’re well coached. They had less turnovers than us and we pressed the whole game. And they played zone and backed away and played pack line.
We had 20 turnovers. We had five from Tyler and five from Jamal. Think about that. 10 turnovers from my guards. Not going to get it done.
If Derek doesn’t play in the first half, it’s probably a one bucket game at halftime. And it, literally, they couldn’t make a free throw or a shot. And then when they started playing they realized, oh my gosh, we can beat these guys. We got them down 20, instead of going to 25. We don’t have that kind of Will.
So you got to have grit and toughness and fight when you get somebody there, you just put them away. We’re not there yet.
But they tried to tell me after, other than Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee a little bit, no one else on that team has played. Alex was injured.
So now all of a sudden we’re trying to do this from scratch and I’m happy that we won. We beat a team that, in my opinion, will be another NCAA tournament team, Albany. Will does a great job with them. But they just didn’t make shots. He’s probably sick right now saying we could have beat them, all we had to do was make a couple jumpers.
Q. Do you think that Derek was just more relaxed, more aggressive, combination of the two or what do you think exactly?
COACH CALIPARI: Instead of trying to make crazy plays, shoot the ball. If it doesn’t go, it is my choice to leave you in or take you out.
And then be active defensively. And he didn’t rebound in the second half. He didn’t defend the way he was supposed to in the second half. But he still was active enough to come up with a couple plays that broke the game open.
One dribble pull up. But you don’t understand my game, because when I spin and throw it behind my ear, it’s a dime. You got to watch — no. Just shoot the ball, one dribble pull ups, defend blocked shots. You’re as long as they get — our press with him out there is pretty good, with him not out there is not very good. But I’m proud of him. I’m proud that — he’s fighting for minutes.
Q. What was the good and the bad from Jamal tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Again, five turnovers and they were all of the, why did he do that? Like I don’t want to say they were casual. Like this game isn’t casual. Like every game we play is a fist fight. The other team is trying to beat us. It’s the biggest game on their schedule. If we can do this and win in Rupp Arena, then la la la la. And they fight to the bitter end to try to beat us.
He doesn’t have that yet, but he made some big plays that stretched the game out. And, again, we got to play better, got to fight.
They played a little zone, we looked a little confused.
They played a little 1-2-2. A little press and we, especially in the first half. But I will tell you, as far as some of the stuff, there’s a lot of stuff we just haven’t been able to work on because you just don’t have the time. Can’t try to work on everything. We’re going to be good at five or six things and that’s about it right now. Hopefully, we can win games playing that way. But I’m not so sure.
Q. This is a tweet from Jon Hood, I’m guessing, but I don’t know, you’re talking about the officials, “I’m going to watch this tape, and if you’re lying, you’re done.” Did you say that with the technicals and some of the stuff?
COACH CALIPARI: I may have said it that way and I said, if I’m wrong, I’ll call you and apologize. I said both.
And my point was, if you’re going to tell me one of my kids cussed, you better not be guessing. Don’t do that to me. Don’t say that to this kid, unless he did. You say he cussed. Now my whole team said he didn’t. You said you saw him. That was my point. I said, if I’m wrong, I will call you and apologize.
Q. What did you miss tonight not having Isaiah and will he be back tomorrow?
COACH CALIPARI: I don’t know if he’ll play tomorrow, but it gives you another — a tough kid that’s going to defend, come up with balls, make lay ups, get to the basket.
Right now, we’re one short. Dom tried and did okay. But he was running people over and he just hadn’t played. He’s been hurt for a month and a half, two months, whatever it is. But we’ll see.
Q. Is the toughness and grit, is that a contagious thing where if one guy really is doing it, it energizes others?
COACH CALIPARI: Sometimes. But the other thing is, if you want to play, be that guy. Because if it’s what we’re missing, well I want to play, well be that guy. Well I don’t want to be that guy. That’s really hard. That’s like the dirty work. Let somebody else do that. I just want to play. If you watch our team, if — what if we have a beast out there that’s just a fighter a gritty guy that comes up with balls that’s around the basket and that guy’s going to play on this team. This team. We’re just looking for who that is.
Q. When you look at Marcus Lee’s line there, if you ignore the free throws, is that the numbers you would like to see all season from him?
COACH CALIPARI: He’s 2-7.
Q. Just ignore that for me. If you look at the rest.
COACH CALIPARI: Oh, no, he was good. But 2-7 come on. Now I ask you this, can he be in the game in the end? Unless you’re up 30. What if it’s a four point game and there’s a minute and a half to go and he’s in. The minute — they will foul him when he doesn’t catch the ball. He can’t be 2-7. He’s been shooting it better. Now you got to do it when the popcorn’s popping. Do it now.
And you know what? The other stuff he did, he was active, blocking — I got on him about the last ball, he didn’t try to block it. I mean, we’re a team that we don’t want to leave the rim to block shots, but when they’re shooting a lay up, you block that. We don’t want to block 12 footers. Let them shoot those. They keep coming and they’re at the rim, block that.
We did a couple times and didn’t rebound. We only out rebounded this team by six rebounds. Why? Grit. Fight. Any 50/50 ball we didn’t get.
Q. Did y’all expect Labissiere to get double teamed every time and how do you think he handled it?
COACH CALIPARI: He did okay. We talked about it. We have been working on it and he did not do exactly what we’re trying to do. But this is his first college game. He didn’t play high school ball for two years. He had work out guys. What you saw is what you’re going to get right now for awhile. But he also did some good things to score and that. But if they double team, he’s, it’s more of a scheme. If they double, and that’s supposed to be their strength, we’re going to make it their weakness by doing these things. And he didn’t, he just, he couldn’t react to them. He just held the ball.
Q. What did you think of Alex tonight and is this one those games —
COACH CALIPARI: Alex, he didn’t play particularly well. He fouled and he just was behind the action again. And he has been so good in practice. I mean, really like the old Alex. Dunking balls and rebounding above the rim and for some reason, something is holding him back mentally from being that guy. I don’t know what it is. But he has practiced really good. I expect tomorrow that we’ll see a different Alex. That’s my opinion, because of how he’s been practicing.