To help get you ready for today’s national semifinal game between Kentucky and Louisville. Here are some quotes from Friday’s press conferences in New Orleans.
John Calipari on separating his team from the “craziness.”
We’re staying above the fray, the drama. If you want to buy into the drama, then you buy into it. If you want to play basketball, we’re playing a terrific basketball team (today). That’s all we’re dealing with. It’s another basketball game for us and our team. I know the fans on both sides are going crazy, and that’s great. That’s part of why you do this thing. But we’re not buying into it. I don’t believe their team is buying into it.”
Darius Miller on the team’s stay in New Orleans:
“The first day we kind of went out a little bit. We didn’t really stay out too long. Then after that, it’s been business. We’re not here to have fun or party or anything like that. We’re trying to win a championship.”
Doron Lamb on his relationship with Louisville’s Russ Smith:
Russ, one of my great friends. I know him for a long time, since I was 10-years-old. Played against him in AAU. He was on my team the last year AAU, New York Gauchos. He was my teammate on the road, too. Had a great time on the road and had a great experience with him.”
Terrence Jones on John Calipari’s ability to get the team unselfishly:
“I think it just makes it easier when we all have set the same goal and want the same things, and that’s just as a team, a national championship. I think we would do anything for that. So it just makes it easier that we all want the same thing.”
Terrence Jones on Anthony Davis:
“He does a lot for us. He does a great job of knocking down shots. He has a nice post game. He does everything for us. I mean, he makes the court open for us. People don’t want to leave him to get lobs. He’s an all-around great teammate. He’s always there talking to us, so it’s great to have him on the team.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino on the intensity of the Kentucky-Louisville series:
“You know, at this stage, with the national championship at stake, it really started with the dream game, which was I think for the Elite 8, now it’s the right to play for a championship. The magnitude is so much greater than a regular season game where everybody kids around says jokes. It’s both fun intensity and a lot of things that go with it. But it’s so much more meaningful now because what’s at stake. Certainly we hope we win a championship and bring it back to the state. If we can’t bring it back, I hope they do.”
More Pitino on the UK-Louisville series:
“We have to say so many things in life, every now and then you’re going to say something that’s not correct. At one time Eddie Sutton said, We like Louisville, we treat them like a little brother. John has only been in this state three years, so he doesn’t know the magnitude of Louisville basketball, for that matter the history. You say so many things, you’re going to make a mistake. I’ve made so many myself. He made a mistake probably in what he said. He was more speaking about the magnitude of Kentucky basketball. I don’t think he meant disrespect toward Louisville. It comes out that way, like Eddie Sutton said, We treat them like a little brother.
“It doesn’t light a fire under us any more. We want to beat them badly. They want to beat us badly. Not because it’s Louisville, not because it’s Kentucky, but because it’s the right to play for the national championship. I was there. I always call it my time was like Camelot. A lot of coaches at Kentucky have their ups and downs, mostly towards the end of their tenure, they’ve had downs even from (Adolph) Rupp to (Joe B.) Hall to you name it. I never had any downs, I was very fortunate.”