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September 2014
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More From The Dominican Win At Rupp

Dominican Republic National Team Head Coach John Calipari
On the atmosphere
“What I liked was the introduction. You have to understand, this was like an NBA playoff environment. (Dominican Republic assistant coach) Del Harris, who’s never seen this, is looking at me saying ‘what is this? This is like an NBA playoff. Look at these people.’ When they introduced (Pros co-head coach Denny) Crum and it was a positive thing and when they introduced (Pros co-head coach Joe B. Hall) and the whole place went bonkers, now you just want to have a good game because that stuff there just shows what our fans are about. I just hope everyone enjoyed themselves.”
On what it was like coaching against former players
“I wanted them to play well, just because they’re my family. Tayshaun (Prince) and Jodie (Meeks) and Nazr (Mohammed) and even Keith (Bogans) have been so good to me, I want those guys to play well, but we wanted to win too.”
On the uniqueness of the night
“Del Harris from the NBA looks around and says ‘what is happening? What is this?’ We all think this is normal. This is not normal. An exhibition game August 15 and it’s packed and they’re going at each other. There are going to be people mad tomorrow that our team lost. They’ll be at the water cooler (saying) ‘I can’t believe we lost that game.’”
Pros Co-Head Coach Joe. B Hall
On the experience
“It was a really good experience. I wish we had played a little better but I think they played hard and without much coaching they did a good job. I was really impressed with several of the players’ attitude. I thought they really tried there at the last, but the baskets just didn’t fall. I think it was a futile effort without the experience of practicing and having an offense we could go to.”
On how he coached his team
“I didn’t care what they did. They are pros, they wanted to win, they did what they thought they had to do to win and I just enjoyed having a good seat there on the bench. (There’s) not a lot you can do. (I tried) to balance the time the played, tried to keep them fresh and give some consideration for the older ones.”
On Rajon Rondo as a coach on the floor
“We had a lot of coaches. The players wanted to win and they tried to get themselves together. They know each other, they knew what they could do and they were doing a lot of coaching. Not only Rondo, but () Wall and (DeMarcus) Cousins. They came up with some things that they wanted me to do. They wanted Nazr in there to play with two big men one team. They wanted to go to zone. They came up with ideas all night.”
Jodie Meeks
On coming back to Kentucky…
“It’s just a fun place to be. The support the fans show. I come back sometimes to work on some classes in the summertime. Just the support that the fans show and it’s fun to be here.”
John Wall
On the Rupp Arena atmosphere…
“It was great, it just felt like a regular game like we were back here playing a couple years ago. Like Jodie (Meeks) said, we just tried to come out here and have fun, do it for the fans and do it for Coach Cal and help the Dominican team get ready for Argentina. Like he said, we all have to get in shape but we had a good time.”
On playing with some of the veterans…
“It was good. We didn’t really have a ton of time to be around them, but we just tried to talk to them and learn their leadership. (Rajon) Rondo and them, they were talking the entire game. We were all taking it seriously, they were just telling us different stuff and keys that we can take through the offseason and on to the season.”
Eric Bledsoe
On playing with some of the veterans…
“Like John (Wall) said, it really wasn’t like a long – we only had a couple days practice. But I picked up a lot from them. (Rajon) Rondo talking in the huddle, he pretty much had it in order … and tried to lead the team. That’s good for a point guard so I tried to pick up on it.”
Tayshaun Prince
On current Kentucky head coach John Calipari reaching out to the former players…
“Calipari is special. He’s special in every sense of the word. These guys (Keith Bogans and Nazr Mohammed) up here with me, and myself, we’ve never had the opportunity to play for Coach Cal. We’ve heard a lot about him and how much fun it is to play in his style of offense, and obviously we’ve seen that the last few years here at UK. But he’s been in touch with us a lot which has been huge and I think that’s something every college in itself should do, to get the pros and all the alumns back. Whether it’s just a game or whatever it is, something for a weekend or whatever it may be. I think Calipari will continue to do things like this, whether it’s a game or something else, and make it special for us. One thing he mentioned as well was, if there’s a lockout, he’d open the gym up for us so we can come in and work out. He’s doing some great things, and congratulations to him tonight with the Dominican team because those guys played well.”
Nazr Mohammed
On coming back more frequently…
“It’s definitely something we talked amongst ourselves about doing. First we want to check with Coach Cal and see if he has anything planned. If he doesn’t, we’ll get something going, us coming back just kind of teaching the young guys, playing with the young guys or us doing something bigger or trying to have a weekend. But we’re going to sit and talk with him and figure it out.”
Keith Bogans
On playing at Rupp Arena again…
“Oh I was just having fun. I haven’t played in Rupp since Senior Night like eight years ago so I was just excited and happy to be here. I thought I’d never play on that floor again so I was over-excited. It was definitely a good experience for me.”
Rajon Rondo
On the atmosphere
“It was definitely breathtaking. I haven’t been back here in five or six years, to get the same reception is wonderful but all the guys that played (got the same reception). I’m just very glad to be back and very appreciative of the fans and the support they (gave) throughout our careers.”
On playing with John Wall
“It was fun. He’s an exciting player to play with and watch, so I guess a lot of people anticipated us playing together. We just went out there, tried to have fun and tried to win, but obviously we didn’t come up with the victory.”
DeMarcus Cousins
On returning to Rupp Arena
“Being in Rupp again was very exciting. It hasn’t changed a bit. The fans are still the same. They still cheered for us even though we lost. It’s great feeling to be back.”
On playing with the veterans
“You could tell they’ve been in the league. You could tell they know what they’re doing mentally. When we were in practice, of course you know me, John and (Pros guard) Eric (Bledsoe), (we were) goofing around. Tayshaun, Rondo (and) Keith, they just had a seriousness about them. They were joking around with us, but you could see the separation in experience  between me, John and Eric and the rest of the guys.”
Francisco Garcia
About being booed by the Rupp Arena crowd…
“It was fun. I was expecting that. I know how it is in Big Blue Nation, but it was fun being out there with my teammates, we were working so hard. It shows the hard work we’ve been doing.”
Al Horford
On his Gator chomp during introductions…
“Well, I mean, when I got introduced (they said) Atlanta Hawks, but obviously people here in Lexington remember me playing for Florida. I didn’t get the warmest welcome so I figured I would just give them a little chomp. It was all friendly, but I had to do it.”
On if this is the type of competition they were looking for…
“It’s totally different in international ball but I think when you can get a group of guys like these guys from Kentucky – these eight guys – to come in here and play, I mean, that’s as talented of a group as we’re going to face. I think the style of ball is different but you got to give those guys credit, they came in, had a walk through together and just played. As far as talent wise, it’s the bulk of what we’re going to face I think. As far as the team, obviously not. The teams over there, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, those sort of teams that have been playing together a long time, they’re pretty solid teams.”
Edgar Sosa
On the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry…
“Well, in the four years I was a part of it, it was just a crazy rivalry. In Louisville, it’s kind of like 50-50 where you go there might be some blue, there might be some red. For the two weeks I’ve been here, it’s been all blue. Whenever I go somewhere or me and (Francisco Garcia) go somewhere to sit down and eat, they let us know we’re in the wrong place. This rivalry is great. For anyone that’s a part of it, you’re going to remember it for your whole life. It’s a great rivalry.”


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