Feb 11, 2013 5:43 PM
Kentucky Coach John Calipari
Pre-Florida Game Quotes
Feb. 11, 2013
On the challenge that Florida presents ...
"You've got a top-five team on the road. They play well in their building. It will be a hard game for us to win.
Let's put it this way, they were an Elite Eight team last year, should have been in the Final Four, were one
game short of that, and they've got everybody back. And college basketball isn't what it was a year ago, so
that's how a good a challenge, or how big a challenge and how good of a team they are."
On if playing Florida without Will Yeguette is advantageous to Kentucky ...
"It doesn't matter. You've got a bunch of guys that expect to win and they're that good, they'll make up for
On guard play being the key to their success against Florida ...
"We all know that, and our guys know that. This is our challenge. I mean, you can't make excuses, you can't
cop out. Here it is: let's show what we are. Our team's getting better, our guards are getting better, our bigs
are getting better. We're getting better as a team. We're being more efficient. (We're) turning it over a little
more than I'd like at this time of the year, but you've got to guard these guys and guard them off the 3-point
line, and you've got to be strong with the ball. What (South Carolina head coach Frank Martin) is saying is
they're scoring from 3-point scoring and off of turnovers. When a team scores from the 3, they're averaging
11 makes in our league right now. That means that they are shooting them whether you guard them or not.
If they're going in, you tap them on the butt and say ‘Next game.' If you're all over a guy and he's still
making them and banking them and all that, next game. But the turnovers you do have some control over.
That's what Frank was talking about. Your guard play has got to be good so that they don't get into that
race where they're scoring from the 3 and off turnovers."
On Archie Goodwin saying that this is the type of game he was made for ...
"Yeah, it's good. No, I'm happy. Let him go in there and do it. This is all an experience for these guys. We're
talking life lessons with these guys. We had two last night that we talked about, two chapters. We go over
them and everything is about things that these guys have never experienced before. Playing down there,
these guys other than Kyle (Wiltjer), who probably if I look back probably played very few minutes down
there, they haven't felt this down there. They haven't played a team that's been there, done that, and a
team that's hungry to beat us."
On why UK has been successful on the road despite youth ...
"My teams historically have played better on the road and I don't know why. Maybe being at Kentucky, it's
hard playing at home. You're supposed to win every game. I don't know, but we've played better on the
road than we have at home."
On how much Nerlens Noel helps 3-point defense ...
"Doesn't matter if they're going under ball screens. One of the things we're going to talk about today is,
‘What is selfishness?' What does being selfish mean? I know most of them will say, ‘You shoot too much or
hold on to...' No. It's selfish if you know you're supposed to go over top of the screen and you choose to go
under. Your job is to do X, Y, Z and you choose not to do it. That is very selfish. See, they don't see that as
selfish. ‘Well, I don't feel like doing it. I'm not selfish.' Oh, you are selfish. So, it's all stuff that we're learning here because on our team the balanced scoring, and every year I've been here, this is my fourth year,
we've had balance scoring, every year. And if you look back historically over my teams, balanced scoring,
balanced shots taken. That's not what selfish is in our program. It's choosing what you choose to do versus
what the team needs you to do. We still have some of that, and we're going to talk about that today. You
may say, ‘That's the kind of stuff you're talking about?' Yes, every single day. That's the kind of stuff we go
On every player having a copy of the book they're reading ...
"Yeah, we don't have the Stamina book, Derek Anderson's book but I will get them a copy of that too."
On the theme of the book God Never Blinks ...
"It's just 50 life lessons and each of them are three pages, four pages, read it and we talk about it."
On toughness he is seeing from the team ...
"Better. Look, we're improving in all areas. It may not show in this game because this is a worthy opponent,
well coached team, a tough team, a physical team. I'm watching them, they bang and bump and grind and
their guards really attack. If you're in a cool mode, you're getting killed in this game. You have to be trying to
survive every bounce of the ball, every trip up and down, you're trying to survive. If you're in a cool mode,
like, ‘I'm going to bounce it high,' you're getting killed in this game. You have to know what the game is,
accept it, not be selfish, know what the team needs you to do and just go out and do it. You do it for 40
minutes, you get a chance. It's just hard to do it because they put a lot of pressure on you. They're a very
On being able to rely on Jarrod Polson due to his progression ...
"Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. Yes. And everybody has watched it. You stick him in the game and he
just plays his butt off. And then everybody says, why won't the other guys watch that and do that? He's
doing it. Doesn't mean he makes every shot, doesn't mean he doesn't turn it over. Once a game, he's going
to get it stripped, accept it, don't get mad, coach. He's going to dribble down, the guy is going to take it from
him, shoot a lay-up but his energy, his effort, his toughness, everybody watches. Guys, play like that. ‘Well,
I don't' have to.' Why? ‘I'm better than that.' Well, not really. And that's the kind of stuff we're fighting every
day but when we get, it's like Kyle in practice, why should Kyle practice like that and no one else? Same
deal. And what's happened is, everyone is starting to elevate because of Willie's energy, Jarrod's energy,
Kyle's practice habits and all the sudden because of - Archie's practice habits - we're starting now to take
that climb that you have to have to have a chance to do something."
On what he can learn from Arkansas' win over Florida ...
"The best thing I can tell you, if you come out and you make nine out of your first 10 shots, you really have a
chance of getting it."
On what Archie Goodwin is lacking even as his work ethic is improving ...
"Okay, here's what you have to do. You have to lose yourself in the team. That's where he's not, yet.
Anything that he does out there, it's him doing it versus you're doing this for the team. Lose yourself in the
team. If you turn it over, run the guy down and block it. If you miss a shot, don't worry about it. Don't be
selfish on defense now and go under a screen and give up a 3 or stop playing and not block out. Lose
yourself in the team. ‘Everything I'm supposed to do on offense, I'm doing. If I don't play well, I'm going to
play hard.' I watched Michael [Kidd-] Gilchrist against Florida in the semi-final game in the (2012 SEC)
tournament. He played awful. He played as bad as Archie played last game (against Auburn). But, he
fought and tried and came up with the two game-winning rebounds. He turned it over, missed every shot,
missed free throws, but, he had lost himself in the team like Anthony [Davis] did and you don't worry about
it. You just keep playing. We are not there. We're trying to establish, ‘Here's who I am as a player.' Don't
worry about that right now. We've got eight games left. Lose yourself in the team. It's hard, though. It's
natural what they're all doing and that, that is again, young, immature guys not understanding that it's not,
‘You work on yourself to get better...for us.' That's why you're doing it: for us. If we all lose ourselves in
each other, it elevates each one of us and it elevates our team but that's the challenge that we've gone
On how Auburn came at UK with a physical style of play ...
"Florida plays that way anyway, naturally."
On how much Auburn's physical style of play will help against Florida...
"Some. Auburn did a great job of trapping quickly on Nerlens [Noel]. I expect that's what we'll see Florida
do. They also did a job of switching defenses. I also expect Florida will throw some of that at us. But,
mainly, they're just going to come in and try to maul us and blitzkrieg. And it's good. We've got to withstand
it. We'll find out where we are. We all know we've gotten better, anybody that's watched us. Individual
players have gotten better. Now, are we ready for this kind of challenge? We will see."