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Everything You Missed From Today’s Postgame Presser

Unfortunately, these three were not a thing the presser.

Unfortunately, these three were not a thing the presser.

Unfortunately, these three were not a thing the presser.

COACH CAL

JOHN CALIPARI: He has a mentality of I’m going to fight for balls. Just going after it. And if he’ll go after rebounds with two hands – Derek had nine rebounds today. Again, let me say this. This team out rebounded us by 25 rebounds a month ago. I think we got them by 18 or 20 today. So that’s – Wenyen still goes after balls with one hand. You can’t help him. You got to go after all balls with two hands. If you can’t get them with two, you’re certainly not getting it with one. And we just got to keep working with him.

Q. How much do you think Malik develops muscles to where he gets it going to where –
JOHN CALIPARI: What happened to Malik, we were on him to drive, to get fouled. Don’t drive to release and throw some crazy thing, just try to get fouled. That’s why I grabbed him. We have been doing it all year and harder to play that way and Florida’s an obviously a highly ranked team, they’re tough physically, they had won nine in a row, they were confident. You’re not going to beat them shooting threes or fade a ways, you got to attack. If you attack, you’re going to get beat up a little bit, you’re going to get grabbed a little bit, you’re going to get hip checked some. But I was really – we didn’t want to try to beat them shooting threes and I said it before the game, I said, if you think you’re going to beat these guys by shooting threes, you will not. You got to get to the glass, you got to get to the foul line, it’s how you got to play.

Q. A lot of your big men late in the season kind of turned the corner, has Bam done that do you think?
JOHN CALIPARI: I hope so. I hope so. Had a smile on his face, we did some things different to go at him where we’re saying, look, we’re either going to go at Malik or we’re going to go at Bam and then we’re going to play off that. We’re not going to try to make this fancy, let’s just do it. I like how we played when you’re one man down. I thought Isaiah Briscoe, nine points and eight rebounds playing the point. I thought Dom was outstanding again. We just got to get a team full of guys really locked into what we’re doing. At the end, okay, okay, there’s just two plays, Malik went baseline and tried to – why would you do that? There was a man in the corner. The shot was taken on the perimeter. We don’t have to score another basket to win. And Isaiah went flying in there and gave them a breakout. Why did you do that? Now, those are the things that we was costing us up 18, those kind of plays and we got to get away from them. But the biggest thing this team did is they fought in the second half. Think about it, we shot 28 percent at halftime. 28 percent. We must have missed nine layups. And we’re in a tie game. That means you’re fighting, that means you’re giving yourself a chance to win.

Q. Did we see today maybe kind of again but more than ever why even when it’s really bad for Malik maybe early you got to ride him and give him a chance to do what he did.
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, but I’m still learning about him. I’m still learning. I’m still learning about Bam. I keep coming back to the same thing. This is different here. I have a brand new team every year. So when you’re trying to put that team together, sometimes it takes you the entire season to figure out how should we be playing. It takes the other teams half a season to figure out how to guard us and then they lock into, here’s what we’re taking away, these four or five things, and we’re going to make them play to these things. And then we got to regroup and say, okay, now what do we do? And that’s, a lot of times, by the end of the year. I mean, to be honest, next year will be the same way. Beginning of the year, oh, high flying, shooting dunks, oh my gosh. And then you get to the middle of the year and, wow, they’re not getting as many easy baskets. Ooh, they’re having to work, they’re having to be patient, they’re having to set screens. Yeah, you got to play basketball now. But I like the fact that we fought and I said, and for De’Aaron Fox, hey, man, when you come back, you better be to the level of these guys fighting. That’s where you need to be.

Q. You mentioned the last game, the difference in rebounding, it was almost a 40 rebound swing between last game and this game?
JOHN CALIPARI: Their big kid got hurt and he’s out. So that played a part of it. But were you at the game down in Florida?

Q. No, I was not.
JOHN CALIPARI: Okay, well we got beat to every 50/50 ball, we got shoved and pushed and we accepted every block out and they just man handled us. That’s what they did. And we just, one of the things is you talk about you can’t be that team. And my thing in this game and the games coming up, it’s not – look, I want to win every game I coach. It is about getting us right for this late season run. And you all know, the second half we showed, wow, if they play that way, they’re going to be fine. Now can we play, can that be us? Or are we not locked into each other. Or are we not this team. If we’re this team, I like what I’m seeing.

Q. So six straight wins since the reboot, are we right?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, we still are tweaking a little bit. There’s some tweaking going on right now.

Q. To win a game like this without De’Aaron, what did you learn anything new about your team?
JOHN CALIPARI: I’m saying this, because if he had played he would have been 70 percent. So what I’m saying is, I knew that. I really wanted us to play the game without him. For us and for him. And now it’s like, okay, but we made runs in the middle of the game with Isaiah on the bench. He wasn’t in. And so that’s good for this team to know, you could have foul trouble, you could have an injury, something could happen, you can still win if you’re playing the right way. If you’re creating good shots for each other. If you’re defending and rebounding like crazy, flying to get easy baskets, if it’s not there, I will be patient. If it takes me the whole shot clock to get a shot, I will. We’re getting closer. But when you’re playing all freshmen and sophomores, it’s – thank goodness for Dom and Derek and thank goodness for Mychal, Mychal’s playing better.

Q. When it’s rocking, Rupp is a big advantage for the team and today felt like one of the bigger atmospheres for the event. Did the crowd really bring it to this team today, did that help carry them a lot more than the past teams?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, it’s every team. I can remember a games that were so electric that I was like just happy that I had a chance to coach in the game. This was one of those kind of games and I thought our fans were great. You know what’s great about these fans? When we had that bad start, they don’t boo. They’re like come on, you can do this. That’s a Kentucky fan. That’s a classy fan. If you notice, when they introduced Florida, they didn’t boo Florida. They didn’t boo. They didn’t boo the other coach. Now if they did that to me and didn’t boo, I would probably retire. I want them to do that to me. But these fans are about our team and our players. And that’s why I love walking in. It was jammed in there. Jammed. That has to be – when I looked to the upper deck and people are sitting like this (Indicating) I know we got a lot of people in the house tonight.

Q. How do you hope it benefits De’Aaron to not be part of it and you guys win?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well just, he watches and you better step on the gas. We defended. We defended. You know what we guarded pretty good? Pick and roll. We guarded, because we fought over every pick and roll and then we switched a couple times and we went back to fighting over. No one died in any screen. I mean, okay now, this is what it is when we’re doing it the right way.

Q. There was a point in the game when Humphries had a wide open shot –
JOHN CALIPARI: Who?

Q. Humphries. And he didn’t take it. And he gave it up and they gave it back to him and he took a shot and drilled it. What was your reaction to it and what was his?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, my reaction to the shot at Missouri that he missed, he’s making in a five minute drill, 70 to 75 shots in five minutes. He misses five to six shots. Those kind of shots that you saw him take. And then gets in the game and misses and it drives me absolutely crazy. So, I expect him, because I watch him every day, to make that shot. And to take that shot. He’s built his own confidence. Again, he’s doing way better, but Bam’s, you go the to keep him on the court. He’s a dominating presence.

Q. In your 50 years of coaching how many times have you had a kid get 30 points in a half?
JOHN CALIPARI: Oh, he got 30 in a half? No wonder when I got on him about a couple bad shots he looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t know he had 30 in a half. So, good for him.

Q. Have you had a kid do that before?
JOHN CALIPARI: Jerry will look it up. He’ll tell you.

Q. (No microphone.)
JOHN CALIPARI: He had 50 in a half.

Q. They beat you by 10 at their place, y’all beat them by 10 up here.
JOHN CALIPARI: They beat us by 20 down there.

Q. What would round three looked like in the SEC tournament?
JOHN CALIPARI: A war. Believe me, we got Vandy coming up and we got to go to Texas A & M. They got two tough games. I don’t think either one of us are looking to, oh, we want to get them again. Honestly, I hope we don’t have to face them again. Because they’re that good. They got guys that can go crazy and make shots and they’re athletic and long, they can block shots. They had two blocks today, but we only had two. That’s unusual for them and us.

Q. What did you say to Briscoe when you took the ball from him after the technical?
JOHN CALIPARI: I didn’t want him to go back after – I saw the push. I didn’t see the first push. I saw the push and I thought he called the technical on the kid. And I did not want him – you got to be a man in those situations and walk away. That’s what a man does. A child immediately has to go push back. When you just won. Why would you push back? Now you just lost. So I grabbed him and he has a way at times, you say something to him, I’m a man, I’m not going to – what? No, you walk and we win the game and you laugh after the game. So that’s what I grabbed the ball for. I didn’t know there was a push and he was coming over to me telling me, look, I didn’t try to push him. So then I said you did push him then. Yeah, but I didn’t try. Okay. Try harder not to try. How about that one?

DOMINIQUE HAWKINS

On when they found out De’Aaron Fox wasn’t going to play …
“Actually, we really didn’t know. It was like a game-time decision pretty much.”

On how Fox’s absence changed things for Kentucky …
“It didn’t have any factor at all. Everybody knows once you get on the court you gotta give it your all.”

On the difference between the first and second half for Kentucky …
“I felt like everybody picked it up a notch. Everybody was communicating on defense and Malik and Bam wanted the ball to score. They went off for us and made us relax, the guys that didn’t need to score as much.”

On the biggest difference between Saturday’s game and the one in Gainesville on Feb. 4 …
“I feel like we knew we needed to fight. I feel like we didn’t fight as much in Gainesville than in Lexington. We definitely talked to each other in the huddles and said, ‘We need to get stops and communicate on defense.’ Just keep continuing to fight.”

On if UK’s fight was the difference in getting rebounds …
“Yeah, pretty much boxing out because they run at least three guys to the rim. If we just kept them boxed out we were able to get rebounds.”

On what they said to each other early in the game when Florida led 18-6 …
“We were just saying, ‘Don’t let this happen again,’ because it looked like it was about to be rerun of what they did to us at their place. We just said we’d be able to get stuff going, just be patient and everything will fall together.”

On if he’s amazed by what Monk can do, like his 30-point second-half effort Saturday …
“Yeah, I’m very amazed by what he can do. He’s definitely blessed with a gifted talent to score. Never, ever seen a guy that heats up as quick as he does except for Jamal (Murray). Jamal heats up too. But it’s unbelievable what he can do in short periods of time. You’ll look up and he’ll have five points and then you look up again and he’ll have 20.”

On how his game changes when Monk is on fire …
“It’s easier for me. Just give him the ball and I just focus on defense.”

On what’s changed with Adebayo to allow him to grab 15 rebounds in back-to-back games …
“I don’t think anything really changed. I just think he’s wanting to get rebounds now. He knows if he boxes his guy out he’s able to get free and get the board.”

On if he has thought about this being his next-to-last game at Rupp Arena …
“Not really, but it’s coming up. Last game is coming up soon.”

On if he’ll cry during “My Old Kentucky Home” …
“Nah. I’m saying that now but you never know.”

On Derek Willis grabbing nine rebounds …
“He did a tremendous job. He was fighting today.”

On what a game like today does for the team’s confidence …
“I feel like it’s definitely given us a lot of confidence. Definitely without Fox playing because everybody has to step it up a notch. It was a big win for us today.”

On Monk shooting a bow-and-arrow after a 3-pointer …
“That’s Jamal’s. He don’t need to be doing that.” (laughter)

MALIK MONK

On whether this was the hottest he’s been …
“I think I was hotter the North Carolina game because I had a great first half. But I think I was pretty hot today.”

On whether he knew he had 30 in the second half …
“I didn’t know that until after the game. I was just playing. That’s crazy.”

On whether he was really hotter at North Carolina …
“Yeah, I think I was. I had 47.”

On what it felt like to score 30 in the second half …
“It was just normal. I felt normal. I didn’t know I was scoring that many, but I think I was.”

On the difference between the two halves …
“I was way more patient in the second half than I was in the first half. And I was, like you said, getting to the lane.”

On Calipari being mad at him in the first half and happy in the second …
“Ain’t no telling with him. He’s all over the place.”

On what Coach Cal said about his defense early on KeVaughn Allen …
“No, he didn’t say anything. I think I was contesting all the shots. He was just making tough shots. Great player.”

On the moment when Cal hugged him …
“He was happy I was driving the ball almost every time.”

On whether beating Allen felt good after he lost two him in two state championship games …
“You had to bring that up. Yeah, it was revenge. Sweet revenge.”

On whether he knows Allen well …
“Yeah, I know him. He played on my AAU team when I was little. I played him all my life.”

On how close he and Allen are …
“I talk to him like every other day.”

On how much talking there was during the game …
“No, we didn’t talk too much during the game.”

On Allen saying they are both friends and competitors …
“Yeah, we are. For sure.”

On the difference Adebayo makes when he plays that way …
“It’s hard to beat us, because when Bam gets a rebound the guards are out. He’s going to look for us and whoever’s open is going to get the ball. We just need him to do that every game.”

On what’s made the difference for Adebayo of late …
“We ran a lot. We ran a lot for that. One-hand rebounds, everything like that (by Adebayo), we ran. He’s getting every ball with two hands now, so he’s good.”

On whether the whole team had to run for Adebayo’s one-handed rebounds …
“Yeah, we were all running. For sure.”

On the importance of winning this game …
“Great. Big win. It was one of our last ones, so it was great to go out with a bang. We got one more Tuesday. Just bring the energy from this game on to that one, so we’ll be all right.”

On whether this felt like a breakthrough …
“We were comfortable with or without Fox. Going into the game, we were comfortable. We knew what we were going to do. We were just working on our game plan and fixed what we did in Florida, so we just executed. I don’t think it was a breakthrough. We saw how we played though. I think we’re getting closer to how we play.”

On what the second half felt like …
“I was just playing basketball. I was tired though. Super tired.”

On whether the game plan was for him to score 30 in the second half …
“No, it wasn’t. But when I got on, Cal have me the ball. I was just able to execute.”

On whether Florida’s players were frustrated trying to guard him …
“I don’t think they were pretty frustrated. They played me before, but I was just knocking down shots, getting open. My teammates were setting great screens and stuff for me to get open. I was just knocking them down.”

On whether he can sense when a roll like that is coming …
“No. I thought I was going to be off the whole game because I wasn’t making them in the first half. But I just came out way more aggressive.”

On whether he should know better about himself now …
“Yeah, I should. I really should. I just figured it out today.”

On his six turnovers …
“Yeah, I had bunch. I was moving too fast. I wasn’t patient. That’s exactly what it was.”

On whether patience was the key …
“Cal told me to be patient just be patient, work off the offense and the ball is going to get to me and I’m going to be able to score. That’s what I did.”

On whether Cal actually didn’t know he had 30 in the second half …
“I believe him. I believe him. He probably didn’t know at all. I don’t think he knew when I had 47 against North Carolina either. He was just giving me the ball because I was making them.”

On whether he got any hugs from teammates for bailing them out …
“No, I didn’t get any hugs. I didn’t bail anybody out.”

On what Cal said when he hugged him …
“That’s how you play basketball.”

BAM ADEBAYO

On another impressive double-double …
“My confidence just keeps building. My teammates believe in me and I believe in them. We keep winning, so you know, I’m having fun.”

On being in better shape …
“I think I lost like 10 pounds. I think that has a big factor to it. Just keeping my body right and I’ve starting eating healthier. And, I’m watching my diet.”

On making a comeback after the second half …
“Just having fight and just having that heart. You know, keep playing and keep fighting. We fought back into it, and we came out with a W.”

On his boost in confidence …
“When you lead the whole way, some people start getting relaxed, but just fighting back, and we get up, it keeps building our confidence, it keeps pushing the lead.”

On a win like today …
“It builds our confidence; it builds Coach Cal’s confidence. We are going to the tournament, you know, looking forward.”

On missing Fox …
“We were missing a player, but it helps us build our confidence. When he gets back, he needs to have his confidence built, and we are going to the next game with a lot of confidence.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR