Jan. 11, 2011
Auburn Locker Room
Head Coach Tony Barbee
On the play of Kentucky freshman forward Terrence Jones...
"He's a grown man. He's a grown man. At a very young age he's an impressive player because he's physically a man but he's also got the skill level to match it. That's why we'll all be watching him play in the NBA one day. He's a hard matchup when you talk about a guy his size with those types of skills. I mean, you put a bigger guy on him, he can go to the post and he can play it off the perimeter. You put a small guy on him he's going to take you to the post. So, he was absolutely impressive."
On if their slow start was on their own doing or Kentucky's...
"Combination of both. They're an outstanding defensive team. They're physical, they're physical in the paint, they're physical when you try to drive them, and they play outstanding (defense) so they make things hard on you. And then to top it off, we're challenged offensively. I mean, it's what we are. We struggle to score, we struggle to shoot it, we struggle around the rim to post it or make layups. It's about the third game in a row we've missed 20-plus shots within five feet of the rim. So we are what we are. But I thought we battled defensively. I'm proud of the way we battled on the backboard. To stay within at least one rebound of a good rebounding Kentucky team was good."
On if bringing a guy off the bench can send a message to that player...
"Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You've got to get your message across however it is. Yell, scream, bench him, whatever it is you've got to. He's too talented to play laid back. He's got to be physical, he's got to be aggressive, and if it takes not starting him, or benching him, whatever it is, it worked tonight."
On what it says about his team to continue to battle despite trailing...
"That's what I'm trying to establish at Auburn; how (John Calipari) has his program here. We do those same things. We play together, we play unselfish, we play hard, we scrap, we fight. We just right now are not on the same level talent wise as him. And it's going to take some time to build it up and that's recruiting. So, we're going to get after it there and there's a realization of where we're starting but as a coach you've got to establish your identity that your program is going to take on. I've learned a lot from Coach (Calipari) and have the utmost respect for him. He's one of the best, if not the best coach in the game today and it's always fun."
On what impresses him the most about Kentucky...
"Their speed. Their speed 1-to-5 is tremendous. They get the ball off the glass and they get it up the court as quick as any team I've seen. That's hard to match, that's hard to match at all five positions."
On what they did last night during the BCS National Championship between Auburn and Oregon...
"No, we didn't watch it together. I had the staff and some friends in my room and the players were watching in their rooms. I think security came to my room about 20 times last night because we were in there going crazy and cheering for them. It's always fun when your friends and your colleagues are enjoying the type of success that Coach (Gene) Chizik and his guys are."
On if Auburn's football team's success can have an impact on their basketball team's recruiting...
"Hopefully. We're going to try and build on it. I mean, not just football but all of our athletic programs; our women's basketball team, our gymnastics team, our swimming and diving team (are) winning national titles, and obviously with what football did last night we're going to try and build off of that momentum. There's no reason why it can't be done at a so-called `football school,' because there's a lot of models out there that have had that kind of dual success."
#22 Kenny Gabriel, F
On tonight's game ...
"It was pretty rough because we're a young team and we haven't experienced a crowd like this. It was the first time this season for everybody to come into a situation like this and to try to get a win. We just have to learn from it and move on."
On playing in Rupp Arena ...
"It's a great experience because in two years we will get a chance to come back here and play again. It's a great experience when you get a lot of pressure to come in here and win after our football team won the national championship last night. You just have to come in focused and try to play through it."
On the difference between a regular season game and an SEC game ...
"In a season, you probably get a couple of inexperienced teams on the schedule and it makes it easier for us to execute. But, when the conference season starts every player knows how every other player plays and it's all about execution and toughness. One thing we have to work on collectively as a team. We have a couple players that weren't fighting as hard because we are a young team right now."
On defending Terrence Jones ...
"It was a great experience. It always occurs in the SEC that you always get to play against a competitor like that. Coach Cal (Calipari) and Kentucky are known for bringing in talented freshmen. But, for me I try to keep playing basketball. It's just basketball and just another basketball player that you have to work to defend."
Kentucky Locker Room
Head Coach John Calipari
Q. Terrence (Jones) didn't start tonight. Any particular reason behind that? He played pretty well when he did get in.
COACH CALIPARI: He was sick yesterday, had a chest cold, couldn't practice. That's just something I do.
But I kind of liked him coming off the bench. Maybe we'll keep him there. Kind of liked our start, too, with him coming off the bench. So maybe we keep him there.
Have a couple practice days, we'll see. Really doesn't matter who starts. What you want to do is get guys that are ready to begin the game.
Q. What, if anything, was different about the way he played coming off the bench?
COACH CALIPARI: Rebounded better. Just went after balls. He went after balls with two hands above the rim. But he got winded in the first half. He took himself out. But he played good. He had a lot of stuff around the goal. He made a couple 3s.
But to be honest with you, I'm sitting on the bench saying, `We're not winning with him shooting 3s.' He may shoot one, two or three, but that's not why we win. We'll win because he'll rebound and score around the goals, he'll score on drives, stick-backs.
If he makes a couple 3s, that's OK. If that's what he got from this, we're in trouble. That's fool's gold.
Q. On playing sophomore guard Jon Hood early in the game...
COACH CALIPARI: No. I'm trying to see if we're going to be able to use some of these guys in the higher-level SEC games. Gave (Hood) an opportunity. You got to perform. If you don't, I tried Stacey (Poole) a little bit, tried Eloy (Vargas) a little bit. But, you know...
Q. On the flipside, what did you think of Doron (Lamb) as a starter?
COACH CALIPARI: He's fine. I still don't think he's playing hard enough, runs the floor hard enough. You know, but he's a skilled guard. He's doing what Chris Douglas (Roberts) did when I was at Memphis. Chris Douglas didn't have enough of a motor. I used to be on him every day in practice, `You got no motor, kid.' Go watch Rip Hamilton play, you'll understand what a motor is.
You got to come off screens hard. You got to be shooting balls before you catch it. All those things. It's typical of younger kids. Terrence (Jones) doesn't understand how hard you have to play and compete, which is why we got beat at Georgia. They wanted it worse. They got to balls. They finished the game. When it was tied up, they made defensive stops and we didn't. They executed better than us. We broke down on offense.
That's what we have right now.
Q. How do you think the team responded to some of the areas you were concerned with from Saturday?
COACH CALIPARI: There were things I was angry about today again. We've got to get better. The way we're playing, at spurts were really good, and at other times we're not beating one of the better teams in our league. We won't beat the best teams in our league, we just won't. We got to get better executing.
Do you know how many break-outs we ran people over? We had a box-to-box we threw away. They trapped us a little bit and we picked up the ball. We had baskets around the goal that we just didn't get in. I mean, against a good team, think about it, you got to make those, and we didn't.
We got a ways to go.
Josh (Harrellson) reverted to a year ago. That's why he sat down. I'm playing somebody else. Didn't have a rebound in the first half. Every ball he went after with one hand. That was who he was a year ago. Well, then you don't deserve to be on the court.
A lot of times guys are reading what they're saying about them. All of a sudden you change how you play. When you go down that slippery slope, that's exactly what it is, slippery. It's hard to come back up.
That's why I'm trying to make sure we keep the pressure on this team. That's what I'm doing. Just keep the pressure on this team to perform and get better.
Q. Cal, what about (Eloy) Vargas as far as what you've been working on with him in practice to get better?
COACH CALIPARI: It's not working right now. But it's early. It's the same. Jon Hood and Stacey Poole, only had four workouts. One of them, I won't tell you which one, after 15 minutes threw up. So that's where they are right now. They're far behind.
So I'm going to keep spending time with them.
Q. Is it a conditioning thing?
COACH CALIPARI: Both conditioning, toughness, defining the things they should do. What's happened is the things we talked about and we worked on, they go in the game, they're not doing those exact things because they're not habits yet. They have those other habits.
But like I said, my whole mindset is Stacey (Poole) and Jon Hood and Eloy (Vargas) are going to help us before this season's over. It's on. It's on. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm gonna just keep working and pushing, but I'm also going to be hard on them.
If you can't take me, how are you going to go on a high-level game that's on national television and make a tough play? You can't take me. How? That's why the guys that can take me when I get on 'em and they respond to that, they're not fazed in the game. The guys that are like rattled and get petrified, how are you going to play in a high-level game? That's part of the reason why I got on guys.
I got on Darius (Miller) today. I told him, I said some things in the huddle. I said, `You guys watch, he won't do this, this and this when I put him back.' Well, he did one of those things. If I was him, I'd have looked right at me. I'd have looked right at me. Yeah, you don't think I can do that? May not have said anything, but I'd have looked right at the coach. I would have loved it. Something came out.
Where is that lion, tiger? Where is it? Come out. He's too nice a kid. Well, career's over. When we're done here, you're done. You either need to come out and fight, that toughness...
He's a great kid. Like I said, I see him as being All-Conference. There are times he is. There are other times he reverts. We got to get him steadier.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the rebounding. It does appear you are still looking for that edge, little bit of toughness.
COACH CALIPARI: We out-rebounded them by a rebound. They get 15 offensive rebounds. I mean, as you watch some of them, guys just thought it was OK. Part of it is you get up. Let me say this. One, this was a really hard game for me to coach because of Tony (Barbee). Someone had to lose the game. I absolutely did not want it to be me. But I also knew that if he lost, I feel for him. I know what that feels like.
So that made it hard.
But you got to admit, he did a lot of things to keep his guys in position to stay in the game. He never stopped coaching, and they never stopped executing. As a matter of fact, they executed better than we executed. They never stopped playing. They never quit. Every tape I've seen, that's what I'm seeing.
I want you to envision this team over the next two to three years with players as good as anybody in our league because that's what you're going to see, that's what you will see. I got a lot of faith in him. Had grandma there, who I hadn't seen in a while. His aunt was there, who I hadn't seen in a while. Looking for his mom. His mom wasn't there.
Again, a hard game to coach.
Q. There was a sequence where Eloy (Vargas) had to kind of battle for a rebound. He sort of ripped it away from them. The crowd really reacted to that. What do you see in that?
COACH CALIPARI: That's our crowd trying to help coach this kid. That's our crowd knowing, Eloy (Vargas), you got to get balls. When he got one, think about what you just said. He grabbed a ball, they gave him a standing ovation. He got a standing ovation for grabbing a ball because they know if he can do that, he can leave you in the game and we need you to stay in the game. Those were our 25,000 coaches that sit up in the stands behind me.
I thought it was great. Kind of like DeAndre (Liggins). He dives on the floor, they give him a standing O. Terrence (Jones) gets a rebound above the rim. He makes a 3. Don't say anything. Just, Ooh. If he goes and rebounds and blocks, everybody goes nuts.
Just let them know what everybody is trying to see. Our fans are smart. They know.
Q. You talked before about the danger of Josh (Harrellson) reading his own clippings. I'm wondering if maybe that was part of Terrence (Jones)'s deal, he read some of his own clippings as well.
COACH CALIPARI: The other side of this may be they're feeling it. Think about it. Josh (Harrellson) all of a sudden, they're talking about Josh being this, that and the other. You got to live up to that. Terrence (Jones) is having to live up to how he played in Hawaii and Notre Dame. Every game he plays, he's judged against those performances. It's not what I'm saying, it's his own performance that we all saw with our eyes. That's hard. Brandon Knight is having to live up to what's being said about him. Even Doron (Lamb), who had a freshman record day, now all of a sudden we want to see you play hard every game. Hard to live up to that. Then the pressure of staying on top of that.
Understand, their high school seasons will be over in a week. Season's over. Guess what, we're just starting our season. We've gone three months, four months harder than they've ever gone in their life, and we're like halfway. What?
They're feeling it a little bit, and I'm fine with that. That's when you find out the guys that are going to be tough, the guys that are going to help us get by.
Q. (Question regarding shooting 3s.)
COACH CALIPARI: Here is my thing. It's like Josh (Harrellson). If you rebound and make baskets, every once in a while if you have a 3, that's fine. His percentage for the year is like 33 percent. Well, then Darius (Miller) and DeAndre (Liggins), Doron (Lamb) and Brandon (Knight) should shoot them before you, they shoot a higher percentage. This year you were 4-5. On a year, he's probably 35 percent. Those other guys are all over 40 percent. So go in, rebound, play for the 'us', the percentages of what we have to do to win.
I'm happy for him. He showed some initiative. We're going to have a day off tomorrow, first day of classes for the guys. We'll say, `Take a day off, no lift, no nothing, get your classes under way. We'll come back Thursday and Friday and get ready for LSU on Saturday.' Thank you.
# 3 Terrence Jones, F
On when he's allowed to shoot the three-pointer ...
"He's (Coach Calipari) always told me to shoot them if I was open. The ones that I shot today were pretty much wide open. The understanding I got from Coach (Calipari) was to shoot them when I'm open, but don't settle. If I can drive, drive. They want me to be the post presence. Post more than shoot (the three)."
On if he was more focused because he was sick (sinus infection) ...
"I just wanted to play more focused coming off a loss, honestly. I didn't care how I felt."
On his reaction to coming off the bench ...
"I had a slow start (at Georgia). I knew that he was thinking about it. And then me being sick and not practicing yesterday, I figured that it was possible that I would be coming off the bench."
On if not starting was a motivating factor ...
"I was just more focused on coming off the loss and trying to improve as a team and show our teammates that we play better when we step up at the start and play."
#55 Josh Harrellson, F
On if he thinks UK is a target in the SEC this season ...
"I think we have the bullseye on our back this year again. Last year we won the conference regular season and tournament play. I really think they are going to try to come for us again this year because we've got a good team again this year and can likely repeat what we did last year."
On not recording a rebound in the first half ...
"I had a couple in my hands and they kept slipping out. I don't know. I had some buttery hands."
On if he is reverting back to his performances from years past ...
"I've worked too hard these last three months to revert back to where I was two years ago. It's just one game. I'm going to put it behind me and next game come out and play as hard as I can. I'm just going to keep working hard every day like I have been doing and hopefully get back to where I was."
#20 Doron Lamb, G
On how he felt about having his record for freshman points scored in a single game being broken...
"It's okay. I knew he was going to break it. I knew he had 27 points with like eight minutes to go in the game. I knew he was going to break it. I don't really care though. I was just playing my game out there."
On his first start...
"It doesn't really matter. One of my teammates just went out there and played defense."
On his first SEC win...
Yeah, I'm happy to get my first SEC win. We got to keep it going by playing defense, and we have got to win games on the road."