COACH JOHN CALIPARI
COACH CALIPARI: I just went on TV and I said the only reason this will work is because the players are allowing it to work. And that means you've got kids with high character. You have kids who care about one another, that trust each other. Basically trust what we're doing here that we got their back. If they looked at me and didn't trust like I'm pushing guys over and making guys sit that should be playing or trying to play this guy, they know this is about covering for each other, trusting each other. Just had a guy come in and talk to our team about being, to really trust and care. You can't be afraid to be vulnerable. And we also talked about, in your 20 minutes, you could be the most efficient player in the country. You can do that, and we're doing it. We're passing the ball to each other. This after 10 or 12 games, I'll evaluate, see if we need to tweak anything. And the second thing is at the end of the day is this the best way we can play to go compete for the whole thing and that's what my job is to evaluate that and figure it out. What I've told them is this is not communism. Someone deserves to play more, they will. One group deserves to play more, they will. And I just talk to them about it. And whatever I end up doing will be decided on the court. And it won't matter if you're a freshman, junior or sophomore. We have no seniors. May have this team back next year, we could be really good.
Q. The way that Trey (Lyles) played tonight is that pretty typical of what you see in practice?
COACH CALIPARI: Still he's not offensive rebounding the way he needs to, he's still not running the court the way he needs to. He's got to step it up. But he's where the twins were last year, where he didn't have the summer. And he just got back into it. And he's a great kid, and he can really score and he's really skilled, really skilled. Great hands, shoot the ball. Instead of coming to jump stops he'll do the high school move and run someone over, leaving off one foot, has a good shot. Will dribble into a bad shot. Stuff like that, which are all freshman or high school things. But he's a terrific player.
Q. Have you seen Devin (Booker) and Aaron (Harrison) shoot like this consistently?
COACH CALIPARI: Makes every shot. I haven't played in a while. (Laughter). I'm trying to see if you people are even listening to what I'm saying. There are times, they're missing a lot of shots. I mean, that happens. And this is one where they were making them. And they know they have the green light to shoot. There were a couple of places Devin should have passed the ball and I got upset, okay, you had two open shots and you had a guy open, give him that next one. There were a couple one‑mores, which are that extra pass that we didn't make today that I was disappointed in the guys, because we've been good with it. But as I say that, we had 32 assists. Now, many of them were just throwing the ball to the rim. But when you're Willie Cauley(-Stein), and you're seven foot tall, I don't care who is out there. If Kareem (Abdul Jabbar) is out there, we're probably still trying to throw that pass.
Q. Coach (Chris) Briggs a moment ago said he can't see how you guys can get beat this year. What do you think of that?
COACH CALIPARI: Coach, did you do that to me? So he also said we're going to have 40 wins and win by 25, right? No, this will be a process. We're going to hit some bumps in the road. If I continue to do this and we play a team that's playing six guys, I've been there. I remember a team at UMass, playing 10 guys, number one in the country and doing all that, and I played six and we beat them by 30. Who was that? Arkansas. Then my last year, Kentucky played 10‑11, they had nine NBA players on that roster and we beat them in Detroit with six guys, and they pressed and ran and trapped and we beat them. So there's going to be games that playing this many is going to be hard. You know why? Because I'm expecting 10 guys to play well every night out and that's not going to happen. No, I don't, I'm not. I'm expecting them to play hard and compete at a high level every night out. I think I can expect that. But it's still they're not machines.
Q. Along the same lines, in a normal year a player would say if I don't play well I could lose some minutes. In this platoon system, you have some good peer pressure, if I don't play well, my platoon may lose minutes?
COACH CALIPARI: Right. And I want them to talk to each other. Andrew (Harrison) has taken on a great leadership role. He's unbelievable right now. He's talking to me. He feels good, comfortable giving me ideas and stuff and that's how this ‑‑ this eventually has got to be his team and their team and not mine.
Q. You say Andrew gives you ideas and stuff, what's an idea he might give you?
COACH CALIPARI: Like, Coach, make sure they're getting the ball to Trey some. Make them find Trey. He did that today. The other thing he was talking about is if these bigs run the court, we gotta give it to them. Dakari (Johnson) flew one time and Tyler (Ulis) slowed it down. No, if that big guy runs, you run right there and try to throw him the ball to reward our bigs for running. Think about it, every time we're on there, it's either Dakari flying, Willie flying, Karl(-Anthony Towns) flying, Marcus Lee flying. Your bigs better fly.
And you better be playing more than two bigs. You better be playing four or five bigs.
Q. Do you know if at this stage how you feel about your defense and what you hope over the next few weeks to see there?
COACH CALIPARI: We've got to get better. We still have some guys breaking down on pick and roll. Karl has a long way to go, Trey has a long way to go. Devin is really playing hard. I'm really pleased with how hard he's playing but he's breaking down, taking chances defensively that he doesn't need to take. We haven't done a whole lot of teaching of the trapping defense. So I'm just kind of throwing him out there. So the mistakes we made today were all out of the trapping defense. Couple we didn't get up and guard people. But when we trapped ‑‑ again we haven't worked on it that's why I didn't get too upset.
Q. You talked about Dakari flying, how much are you continuing to see the way he changed his body, changed the way he plays and also maybe only having to go three- or four‑minute stretches at a time?
COACH CALIPARI: He was exhausted in the last time out. He grabbed his shorts was breathing so hard. I told the guys, look at him, that's what you all should feel like walking off this court. A friend of mine watched our game last week and said: As soon as your guys realize they can play even harder than they're playing it becomes scary. It becomes scary. But I'm just telling you, folks, it's a process. They're going to be a game or two we're going to lose and you're going to look at me and say what, and I'm going to say it's about these kids, I'll figure it out, I'm not doing it yet.And this is going to play out. It may be a tweak. It may be more than that. We'll figure it out. But when you're playing 10 and another guy has a solid six, I've been there now, I've been there. The only difference is we really have more than a solid 10. I mean we've got ‑‑ there's not ‑‑ is there a weak link out there? Is there one guy well he shouldn't be ‑‑ no, every one of those guys deserves his minutes.
Q. (Question regarding Dakari Johnson’s conditioning).
COACH CALIPARI: His body looks good, he's physical, he had rebounds, what did he have in rebounds, 10 rebounds in how many minutes? 17 minutes. He could have had a couple more, I guess. But Karl had eight rebounds in 18 minutes. That's big.
Q. How comfortable are you with the platoons as they are constituted right now?
COACH CALIPARI: You know, I'm comfortable. The only thing we've gotta do is if I'm making subs the last seven or eight minutes of the game what would that be and we've got to start playing that unit this week. I just haven't done it. I've asked each staff member to give me a finishing five that we would want to finish off a game with. Would it be that veteran team with Karl or would there be a substitution or two in there, and what would that be. And I asked them to give me their opinions. I have my own, but I want to hear what they're saying. Now that I said that, I'll probably have seven million suggestions on KSR. I don't listen to any of them, you do know that, right?
Q. (Question regarding playing time with the platoon system.)
COACH CALIPARI: Yep, because I told them, you go 1 for 10, I can't play you that much; you do understand that? I love you, you're the greatest kid, but I'm not playing you, you do know that, right? He comes over to the gym and he's in there at night. We've got a couple other guys they went two weeks without being in there and they started shooting bank misses, like why aren't you here you walk 12 steps you're in this practice facility. We don't have to be here. Spend 40 minutes before you go to bed. So these guys are committed. That's what's great about it. One, they're committed to each other, but they're committed to getting better. And the ones that are a little bit on that edge, like where you've got no choice here. Success isn't an option. If we have to drag you, then that's what we'll do. Don't want to. Rather them do it themselves, that makes them even better.
Thanks to Georgetown, you guys, appreciate it. They'll win their 30 games this year.