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UK Pre-Lipscomb Quotes & Notes

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Updated: 12/14/2012 5:12 pm

Kentucky Basketball

Pre-Lipscomb Quotes

Lexington, Ky.

Dec. 14, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On if he has seen improvement through the opening days of ‘Camp Cal’ …

“We will see. Demonstrative performance on the basketball court shows. One of the things that has happened, I will give you an example. Jarrod (Polson) who did not step in the gym since the beginning of the year now is going and spending all of the extra time, he is not the same player. It’s not what I’m saying, or not saying; it’s what he is doing to build his own self-esteem. What we are forcing them to do is to be held accountable. We are forcing them to get up early and workout, which is mental toughness and that they are held responsible for each other. That is what I am doing. We are getting better, but we have to go and perform on the basketball court.”

 

On the team holding each other accountable …

“You don’t want to run 20 suicides, because like 15 of them are because of him. What? Do you want to keep running? How about saying something to him? So, he changes, and they are beginning to change. The thing that happens when you start, and I always say they are going to do what you ask them to do is make sure what you are asking them is the right thing. These practices should have been at the beginning of the year, but we didn’t know. That’s why we play the schedule we did early on to find out who we truly were. Now, hopefully this helps, but there is no given. This is us saying we are going to get tougher, we are going to get better, but we are going to be mentally tough, we are going to be accountable, we are going to try and play through possessions. We just quit on possessions; we just quit on our teammates way too much. We just quit. It’s not okay. Baseline. Then they start saying ‘You’re quitting on us. Play through the possessions.’ And then they start getting it.”

 

On the team’s on-court communication …

“Well we still are not vocal enough. There are still some guys that say some things and speak up, but it’s hard to speak up if you’re the guy doing all the running. We are running because of you. You can’t say anything. But, the reality of it is, is that I had a guy watch us in the gym yesterday and he said we were the quietest team he’s ever seen.  Well why would you be really quiet? Why wouldn’t you be talking to your team? You are more worried about yourself than anyone else on the floor. ‘I’m just making sure I know where I’m supposed to be.’ Well that’s what we are trying to break down. If a team is a quiet team, even though these kids are good kids, they don’t understand that’s being selfish. ‘Well, I pass the ball.’ It’s not about that. You are into your own thing if you are not communicating with your own team.”

 

On the team getting better in practice …

“(Yesterday’s practice was) the best one we have had in probably two months. Alex (Poythress) smiled for the first time this season. So, when you see them competing with each other and I don’t have to drag them through everything, like the one thing I am doing with this running, it is good, because I don’t have to yell and scream and go nuts. ‘Why didn’t you block him out?’ ‘I was trying to … I don’t know’. ‘Alright, baseline lets go. 34 seconds. Why did you not sprint the court? Look, did you talk in that pick-and-roll? No. ‘I didn’t talk real loud, just kind of talked.’ Alright on the baseline, 34 seconds, let’s go. I don’t have to yell. Why didn’t you dig on that? He bounced and turned away, you didn’t go. Why? Because it is harder to go, and I want to quit on the play. Alright, on the baseline, 34, let’s go. We ran 20 suicides, including practice. We are down to about 10 now. Just total breakdowns. Well why didn’t you go hard? You didn’t feel like it? Well what about your teammates? They needed you to go hard. You didn’t have a great breakfast this morning? Oh, ok, on the baseline, let’s go, 34 seconds. I really don’t care what you tell me. We are on the baseline running. That’s where we are. And I told them; I want to have fun coaching. I don’t want to be having to drag you. When you don’t have fun coaching, it’s because instead of coaching X’s and O’s, and situations and really teaching, what are you coaching? Effort, intensity, focus and concentration. I should coach that? That’s what my coaching should be? Well that is what my coaching is right now. And that is a frustrating thing for a coach. I should never have to coach energy, effort, passion, enthusiasm, being vocal. They can do all that. They are starting to do that. We are not there yet.”

 

On having teams like this before and how hard is it to get them where you want them to be …

“A lot of times they have to hit rock bottom to where they just come back and just say, ‘tell me what you want to do.’ It’s funny last night I get a call from Marquis Teague. I called him after (the NBA game Wednesday night), and left a voicemail message for him after, you know, he had 20 minutes up in Chicago. He calls and we were talking and I said, ‘I love the fact that your GM tells me you’re going three times a day.’ He never leaves the practice facility, he’s there all day. Because basically if you’re not, you’re going to be in the D-League. So you want me four times a day? I’ll go four. Then all of a sudden he starts playing the way they want him to play and now they start playing him. It was great hearing from him and even Eric Bledsoe saying, ‘coach, thanks for making me do what I needed to do.’ In other words, you made me do things I didn’t want to do. Thank you. I’ve had teams that, you know, the lack of competitiveness or that spirit of team and it’s not that they’re selfish it’s that they don’t even know that some of the things they do are selfish and I’m trying to teach them. Great kids, I think we’re getting better but again, this is going to be a process.”

 

On extra practice helping Ryan Harrow in particular …

“It’s for everybody. We’ve got everybody. Our skillset is not where it needs to be and there is only one way to improve it, get on the court and practice. Be a gym rat. You have nothing else going on. You have nothing else going on, why wouldn’t you be in the gym five times a day. We go three, you go two more. Why wouldn’t you? ‘I have video games to watch, I like to watch a little TV and some reruns of (Sponge Bob) Squarepants. I’ve got some stuff I need to watch so I can’t be in there.’  I just don’t understand what would keep you from being in there and just saying, this is what I do, I love this.”

 

On the team not talking being related to being young …

“They’ve all been in the same mode, every team I’ve coached here. Last year’s team was a little unique in that, they had some vocal guys right away that would talk and scream and yell and get the other guys to talk. But you think about it, Marquis Teague wasn’t that guy, Doron Lamb didn’t like to talk, Darius Miller didn’t like to talk, Terrence Jones, think about it, didn’t like to talk. Anthony (Davis) and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) would talk but that’s two out of the six guys that we were playing so last year we had to get them to where they talked and they took great pride in who they were and what they were about as a team. We’re trying to get us to that point but it’s taking time.”

 

On holding everyone accountable by making the team run …

“Yeah it does but I’ve had guys say to me, ‘why should I run? Why are we running?’ Because we all lose. When he does that right there, we all lose, including you so get on the baseline and run 34 seconds, go. Then if I’m really mad we’re going 33 to where they have to run because they are doing the same thing again. You didn’t listen? Now we’re running a 32. They need to start, quit looking at us and start coaching each other. But this is all part of the process. I wish I would have known this earlier in the year, but I didn’t so some of the situation we’re in is because we didn’t practice this way early. That’s why you play the kind of games so that I can learn about my team. I tell you, early in the season, November and December, all I’m trying to do is learn about my team so I know what I have to do. Obviously whatever I guessed early was wrong so now we’re trying to readjust and they’re trying to readjust and it’s been tougher on them but they’ve responded.”

Kentucky Players

#10, Archie Goodwin, G

On practice …

“It’s been intense. A lot better. A lot more competitive. I think we’re making strides and coming along a lot faster than we thought.”

On practicing twice a day with conditioning in the morning …

“Yeah, we’ve still been doing that. None of us are complaining because we know this is something we need and this is something that’s helping us out, and so we’re just trying to stay focused and keep doing it because we know it’s going to make us better.”

On what areas the team is making strides …

“It mostly is just our competitive spirit. We’re starting to pick it up a lot. Guys are starting to be a lot more vocal and we are holding each other more accountable than we were, so it’s something that’s helping us out. You don’t want to be the person that’s going to be picked out for doing something wrong. Before we weren’t doing that, and now we’re doing it and it’s helping us out a lot.”

On what the team is learning …

“I’d say we are learning the different things we need to work on and how we have to play together as a team and you know, we just learn about how competitive each of us are as well. That’s something we all have in us, but we just haven’t brought it out.”

On being called out for lack of competitiveness by Coach Calipari …

“To me, it’s something that is a test, because like I said, we all have it in us, it’s just a matter of us all bringing it out. Especially me, being a competitor, anyone that’s a true competitor takes that to heart; so the last few weeks I’ve just really been focusing on how to really show how much of a competitor I am and hopefully will be a spark for the other guys.”

On how to show competitiveness …

“Just by being vocal and continuing to work hard in practice, coming up with balls that I really shouldn’t come up with, just little things like that.”

On dealing with expectations …

“I would say so because coming here, you have high expectations, but at the same time, if you don’t have the right mindset, you’ll be overwhelmed by the things that you’re hearing and things like that.”

#12, Ryan Harrow, G

On building on his performance in the Portland game …
“It was cool to see some shots go down. I’ve just still been in the gym working a lot to get extra shots. I’ll be even more confident shooting in the game.”

On Thursday’s practice …
“Coach Calipari said that we were having more fun yesterday than any practice that we’ve had in a long time. He says he wants to have a lot of fun even though he does all the screaming and stuff. He gave us a speech before. When he says something, we’ve got to try to do it or we’re going to be on the baseline running. Everybody was a little bit more focused at the beginning so we didn’t have to run as much. We were just able to play.”

On getting more comfortable with the team …
“I’m getting a little bit more comfortable every day. It’s showing a little in practice. The coaches are telling me that. I’m just telling them to keep pushing me to get me where they think I should be.”

On the team improving …
“Like Coach Cal says, we will be a different team in January then we were in December. We will be a different team in February than we were in January. We’re just going to keep getting better. When we’re just playing I’m having fun when we’re competing against each other. I think we have gotten better since we have been off and just practicing a lot. We are putting in some new stuff that makes the offense flow better too. It’s been a good week for us. We’ve been working more on pushing the break so we don’t have to set up in the offense. If we don’t push the break then we worked on swinging it to the next person to let them try to drive. Then if we don’t have anything we can set up and run the plays. We have so many people on the team that can create their own shot that we shouldn’t have to run those plays.”

On this season’s winter break from classes …
“I don’t think there will be any difference (from last season). We are still going to be doing the same thing. Working out, being with the team all day and just basketball, basketball, basketball. It’s still the same.”

#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F

On practicing his outside shooting …

“We’ve had a tough week of practices and a lot of workouts, so I’m just working myself hard. Getting a lot of shots up is key. I’m trying to mix it up, trying to get in the post a little bit, score over smaller defenders and use my pump fake to my advantage. I’m trying to do other things, trying to play good defense and rebound. It’s definitely a different role. It’s something I have to get used to. I want to try to keep getting more shots up on my own time. There are not many shots available. I just want to make sure I shoot good shots, make sure I don’t force anything.”

On the team chemistry …
“Our main focus is just making steps and making progress. Every day in practice we just want to become a better team. I feel like that’s what we’re doing.”

On the past week of practice …
“It’s been a great time for us to really improve and get better. It starts with individual play. We’re able to really work on our games as a team. We’re really working hard and coming together not only on offense, but on defense as well.”

On the points the coaches have emphasized in recent practices …

“It’s really about being vocal and talking to each other. We just need to take that same mentality (as NBA players) and talk as a team.”

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