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Gillispie Comments On Florida

On his overall impressions of Florida …
“They are a really good team and it is hard to imagine, but in my opinion they have been underappreciated nationally. They haven’t lost too many times and they have some really great players. I think they have one of the best point guards in the country by far. It is amazing to me that a team that just came off of back-to-back national championships with a coach that is destined for the hall of fame to be totally underappreciated in my opinion. They are a very good team and play good defense. They don’t give up a whole lot of points in conference. They are really great in transition and then you have to guard all five spots on the floor which we will have a hard time doing because they shoot the ball so well. They also have great ability to beat you on the dribble as well. They are a very difficult match-up for anyone. I think that it would be foolish to think that they are not a well balanced team. They look differently defensively, but what they do is very effective. You don’t win back-to-back national championships, which is something that (rarely) happens, without having a great plan in every aspect of the game. They have really good players, and a great coach and a really good plan. They do a great job of taking away what you want to try to do. I don’t think that any team could win as many games and lose as few games as they have without being a good defensive team. ”

On Nick Calathes …
“He has great size, athletic ability and great vision. He has an unbelievable skill to be able to deliver passes on time and on target and that is not easily done. There are very few players that can do that. He can shoot it well and probably changes pace better than anyone I have seen in a long time. He really understands how to go fast and then slow and get you again. He is really a smart player and when it all comes down to it, I would think that even though he has a ton of great attributes that is probably his greatest, his ability to understand how to play the game.”

On what they have been working on in practice …
“We have worked on everything just like we would no matter if we had won all of our games. I have been saying that all year long, even when we were 5-0 in the SEC, I said that we had a lot of things to work on and I really meant it. We have to get better offensively, defensively, transition wise and rebounding the ball as well. Hopefully we have done those things and we will see when we play again. Practice has been good and this team has practiced well all year long. We haven’t always played nearly as well as we have practiced sometimes. The opponent has a lot to do with that too. This has been a good practicing team and their attitudes have been great the entire year. I don’t have anything to complain about in that respect.”

On the player’s meeting after the Mississippi State game and if the players spoke candidly with each other in the meeting …
“Someone asked me about that and asked if it was a very vocal locker room. I have been in vocal locker rooms before and that wasn’t the case in my opinion. I don’t know where that came from. Maybe that happened at a different time after I left the locker room, I don’t really know.”

On if this team cares and if they need to play with more heart …
“You would have to talk to them about that, but I don’t think that if you lose you didn’t care. I think that what we should do is give our opponents more credit than we do, not as players, but outside the player and coaching ranks. Our opponents have played very well and we haven’t played nearly as well as we need too to win. I think that you have to give our opponents some credit sometime too.”

On the opponents shooting the ball very well in Kentucky’s last three games …
“I think that those teams have done an excellent job of making shots and executing the offense and making guarded shots that we didn’t defend nearly as well as we needed to. We are giving up 37.5 percent which tops the SEC but we have to do a lot better defending the 3-point line. We probably have to contest a little harder, but I think that we are in good position on most of them, not all of them, but most. I think that we have to compete harder when it comes to contesting shots and those sorts of things. You are talking about just a minor adjustment, not major. We have been in the right position just not competing as hard in those positions. That is usually a difference between any team winning and losing is when it gets to the point to where you have to make the play, you have to make it.”

On how Patrick’s finger is doing …
“He has practiced when we practiced and they said that it is getting better. It will probably be a lingering problem for him.”

On if he treated this week off differently than a normal week …
“We practiced about the same as we always do. This year we have had more weeks off probably than any other year that I have been associated with. We did the same things as far as days and amount of practice time.”

On Ramon Harris …
“I think that he is back to 100 percent, but it seems that he has had some tough luck. He has been hurt five or six times but that doesn’t happen unless you are playing hard. I think that he is back to 100 percent and it looks like that on the court.”

On if the Florida game is a must win game …
“Every game is important. The first game in conference was important and the last game will be very important as well. We want to try to win them all and I have never said that there is a must win game. Must win games are only in tournament play, when if you don’t win you go home, those are must win. Every game is a must-play-well game and we must play better than we have been playing; we have to make our opponent not play as well as they have been playing against us. It is a 16-game schedule just like it was, is and it will be and that is what you will always hear me say. We will add them up at the end and see where we are. A lot of things can happen in the next few weeks.”

On what he can do to get Jodie going again …
“We have to do a better job of getting the ball inside and some other guys have to make some shots and some plays. We have to do a better job of helping him because his numbers might not look as good as they did previously, but he has played very well and very hard. He has tried to shoulder the load too much for us and we have to help him much more than we have been. The thing about it is that you have to understand how to play with a guy that is getting that much attention. They are not going to come off Jodie; they are going to him straight in transition, which is smart. We have to play off of that. On penetration if they are not going to help from Jodie’s side than we should penetrate to that side and try to get it to the basket because they don’t have a help defender. Then you get a chance to play four-on-four instead of five-on-five and you have to learn how to do those kinds of things and we are in the midst of doing that and hopefully we will get better.”

On if Jodie needs to start thinking more selfishly …
“No, Jodie is doing fine. I don’t think that anyone ever prospers when you start to think selfish thoughts, whether it is a sportswriter, basketball player or coach. I don’t think that is the way you are supposed to be thinking and he definitely doesn’t, hasn’t and I don’t think that he will.”

On if he needs to set up more screens for Jodie …
“We haven’t screened as well as we needed to. That is one of the things that we have been working on is how to accept screens. Jodie gets a little anxious sometimes, so we don’t have the proper angle to screen to give us the best chance to get great results. We have to screen better and he has to accept screens better.”

On if home court advantage is overrated …
“When we play well we have the best home court advantage in the world, there is no question about that, but we have to give them a reason to help us. We haven’t done that nearly enough and the time that they get the most excited is when you are making plays in transition and making threes and getting dunks. Those are usually out of hustle plays and getting defensive stops. We haven’t done that nearly enough here lately.”


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