LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Nov 8, 2012 12:29 PM

UK Leaves Early For Opening Game

Cal normally talks to the media in the afternoon the day before the game. Because of the weather, UK left early for Friday nights game with Maryland.

On traveling to New York with the current weather situation ...
"We changed what we were going to do. Normally, what we do is we have class, practice and then leave. The weather is so unpredictable with all that is going on so we just said, ‘Let's get out of here in the morning and get up there.' We will practice in the Barclays Center, either in the practice court or on the (main) court. We didn't have Ryan (Harrow) [at practice yesterday] he got some sort of flu or something and did not practice. Julius (Mays) took the day (off) and we are just trying to make sure his leg (is fine). There was nothing structurally or anything wrong, but he didn't practice. Jarrod (Polson) looked pretty good, and I think Jarrod will be fine if we had to play him. The other guys worked pretty hard. We are what we are right now."

On how much better they may be by Friday ...
"Again, they are a team that tries to post the ball. They run a lot of screens. They play great position defense, they don't give you a whole lot and they don't turn it over a whole lot. They try to take good shots every time down. They are not going to beat themselves. We will see if we are ready to beat a basketball team, I am just not sure, they are going to have to show me. Haven't done much situational work - up eight, down eight, up three, down three - we just haven't had time to. You can try to have these guys and mush their mind by trying to go three and a half hours a day and try to get everything in before you play Maryland, but we were not. They are going to press us some and it's going to look ugly. We just haven't had the time to work on it."

On how much Jarrod Polson has improved ...
"We are all comfortable as a staff if he has got to go in and play minutes or significant minutes, we are fine. He is not going to be like the guy trying to get 30 points, but he has some size with him, he has some toughness with him, he will make open shots. I think he is dying for an opportunity, which is what you want from a player. Watching the tapes, Jon Hood did really well last game. Jon Hood is trying to just play within himself. There were a couple plays where I wished he would have shot the ball, but it's OK that he didn't I am not going to get mad at him for not shooting the ball right now. I just want him to get comfortable playing and not being delusional. ‘This is who I am, here's how I play, I'm going to go do this.' He is listening to himself and now, all of a sudden, you are comfortable putting him in the game. He can help us."

On how Jon Hood can help the team ...
"He played hard, he played steady. He will go rebound balls and he can make a 7-foot shot and an open 3 if you give it to him. You can't just say we are not going to play him because he can make that. We do a shooting drill and the kid is making 50-something 3s every time we do the drill. Now, we practice and I am on him because his percentage is low from the 3. I say, ‘How can you make 50, but when we start playing do what you are doing? It is all in your mind. It is not anything else. You are capable of it you just don't think you deserve to do it or think you are going to do it. We all think you are going to do it. That is what we think. Now you have to think that.' So, just trying to get him to believe a little more in himself. He's done fine."

On his friendship with Mark Turgeon and how the game with Maryland came about ...
"I don't usually like to play friends. Mark, I coached him when he was at Kansas. So Mark I remember coming up to a table while we were having breakfast and Larry Brown had gotten the job and he just walked up and said, ‘I am better than any point guard you have on your team.' We didn't know who he was. He was a confident, like a little, ‘Who is this 145-pound kind telling us.' So in our first game against Houston - five slamma jamma - and we get killed. There was one guy, Coach Dean Smith, called Larry Brown and said, ‘You need to play that Turgeon kid because he was the kid that did all the things that got us in our offense, made all the right plays.' It was funny after the game,(because) Coach Smith said, ‘Play Turgeon.' We used to play 1-on-1 before practice with him and some of the guys. He is a terrific coach, terrific person. His father, who I have stayed in touch with over the years, sent me two days ago all the note cards from UMass that I had sent him, back to me to say, ‘Boy, you have come a long way from this.' What do you mean my handwriting? He is one of the guys that you don't want to play them - the Tony Barbees, the Derek Kelloggs, the Josh Pastners - and if you lose to those guys you are sick but you are really happy for them. You end up saying, ‘You know what? If I am going to lose, I want to lose to this guy who will really benefit.' Again, as much as I hated to lose to Indiana (last season), it really helped their program. No question what it did and Tom (Crean) and I are friends."

On Dez Wells being eligible to play ...
"I am happy for him. I am happy. I hate it when I see kids being held out. Give the benefit of the doubt to the kid if you care about kids. If we are all in this for them, then give the benefit of the doubt to the kid and obviously that is what they have done. It probably went up the ladder beyond this and was probably president to president. Probably went up there. Doesn't matter, it is good for that kid and really good for Maryland. He will make Maryland, legitimately, one of those teams because they were good enough but needed that one guy and he is that one guy. He is that good."

On Dez Wells being on campus looking at attending UK before going to Maryland ...
"It was fine. I loved the kid. Like I said, I think he was one of the great (players). When I met him, I was like, ‘Wow, is this kid outstanding.' Again, I am not worried about us and Maryland. You worry about that kid and that kid being able to play and that is good for him. If we are going to make a mistake, make it in leaning towards a kid not away. Don't worry about the program he is going to. Zero back on what is right for this kid and if the benefit of the doubt leans towards this kid, let him play."

On what Maryland does that could cause UK problems ...
"Well, they are trying to come down each time and get good shots and really, really post the ball. They do a great job of running screens and every ball screen ends up in a down screen. Every ball screen means there is a small cross screening for a big. They are trying to get that ball into the post, into the post, into the post. So Kyle (Wiltjer) has his hands full. Our big guys have their hands full. Like, if you think you are just going to play, you are going to get screened first or your man is going to screen and then they are posting your man. So they put you in tough situations and they execute. I would imagine the first five or six times down the floor the ball is getting posted. Its bang, bang, bang, post the ball. We are going to find out where we truly are with post defense. That is why I saw we play these games early. I would rather have had a game or two under our belts before we played it. But the reality of it is, this team is so young let's learn it right away. Here is where we are, here is where we are not. Don't get crazy, this is where we are you can see it, here is where we are really awful let's shore that up and I think that is where we are right now. I truly have no idea will Ryan (Harrow) play, will Julius (Mays) play? I don't know yet. I would say I hope so, but we don't know."

On who would play point if Harrow and Mays can't play ...
"You have Archie (Goodwin) and Jarrod (Polson) so you have enough, it's not like we don't have enough at point, but you are limited in players. It is starting to get down to numbers and I don't think in a game like that with excitement and anxiety you can play 40 minutes. It's just the numbers game."

On playing in New York ...
"Well, they have asked us to. I mean, the Garden is mad we are playing in the Barclays. I think they would like us in there every day. They told me yesterday that they sold out the building and sold out the tickets. Obviously, for us to go to New York and sell out the building you understand they want us up there. It is not as though we are just recruiting New York or New York City that we have to go up there. It is a good trip. I just hope it's not snowing like it is this time. This is going to be crazy."

On doing any extracurricular activities with the players in New York ...
"I don't think we are going to have enough time and I am not going to drag them around the city because I don't know what the transpiration is like. I might take a trek tomorrow morning to go either to Queens or maybe Stanton Island if I think I can get there and back and not waste a whole day because we play that night and have a shoot around that day. What we did last night, raising half a million dollars and at the end of the day the check being presented maybe a million dollars. It may be a million dollars because of Papa John's and the auction stuff. Again, doing that, I would like to say tell me what you are doing here American Red Cross. I am giving you a million dollars, what are you doing. I may do some of that, I may not have time and come back and do it later. Let me thank all (those who gave to Kentucky Cares). You think about it, our state is one of the poorest states. Louisville didn't even run the telethon, wasn't even run in Louisville. We raise half a million dollars and then all of a sudden we are giving a check from this state from basically this city from Hazard and Louisville didn't run it. The word got out through the social media and all other stuff and people basically gave over $200,000. Then we match it and then you do the auction and all of a sudden you look around and say, ‘My goodness we raised a million dollars.' And it wasn't an all-day auction. You know how long it was when we did Haiti? Four hours. This was one hour and then we went to CW for an hour and the computer. I just can't thank the people in this state enough for how they give money and of their time. I say a suffering man steps out and does something for somebody else that means something to me. There were older ladies, I picked up a few phones, that were giving $25 and you know they could barely afford the $25 they were giving. You know it, you could hear it, yet they gave it anyway. The image that you see and now the snow, I told everybody we are not rebuilding Queens or Stanton Island, you are keeping people alive. You are feeding them, you are housing them, you are giving them shelter, you are giving them clothes, you are giving them medicine, you are giving them water. That is what you are doing and that is all we were trying to do. Pretty good though. Our players had fun with it. They weren't sure going in, ‘What the heck is this', but I think by the time we left they enjoyed it."

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