The University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team held their annual Blue White scrimmage in Rupp Arena in front of 15,530 fans.

Postgame comments from John Calipari

OCT. 20, 2017

Kevin Knox dunk. Photo by Brandon Turner

Postgame Notes

Team Notes
• This is the 10th year the Blue-White Game has been played in Rupp Arena.
• Tonight’s attendance of 15,530 was the second highest in program history for the Blue-White Game. Last year’s crowd of 16,089 is the highest.
• The teams combined to shoot 49.2 percent from the floor (59 of 120). The Blue Team shot a combined 55.2 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from 3-point range. The White Team was 41.5 percent from the floor but 44.4 percent from long range.
• The teams combined for 63 total rebounds with 21 coming by way of offensive snags.
• Kentucky returns to the court Oct. 27 with the first of three exhibition games. UK’s first tune-up will be against Thomas More at 7 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network.
• The regular season begins Nov. 10 with a home date vs. Utah Valley at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.

First-Half Facts
• Starting for the Blue Team: Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington and Nick Richards.
• Starters for the White Team: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Brad Calipari, Wenyen Gabriel, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Tai Wynyard.
• Gabriel opened the scoring with an assertive drive to the basket on the game’s opening possession.
• At the first media timeout the Blue Team led 10-7 behind four early points from Knox.
• All five Blue Team players scored by the 15:22 mark with Green’s 3-pointer signifying the stat.
• The highlight play of the opening half came with 13:34 on the clock. Diallo on a fast break threw a pass off of the backboard and Washington slammed it home.
• At halftime, the Blue Team led the White Team 56-48.
• Knox led six players in double-figure scoring in the opening half with 18 points. Washington was next with 16.
• Knox and Richards led all players with six rebounds each.
• Green had 13 points, six assists and four rebounds in the opening half.

Second-Half Story
• The second half started with the White Team consisting of Diallo, Calipari, Green, Wynyard and Killeya-Jones. The Blue Team started Knox, Gabriel, Richards, Washington and Gilgeous-Alexander.
• Players were plagued with cramps in the second half and the coaches opted for a running clock.
• The Blue Team led by as many as 23 with under two minutes remaining.

Player Notes
• Knox led all scorers with 22 points. He also contributed seven rebounds, two steals and an assist.
• Washington added 21 points, five rebounds and three assists. Washington was 9-of-12 from the field for a .750 shooting percentage.
• Richards was the lone Wildcat to record a double-double. He had 10 points and 13 total rebounds. He also contributed eight blocks.
• Green had 18 points, seven assists and four rebounds in 24 minutes of action before cramps kept him out of the remaining 16 minutes.
• Gabriel and Jonny David were both 2 for 2 from 3-point range. Gabriel had 19 total points in the game.
• Every player who played in the game scored.


University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference

Friday, October 20, 2017

John Calipari

Men’s Media Conference

Q. Cal, it looked like half your team was cramping up out there.

COACH CALIPARI: What’s that tell you?

Q. Not in shape.

COACH CALIPARI: What’s that tell you, right? Here is what we have: We have a team full of guys that can play 20 minutes. That’s what we have. So hopefully I have 10 guys that can play, because there’s no one that can play more than 20 minutes right now.

Q. Was it just cramps with Quade (Green)? I know he left.
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he’s in the cold tub right now because he’s cramping in his leg and then his arm and his little finger.

Q. Full body cramp?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, we had him and we had PJ (Washington) cramping. You had Hami (Diallo) cramping. You had Nick (Richards), everybody. When they saw one guy grab his leg, they all grabbed their legs. But we’re practicing twice tomorrow.

Q. You mentioned earlier, I think it was Media Day, that Kevin Knox had a breakthrough on something. Is it your — the history of you with kids, freshmen, once they breakthrough with something, is that permanent or is there a lot of back and forth?
COACH CALIPARI: No, we need him to be more assertive, because he kind of does what Malik (Monk) would do. If I didn’t call something for him, sometimes he would just be out there and go five minutes and not shoot it. He needs to be alert to make plays, and I kind of got on him at halftime. He was 8 for 10 with six rebounds, and he offensive rebounded. He did what I wanted him to do going after the glass.

We’re just young. I mean, Hami reverted and all of a sudden he’s throwing crosscourt hook passes from the corner to the top. I mean, there were a lot of stuff, but most of it is as soon as they got tired they reverted. So we’ve got to get in better shape. You know, Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander) did some good things. All I’m telling Quade, do not hold the ball. Do not hold the ball. Get rid of it, and he can shoot. So now we’ll get you shots. You be the guy away from the ball. If it comes to you and you get in the lane, that’s great.

So we’ve got to narrow into how we’re going to play. I thought Wenyen (Gabriel) worked hard the whole time, and tried and made shots. He’s way better than he was a year ago. I think you see that. But we’re going to have to see.

Q. Nick sort of looks like a rim protector. Is that bad for you?
COACH CALIPARI: Not bad, offensively I’m trying to tell him, just jump hook, man. Forget about watch this. Catch it, fake, and jump hook. If it goes in, fine. If it doesn’t, we’ll rebound it. So, again, you try to make it simple and keep it simple for the kids.

Q. You mentioned Wenyen driving to the basket. We didn’t see that a lot last year. Is that the guy you recruited as you said earlier this week?
COACH CALIPARI: The guy I recruited was an energy guy with second and third jumps and fourth jumps and come up with balls that no one came up with and make some shots. There were a come drives in the first half that he didn’t need to drive. There was the pass ahead. There’s nothing there. He’s not that guy that can cross and do. But if it’s him and a guy, he can get by that guy and get to the rim. So he’s just got to recognize when do I go and when do I move that ball.

I’ll watch the tape, but it’s, you know, we’re — we’ve got a ways to go, let me just say that. You know, since Eric (Lindsey) doesn’t coach the team — he said, ‘Oh, it’s early.’ Yeah, so you’re over there eating popcorn. I’m dying here. I’ve got a noose around my neck, and he’s telling me, ‘Oh, it’s early. We’ll be fine.’

Q. How about how No. 12 played tonight.

Q. Your son.
COACH CALIPARI: Oh. He did OK. He had to stay on the court the whole time. He he’s smart enough to not sub yourself. When you don’t get a whole lot of time to play, when you get on that court, you never sub yourself. But he did alright.

He’s going to have to make open shots and he’s figuring out how to try to play with these guys and put himself in position. I don’t think he — no turnovers. That’s huge for him. If you’re not turning it over and you’re staying in front of people to make a couple shots, you can stay in the game some. But if you’re coming down, getting scored on every time and turning it over T you can’t be in there. Then I’ve got to deal with his mom when I go home. So don’t turn it over and stay in front of people, make a shot or two.

Q. I’m sure it’s not the type of defense you expect later in the season, but a lot of hands on the ball, a lot of deflections tonight.
COACH CALIPARI: I have to look at the tape and I’ll evaluate it that way. I just know you have to take people out. You’ve got to go play the ball. Then everybody’s got to see the ball so the guy can’t get beat on the dribble. You’ve got to make everything hard. Then you’ve got to rebound it and go.

There were rotations that we didn’t make. I can still see a couple that we didn’t make. But, again, this was a team that was a high school team seven months ago. Now we’re trying to get them to create the habits you need to win, and they don’t have them yet. They’re trying. The guys that were there, Jimmy, and they were in practice, they said you’ve got no body language.

They want to be coached. They want to listen. They just are young; and it’s hard to be patient. I told them, look, guys. If I’ve got to start getting meaner, I will. But we’ve got to start making this gradual climb. I can’t go in and watch a game and have guys go through the motions of playing. We’ve got to start working on our press. It’s hard to run a press when you don’t have out-of-bounds plays, a side play. We’ve got to work on some zone. It’s hard to do all that when you’re trying to figure out how to make one more pass and get open and drive in the offense. I mean, how do you play pick-and-roll? We haven’t done a good job of teaching it right now. Had to do some stuff on the court.

I like the team. I like this team. But, whew, hmm.

Q. Is there an alpha dog personality on this team? Is it too early, or do you even need that?
COACH CALIPARI: There is, but it’s on their terms. Like, if I feel like being an alpha dog, I’ll be an alpha dog, but right now I don’t feel like it.

Excuse me. If you want to be that guy, you’re that guy every time we practice, every time we play and everybody you’re playing against. And we’ve got a couple guys that to be that guy is really hard, especially if you’re that guy all the time. It’s really hard. I’d rather be when I kind of feel like it. And again, that’s all the young stuff that we’ve got to deal with. That’s part of it.

Guys, this was like a scrimmage. You’ve got this many questions on a scrimmage? Oh, my gosh.

Q. You preached passing the ball. At times did they overpass instead of just taking an open shot?
COACH CALIPARI: Sometimes, but most of the time they were throwing it to another guy who was wide open. I thought Shai had two or three shots he should have taken. There were a couple that we needed to pass it one more and the guys tried to drive it. But I know this, when we moved the ball and we did a couple lane touches, something good happens.

Now I’ll say this again: You may say, ‘What if a team just packs it in?’ Basically they’ve surrendered. Their coach said we can’t play this team so just go in the lane and stand there. Now we’re going to have to make some shots. But you saw Quade make some shots, you saw Kevin Knox and Wenyen make some shots. We’re not Steph Curry, but I’ve had way worse shooting teams than this and we’ve done OK.

Teams that were, whew, and even to the point of free-throw shooting teams that were worse than this. But we’re long, we’re active. You’ve got to play with a competitive spirit to take advantage of that.

Q. Do you have an injury update on Jarred Vanderbilt?
COACH CALIPARI: I have no update yet. Doc will probably — this is probably the week they’re going to look at him and see how he does.

Q. What do you like about what you’ve seen from PJ? He seemed to show off that little mid-range jumpshot and do some things, finishing around the rim.
COACH CALIPARI: All I keep saying is more motor, more motor. You know, some of it we’ve got to bring it out of him, and then when he does it, just cheer him on and just challenge him to do that. When he’s not playing with motor, sub. So you’re on the court and you’re never trying to rest. You’re playing one way. When he gets to that, there’s guys better than him, I got to see it. And everybody they said would be player of the year in our league, all those guys, are his position. OK. They said he’d be player of the year. He’d be player of the year and he’d be player of the year – you’re going to play all three of them. Let’s see who is better. You’ve got a chance to prove it.

Q. Just a follow-up, how do you coach more motor?
COACH CALIPARI: You do drills to make them do it. You challenge guys to do it. When they’re not doing it, you put them on the second team. You just, if you demand a lot as a coach, you’ll get a lot. If you accept mediocrity, you’ll get it every single time. You just demand it. We don’t do that here. If you can’t play, that’s OK. You’re not going to play much. You’ll come off the bench.

I remember telling guys, ‘You know you can’t start playing this way, right? Come on. You know it, right? I’ll play you. And if you’re really playing, I’ll play you 25, 30 minutes. If you’re not, I’ll play you five minutes.

‘But you know you can’t be a starter here, right? Come on. You know you can’t be in on your terms and be a starter.’ And I’ve done that, not this year, but with other teams. You won’t believe it, that guy started playing with a motor. If you demand a lot, you get a lot. And if you accept mediocrity you’re getting it every single time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




OCT. 20, 2017


Kentucky Players

#5, Kevin Knox, Fr., Forward

On playing in Rupp Arena …

“It was good – second time playing out here for all the fans. It was crazy for the Blue-White scrimmage. I had a lot of fun. We’ve got a lot of things (to improve on), but it was great to get out here and play in front of the fans.”

On why he thinks so many guys cramped …

“(It was) probably just pregame not drinking a lot of water, Gatorade, getting hydrated before the game. We had a lot of guys cramp up, and Cal wasn’t really happy about that. Definitely get that fixed before next Friday.”

On having a double practice tomorrow …

“Oh yeah. He’s going to be on us to make sure we drink water, stretch – all that. You’re not going to slow down because we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

On making perimeter shots …

“I thought I shot the ball fairly well. I could’ve shot better. The whole team could’ve shot better. We had some guys that knocked down some good shots. Like I said, we’ve still got Shai (Gilgeous- Alexander). He didn’t really shoot that many shots. He can really shoot the ball. We’ve got to get him to shoot the ball. Wenyen (Gabriel) shot the ball really well. Hami (Diallo) can shoot still, but he’s still working on his jump shot. We all can shoot jump shots and make them. We’ve just got to make sure we get consistent with it, and make sure opponents know that we can knock it down.”

#25, PJ Washington, Fr., Forward

On the  best part of his play … 

“The best part of my play tonight was my aggressiveness on offense and just getting everybody involved. I feel like I didn’t rebound well, but I can do better. I feel like I scored the ball really well tonight.”

On the players cramping and Coach Calipari’s reaction … 

“I don’t think he was pleased at all. I don’t think any coach would be pleased with their players cramping. I feel like we have to get in a lot better shape, and we’ll be better down the line.”

On defense … 

“We need to play with a motor. We need to come out and be aggressive. Every coach puts you to a higher limits. I just have to play hard.”

On the team’s different line-ups … 

“I feel like our players have a lot of length and versatility. Everybody can do pretty much everything.  On the defensive end, we have a lot of length. We can get out and run in transition.”

On how the scrimmage went … 

“It was great for us to come out and see our fans supporting us – just getting to play with each other once again before the season starts. Everyone impressed me tonight. Everyone played hard tonight. Even though people were cramping, everyone still played hard.

#4, Nick Richards, Fr., Forward

On his thoughts on playing in Rupp Arena tonight …

“It was a good atmosphere. I got to see a lot of people come out and support us today. It’s basically a practice for us. The team had good energy today. We’re not there yet, but we’re going to get back in the lab tomorrow and hopefully try to work on the little things that didn’t happen tonight.”

On what he gets out of scrimmages, especially a public one like this …

“Just to play in Rupp – having that feel of Rupp. We only practiced here at Rupp about once this whole entire year. We have to get the feel of how to shoot in Rupp and just to play in a crowd over 25,000 people. You don’t get to do that on an everyday basis. It was a good experience. I had fun. We’re not at 100 percent yet. We’re just working on what we need to work on right now, but the scrimmage was pretty fun and I enjoyed myself.”

On how he felt physically …

“Some of my teammates had cramps. We didn’t worry about it, we just kept playing through it.”

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