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TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari previews Kentucky’s upcoming trip to Arkansas

On Ashton Hagans’ rough outing and what he said to him after the game…

He had a three minute stretch where he gave up nine points and had three turnovers. It became a four-five point game when it was 14. It wasn’t just that. Again, at the beginning of the year, what were the things I talked about with this team [and the key to their success]? Toughness.

I didn’t say much to him after the game. I went to him and said, “Hey, that’s a tough loss right there. Put your clothes on, let’s get out of here. After I watched the tape on the plane, then I called him to the front of the plane and I had a few things to say. Because it was one team clearing space and the other team buckling under.  One team cleared space on both ends. Shot goes up, three guys run. On the other end, get hit and kind of crumble. It’s good for them to see it.”

On the team’s defensive struggles…

Our pick and roll defense, again, because you cannot be confident defensively if you’re getting thrown around. You can’t get a rebound, offensive [rebound] when you’re absolutely being manhandled. You can’t get confident defensively. How do you hold them to 28 or whatever it was and then they get 61 in the second half? They made some shots and they made some free throws, okay, so let’s add ten. Not 30. Like what in the world. It came back to that. We’ll see. The team that we’re playing, Arkansas, they play really hard. They play rough. They’re not big, but it doesn’t seem to hurt them on either end of the court. They have specific roles of what guys are going to do, what kind of shots they’re going to take. And they do it.

On Keion Brooks Jr. saying they’ve been working on rebounding in practice…

Shot went up, and I saw [him run away]. They jammed you, rebounded the ball, and stuffed it back in. That’s what it was. And that’s every player. I’m wondering why what we’re doing in practice isn’t carrying over. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I know they saw it and I know they want to do right. I had individual meetings yesterday. I asked each guy, “Am I asking you to do something you can’t do? Can you do this or can’t you do this?” You’re not capable of putting your body on somebody else. Just tell me. We went through some of that stuff with each guy individually.

Is that a personal challenge?

No. I’m just asking. You’re making a choice, and you choose not to do it. Or you choose to do it. It’s a choice you make. That choice leads to us winning or losing, but it also leads to you not playing as much. It’s your choice.

On Keion Brooks struggling with “choice”

I had to take Keion out because he had a wide open shot, and he chose to walk. Why didn’t you shoot it when you know you’re a finisher and I told you to shoot, and I don’t care if you make it? You made a choice. “I’m not shooting this open shot.” Why would you pass up the open shot? “I don’t think I’m going to make it because I missed four.” That’s not on your team. Get in that gym and practice more. Your job is to shoot that shot. “Well, if I go 0-6, I’ll be embarrassed.” Your job is to shoot that shot. That’s what you do for us. These other guys drive it and create shots for you, you, and you. And then if you can’t make them, I’m not [worried]. Okay? Get in the gym. You’ve got to master your craft. I come back to asking what’s the hardest thing for them to do? Okay, then do it over and over and over, and that’s how you build your confidence.

On his son’s growth in confidence and how his team can learn from him…

My son knows, if you miss two in a row, I want to see the third one. I want to see if you have courage. Let me see. He played a game earlier, he missed two, and I said, “I love that shot.” He said, “Yeah, you loved it because I missed two and I had to focus on the third shot and still make it.” Yeah! That’s confidence, that’s toughness, that’s relying on your training. These guys, they haven’t been around that much. Again, if I’m missing shots again, okay? I’ll do something else to make it look good. No. You have a job on this team, and here’s what it is. Can you do what I’m asking? Can you not do it? If you can’t do it, we’ve got to figure something out.

On if he’s happy with Johnny Juzang’s confidence after his South Carolina performance…

“He missed the shot, then he stuck it back in. But he had the courage to go get it and go again. Second thing Johnny did, in eight minutes, he got five rebound. So now you need to ask, did he earn more minutes?

On playing favorites…

It’s not about who I like or dislike. It’s not like I’m playing favorites. What I said to a couple guys, you are what your stats say you are. I don’t want to hear, “I can do this” and “I can do that.” You are what your stats say you are.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

1 Comment for TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari previews Kentucky’s upcoming trip to Arkansas

  1. JT55
    6:22 pm January 17, 2020 Permalink

    I was hoping he said they installed a 3rd play to add to their other two sets they run. But seriously, does anyone honestly think they can win a road game in Bud Walton Arena?