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TRANSCRIPT: John Calipari’s post-game comments

Q. I know there was an area early in the second half you weren’t happy with, but you did end up with 10 offensive rebounds after making that a big point two nights ago. Is that technique —
JOHN CALIPARI: We still got guys that aren’t bringing in balls. Like, tipping. You understand, I say two hands. So my man tipped it and tipped it in for them. You tip it from us. You grab the ball with two hands. Offensively, we had a couple down this end and we went to bring them in and they just squirt lose. We have other guys that are so, they’re not reacting to the ball hitting that rim because, again, we haven’t been trained. As the shot is being taken, your mentality is, he’s missing. Not like, I wonder if this will go in so I can go three. No. He’s missing this. And then you’ll react to it. Well, you got to be trained that way. You don’t, they’re not in high school playing that way. They’re playing every minute they can play. If I play bad, so what, I play bad. Now it’s, okay, we got to do this.

I thought Nick did some good stuff. I liked the fact that we blocked shots today. And I told the guys, how are we not blocking shots? We should be one of those teams in our league. But then when you do block a shot, your guards got to get involved because if they block it, you got to come up with the ball, you got to track down on Nick’s man or E.J.’s man. So, again, being trained. We’re right now starting to train them on rotations if we get beat on the bounce. Showing them, here’s where you move to. Because they really don’t know. They just all run into the lane and then what happens? Threes.

So like I said, look, we played better today. A lot of good stuff today. A lot of good stuff. Of the teams we’ve played, other than Michigan State, this team was as good as any of them, if not better than most of them or all of them. We played better. We had 19 assists, we made shots, we blocked shots. Now, we gave up some baskets that you and I look at and say, oh, man, why? Because, again, it’s one play to my guys. When you’re young, it’s one play. Why is he getting so upset? Okay, now they made another and another. Now it’s a 11-point game instead of 20. Are you good now? Yeah, but it was only one play. That’s the stuff they got to understand. You have to put a premium on every possession. I am playing every possession as though it matters. We’re not there yet. We’re playing, about 60 percent of the possessions we’ll really fight and dig in and play.

Q. When you talk about guys kind of thinking too much right now —
JOHN CALIPARI: Here’s what I liked today. The best thing that happened today. Brad had 16. But here’s what happened on the 16 he had. He missed two shots, okay? And you know my biggest thing is, I want to see when you miss shots if you can follow it up with a make, because that means you got some mental toughness. He missed two and then he banged the dagger. And believe me, he texted me and says, you know, I missed two before I made that dagger. He knows, that’s the kind of stuff, that’s mental toughness. He had four rebounds too. He played pretty good defense, too, by the way.

Q. (No microphone.)
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, when you’re playing without two veterans in E.J. and Immanuel you’re not going to be the same, not with this group, because then you’re playing freshmen who are not ready to be the dominating guys. Even Tyrese is still learning. You get him in spots on the court where we’re trying to put him, he moves to another spot, and it’s not, you can’t play the way we’re trying to play from that spot. I’m trying to get him to do certain things off pick-and-rolls and he’s not getting it yet. So they go zone, I got to have Ashton in the game. If I don’t have Ashton in the game against zone, my man, I threw it to him, did you see where we would have thrown it to Ashton? And he took a bounce and just threw it at the rim? He’s learning. Now he made threes and scored today. He had three assists, I want to see six assists, I don’t want to see three assists. And we put him in position to go do that and he didn’t get it done today. But, you know, guys get injured. We’re not the only team that has injuries and it is what it is. Nick was out for awhile. We were lucky to have Nick against Michigan State. If you remember, I didn’t start him. So we’re healthy now and now it’s time to start taking steps and strides. This may be a little bit early for camp, that we like to call camp. It is a little early, but I’m having that mentality of we’re getting into this, because these kids, they got to be able to fall back on their training or you’re thinking too much. Most of that thinking is stinking thinking. You need to fall back on the training. Well, when you’re playing all these games and you have all these injuries and you’re practicing with six guys, it’s hard to fall back on the training. But I think going forward you’ll see we’ll, we should be better.

Q. On the —
JOHN CALIPARI: What happened?

Q. On the thinking too much, it seemed like Tyrese was one of those guys, especially the last few games. Early today, he comes out kind of just letting it fly. You didn’t seem to react frustratedly at all about any of those shots. Did you want him to do that?
JOHN CALIPARI: Here it is. You’re supposed to catch the ball here. That’s why I’m going crazy. Why are you not catching the ball where you’re supposed to? And if you catch it from that spot then dribble back down to that spot. You know, I probably shouldn’t get upset because doesn’t know. He doesn’t know. And we’re giving — we, I felt really good walking into the game because we had defined roles way better and much earlier than I have. And for awhile we were playing that way. But all of a sudden I look up, it’s 19-19. It was 15-2. How is it 19-19? And again, it’s one play, it’s, okay, what’s the big deal, why. You expect me to make a play on rebound that every time? I do. If we’re going to be that kind of team, it is going to be a grind because each week we go we’re playing better and better teams. That’s how we kind of do this. So I’m not coaching this game against that score. I’m coaching this team to be prepared for what they got going forward.

Q. How well did Nick perform as a rim protector and as a presence around the basket?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, he was good. We didn’t post him that much. The coaches got on me. We’re trying to get us to pass the ball to one another, so I ran a couple things to him, but most of it he didn’t get the shots. But he blocked, he rebounded. When he gets tired it shows. He’ll just kind of let a guy shoot a layup and you’ll sit there and say, why did he let that guy shoot it? Why didn’t he block it? Because he’s exhausted. I’m not going to go, I’m not in that frame yet. And that’s why Nate has to play better, that’s why E.J. has to play better, so we can get a rotation going. Shove Keion in there and let him go get some balls.

Q. You talked about the guys relying on their training. I know it varies year to year, team to team, but at what point does that usually happen and how do you know that that happens?
JOHN CALIPARI: Usually it happens after the camp stuff we do. Where it’s really in depth and it’s, we’re training. That’s what it is. You’re not playing as many games. You’re training. This, we have a day off, we have three days, and then another game. And then, but then we have a day off and we have four, five days. So we got eight days between, really, two games. So but this team, again, we’re still trying to figure each other out. We still, there’s a, we get undisciplined at times, both on defense and offense. Instead of just grinding it out, we’re not breaking down. We’re giving them one tough shot. We’re blocking out and rebounding. Every shot that we take it’s a miss and you three go get it. And then if we don’t get it, watch, you can’t jog back. Again, you understand, if you run in there to rebound and you don’t get it, and they get it, you’re next to the man you got to run with. And if he sprints, you got to sprint. So maybe I won’t go in. I’ll stay near the top and I get a five-step lead on him, so I can jog back as he runs. The whole mentality of here, I’m coming, knowing if I don’t get this I’m sprinting back.

So we’re trying to do stuff in practice to simulate that. Like, you’re saying, well, isn’t that like ninth, tenth? Yeah, it is. We’re simulating that, like, you can do both. I can’t do both. You either go in or you don’t. But, again, this team has gotten better, shooting the ball better, much more confident in what they’re doing. It’s great to see Johnny make that shot to pull up, because we’re going to need him to make shots.

Q. I wanted to go back to Tyrese for a minute. When you guys were tied at 19 and then y’all go on that 22-2 run, when he was making those threes and settling into that rhythm, how much do you feel like everyone else kind of fed off of that energy?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, it’s what stretched the game out. Like, those baskets like bang, bang, bang. And he knows, if it’s in transition, he can take it. Like, if we throw it ahead and he’s open in transition, don’t drive it, just shoot that ball. What we were saying in the second half, and he started and he had a drive and threw that lob, that now that you made shots, you don’t have to foot fake and do anything. All you got to do is catch it and look at the rim and they’re flying at you, now drive in and get somebody a shot, which he started the half doing. This is all, this is new to what he’s trying to do and how he’s playing. But it’s new to all these guys. I mean, everything is, Well, I used to do this. It doesn’t work any more, that’s not working, you’re not getting the ball in the basket or you’re turning it over. These are your shots right here. Here’s where you’re making these plays. Everybody on the team is different. This guy can do stuff that you can’t do and you do stuff that he can’t do. So why don’t you do what you do well, we’ll all do this together, make this easy for each other. And that’s a challenge year to year. That’s the challenge throughout the year. How do we become an unbelievable team. Great length, quickness, speed, we can shoot it, we have enough of a post-up game, how do we become an unbelievable team defensively and offensively. It takes reps, it takes experience, which means games. How many have we played? We’re six games in. I’m trying to tell them, Don’t panic, don’t worry about how you play, we’re going to get it right, let’s just keep moving forward, next step.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)