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TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari after Kentucky’s first win the Bahamas

On Nick Richards’ progress:

Oh wow. Like all the kids, there’s a lot of stuff to grow. He’s not the same player. Like I told him, if you make your free throws like that, get fouled. Ball fake, don’t fade away. Go to the rim and shoot through people. He played well. Blocked some shots.

I thought Ashton [Hagans] really, he added another bit of toughness. I think Keldon [Johnson] pressed a little, some of the guys pressed a little bit. Tyler [Herro] played well, first half especially. But they lost their legs. It’s — the game was rough, fast, and we lost our legs. But I’m really happy their national team came at us and didn’t go away and made a run to start the second half so we could see what would happen. They need to learn. I saw some good stuff. I saw some stuff that, wow, we’re going to have to shore this up.

On Nick Richards’ improved confidence:

He has spent time with Bob Rotella and I keep saying the same thing, which is, if things don’t go well, it’s not last year. You’re way better.

The thing I put on the board in there was, “Next.” You’ve got too many guys, they miss a shot and it affects the next play right now and you can’t play basketball that way. I said, wait until I start coaching you. Right now, I’m not even beside you. You cannot let one play affect the next. You’ve gotta move on. Again, this is so — here they are, their first game out. We won, but it’s on national television, the place is packed and it’s August 8 and we’re supposed to be having fun. Well, there you go. There’s your fun. I told them, it is what it is, but it’s a great learning experience because they’re here.

On Tyler Herro’s confidence:

He does [play with confidence]. [I like] that he makes basketball plays. I said, we probably missed 10 layups. Some was the decision making was a little bit suspect. In transition, we tried to make the hardest plays instead of just making a basket. But he even tried to defend. We got beat on the bounce so much. I’ll go back and watch the tape and look at that.

But like I said, first time out, new team. I even said to Reid [Travis], it was like you’re a freshman, first time out, you can’t believe this environment. But you’re going to be fine.

On Herro’s reputation as a three-point shooter and poor outside shooting performance tonight:

He was more of a mid-level game. His game was driving, pull up. He shot some threes and shot them okay, but it was more of a pull-up game. Our thing is getting him to the rim. Even Immanuel [Quickley] had a quiet game and played well. I want him to do a little bit more but he did well. I thought those two on the ball — Ashton [Hagans] and Immanuel — were pretty active. And then Keldon brings that energy, but we’ll have to see. We’re going to keep figuring stuff out and playing with stuff.

I walked down in the huddle for one reason — to tell Quade [Green], you better keep shooting the ball. I don’t want you to change your game now because you can’t make a shot. Get in the gym and shoot more so you make shots. But you ain’t changing — no. You stay the course. You had wide open shots. You missed them, every single one of them. Good. I don’t know what else to tell you. Get in the gym. But you’ve got to take those and not try to do something crazy, which is what he did at the end of the first half. Instead of throwing it ahead, he tried to make a play and threw the ball away. Why’d you do that? Because I missed every shot and I’m trying to make a play. The normal thing. I just told him, you’re too good a scorer to let one or two missed shots affect you. Keep playing how I play. I know what my game is. If I miss it, I’ll make the next one.

On Reid Travis adjusting to playing with the team:

Yeah. He did. He didn’t look uncomfortable all the time. He went out and got rebounds. The biggest thing on that, our guards are coming back vs. getting up the court and looping, which is one of the things I talked about after. We’ve gotta get him, what he did do was, he was bringing balls down, so get it and get it to the rim. He was bringing it down and crouching, well, then they’re whacking it. He’s got some things we’re going to help him with.

On the Bahamas team playing so physically:

Yeah. It was all good. You didn’t know if they’d be real good or what they’d be, and they were good. They just got tired in the last ten, twelve minutes of the game. They got tired. It was anybody’s game and we stretched it right there.

On Reid Travis, PJ Washington, and EJ Montgomery playing together:

Yeah, it is [a viable option]. We tried some things I wanted them to try. The only thing is, I said at halftime, Kenny [Payne], why’d you leave those guys in for seven straight minutes? They can’t play three straight minutes. So they had a great lead, they were excited. For three minutes. Then it went to four, to five, and then it was basket, three. Now, it’s seven, why? We left them in too long and they’re not ready. Even now, I said, we’ll do a shootaround tomorrow but it’s going to be more of a cerebral shootaround than anything else.

What is a cerebral shootaround?

Thinking more than running. Thinking, talking, getting them to see things that way. Doing some film work which we’ll do before.

On whether or not the team is enjoying the Bahamas:

They’re loving it. The teams we did this with the last time all called us to come back but we said we’re bringing different people this time. I know these teams, whether it be the Argentinian team, the Serbian team, the Canadian team, we’re down here in a great venue, great crowds. They’re televised games, all over the world and you’re able to do it in Paradise. Come on. What’s better than that?

On the NCAA reform announced today:

I haven’t read the stuff but I’ve been involved in the process. Until the NBA changes, there’s nothing here. I don’t know why we discuss it. It can’t happen until 2022 right now, so any of the things they’re talking about can’t change. There were some things out there that were not accurate in that USA Basketball — their CEO Jim Tooley is here — and they don’t want to be the only one to do decide who gets an agent. They don’t want to be the only one. That’s not what they do. [Be] the only one to do camps? Why would that be shifted to them? There’s a lot of stuff they’ve gotta talk through.

The one where they stay in the draft? The NBA has to agree to that too, to let them go back to school. And, what if the school doesn’t have a scholarship? What happens? Does he go back and transfer? Does he have to sit out? There’s things that have to be talked through and thank god we’ve got three years to do it. I don’t know why we talk about it right now, other than somebody wants to bash somebody, but I don’t think there’s anything really there right now.

On the Tyler Herro/Rex Chapman comparisons:

I think Rex thinks he’s the next Rex. I just want him to be Tyler Herro. Be who you are. Rex had a heck of a career here and has a heck of a following even today. Tyler is different. Rex was a real high flyer. Tyler can jump and do that, but Rex was unique and Rex ended up being special. In time, that may be the case, but for right now, let’s let Tyler be Tyler.

On Brad’s three:

I was happy he made it. I thought he missed it. It hit the rim twice, three times, four times. Oh, it went in, good for him. I told the team the biggest play of the game was Brad’s three.

On whether it was his decision to put Brad in:

No. No. I was surprised. Again, he’s played well and he’s played well because he’s going against these guys everyday for three years. So he’s not afraid, he’s not intimidated. He goes in and he’s good. My wife even said, you better make sure he’s getting in. I said, I’m not coaching. I don’t care. “You make sure he gets in.”

On the poor three-point shooting:

I don’t know. I just saw they were 2-20. I was like, wow. Maybe they got it out of their system but this should be a pretty good three-point shooting team, but we’ll see.


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.