Skip to main content

Everything Rick Barnes Said Ahead of Tuesday's Matchup Against Vanderbilt

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Tennessee is coming off of a staggering 107-79 loss to Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Saturday, and the No.24 Vols will look bounce back to on Tuesday night against Vanderbilt on the road. Head Coach Rick Barnes met with the media today to discuss the Commodores and share final thoughts on Kentucky. You can watch the video above and see the full transcript below courtesy of Tennessee Athletics. 

On his concerns after watching the Kentucky game tape…

"Again, not to take anything away from Kentucky, because I thought they played as well as I've ever seen them play, to be quite frank. But also, looking at it, a lot of things we didn't do. Defense was really not very good. Our one-on-one defense wasn't there at all. Some of the points they got, some of those drives to the basket, we obviously didn't get it across to the guys the way we wanted it done. Because, again, our one-on-one defense wasn't very good.

"With that said, we have to get more from, really, it's everybody. The frontline, our starting frontline (John Fulkerson and Olivier Nkamhoua) didn't have one rebound in the game, that's I think 38 minutes between them. That can't happen. It goes back to consistency. What do we know we're going to get every single night? What we're going to have to do to get that. With that said, we've moved on. Got to get ready for a big one tomorrow night (at Vanderbilt)."

On turnovers being an issue for Tennessee right now…

"When we watch it on tape, really, it shouldn't happen if guys are locked into the game. Like those plays there at half court (at Kentucky), I think it was four or five-point game, under four (minutes) to go (in the first half), we turned it over twice at half court. When we're running, we always tell guys you've got to always expect a team to maybe jump you at some point in time. We had three guys that ran like we normally do, like we're in transition, but they look back and they've got to see something is going on. And they didn't really react. So they left Santi (Vescovi) and Olivier (Nkamhoua) there on their own. That can't happen.

"Those baskets (off turnovers), there's just no defense (for them). And that skews your whole defensive numbers, when you give up turnovers, when your offense turns it over and they lead to baskets. You can't do anything about it. I don't understand it. I think we should be able to handle the ball better than that. But it's everybody being totally locked in. When we watch the tape, I ask guys what are you thinking right here? The obvious answer is they're not. Then you ask the question what are you thinking prior to the game? Because everything that Kentucky did, we talked about it and expect it. It goes back to you want players to get lost in the game. I think when guys are concerned about other things, whether it's scoring or not rebounding, whatever it may be, you still have to have short memory. You have to go from play to play to play. To be quite honest, when we ask those questions, they don't have an answer. But the answer simply is you're not locked into the game the way you should be."

On how much of the LSU and Kentucky games were turnover problems versus defensive problems…

"A lot. Our turnovers, again, we keep talking about when we turn people over, we're not getting enough out of it. We had a three-on-one break and we didn't get anything. I'd rather shoot it (in transition). Or we had a chance for a lob. But we held onto it. They got back. On that possession, we turned the ball over. You've got to capitalize on those plays right there in the open court. Unfortunately for us, other teams are doing that against us when we turn it over."

On getting players locked in…

"I would go back to this, a lot of this is new for a lot of guys. And I'm not making excuses for anybody, because I know there are other people in the country that play with young players. But it goes back, where understanding every game is different. And that, I do think when young guys make a mistake, they have a tendency to kind of hold onto it a little bit. That's why you need so much consistency from your older players, to settle things down for you. You go back, again, as much as we talk about taking care of the ball as one of our things that we talk about—that being shot selection, taking care of the ball, giving yourself to get a shot every time. It's concentration and it's understanding that every possession matters. You're not asking guys to be uptight. You're just asking them to protect the ball. Obviously I have to do a better job getting them to keep understanding that. When it all gets back to it, it comes back to me, hey, as many steps as they've ran, I've told them that, now you know why I have you run these (steps), why I have you do this or do that. I want you guys to be aware of how important it is to take care of the basketball."

On potential changes to the starting lineup…

Scroll to Continue

Read More

"I think, after we'll be back on the court today, we'll decide what we're going to do there. We're going to see what happens. It's not one player, it's not. It's consistency. Your older players have to be your most consistent players. They have to be. I'm not just talking about John (Fulkerson). He's one of our older players. John, Santi, Josiah. Uros (Plavsic), I mean, he's been around long enough. Olivier (Nkamhoua), VJ (Bailey). Those guys have been around the longest. Those are the guys, and I'm not just talking in a game, I'm talking in practice, everything we do."

On getting consistency from older players…

"I wish I could answer that. If I did, we would fix it. We talk to them. We spend a lot of time with our older guys trying to get them to understand. The tough part is when we watch tape and the things that we talk about as a team that we want to do not only as a team but individually, guys don't do it. And their answer is always 'I don't know'. They should know. Again, that is on me that if they don't know, it is on me. I am going to keep harping on it until they do fully understand. When we say we need to do this, we need to do this. Or you need to do this."

On Kennedy Chandler's defense at Kentucky…

"I don't think there is any question that I would be shocked after the way the last couple games where he has struggled if he doesn't really make a real conscious effort to turn it around defensively. He and I sat on the bus and watched the game coming back. We watched the whole film together. He sees it. He does. He sees everything you would want him to see after watching it in a replay. Now it's a matter of doing it."

On Tennessee's 3-point shooting at Kentucky…

"I have told these guys all year if they will just do what we practice—are you baffled sometimes when we miss wide-open shots? It happens sometimes. I have seen other teams miss wide-open shots. Would I like to see us shoot it? We still think we have proven we can make shots if we will let it come in the flow of what we are doing. Guys are so anxious to make a shot that they are rushing things. We keep talking about taking care of the ball. It's just not being anxious and when it comes in the flow. If we do what we are supposed to do offensively, it will work. It will work. I think some of the people that have struggled shooting the ball, they are just anxious and it is throwing off their timing and their rhythm."

On Vanderbilt…

"I think Jerry (Stackhouse) has done a terrific job. He is building the program more and more. They have done a great job developing players that have stayed with them and helped them and really find their roles and their niche. As you know, they shoot the ball well. They have good balance. They run really good stuff on offense. They are changing their defenses up. You can see a couple different defenses out of them. Certainly, Scotty Pippen Jr., preseason player of the year. He gets a lot of attention and for him to keep putting up the numbers that he is putting up is pretty impressive. But he has got some other guys around him that are really playing the roles they need to play."

On concern level with this team…

"It is still January. I don't think anyone has played a more demanding part of the (early) season schedule on the road than we have. That is why we have tried to play such a tough schedule. We are going to do that anyway. The fact is, it has been tough. Now, we have a chance. Every game. We are on the road again against one of our in-state rivals. It is tough. Every game is tough and it is tough for everybody. We have to go on the road early with three of the top five picks in the league. I like to think that we have learned something and that we will continue to learn and know that you have to play every single night. You have to be ready. The consistency has to be there. The reliability has to be there for all of us from me all the way down. It has to be there. That we know we are going to be in a battle every single night."

On former players he has coached against like Jerry Stackhouse…

"I have been doing it a long time. I tell people all the time Jerry Stackhouse made arguably one of the top five collegiate plays I have ever seen. Not against us, thank goodness. I saw it and I used to show it to my team all the time. How much ground he covered from half court to the basket. He did it in two dribbles and reversed dunked the ball two-handed. I would have to think about that. There are a lot of guys. I was really looking forward to the Memphis game because I have so much respect for Larry Brown. Even a coach that has been around a long time and I have studied him a lot through the years. Rasheed Wallace I think is on their bench, too. There are a lot of guys like that."