Posted: Feb 15, 2013 3:06 PM
Kentucky at Tennessee, Saturday at 1 pm
Head Coach John Calipari
On how different they will play now ...
"We had one practice so you can't be that much different but you know, we just want everybody to do a
little bit more. Obviously we can make up rebounds and points; those blocked shots are what you're not
going to make up so we'll see. This team has a clean slate, it's a blank canvas, it's whatever they want it
to be. We just, all of us, any fan, just fight, compete and battle. If you don't, don't go in the game, just stay
out. The tentativeness is just lack of competitiveness. It's hard to say when you're playing 31 minutes,
‘well, he takes me out.' You're playing 31 minutes but you can't, you just have to go battle. We're playing
a good team on the road, a team that plays well at home, that has won their last two games - I think they
were both road games they won. They're going to be a confident team. They're a post-up team; they're
going to go right at us in the post. They're a grind it, tough, physical defensive team and we'll see where
we are at this point."
On Willie Cauley-Stein being ready to take on the increased work load ...
"What we've said is, play five, six minutes, sub yourself. He's not the issue of subbing himself. I've got
some other guys who will not sub themselves. Whether, you're out there and you're killing us, I want to be
out here killing you. He will sub himself, if you watch him, when he's tired he'll come out. All I told him is,
just be you. You know what you do well, be you, sub yourself, tell me when you're ready to go, you'll play
every minute you can play, stay on the floor, you're not Nerlens but Nerlens is not you, there are things
you do well that Nerlens didn't do well so you just be you, you don't have to be anything else."
On Jon Hood saying he told him it was his coming out party ...
"Yeah, this also gives Jon Hood a chance. What we'll do is we'll watch the game if there is a noncompetitive
guy out there, he's coming out. Now you'll have, ‘if I don't compete, he takes me out every
time.' Just say it. It isn't about missed shots, it's not about turnovers, it's about competing. Jon Hood in
practice yesterday, he's competing his butt off. I can see him going in and I said, it's not us believing in
Jon, it's Jon believing in Jon. You have to go on that court; demonstrated performance is the only way to
build self-esteem, self-confidence. It's not what I say; it's not what we're all saying to him in there, he's got
to go in the game and do it."
On experimenting more with zone ...
"Maybe, maybe, maybe. We're prepared for it, it's not why we did it this time but we're absolutely
prepared to play it and play it for long stretches if we want to. Again, were the defensive numbers all
based on Nerlens? We're going to find out because our defensive numbers weren't the issue. We were
turning it over, no aggressive play. ‘You make the play.' We just have to have guys out there balling and if
we're going to make turnovers with aggressive guys, we're making them with unaggressive guys so you
might as well have attacking guys out there trying and going at it. That doesn't mean we don't grind it out
and play how we're playing but I just want to see guys that want to create contact, not run people over,
we've got a couple guys' heads down but I'm saying, create, here you go, you've got a gap, the guy is
coming, don't run and flip, create that contact. We're working on it. This is a great opportunity, one guy's
misery is another guy's opportunity and that's for all these guys. They have their own picture they want to
paint, let's paint it. You can look at this one of two ways, can we be better? Well, let's see, why not chase
it? We've got seven games left."
On what the team is capable of now ...
"I think we still can be good, we've got good players we've just got a couple that aren't competing at all
and you're looking for excuses and they've got to just stop and go play."
On what he says to his guards after the Florida game ...
"It wasn't very good. I thought Jarrod (Polson) battled, did some good things. I think Julius (Mays) is doing
what he can; Julius is giving you everything he can. Like I said, we have some things to figure out and
they do as a team. One of the things they did, I loved in the game, is they subbed a guy or two. They just
came over to me, ‘get him out, scared to death. Get him out.' And I took the guy out. I said you have to
hold each other accountable. They're like, ‘we want to be positive.' I said, good, now what if a guy is out
there - well, hold him responsible. You guys tell me to take somebody out, he's out. It's never for missing
shots or turnovers; it's not what they're talking about. You're not talking on defense, you're into your own
thing and they just said, we can't win that way and they know that. It's funny, we win five of six, we do
have an injury that can either bring you together or separate you but now we're on the cusp of, ‘OK, let's
see where we are, let's learn.' I'm not afraid of it, not where I've lost a player, but I've been here where
you're up against it and you're not playing well, I've done this long enough. My thing and the whole vision
is let's try and make this special and unique. Going into Florida and losing, everybody has this year. A
couple of guys showed their colors and now maybe they have to take a step back. The reality of it is that
we still have good players we are still in the same position. We don't talk enough; we don't play for the
team enough. And what I mean by that is, if we make a mistake, if things don't go right, it's just a couple
of guys, it's two, and when they hang their head, they have to come out. The minute you see it, get out.
You are zapping us. They have to recognize it is very selfish, very selfish. See guys again think
selfishness is I don't shoot every ball, I am not selfish. Yeah you are. You are not helping your
teammates. You are not in a position to play two guys when you have a chance. You are not talking you
are not switching when you have opportunities. Everything is about how you feel. That's selfish. We are
just slowly trying to get that through. Now we can't afford that. I think they know that. And I think you will
see guys subbed out by their teammates. Get them out. It's just, let's be an effort team. Let's be an
energy team and if you can't play that way, then don't play."
On if Nerlens Noel has the NCAA insurance or private insurance ...
"No, he had the career-ending insurance that he is allowed to have and you guys all read what I said. It is
disappointing we don't take care of that so they can be fully insured. And then if the kids want to take out
insurance for draft position, let them take a loan and do it. Well only rich kids can do that. Have we told
the President this yet? I mean I just don't get some of the stuff and this is one of them. And I also think
again that it proves the point of if a kid is ready to go, then let them go. Well if we want this for two years
then let's do something to make that happen. Let's work with the (NBA) Player's Association. Let's get
those guys in a room and figure out how we do it. I made the point; let's let them go out of high school. I
just don't agree with that not because I am coaching at Kentucky. I have never agreed with that. The
reason is you will have all of these kids thinking they will go directly into the league. Let's do it in football
too then. Let's do it in both sports, basketball and football. Or what if a kid gets hurts as a sophomore or
junior in high school let them come out of high school. Let's do what is right for the kids. Let's make sure
we are putting education on the front burner here and understanding that in my case I don't like the one
and done rule. I will deal with it and it's not what I like and I seem to be the only one speaking out about it.
Unless you want to say I can't get those kids let them go directly, they are here so what do we do and
how do we deal with it."
On how he is straight forward with recruits ...
"That's how I recruit every kid. I don't want them coming here fooled because then you are dealing with
stuff you don't need to deal with. When a guy is not doing what he supposed to or not playing to the level
and they want you to keep it real unless you are keeping it real with them sometimes. But that is how we
recruit. I am not here to BS anybody. If this is a great situation for you to prosper and reach your dreams
then come. If it's not and if you want something different than this, then don't come here. I have told our
team that the adversity that this team has gone through all year, in this environment, Kentucky's
environment, which is a pro environment; there is no college team that has this pregame. They have one
guy who maybe shows up and he is a beat writer who fishes with the coach. They don't have a guy
whose whole challenge is to be the devil. I mean that's not what they have. So here's what I am saying to
our guys, this adversity you are going through, you are up against it. It's all public, and dealing with that
stuff is going to help you later in life. It's like Tayshaun (Prince) who wins a world championship and they
say ‘How are you going to deal with all of this stuff?' and he says, "What are you talking about? I went to
Kentucky. Dealing with this is nothing.' So this is again a great lesson and I am anxious to see guys step
up and play. I think that will happen."