Next Game

  • UT Arlington Mavericks - November 25, 2014 - Rupp Arena - 7:00 PM EST - SEC Network

Video: Cal, Cats disappointed with effort in win over Transy

Dakari Johnson

On how they played overall …
“Obviously I think we could have played better, but it’s as process. It was our first game playing together as a team and not going up against each other, going up against someone different. It’s our first game and I think we’re going to get better as the season goes on.”

On what they could have done better …
“Probably just play harder no matter what the opponent does, (whether) it’s a lesser opponent an us. We could have just played harder and got a couple more stops on defense and just played harder defense.”

On the difficulties of getting up for an opponent everyone says they are going to blow out …
“It is hard when you’re playing a little team, but we have to have the mindset going into every game that we have to play harder, and I think that’s going to start during practice tomorrow. I think that’s going to be included in that.”

On playing against smaller players …
“We’re not really used to playing up against smaller guys. Every day we’re going up against people our size and bigger, so it was a little adjustment. I still think we needed to play harder.”

On whether Cal got on them at halftime …
“Yeah, he got on us a lot because a lot of people, all of us really, our energy level wasn’t up. I think at the start of the second half our energy level picked up. We’ve just got to keep that energy level throughout the whole game.”

On how he played individually …
“I think I did pretty good, but it’s not an individual game. I think I contributed to the team, but I think I can be a little bit more vocal so everybody can pick it up next time.”

On their energy level …
“At the start of the second half we played with a lot more energy, but I think we need to do that throughout the whole game. I think that’s something that’s going to be introduced at practice and I think we’re going to come out with a lot more energy so the games we’ll play like that the whole time.”

On being surprised at how loud Cal was at halftime …
“No, I wasn’t surprised. He just wants us to play hard. As long as we’re playing hard then he really doesn’t care if we make some screw-ups sometimes as long as we’re giving 100 percent.”

On the toughest thing for him so far …
“Really, I don’t think anything is tough. Just playing defense throughout the whole game for me, being alert and active, because if we’re playing throughout the whole shot clock possession on defense and then at the last second you give up and they hit a shot, it’s like you failed your teammates. We’ve got o play defense throughout the whole game.”

On what it’s like playing against smaller guys …
“It’s kind of weird a little bit playing against smaller guys when you’re used to playing against every day in practice guys your size, but that can’t be an excuse. You still have to go out there and battle and play.”

Jarrod Polson

On effort …
“I think when he put that second team out there, we were just talking before we went out there that we just need to bring energy. I think that’s the biggest thing that was lacking in the first half, there just wasn’t very much excitement in the crowd and we were just trying to get the crowd involved and trying to play as hard as we can. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”

On guys needing the crowd to get it going …
“Yeah, I think always when the crowd gets involved especially in Rupp Arena, it helps us a lot. Especially as a young team, we’re all probably eight or nine of the players have never played in Rupp Arena before so they’re running on a lot of adrenaline. I think once the crowd got involved, we started to relax a little bit. It got a lot better.”

On importance of energy …
“I definitely think it being the first game, obviously the first time we’re not playing ourselves, there may have been a little nerves just with the freshmen. But we try to bring energy in the second half and I think we did a better job of that. Obviously we’re going to have to bring a lot of that next game.”

On settling on shooting 3s …
“We were hitting early and I think maybe that made us shoot more. They played a really sagging man so every time we tried to drive there was like three guys on us. So they were giving us the 3. But at the same time, we can’t always settle for that. There’s going to be night’s where we’re not hitting the 3 like tonight after the first five minutes. We just gotta work on that in practice against the sagging man and against the zone that we’re probably going to see this year.”

On big men handling the ball and driving …
“They’re a huge asset obviously, the defense has to key on them or they’re going to be unstoppable. They do make a lot of people collapse on them so that’s good for us guards, we can just sit on the wing and get the kick outs every once in awhile so that does make a big part of our offense.”

On five for five substitutions …
“That was kind of different. Cal had never done that before really. It’s kind of fun to be in two different groups. I feel like that’s kind of the groups we’ve been in in practice. That second team that was in there for awhile, we had been playing with each other all season long in practices so we were really comfortable with each other and I think that helped us.”

On Cal being upset …
“I think obviously was a little upset, we didn’t play near to the capability that we can play. That’s a little because it’s the first game, that’s the first opponent. They played a sagging man that we had never done in practice. We’re getting in each other in practice so we’ve never really seen that defense so we just didn’t put out the effort, especially in the first half that we should have.”

On halftime emphasis to go inside more …
“Cal just told us to make the easy play, honestly. He said we were settling for a lot of 3s and just trying to do things that we had never really done in practice. Once we got loosened up a little bit we started making the easy plays, getting it down low and stuff like that and that helped us a lot.”

On pushing the ball …
“That’s the job of a point guard. He’s been saying that all practice and especially tonight, especially with that sagging man, we need to push the ball and get down the court before they can set up in that man. That was honestly my goal right when I got in, just to push the ball and try to get it up as fast as I can. That’s usually just a pass to the wing, that’s pretty easy but it’s definitely necessary.”

Julius Randle

On Cal not being happy …
“Not at all.”

On how unhappy he was …
“His big pet peeve is playing hard. We just gotta play harder on defense and on offense, run the floor, talk and just compete. If we do that, we’ll be fine. But we’re young. We don’t really get it right now. We stopped a lot, but we’ll be fine in the end.”

Easy to fix?
“All that is, playing hard, is just effort. So we’ll be fine.”

On being the player who drags when effort isn’t there …
“Yeah, I feel like I’m that guy. A lot of the stuff I gotta do is by action. I kind of lead by example, but I’ve gonna have to be more vocal with our guys and just kind of get on guys when they’re slacking because we can’t afford that. The season’s next week, so we can’t afford stuff like that.”

On whether the paint was peeling in the locker room at half …
“I have no idea what that means.”

On whether Cal was loud at half …
“Yes, for sure.”

On his halftime message …
“Just playing hard. That was pretty much it. We’re not playing hard enough and we gotta step up and play harder.”

On whether that was the loudest he’s heard Cal …
“It’s kind of hard to compare. He’s loud all the time. But at the end of the day, he has our best interests. He’s not going to get onto us about something that’s unfair to us. Everything he’s talking about is fair and he’s getting onto us for the right reasons: because he wants the best for us.”

On whether this will be good for the team …
“Yeah, I think this was good for us tonight for sure. Just the fact that we weren’t playing hard and we kind of let a team hang around that shouldn’t have been around. Hats off to those guys because they made shots and they played unbelievable and they played hard. Moving forward, it’s kind of something that’s good for us. It’s the first time for a lot of us playing against somebody other than ourselves in months, so it’s going to take a little while to get used to but we’ll be alright.”

On whether the night was surprising …
“A little bit. Effort is just something that we should always give, so from that standpoint it’s unacceptable. How they played doesn’t surprise me at all.”

On Cal using the bench as a motivator …
“That’s a pretty firm message. It’s true because we have so many players that came here to win and if you’re not trying to win basketball games and compete and play hard then you don’t deserve to be on the court.”

On Marcus Lee bringing energy …
“That’s what he does: He brings energy and he plays hard. You saw it today, so he deserved to be on the floor when he was on the floor.”

On UK’s defensive intensity in the second half …
“Yeah, I mean we just pressured the ball more and we just played harder. And when we got the rebound we just pushed it and we were kind of able to break open that lead, but we should have been like that from the beginning of the game.”

On what he thinks when Cal uses the five-for-five subs …
“You just better hard while you’re out there because you obviously didn’t do your job.”