clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

John Calipari recaps UT loss; “I’m not getting through to some guys”

Coach Cal even used Tom Brady as an example as to how these Cats must change.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Vanderbilt Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Fox had foul trouble. Briscoe’s scoring woes continued. And Monk hit a cold streak (even though he led the team with 25 points).

Kentucky could not overcome the underwhelming night from their guards and dropped their first SEC game to the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday, 82-80.

Coach John Calipari certainly was not happy with the performance, hinting that he has some guys that are playing for themselves instead of the team.

See below for a full transcript of his post-game comments, courtesy of UK Athletics.

“Congratulations to Rick (Barnes) and Tennessee. Wow, what a game did they play. And we tried to come back a little bit, but it didn’t work. So congratulations. What a game. Great environment.”

On the team being off from the start

Tom Brady made a statement that makes—that these guys aren’t listening to and I told it to them last night. Doing what’s right for the team sometimes may not be right for you, but that’s how you win. You do what’s right for the team, not necessarily what’s right for you as an individual player, and I’m not getting through to some guys.

“And I told them after: You’ll continue to lose. I’ve done this 30 years. You cannot do the stuff they’re doing and win basketball games. You cannot do it. So I don’t want to call guys out, but I could go right down the line. Here’s what I’m asking you to do, you refuse to do it. Here’s what I’m asking you to do—I gotta call a timeout and, wait a minute—but we’re all freshmen.

“We made need to lose a few games in a row and then have them come to my office en masse and say, ‘Coach, we surrender. Tell us what you want us to do. Because we know we can’t win now but we think we can. We thought we were out in Vegas playing Houston Stars but we’re not.’ We got all young kids and it’s just growing pains.”

On whether he reminded the team what happened at Tennessee last year

“No, because I didn’t remember we were down 21 until someone told me. Or up 21 and then they came back and beat us. No. I didn’t. Every team I coach is so different. That game, the way that happened had nothing to do with this. Tennessee led from the start in this game, ‘til the finish. Start to finish, they led. We didn’t turn them over. We had no active hands. We were more concerned about what we were going to do on offense.

“We wouldn’t throw Bam (Adebayo) the ball until I said at halftime, ‘That’s it. You either throw him the ball or you’re coming out.’ Again, let me say this: Doing what’s right for the team isn’t always right for you personally. And we just gotta—it’s an area we’re going to have to work on and now we have a Kansas team coming in that, you know. And then we have Georgia at home.

“They’re playing good, you know. And then I can’t remember who the next game is. I know those next two. But it may be—I hate to lose, but sometimes it’s good. Either you’ll listen. We’ll have two days of—let me tell you, everybody that’s watched this team, you know what we usually look like? Pass, pass, pass, pass, in, out, drive, kick, go. You know what we’re doing right now?

“Whoever has it holds it as long as they can until they make a pass. And the pass they want to make is the hero scoring pass. We’re not playing how we were playing two weeks ago. Maybe we got arrogant. Again, it comes back to what I’m accepting as a coach. And obviously I’m accepting this kind of play from young kids and I’ve gotta do a better job and I will.”

On whether 3s were a major factor in the game

“Yeah. They hadn’t been making 3s but I said before the game, ‘They will make them against us. Everybody does.’ They were making five a game. How many did they make today? (Five of 10) Maybe it wasn’t. I thought they did a great job of driving the ball. They made some tough, tough baskets and, again, we have 14 turnovers and only 14 assists.

“We were getting 30 assists. We’re at 14. Next week it may be seven. We’ve got to pass the ball to each other. You gotta make it easy on each other and then you’re making it hard on the other team. We’re doing it the opposite. We’re making it hard for us and making it easy for the other team. Look, I don’t want to take away from Tennessee and what Rick did.

“Their game plan of getting back. We didn’t get much in transition. They played more physical. They were grinding and then trying to drive it. And we were—on the fourth pass we stood straight up and they were just driving by us. And we kept saying in every timeout, ‘Do you understand what they’re doing? They’re going side to side with the ball and then somebody is going to try to break somebody down on the bounce.

“But, again, when you’re coaching young teams, you’re starting four freshmen, playing a couple sophomore, you get this sometimes. And now we gotta go back and hopefully this grabs their attention and we get back to, all right, how do we have to play as a team to try to be one of those teams. What we were tonight, we’re not. And a lot of that credit goes to Tennessee.”

On what the other guys on the team need to see to get Bam Adebayo more touches

“You must do what’s right for the team even though it may not be right for you. Tom Brady said it best. You may want to do this and this, but that’s not what’s right for this team. Bam at some point, I don’t know if you saw me laughing, he walks over and he said, ‘You may want to tell them to throw me the ball.’ I had to laugh. We’re down and that’s what he said to me. Then at halftime, that’s it.

“It’s not that we got selfish guys, they’re playing – just playing – versus OK, what are we trying to do each trip down? We’ll see. This is going to be a tough road and it’s a tough learning thing. The good news is it’s still January. That’s what’s great. And this isn’t college football. This is get your team right. Last year I believe we came up here, had a big-time lead and they beat us and I think we did OK after that. So, hopefully it’s another good lesson.”

On Malik Monk slipping near the UK bench

“I asked one of our guys to wipe the floor – I saw it – and he let the guy with the thing (mop) move the water around. I asked our guy to wipe that up and that’s why I went crazy. I said specifically, ‘Go get that,’ because I saw it. Hey, he slipped we lose.”

On Tennessee senior guard Robert Hubbs III

“He’s really a steady player for them. He knows where he can score baskets and he gets himself in those areas to make baskets. So, he’s not trying to do stuff he can’t do. He gets to where he can get pull-ups, 15-footers. He had 15 at halftime and ends up with 25. We’ve had a bunch of guys do that to us though.”

On Isaiah Briscoe’s improved play in the second half

“Yeah, he just gave up the basketball and just be scrappy. Forget about making all these plays. Just be scrappy, man. I’m happy at the end he started playing better. But what he did was he came up with every tough rebound. When he missed a breakaway layup you’re kind of like, ‘Are you OK?’ Like, I’ve never seen that.

“Like I said, this is a great learning experience. I’d rather do it in a close win than a loss like this, but sometimes it takes you to get knocked in the head to say, ‘Please, let’s come together.’

“I’ve got to do a better job. Look here’s what it is with coaching: I can sit here and say what I want, but if they’re playing a certain way that’s because they think they’re allowed to play that way, that I’m accepting it. So, all of it comes back to me. I’ve got young guys. Either they don’t understand how I want them to play, or they’re not accepting it, and if they don’t accept it then I gotta do different things to try to get them to understand. Sometimes a loss gets them to understand, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you’ll make excuses that it was somebody else.

“But, we got good guys, we got a good team, we got post presence, we got some depth, we’ve got good guards. Tennessee was better than us tonight. They deserved to win the game. It would have been a shame if we made a 3 or something crazy and won the game. If he didn’t slip and we won. They played from the start. They deserved to win.”