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Q&A: Everything John Calipari, Reid Travis and P.J. Washington said after the Elite Eight Loss

Miss Kentucky’s postgame press conference?  Check out the complete comments from John Calipari, Reid Travis and P.J. Washington:

JOHN CALIPARI: Congratulations to Auburn. Did what they had to do to win the game. They played aggressive and tough, they bumped, and it was a grinding kind of game. Two of their guys had 50 points. Think about that. They deserved to win the game. We got outplayed, got outcoached, and still had a chance to win the game. I thought we were going to win the game the whole way until the one or two plays in overtime. Never entered my mind we weren’t going to win the game.

Proud of these guys. Proud of my team. We didn’t play particularly well, but give them credit for making us play poorly.

Q. PJ and Reid, defensively they do anything differently in the second half or overtime to take you out of the stuff that you normally like to do?
PJ WASHINGTON: They pressured us on defense. They tried to make all the catches hard, and they were boxing out and getting rebounds. They forced us to get one shot up and got back in transition and scored every time.

REID TRAVIS: Just second that. Big part of what we do is rebounding, offensive rebounding. They just came out, trying to be more physical, deny catches is on us for letting them be effective at that.

Q. PJ, like can you just describe where the confidence was going into overtime after such good — like at regulation, you guys played so well?
PJ WASHINGTON: We had a lot of confidence. We tied the game up, and we felt like we had a chance to win. You can’t have — you can’t not have confidence in a situation like that. So I mean, definitely have to have confidence and feel like you’re winning the game at all times of the game.

Q. John, what went into the decision to keep Ashton Hagans at point guard, especially as he kept turning it over?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, you go through a whole season and some of the stuff you have to understand is bigger than one game. I know everybody will go nuts and say what are you talking about? There are times you have to let guys play through stuff and you got to get them to change on run. Then they understand that the only thing they’re trying to conquer is themselves. If you don’t like how you’re playing, change. Immanuel couldn’t make a shot. So he wasn’t exactly playing confidently, either.

We put Jemarl in. He got scored on a few times right there and fouled it. I felt comfortable with Ashton. I know he was turning it over and — but you know, Tyler — we just — guys didn’t play well. I want to tell you that I got to give Auburn credit for really getting up in and bumping and grinding and doing some stuff that got these guys a little off kilter.

We were able to play and throw it inside, and I thought we did a good job to survive. You’ve got to have better perimeter play and we have all year until today. Now, I’m going to give credit to Auburn. I’m not saying that’s why we lost.

They made us play the way we did, but when you look at it, we held them to 40 percent, 30 percent from the 3. We out-rebounded them by 4. We outshot them from the floor. They shot more free throws. It’s not because of officiating. First game we played in a long time that someone shot more free throws than us because of how we play. We want you to grab us. That’s how we play. Try to go at the goal.

That being said, the numbers say that boy, you should have won. We had a few too many turnovers at inopportune times. That kind changed the game.

Q. You guys got them into massive amounts of foul trouble in the paint. Why is it, what did they do differently that maybe you guys couldn’t put them away when you had the big lead?
REID TRAVIS: I mean, they’re a scrappy team. We knew even if we had a lead, that’s a team that can get hot quick. Felt like there were some plays that balls we didn’t come up with, they able to get 3s out of it, get free throws and fouled. Right on the brink of kind of changing that lead, they were able to come back and get hustle plays and felt like that really sparked them going forward.

PJ WASHINGTON: Yeah, piggyback on what he said. We missed a couple shots and they got in the offense and made the most out of it, made 3s.

Q. Coach Cal, this has been the best free throw shooting team you have. Today guys go 12 of 21 at the line. Anybody you can attribute to that?
JOHN CALIPARI: No. Stuff happens. I mean it’s just — it happens. Let me say this: All that set aside, we still could have won the game. One play, one shot, one rebound. I’ll say this to everyone here: The hard thing when you’re coaching young kids like really young, that when we had four days to prepare for Houston, we could really dig down and drill and drill. When you have 36 hours and you say do not let them drive right and you show them on tape, you go over it but you don’t have time — they shot 15 layups right-handed today. Do not let them — the last one they just drove in and went right and shot it.

Again, when you’re talking 17 and 18-year-old kids, there’s going to be slippage sometime. The same with free throw shooting. Sometimes you get up against it and you miss some shots. But I’ll just tell you, this team, and I’ll get off point on this, what a joy it was to coach this year. I mean, I had more fun and I still challenged them, I still held them accountable. I was on guys, but I knew that they would respond and I knew that they were going to be in that gym and going to work and share and sacrifice for each other.

That’s why I wish the season kept going. I mean, I wanted to see one more weekend, wanted Reid to be able to go back to Minnesota, which he deserved for what he’s done for this program and us, but this is — when it’s one game, oh, you beat them twice. Once you beat them by 30, doesn’t matter. One game. This was stuff that happens.

Q. Reid, can you put into words — you were very emotional after the game. What goes through your mind when that final horn sounds?
REID TRAVIS: I mean, just a lot of emotions. As far as this being my last college game, been through a lot of adversity, lot of ups and downs. Obviously being able to come here, it’s been a blessing and thankful for the opportunities. Lot of emotions not being able to finish it the way I wanted to, but that doesn’t take away from the experience that I had. This has been one of the best years of my life playing basketball, and I just wanted to end it the right way with this group of guys.

Q. Cal, you touched on it a second ago. Could you elaborate on what Reid meant to this program over the last year?
JOHN CALIPARI: To have a guy come to this program and absolutely trust — we never promised him he would start or how many minutes. I don’t do that. But having enough trust to know and enough faith in himself to come here and then through the ups and downs, what we’re doing never changes, what a great lesson if anybody else was watching and all these young kids were watching.

The other thing is, you know, it just shows that you can do the academics here, you can do the basketball here, you can be a great person, you can — and Kentucky fits that.

But I just tell you personally, what a pleasure. I got on him, too, now. What a pleasure to coach him. He responded. You know, with the injury, you know, I told him, “If you can’t come back, I’m good.”

“Don’t you — I’m coming back.” He worked and he did it and, you know, just — it just stings, but this is part of sports. I feel sick, feel sick for these kids. I’ll go back, is there anything else we could have done, is there any other ways we could have played?

I tried just about everything, but I’ll probably find four, five things I should have done or tried. Right now, couldn’t tell you what those are, but I probably will spend some time that way with myself. But for him, he’s put himself in a great position and he helped this program. I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed that I had a chance to coach him.


Article written by Nick Roush

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

37 Comments for Q&A: Everything John Calipari, Reid Travis and P.J. Washington said after the Elite Eight Loss

  1. calicat5
    8:02 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    Another year, another wasted opportunity. Rinse and Repeat. Next year will be no different.

    • dbookno1
      8:09 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      At least I love my team and coach.

    • calicat5
      8:12 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      As do I. Just hate seeing them choke games away that should’ve won. It’s absolutely exhausting.

    • SanDiegoDave
      8:30 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      As I said here Friday night, it’s hard to beat a team three times in one year. Plus, Bruce Pearl is a helluva coach. He’ll get his national championship one day. He won’t need a Cadillac program to get it.

    • Cletis75
      8:48 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Funny how everyone thinks they just hand out these National Championships. Duke didn’t make the final four the last 2 seasons with the most talented teams both years. Guess they should fire Coach K. Dean Smith had some of the best talent around, experienced talent, not one and domes. He won 2 in over 30 years. Some of you have no reality.

    • syrin23
      9:01 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Other teams failings don’t forgive our failings.

    • Cletis75
      11:25 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Syrin, it’s called perspective, maybe you heard of it .

  2. KatFan48
    8:12 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    What a great coach, a great season, a great team. Thanks Reid. Thanks. PJ. Best in all you do. Go Cats

  3. Jeremydg
    8:18 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    Why didn’t he play Richard’s or Montgomery any the 2nd half? They were scoring inside on us. We needed some more length.

    • calicat5
      8:19 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Because that would be insightful in game coaching. Cal doesn’t do that.

    • SanDiegoDave
      8:34 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Cal didn’t play Richards and Montgomery for the same reason Hagans played 39 minutes. Cal is not a good in-game coach. He hasn’t demonstrated the ability to accurately assess what is actually happening on the court and make adjustments. He draws up a game plan before it starts and sticks with it. That works well against lesser programs. But it doesn’t work against programs with good players and excellent coaches.

    • Cletis75
      8:51 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Obviously for you ash-holes, no coach would be good enough except whoever wins it all that given year. Perspective people, have some.

    • syrin23
      9:02 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Perspective? 40 NBA players, a dozen or so lottery picks, three over all number one draft picks, and one title. That’s is some DAMNING perspective dude.

    • Cletis75
      11:28 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Who is your choice as a replacement then?

  4. ScoggDog
    8:27 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    Well … you gotta’ understand. Some things are bigger than one game. Like winning the one game – not the biggest thing. Us Basketball Bennies just don’t get it.

    Gonna’ be a great Draft Night, though.

    Cal – take the UCLA job. You’ll love it there. I’ll love you there. It’s a win-win.

  5. AmazzzingLarry
    8:29 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    So calicat, since you think we could do better, who would you replace Cal with? Billy Donovan isn’t walking through that door. Neither is Brad Stevens or Tom Izzo. That fact is there isn’t anyone on the horizon that could match what Cal has done. No one in college basketball not named Coach K has done what Cal had done the last 10 years.

    • calicat5
      8:32 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Are you serious? Coach K, Roy Williams and Jay Wright have 2 Titles.

    • calicat5
      8:34 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      You should delete this post.

    • ScoggDog
      8:35 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Sure … but what does UNC, Duke, and Villanova have as far as first round draft picks ? Because that’s what really matters.

    • 4everUKblue
      8:44 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      calicat you’re an idiot. K, Roy nor Jay are coming here. K has in the past 4 seasons lost in the round of 32, sweet 16 and two elite 8’s with the best rosters in the country. Jay has been to two sweet 16’s and won a title both times.

      2004 Seasons: NIT
      04–05 Season: Sweet Sixteen
      05–06 Season: Elite Eight
      06–07 Season: First Round
      07–08 Season: Sweet Sixteen
      08–09 Season: Final Four
      09–10: Second Round Upset
      10–11: Second Round Upset
      11–12: Losing Season
      12–13: Return to the Tournament
      13–14: Second Round Upset
      14–15: Second Round Upset
      15–16: National Champions
      16–17: Second Round Upset
      17–18: Second National Championship

      Oh and this year he didn’t make it to the sweet 16

    • 4everUKblue
      8:48 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      *been to two sweet 16’s and won two titles and that is his resume at NOVA.

    • syrin23
      9:00 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      In twenty years, the only thing people will look at is how many titles they won. That is the standard. Villanova has more. No one will care about the seasons in between whether they got bumped early or lost in the title game. No one. Titles are what matters.

    • AmazzzingLarry
      9:05 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Titles are not the only thing that matters. If they were, UCLA could be hands down the best program in basketball. Go back to the kids table.

    • Cletis75
      11:32 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      If Syrin isn’t happy with Cal the last ten years, he would have ran Jay Wright outta town long before he saw those 2 championships. He only had one final 4 in his first 10 years, and numerous early exits. Still waiting on who would be good enough for his taste.

  6. SanDiegoDave
    8:39 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t normally dig on people but I cannot let your ignorant post pass. Do you think Cal was brought in to win one championship in 10 years? Heck, if it weren’t for Anthony Davis, Cal would have as many championships as me – none. I can name one coach who would take UK to the next level, and do it quickly: Bruce Pearl. Worried about NCAA violations? I’m quite sure he learned his lesson at UT.

  7. calicat5
    8:54 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    Point is this. We haven’t won the Titles that the afore mentioned coaches HAVE while Cal has been coaching here. Not suggesting we go after these coaches. Point is simple: I want to be the best program currently in college basketball. We are not. Facts are irrefutable.

    • calicat5
      8:56 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      I make so much f’ing sense. Just re-read my rebuttal.

    • AmazzzingLarry
      9:28 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      According to the Sporting News, we have the best program over the last decade. Titles are a measure if greatness, but not the only one. Robert Horry is not better than Michael Jordan or Lebron. That’s just shallow thinking.

    • makeitstop
      11:35 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      If the measure is national titles, ur right. But as has been pointed out, we have outperformed all those coaches in final four appearances, elite 8’s even sweet 16’s. I like hvg a shot to win every year not every 5 years. Just me, that’s open for debate. But Tom, Mike, Bill
      And Jay get bounced a lot in the first weekend. See, I wouldn’t like that. I didn’t like 20 win Tubby. Contending every year is what I like – just me. And try to keep in mind that but for a certain roofer, Cal has 2 titles and Coach K had 1; Cal prolly had a third in 2017 and Roy would have 1, if I could figure out how to undo the 2015 and 2017 screwing I’d happily do it but it’s hardly a reflection on Cal or the state of the program. I’m also not sure it’s K’s fault RJ bricked a FT and lost, or Cal’s fault our best player just can’t hit the free throws sometime. Hagans staying in is debatable but one more Herro shot goes down or one more FT drops it’s all academic. Lay off the guy bc there is no one better suited for this program. No one.

  8. sprtphan
    9:03 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

    This is the reality folks. This tournament starts with 68 teams and 67 of them go home losers. Learn how to have fun with this thing and move on. Life is too short. And I like my coach. Not perfect but still up there with the best of them.

    • AmazzzingLarry
      9:28 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Well said. See you next year

    • makeitstop
      11:40 pm March 31, 2019 Permalink

      Here, here. Hopefully Herro, Quickley, Hagans and EJ are joined by our excellent class plus another Reid Travis like senior. If KJ comes back great, but I’d be surprised. Add Hurt and u have a great team.

  9. KY Blue Blood
    12:38 pm April 1, 2019 Permalink

    Wasn’t Duke supposed to win it all? S*#! happens! Go Cats!