Monday, March 31, 2014

Pre Final Four Press Conference Quotes (Coach Cal and Bo Ryan)


DAVE WORLOCK:  We have Coach John Calipari.  Congratulations on advancing to the Final Four. 
COACH CALIPARI:  Thank you. 
DAVE WORLOCK:  We'll take questions from the media for Coach Calipari. 

Q.  There were some writers talking about how your team was underachieving a little bit early in the season.  What impact did that have on the players to kick things into high gear and get to where you're at today?
COACH CALIPARI:  It played no part.  It's a process.  You can't skip steps.  Part of that process is failing fast, sometimes failing often.  The final step to all this is you surrender to each other, you lose yourself in the team, and you understand less is more.
But that really takes time when you're playing seven freshmen in your top eight, and each of them scored 25 points a game in high school, that you must do less, and that would mean more for you. 
So it's a process.  What anybody said or wrote had no bearing on us. 

Q.  I know in Indy you talked about Jon Hood, what he does for you guys.  How is it having him almost as a translator for some of the kids?
COACH CALIPARI:  Let me tell you what he did in the game last night.  I just love the kid.  He's come so far.  He came from a deer in the headlights, scared to death, to an angry, What is this, to a great teammate, to a loving part of our family. 
Last night in the game, they are shooting free throws.  He says to me, What are you going to do if Dakari rebounds it, because they're going to foul him?  He came up to me.  Not an assistant. 
I said, Aaron, Andrew, if Dakari rebounds, you call an immediate timeout right away.  That's what he's done. 
In one game this year he came up to me and said, Coach, the lob is open versus the zone.  Walked up and told me.  We threw the lob.  I went down and slapped him on the hand. 
See, this is not my team, it's their team.  I want them to feel empowered.  He knows that.  He just left my office.  He had the regional trophy in his room.  He said, Where do you want me to put it? 
I said, You can keep it. 
He said, I've had it all night, it's been in bed with me. 
He says, If you need me, I'm ready now.  It's his frame of mind. 
I wish I had all kids for four or five years to see this. 
In the other sense, I'm not going to convince a young man that should go chase his dreams to come back for me and win more games.  I'm not doing that.  But I wish I had him more because I can't tell you how much enjoyment I get from that. 

Q.  When you look at everything that's happened over the past month, what really jumps out at you in terms of their composure or mental approach that's helped this run?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, bottom line is I screwed this up in a couple different ways.  One, we tweaked some things.  I've had all different kinds of point guards and I've had guys that have been different types of players.  I waited probably two months longer than I should have to put the couple things in that changed how we were as a team. 
When I did the first tweak, I told everybody, You will see a change.  They saw it.  They couldn't believe it.  Before we went to the tournament, I tweaked another thing.  I said, You will see the change. 
Most in the media don't know enough about basketball to know what I've done.  When the season is over, I'll go through point by point how I did it.  You'll be able to say, Wow, I see it.  The question becomes, when you hear it, Why didn't you do it earlier?  I don't really have a good answer. 
My only hope would be to say to you maybe they weren't ready to accept it two months ago.  Maybe they had to fail more.  Maybe they had to understand that you must surrender to your team, you must lose yourself in your team, and you must understand less is more when you're talking about team play. 
But if they were ready to accept it two months ago, we wouldn't have been an eighth seed playing in the gauntlet that we just played. 

Q.  After you beat Wichita State, Charles Barkley said that Kentucky is playing its best basketball of the year.  You went on to beat Louisville and Michigan.  What is the confidence level right now for your basketball team?
COACH CALIPARI:  They're in a great frame of mind.  But we lost Willie.  You understand that Willie changed most games for us.  Now, you may say that I was most happy that we won the game.  I was happy we won the game.  I was happy for the team and the program. 
But what made me more excited was Dominique Hawkins walking in that game, defending the way he did, changing the rhythm of the game.  I also love what Marcus Lee did.  We talked about it for two days what was going to happen.  We made the game really simple for him, You're only going to do these three things.  Don't give them the ball in these positions, just give it here.  Go do and do what you do.  The world will be talking about you after the game.  He was trending worldwide. 
It's not just what your stars are doing.  You're here to coach everybody.  Our team was ecstatic for him. 
It's been a great experience mentally to see these kids mature and change, and me be able to empower them.  Aaron Harrison said something with me on the stage, coach always has always had to coach intensity, emotion, effort, and that means you have to get a little nasty.  You can't just let them do what they have to do.  I've also had to coach body language, unselfish play.  I'm not coaching any of that now.  Now I'm coaching basketball. 
People are saying, Boy, he looks more relaxed.  I am more relaxed because I know I don't have to look out there and see a guy not going hard, a guy passing up a teammate, taking five bad shots.  I'm not dealing with that anymore.  This team has been empowered now and now I can just coach basketball. 

Q.  You mentioned the gauntlet that you have been through with Michigan, Louisville, Wichita State, Kansas State, even going back to Florida.  How much do you think you need to take a step back or somehow refresh yourselves before going forward?
COACH CALIPARI:  We're just marching how we've been marching and nothing changes.  You're not going to get away from any of that stuff. 

Q.  What is your secret in recruiting?  You've been able to land elite players. 
COACH CALIPARI:  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  When I was at UMass, we had one McDonald's All‑American, Donte Bright.  When I was at Memphis, we may have had three over my years there.  We weren't getting top‑50 players at UMass.  We were winning, we were a terrific team.  I had to coach guys four years.  I was ecstatic.  At Memphis I was coaching them three to four years.  We were becoming a good team. 
Now I'm at Kentucky.  There's a combination of the parents understanding Kentucky, what it is, and the young people only know three years.  The kids we recruit, all of us, they don't know five years ago.  They were 12 and 11, 10.  They know the last three years. 
When John Wall and Bledsoe and Cousins and Patterson went in that draft, Orton, five first‑rounders, it changed the whole direction.  The paradigm changed.  It wasn't like we planned it.  I never thought Eric Bledsoe was one‑and‑done.  No one thought that.  He didn't play the McDonald's game.  What about Josh Harrellson?  What about DeAndre Liggins making it?  That's all crazy talk. 
What's happened is these kids understand they have to come together and we're honest with them.  This is the hardest place to come and play basketball.  If you think this is going to be easy, don't come here. 
The second piece of it is, if you want to be the only guy that can play, don't come here.  If you want to take all the shots, go somewhere else.  If you want to be on a team where the coach only highlights one or two guys, you better be one of those two guys.  If you want to go there, go. 
That's not how it is here.  Every game is the Super Bowl.  You're scrutinized because people are attacking me, so you're going to get scrutinized because they want to come after me.  What we're doing has never been done.  You can't do this.  So you're getting that hit.  If you can't deal with all that, don't come here. 
That's a heck of a sale, isn't it? 

Q.  You've had a team that probably wasn't supposed to make a Final Four make one.  You've had teams that were supposed to make a Final Four make one.  Is it strange to you to have one team be both of those things within one year?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, again, I wish we could have skipped steps in the process.  Probably was trying to do that, which is why I did such a poor job early with this team.  I was probably trying to skip steps. 
But in the end we got the plane down barely.  We almost ran out of runway.  This team was built up to be torn down.  I always wonder if it's the opinion or the hope of how people feel about this team. 
But they withstood it.  They were under immense fire.  They never wavered.  They kept believing.  They were their brother's keeper.  They believed in the leadership.  They believed in the staff.  They believed in the system and the process.  It never went away.  I never stopped believing in this team or the players on it, and I mean each individual player. 
So that in itself is a great story of how in the world did you guys overcome that?  Well, it made us stronger.  It made us tougher.  It made us harder. 

Q.  In what areas have you seen the greatest amount of growth from Aaron and Andrew over the last month?  Secondly, what does it say about Dominique and Marcus to remain prepared for the moment that came up yesterday? 
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, I'm going to answer the second one first. 
We coach every player like they're a starter.  There's no one coached different.  You're held accountable just like a starter.  You're pushed and challenged and coached just like a starter would be. 
We try throughout the season to make sure we're getting those kids minutes so by the end of the year if something happens, they're ready to go.  So I'm not surprised. 
There are times in practice, those are our best two players.  But it's really hard to get yourself ready to play every game when you don't play in six straight games.  That's really hard.  That means you're a good person.  That means you're mature because you know the clutter in their ears is telling them they should be playing more.  What are they doing?  They're hearing it 'cause it's natural, yet they withstand all that. 
The first question about Andrew and Aaron, there's two parts of it.  One, the biggest thing we had to help them with was body language.  As that changed, they became different players. 
The second thing was, we had to define the roles better, and I did a poor job of that until late in the year, by the end of the year.  I can't believe it.  I was angry when I realized what I had done.
I coached all different kinds of point guards.  We had to get Derrick Rose to shoot more.  We had to get Tyreke and Brandon Knight to shoot less.  We had fast point guards, point guards that weren't as fast.  John Wall, Eric Bledsoe that played the combo.  It just bothered me as a coach.  That's my job.  Their job is to play.  My job is to help define their roles, to bring them together, to get them to understand. 
I'm happy it was done; I just wish I had done it earlier. 

Q.  About all the McDonald's All‑Americans, five‑star recruits.  I'm based in Chicago.  Will your team have any chance to kind of watch the events this week? 
COACH CALIPARI:  We'll watch it.  If I can't watch it, it will be taped.  We got four players in it.  We got four great, great kids.  They're terrific basketball players.  But spend some time with them.  You're talking about four great, great kids. 
I imagine our team will watch it live because they all played in it.  They'll want to see it. 

Q.  When could you sense this team was changing, playing unselfish?  Was it in practice?
COACH CALIPARI:  We tweaked one thing and it changed the whole direction.  The team, staff and I knew it.  I was angry for an hour in practice because I hadn't done it earlier.  It changed everything overnight.  That's what happened.  It was something that, Why didn't I do this earlier?  It changed. 
In the NCAA tournament, I tweaked another thing, and it changed another way of how we were playing.  Now everyone saw it.  But, again, you have to surrender.  You have to accept.  You have to do less, which is more, for you and our team becomes better which means you become better. 
But that's hard.  Every one of these kids averaged 25, were McDonald's All‑Americans in form or fashion.  All of a sudden you're asked to do way less.  That's really hard.  As you're doing less, you start saying, They're talking better about me.  They think I'm doing better by doing less.  How does that work? 
Because your team is doing better, you're being more patient, you're being a better basketball player because you're trying to do less.  But you're doing more of the things you need to do:  defend, rebound, block shots, fly up and down the court, things that take pressure off you and make the game easier for you. 

Q.  What is the prognosis for Willie to play this week?  If he can't play, what are you going to be asking him to do?
COACH CALIPARI:  I doubt he plays.  He will be on our bench cheering like crazy.  They told me in the locker room of the Louisville game where he got hurt right away, the doctor told me, I asked him about the injury, all that.  He said, I got to stop you before.  You cannot believe how much he was cheering for his team in there.  He wasn't worried about himself.  He was going bonkers. 
I said, Really? 
We had to hold him down, he was trying to run around. 
I'm so happy for him.  It's kind of like Nerlens.  When Nerlens got hurt, they see their career flash before their eyes.  I said, You are fine.  Our team is not, but you are fine. 
I said to Willie, We're going to try to cover for you.  It's going to be really hard.  But you've proven yourself.  They know who you are.  They know the impact you have on games.  They know you're a seven‑foot guard. 
This is hurting our team, yes, but we're going to try to cover.  You are fine. 
I want them to understand we are about them.  When you're injured, it doesn't change things. 
DAVE WORLOCK:  Coach, thank you for your time today.  We'll see you in North Texas. 
COACH CALIPARI:  Thank you. 


DAVE WORLOCK:  We have Coach Ryan from Wisconsin.  Thank you for your time. 
We will jump into questions for Coach Ryan. 

Q.  I know it's very early in your preparation, but have you had a chance to look at the Harrison twins from Kentucky?  Talk about the challenges they'll provide for you guys. 
COACH RYAN:  Well, needless to say, they're pretty talented or Kentucky wouldn't be playing in the semifinals.  They're not young anymore.  They're pretty well‑established.  Very talented.  Physically they were more mature than most freshmen to begin with.  They're primed right now. 
I still have a lot more film to look at, along with my assistant coach that has them.  But we know we're going to have our hands full with the twins, that's for sure. 

Q.  Kaminsky, how does a guy who was averaging four points a game not so long ago develop into the powerhouse that he has become?
COACH RYAN:  If I said coaching, would it get me any points (laughter)? 
He's just a tough young man who really wants to be a player, who has physically and mentally matured into what he feels he's comfortable with as far as his body and mind are concerned. 
He's learned how to be stronger.  He's learned some nuances defensively of positioning and balance, all those things that you like to feel really every student‑athlete does.  They improve when they're in school. 
He's improved in every phase of his game. 

Q.  Question about Josh and Ben.  What do you think those two guys do for each other in terms of keeping each other sharp and set a tone for your team in general?
COACH RYAN:  That's a good question.  That's very hard to answer simply because it's not verbal, it's just in their everyday schoolwork, class work, basketball, travel, social.  The two of them connected right away when they came in.  It was Ben who Josh tore his ACL on, on the drive to the basket.  I know Ben really struggled with that.  Then we had to say, Ben, look, it happens.  This is the way the game can play out sometimes. 
But he'll be back.  He'll do his rehab. 
The whole year last year while Josh was out, the example he set with one full year of rehab that was excruciating because of the severity of the injury, I know that Ben helped him through that. 
When Ben maybe might be going through little struggles with his shooting, Josh is always there for him.  But the two of them do everything together.  They compete at everything together.  They have become very close. 
I had a roommate in college, friends in college, and there's just some people that you connect with a little bit better.  But those two are inseparable. 

Q.  You talked about the Harrison twins, but some of your other overall impressions of Kentucky when you look at them, especially what they've done over the last couple weeks. 
COACH RYAN:  Obviously, we haven't been to the Final Four very often.  I never do scouting reports on other teams.  There's still a lot I have to look at.  For me to say Kentucky is good, I'd be slighting them.  They are very good.  They're playing in the semifinals for a reason.  Well‑coached.  John has done a great job of getting those guys, as young as they are, to play together, do the things they're doing.  They're playing their best at the right time obviously or you don't get to this point. 

Q.  Earlier on the teleconference, Coach Donovan said he saw your game with Kentucky as a contrast in styles.  I wonder if in a general sense you would agree with that and how Kentucky's style you might have seen earlier from other teams. 
COACH RYAN:  I think Billy was having some fun with you.  Kentucky's trying to put the ball in the hole.  We're trying to put the ball in the hole.  We're trying to keep them from doing it.  They're trying to keep us from doing it.  I didn't know there were that many styles. 
I don't see it totally as that.  If other people do, they could explain to you why. 
But we are who we are right now.  We're not changing.  They're who they are right now.  Whatever people want to say about styles and all that, I leave that up to them.  I've never gotten caught up in that kind of a conversation. 

Q.  In this day and age you see late‑game timeouts, coaches scribbling on a coaching board.  You don't use one.  Talk about why you don't and how you're able to so effectively talk your team through the last few seconds, particularly in the Arizona game?
COACH RYAN:  I had a birthday during the review of the video, and several other people in the building did, too (laughter). 
I don't use one because, number one, if you have all your specials, you've worked on them, you say, Okay, this is what we do.  In practice we'll go five seconds, down two.  Two seconds down one.  Ball is there taken out of bounds.  X‑number of fouls.  We do those situations, and we have it down to about three or four full‑court options.  Same thing with side‑outs, not 10. 
When we get to those situations, we'll say, Okay, let's run three, let's run red, whatever it is that we're using as our two words at the time. 
The other thing is, have you ever watched a huddle, where the players' eyes are while the coach is making 15 lines.  You look at that thing and you swear it was your four‑year‑old granddaughter who just made a drawing for you. 
Coaches get a little excited with that marker.  I like to keep it simple, keep it down to certain options.  So that's why I don't use the board. 
But I use the board in practice when we're maybe looking at a wrinkle, we're putting something in where we see tendencies of the other team where we feel we can run one look a little bit more than the other.  While we're relaxed in practice, Okay, here is what we're going to do, here is what this is called, here is the emphasis. 
That pretty much sums it up. 
I want my players relaxed at that time.  Their eyes are on us.  There's not any other distractions.  There's no board for me to throw in case I was ever tempted.  So there it is.  That's why I don't use one. 

Q.  In what areas have you seen the greatest amount from Traevon Jackson?
COACH RYAN:  A very strong‑willed young man.  He feels he's got it, okay?  That means a player in baseball, wants that last ball hit to him so he can throw the guy out, that guy that wants the last shot.  There are some people who talk about it, and there's some people that can do it and get it done. 
His confidence level and his ability to believe that he's got everything under control, even though none of us ever do totally have that.  But he at least believes that, and therefore his confidence level has been able to get some things done for us in tight situations.  That's where he's grown the most. 

Q.  Just as a guy who spent his whole head coaching career in Wisconsin, what do you think getting to the Final Four means obviously to the alums there, and talk about what basketball means to the state of Wisconsin in general. 
COACH RYAN:  I tell you, the people here in this state are crazy about basketball.  They realize that they didn't invent it like some other states believe.  But they also know they have a passion for it because there's been a lot of success by state schools.  By schools in the state of Wisconsin.  Division I, Division III, NAIA, Division II with Parkside, which the head coach was one of my former players, I don't want to leave him out. 
They love it here, but they're not so over the edge that they don't understand.  What I like about the Wisconsin fans is they understand these are student‑athletes who actually are here for the purpose of an education first and playing ball second.  That's what I believe makes them really endearing as far as a coach that stayed in the state this long because they're so supportive of their players, of their teams. 
That's been really neat for me to say.  I'm not saying that wasn't the case in Philly growing up, in the Chester area.  But here in the state of Wisconsin, the love and passion for the game of basketball is definitely as high as anywhere else. 

Q.  Many years ago I was able to see your Platteville team win a Division III championship. 
COACH RYAN:  Really? 

Q.  Long time ago. 
COACH RYAN:  Well, not that long (laughter). 

Q.  Is your approach with the Final Four different than approaching a Division III Final Four?  When I see your Wisconsin team now, it reminds me a lot of Platteville.  I'm wondering about the style of play, if you've changed it that much since that time?
COACH RYAN:  Not really.  It's just 'style of play' sometimes means what you have to work with at that particular period.  The group of players that you have each year, it's different.  Certainly things they do better than other teams, certain areas you like to keep them away from because they're not as good in certain areas. 
I've heard that from more people, that this team does, my former players and people that have seen us play, reminds them of those teams more than any team we've had here. 
I'll let people have their opinion.  That's fine with me. 
Which championship did you see?  In Salem or Buffalo or Wittenberg? 

Q.  It was Salem. 
COACH RYAN:  The thing about valuing the basketball, playing good position defense, trying not to give up easy baskets, doing all the things that we're trying to do, things you talk about at camps, at clinics, that you hear everywhere.  I just think that our guys have shown that they've been pretty consistent with the basics.  I think that always gives you a chance.
Then when you have some players get hot, you have some players that develop beyond what maybe others might have thought of, I never sell players short.  I always think they can get better and be really good by the time they get done.  That's why we teach and coach the way we do.  Some years it works better than others. 
But I think this group, sharing the ball, the extra pass, the shooting percentage, the points per possession offensively, I think it's pretty well‑documented this has been our best team while I've been here.

Q.  Could you talk about how the post game this weekend will be big for you, how would an opponent defend your post game?
COACH RYAN:  We know we have a couple guys that can score around the basket, but we also know there's defenders out there that can do a pretty good job of stopping them. 
It will be that give‑and‑take for the 40 minutes of what can you get out of the post, what are you going to give up at the other end in the post.  Kentucky obviously has plenty of post presence. 
The question will always be, How many touches, how many offensive opportunities on second‑chance points will each team get?  It will definitely be a battle 10 feet and in, that's for sure. 
DAVE WORLOCK:  Coach Ryan, thank you for your time today.  Congratulations on advancing to the Final Four.  We'll see you in North Texas in a couple days. 
COACH RYAN:  Thank you. 

Orlando Antigua Named Head Coach At South Florida

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but here is my two cents of the departure of Orlando Antigua.

Orlando always represented the University of Kentucky in the best way possible. He developed relationships with kids that is hard for some coaches to do. It will be hard to replace someone like Antigua, but I'm sure Coach Cal will succeed in finding a suitable replacement. I just hope the new incoming assistant realizes what big shoes he will have to fill.

Coach Cal released a statement earlier today on Orlando Antigua's departure...

“When this is done right, everyone involved should benefit from the success of the program. This includes the university as a whole, the athletic department, administrators, staff and especially the assistant coaches. They and their families deal with the brunt of the work. With that being said, I am so excited that Orlando has been hired by the University of South Florida. Based on what he’s done with the Dominican Republic National Team as their head coach and his work with our family over the last five years at Kentucky and one season at Memphis, I have the utmost confidence in him to lead this program to new heights. My guess is they will do things that have never been done before at South Florida. We’re all going to miss him and his family after we finish this run.”

Julius Randle Named AP Third Team All-American

Freshman Julius Randle has been honored as a third-team All-America selection by the Associated Press, it was announced on Monday. Randle is one of three freshmen to earn All-America distinction by the AP.
Voting was conducted on Selection Sunday.

Randle is the fifth freshman in the John Calipari era to earn All-America accolades from the AP. He joins DeMarcus Cousins (2010), Anthony Davis (2012), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2012) and John Wall (2010) as other freshmen in the last five seasons to claim the honor.
The Dallas native leads the nation with 24 double-doubles on the season. He’s averaging team-bests in points (15.1) and rebounds (10.7) per game this year. In helping lead his team to the Final Four, he became just the second player in program history to have a double-double in all four NCAA Tournament games. Johnny Cox also achieved the feat in 1958.
Randle’s 24 double-doubles rank as the second most for a freshman in NCAA history. Only Kansas State’s Michael Beasley had more (28) during his freshman campaign in 2007-08.
UK’s freshman forward has earned a bevy of honors thus far. In addition to AP third-team All-America honors he was also a third-team selection to the National Basketball Writers Association and a Lute Olson All-America honoree by College Insider.

Furthermore, he was tabbed a freshman All-America selection by the National Association of Basketball Writers.

Randle hauled in Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Midwest Regional in Indianapolis this week.

He’s also hauled in SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Newcomer of the Year by the leagues’ coaches and the Associated Press, respectively. Both the coaches and the AP tabbed him as a first-team All-SEC selection. He also earned SEC All-Tournament honors after helping lead UK to the Championship game.
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in Dallas. UK will face Wisconsin at approximately 8:49 p.m. ET. The game will air on CBS and Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony and Tracy Wolfson will have the call.

Final Four Ticket Information

Current men’s basketball season ticket holders may place a request for Final Four tickets through the UK ticket office, if they have not already done so, beginning Monday, March 31 at 9:00 a.m. ET.


Ticket holders may request up to two tickets at face value ($300 per ticket). Tickets include the semi-final games on Saturday and the championship game on Monday. UK is sold out of its NCAA required hotel allotment. Ticket holders will receive an email confirmation on Monday eveningregarding the status of their ticket request.  Please note that placing a request does not guarantee tickets.  All tickets must be picked up in Dallas and will require a photo ID.


All ticket requests must be received by4:00 p.m. ET on Monday, March 31.  Seat locations will be assigned based on the K Fund priority point system.


Season ticket holders may request tickets via one of the following methods:


·         Call the UK Ticket Office at(800) 928-2287.  The ticket office is open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm ET.

·         Fax your request form to(859) 323-1269.  Request forms have been emailed to all men’s basketball ticket holders.

·         Walk up and place your request in person at the UK Ticket Office, located in the Joe Craft Center, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm ET.


UK students who signed up for the online Final Four lottery last week will receive an email from the ticket office on Monday afternoon, March 31 with ordering instructions for the NCAA's Veritix ticket system.  Student tickets must be purchased byTuesday at 12:00noon ET.  If not all tickets are purchased by the deadline, the ticket office will send another email to all eligible students, and the remaining tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis until Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET.  Student ticket information can be found online   

Sunday, March 30, 2014


THE MODERATOR:  The University of Kentucky is with us, and we'll go to Coach Calipari for an opening statement and then take questions.
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, again, I just coached a game and these guys just played.  We don't know if it was another classic kind of game, but I'll tell you this:  They weren't going to go away and neither were we.  And whoever had the ball last is going to win it. 
I can just tell you the last play we set up is:  Aaron, just step back and shoot a deep 3, they won't guard you.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.
You guys lost a game at South Carolina and afterwards you said this was going to be a great story that everybody was going to talk about before the season was over.  Could you have seen this coming and just what's the emotion like now?
AARON HARRISON:  I said it, so I guess I saw it coming.  I wouldn't say that "I told you so" or anything.  But we knew we had a few things to fix. 
And yes, that was a bad loss, but we knew what kind of team we could be.  So that's pretty much why I said it.

Q.  Aaron, can you just take us through that last shot, what you saw, how close was LeVert's hand to your shot, and just take us through it?
AARON HARRISON:  Well, Andrew gave me a hand‑off, and I kind of fumbled it.  I had to get control of the ball back and I tried to create some space.  He was up on me.  He touched my hand a little bit, actually.  And the shot just fell, so...

Q.  Aaron or any of you guys can answer this, can you just kind of explain or describe the toughness that you guys have shown; you've knocked off a No. 1 seed, a No. 2 seed, No. 4 seed.  Aaron and anybody. 
AARON HARRISON:  We showed a lot of toughness.  We're just a group of tough young guys, doesn't matter about the age or anything anymore.  We just try to go out and fight and keep our heads down and swing the whole game, and we just fight so hard.
JAMES YOUNG:  Like Aaron said, we're just real tough and we take it game by game and just try to stay in the moment and just really feed off of each other.

Q.  Marcus, your play in the first half, 15 minutes played, 10 points, eight rebounds, seven offensive, couple blocked shots.  Could you talk about your contribution and Coach would take you out, put you back in, and you just continued to play hard?
MARCUS LEE:  I mean, Coach just told me to always be ready.  So I just tried to stay ready, no matter what the time was and contribute to the team.
COACH CALIPARI:  Tell them what I told you for two days before this game.
MARCUS LEE:  So you all know Cal's always right.  So... (Laughter.)
COACH CALIPARI:  I was wrong, 1978, but it's been a while.
MARCUS LEE:  He told the team I was going to have a big day.  Knowing us, none of us believed him.
COACH CALIPARI:  And everyone in the world would be talking about you is what I said.
COACH CALIPARI:  Proud of you, kid. 

Q.  Players and Coach, you guys have played some of your best basketball yet.  Just how have you guys been able to do that being together for only three or four months, you've beaten three‑quarters of last year's Final Four teams?
JULIUS RANDLE:  We just stayed the course.  Didn't really let any of the criticism or whatever just waiver us.  And just kept listened to Coach and developed as the season went on. 
We've just got a tough group of guys.  That was the biggest thing, we just never let criticism get to us.
COACH CALIPARI:  It's a process.  Every year it's a process.  Some guys get it quicker than others.  It took these guys a little longer, and it took me a little longer to figure them out.
You know, we played six ‑‑ no, we played seven freshmen today, didn't we?  We played seven freshmen in that game.  And it took me a while to figure them out. 
So it's not all them.  They were trying.  Loving the grind, learning to work, becoming self‑disciplined.  Counting on one another, being their brother's keeper, all that stuff.  Losing themselves in the team. 
It's hard when all seven of them scored 28 a game in high school to give up something and then you're looking at the other guy, and when they all just settled in and lost themselves in the team, the game became easier.  They became better.  They had more fun.  They became more confident.  And all of a sudden this is what you have. 
But it took us four months.

Q.  Julius, when the shot went in from Aaron, you turned completely around, facing the other way and had a look almost of amazement in your face and a huge smile, it was like you just opened a Christmas present.  Do you know what was going through your head at that point?  If you see a picture of you doing that you'll remember it. 
JULIUS RANDLE:  I'm pretty sure I'll see a picture of it.  They've been getting a lot of pictures of my facial expressions. 
But when he made that shot, I mean, it was just ridiculous.  In that stage, that atmosphere, that game, to make that shot to send us to the Final Four, it was just amazing. 
And I was just proud of him and it was shocking at the same time because it was such a tough shot.  But I was just happy at that moment.

Q.  Julius, your mom had to go back, had to leave during the game I guess to get back to work tomorrow, I walked out with her, you were down 4.  She said she told you before the game, Bring it home, the Final Four being in Dallas.  What do you say to her and what were you thinking down the stretch after a rough first ‑‑
JULIUS RANDLE:  I'm coming home to my mom.  We get to play in the Final Four in my hometown.  And the biggest thing is it's not about that.  We just gotta take it one game at a time.  And I'm just happy and proud of all my teammates.  And it will be a great experience for us.

Q.  Aaron, Dakari Johnson just told us it took a lot of guts for you to take that shot.  He used a different word at first, we got a G‑rated version.  Does it take guts in that situation?  And after you made it, they chased you down to the other end of the court, you had a big smile on your face, didn't look like you were saying anything, what were you thinking?
AARON HARRISON:  What was I thinking when they were chasing me? 

Q.  At that point when they're chasing you when they catch you and, again, what does it take to take that shot?
AARON HARRISON:  I mean, I knew I had to take the shot.  I wasn't really sure how much time was left.  But I knew that it wasn't that much time, so I just tried to take the best shot I could take.  And it fell. 
And in making that shot and seeing my teammates so happy and running toward me, it's the best feeling in the world.

Q.  Marcus, how much of a challenge was it for you this year as the guy who averaged over 20 points a game in high school to not play that much?  How much of a challenge for you personally was it? 
MARCUS LEE:  I mean, spending this time with my family and my brothers is not challenging at all.  Once you see that glare in your brother's eyes when they're playing hard and winning games, you can't be mad about it at all.
COACH CALIPARI:  He started at the beginning of our year.  He was a starter.  He got sick and it kind of set him back, then Dakari and Willie went crazy, both of them playing so good.  That's what happened more than anything else.  But I know he had it in him.

Q.  Coach, taking you back to the Champions Classic in Chicago, I think you said that night it's going to be a long process, four‑month process.  What did you have to say to these guys that are freshmen, there's talk about being undefeated, to let them know this process, you can't shortcut it, how much did you have to ‑‑
COACH CALIPARI:  I had to accept that, too, now.  I started reading what everybody was writing.  I'm thinking:  This is going to be easy. 
This was very difficult for all of us.  It was difficult because my choice coaching them was to allow them the body language, the effort less than it needed to be, the focus less than it needed to be, at times selfishness.  And now I became a little mean because we had to get it changed. 
And the other thing I kept telling them:  You've gotta fail fast, which means go play and don't be afraid to make mistakes so we can see what we have to do.
But at the end of the day, like I try to do with all my teams, you could see this team is empowered right now.  It's their team.  It's not my team.  And I'm just there to maybe call a timeout to settle them down, to pick them up, to sit guys out when they're not doing what they need to do for their team.  That's my job right now. 
Their job is to go play and have a ball playing, and that's what they're doing right now.

Q.  Cal, you said a little bit about the shot, but did you draw something up, did you want anything from Aaron?
COACH CALIPARI:  We figured they were going to foul.  So we had to take it on a side‑out, which shortened the clock for us. 
But let me just say this, and I've been around guys who make these kind of plays, and he'll love I'm mentioning Sam Cassell, and he always said:  You cannot be afraid to miss. 
He's not afraid to miss (pointing to Aaron).  That's the whole thing about making those kind of plays.  You can't be afraid to miss.  If I do miss, I'm making the next one, and I will shoot the next one.  That's where he is right now. 
I'm telling you that when you look across this board at all these guys, they're doing this for each other.  Like he just told you, I made that shot for us.  And I wasn't afraid to miss it because our team needed that. 
We're still not all the way there.  We've got a couple of guys that gotta take a couple steps up. 
He's played good (pointing to James), but not where he is capable of playing.  So we're still ‑‑ we're going to go back and practice.  We're going back to see if we can get better between now and the Final Four.  These guys aren't real happy about that, but we are. 

Q.  Marcus, you said Cal said he believed in you.  You went from not playing a lot of games to you were trending on Twitter as Slim VP during that game a little bit.  Did you the whole time believe that you were going to be able to do that throughout the ‑‑ to have a moment like this in the tournament?
MARCUS LEE:  I mean, I actually didn't.  I was just trying to do my part to help my team win.  And throughout our practices and our shoot‑arounds I just got more confident because my team got more confident in me.

Q.  Cal, two questions for you.  First, you were asked yesterday about the road you guys have taken.  When you saw your draw would you imagine you would beat a 1, 2 and a 4; what does that say about your team and also what does it say about your team that Aaron could make his last three 3s after he picked up his fourth foul, I believe? 
COACH CALIPARI:  The first question, you know, I knew when I saw what was out there we were going to have a tough road.  Kansas State is really good, too, by the way. 
When you think of who we just had to play, and the games were epic games, all of them, we got down in each of them, maybe double digits.  Can anybody confirm that?  Did we get down in double digits every one of those games, the last three? 
And I hate to say this, they played better when they're down and I don't know why.  They play fearless.  They play aggressive.  They get emotion.  They bow their neck.  And they want to win.  They have a will to win. 
And each of those games we got down and all of a sudden we're down most of the game and we come back and win it at the end.  And somebody's gotta make a play, which means they can't be afraid of missing a shot.  Just play. 
What was your other question? 

Q.  Aaron's last shot and he had four fouls. 
COACH CALIPARI:  I stuck him back in.  I took him out with the fourth foul.
Part of the reason was Dominique did such a good job defensively and I wasn't afraid to leave him in, I said, Go play. 
We took James out, he was breaking down defensively.  We put Alex in. 
I put him back in at the end of the game and I'm going to tell you why:  Throughout this year he's made huge shots and big rebounds and big stops.  He's done it all year. 
Now, he's broken down in the last couple of games, and I've had him, yesterday or two days ago he hugged Alex.  Today he had to hug Aaron, who saved him. 
But like I said, the whole thing about building a team, especially young guys, it's a process.  And you cannot skip steps.  You want to skip steps, but you can't.

Q.  Aaron, could you go back elaborate when the Coach said it's his job to turn it over to you guys and you guys are now going out and playing and it's your team, what kind of empowerment does that give you?
AARON HARRISON:  Well, before I think Coach was he was coaching emotion and he was coaching energy.  Now he's just teaching us.  And I think that we have our own emotion.  We bring our own energy to the game, and Coach doesn't have to force that in us anymore. 
THE MODERATOR:  Take a few more.

Q.  First to Aaron.  At South Carolina, you just lost to South Carolina, a team that finished with a losing record.  Your head coach's head had just about popped off his shoulders during that game.  What specifically had you seen in that post‑game to say we're going to write a story that's going to be a great one?  And to the rest of you, did you think:  What is this guy saying right now?
AARON HARRISON:  I mean, I just felt that even though we lost that game we came together in that game.  We became stronger in that game because we knew that everyone else on the outside wouldn't be on our side after taking a loss to a team like that.  I knew we just had to come together.  If we came together we could do some things.

Q.  Question for Coach, any comparisons that you see with this team and the team you had two years ago, or are they totally different animals?
COACH CALIPARI:  Totally different animals.  You had four guys on that team that had gone to a Final Four and they went back with the expectation of winning a national title, and they convinced our other guys, Michael, Anthony, and Marquis Teague, what we had to do. 
We're going in a little bit blind.  But I'm going to tell you, we've got good skill.  We've got good size.  We've got good toughness.  We've got tougher through football practices. 
Now they're playing a little bit different.  We're able to make tougher shots when we're getting bumped and grabbed a little bit. 
But it's two totally different teams and this team is different than the 2011 team that went to the Final Four.  That team really played through Brandon Knight.  Josh Harrellson did his thing.  You had DeAndre Liggins defending Darius Miller, Terrance, and Deron.  The group of those guys were pretty young, too. 
But they're all different.  The crazy thing is I'm coaching different teams every year.

Q.  Did you guys watch Arizona‑ Wisconsin in your hotel last night and your impression of the Badgers?
COACH CALIPARI:  Raise your hand if you watched the game.
MARCUS LEE:  We're not allowed to watch ESPN.
COACH CALIPARI:  But they watched it, I knew they would have. 
I hate to tell you, Sean's like family.  So I watched the last six seconds in agony when the kid got fouled on the drive.  And so I was like:  Oh, man. 
But these guys ‑‑ I'm telling them not to, but it's hard.  They're in this thing. 

THE MODERATOR:  Congratulations.  Good luck in Texas.