We’re very late in posting this due to all the changes that’ve been happening around here lately. Anyways, this is something we plan on doing with any pre-game and post game videos that become available. We’ll post the YouTube video(s) by Kentucky Wildcats TV and we’ll write up a rough draft of what was said.
QUESTION: Cal, what did you think (especially down the stretch) about your team?
JOHN CALIPARI: They out hustled us, they outworked us, they deserved to win. They out rebounded us by 16 rebounds… 16 rebounds. 18 offensive. Three rebounds, four rebounds down the stretch in the last 4 minutes we win the game, but they got every single one of them. That’s who we are right now. Everything is based on how I’m scoring and what I’m doing, and it’s not based on THAT part of the game–that toughness.
QUESTION: Did you expect your team to be tougher than what they showed to be in the second half?
JOHN CALIPARI: I would hope, but we are what we are right now. I mean, we still left timeouts and broke down and didn’t do what we were supposed to do–did our own thing. But again, the biggest plays were the rebounds down the stretch. There were 3 or 4, we get those we win the game. It was not important [to the players]. It’s more important that I get the ball on offense… that’s where we are as a team right now; but that’s what you would expect from a young team. I would hope they’d have more fight to win the game. They didn’t. Baylor had way more fight than what we had.
QUESTION: John, is that an effort thing, a focus thing?
JOHN CALIPARI: Just you and this guy and he throws you out of the way and he goes and gets the ball. That’s what it was. Offensive rebound, rundown the ball, I mean it was one thing after an… you know. We had a chance, we’re up, and again they get the ball next to the goal, and we foul twice… you know I’ve gotta see the tape of it, but that gets them back in the game. We were ready to pull away. But we’re not ready for that yet–not against a good team–we’re just not.
QUESTION: John, you had two field goals in the last 13 minutes. Was there anything specific that Baylor was doing on defense that was giving you trouble?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, they didn’t have many either. I mean, what they did was offensive rebound and put-packs. #1 controlled the game–he was coming really hard off pick-and-rolls and our guy’s not yet, he just doesn’t know that part of the game. So he tries to mess around with the pick-and-roll and you can’t play that way. And #1 just flew off pick-and-rolls and made it hard for us.
QUESTION: How do you instill, John, the toughness, the fight, that you’re wanting your guys to grow into?
JOHN CALIPARI: Go in games and be in more dog fights, and that’s why we’re playing this kind of schedule in December. Either we’ll start fighting or we’ll keep losing. There’s no option.
QUESTION: John, was there any conversation at all about this being the final four site, or is it too premature to be talking about it?
JOHN CALIPARI: For us? What you just watched? We’re just trying to win our next game and get tougher–play through… you know, what I did is I played guys way too many minutes, and I was trying to get out of the gym and it was a big mistake because they’re not able to play [that long], that’s high school, it’s an AAU thing–I’m staying on the court 38 minutes–there’s no way. And that’s not their fault, I’m the one that played them that many minutes. These guys shouldn’t be playing more than 28 or 30 minutes–any of them–because they can’t play any more minutes.
QUESTION: As a young team, John, do you think maybe they respond more to a crowd, and since there wasn’t a crowd…
JOHN CALIPARI: It was a great crowd for us. I don’t know how these people made it here, they must’ve been on dog sleds or something, I dunno how they got here; but they figure out a way to get here and I look around and the whole building is blue. It’s incredible. You know, again, our fans just wanna see a team fight and battle and compete, and this team didn’t. As soon as this thing got rough and the first two raindrops hit, it’s like a front-running team; the raindrops hit, we stop fighting. We start looking for excuses and heads are down. That’s what we are right now, but we know that and that’s why we have to play these kind of teams.
QUESTION: Julius, how frustrating of a homecoming was this for you?
JULIUS RANDLE: Whether we were home or not, it doesn’t matter. I play every game to win regardless. Just didn’t make the necessary plays.
QUESTION: Aaron, what’s it feel like to hear your coach say those things about you guys–that you all don’t have that fight or toughness?
AARON HARRISON: I mean, it’s tough to hear, but we’re a group of guys that will definitely get better. We’re going to learn from this, but I just really don’t know.
QUESTION: Julius, you’re kind of known as a player who’s got some fight. What do you guys have to do to get that back?
JULIUS RANDLE: Just focus on the little things down the stretch and we’ll be all right.
QUESTION: Julius, how much do you think their size–their experience was a factor?
JULIUS RANDLE: It wasn’t, I don’t think. We just didn’t do the necessary things down the stretch. We had the game won but we just made some mistakes and didn’t do the necessary things–didn’t come up with balls.
QUESTION: You guys only got two field goals in the last 13 minutes. Looked like the zone was giving you some trouble. What was different those last 13 minutes?
AARON HARRISON: I mean, just like coach said, we really didn’t execute like we were supposed to, and coming out of time outs we weren’t as focused as we were supposed to [be] running through plays, and we just gotta be more prepared–we can’t come in here and break down like we did.
QUESTION: Was this a surprise to you, the way you guys finished that game? It seemed like you guys were picking up confidence since that Michigan State game.
AARON HARRISON: Yeah, we expected to win of course–just down the stretch we lost some balls and didn’t execute and lost focus, which I’m surprised because, like you said, since the Michigan State game we’ve been picking it up a little bit and fighting more and having that fight, so I mean, I don’t know.
QUESTION: Julius, you’re a guy who has that reputation of being a fighter and a winner–does it hurt you to hear those things that Calipari said about you guys as a team?
JULIUS RANDLE: I mean, you can’t take it personal. He’s doing it as a challenge–he’s challenging us. He knows all of us have fight in us, but it’s just another level at the college level, so we’ve just got to focus more and when things get rough, that’s when we really have to come together.
QUESTION: Julius, was it in the back of your mind at all that this was the final four site?
JULIUS RANDLE: No.