Quotes from the ACC coaches

This transcript of the ACC coaches’ teleconference was provided by the league office:

 

WAKE FOREST

COACH BZDELIK

Q. Wanted to ask you, having just

come off the game with Duke, Ryan Kelly, of

course, had a big game. What difference does

he make giving them another weapon at that

spot? Not that he’ll necessarily average 20 a

game, but just the threat that he gives them

there, how has that changed them in any way?

COACH BZDELIK: Well, the fact that I

think Duke does a great job of spacing the court to

have so many outstanding shooters, and they do a

great job of spacing the court. Of course the way

Ryan shot the ball the other night, didn’t miss a

shot. He just is, again, really another weapon for

them to make you have to be very aware of

another player who can really shoot the basketball.

When he shoots the ball like that, it just

really opens up the driving lanes for Smith and

some of their other great athletes to attack the rim.

They do a great job of driving and kicking, and, of

course he made some tough shots, but he made

some open shots, but he also made a couple of

tough shots. That was huge for them, no question.

Q. He also helped them on the boards,

which he has for the last couple of games. Is

that just another part of their game that you

have to prepare for?

COACH BZDELIK: Exactly. Ryan had an

outstanding game. But you put so much focus on

Singler and Smith, and we did a good job of

making them take a lot of shots. When they did

shoot the ball, most of them were tough shots, and

Ryan was just someone who got some air space.

We helped too much off of him and didn’t

recover back to him as quickly as we should have.

He made shots and we give him credit.

Q. In terms of March and the

tremendous jump after the game mid-week to

the Duke game, where did it come from, was it

focus, or was it something tactical that you

did?

COACH BZDELIK: Well, we’re all about

right now – we just have so many young players. I

remember just watching it, the tape of our game

with Duke. There were a lot of moments there.

We had four freshmen and one sophomore out

there.

The toughness – we missed so many

shots around the rim. We got the ball to Carson

Desrosiers two or three times where he had two

feet in the paint and just couldn’t finish. C.J. Harris

attacks the rim.

The time before that, Smith attacked the

rim. We fouled him hard, and he was able to

maintain his balance and focus. But C.J. goes in

there, you know, attacks the rim, gets fouled,

misses the lay-up, and then he misses two free

throws. So it’s first the zero points, and then

Melvin has a dunk and it’s blocked as opposed to

dunking it and getting fouled.

You know, I can go on and on. Tony

Chennault, to the rim, coast to coast, just goes

around the rim and out. I mean, we had maybe

nine or ten opportunities there that we just didn’t

finish at the rim. And when that happens with a

young team, we’re not mature enough, it just

diffuses our energy for a moment.

It’s simply a factor we need to toughen up,

mature and get stronger. It’s something that

happened overnight. It just takes some time in the

weight room. It takes some time, experience. It’s

hard in practice to simulate. I mean, we bring out

pads and whack them as hard as we can, but it’s

different. We can’t simulate what those games are

like.

We just haven’t figured out how hard we

need to play, how focused we need to play, and

how mature we need to play for 40 minutes. We

go in spurts.

The Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech

games, I thought that we really felt sorry for

ourselves. And when you shoot as bad from the

free throw line as we did against Georgia Tech, to

me that’s just a lack of focus. So, you know, that’s

something that we need to work on on a daily

basis. Maturity, focus, fight, toughness, all those

kinds of words that are used all the time that are

just the game, to be honest with you; they’re the

game.

Q. I was also curious, Mescheriakov

didn’t play. Was it a temporary thing?

COACH BZDELIK: It was the coach’s

decision on my part. We have a log jam there with

Melvin Tabb, and we’ve been playing Travis there.

The fact that Melvin Tabb was out several weeks

with mono, and he’s had some good practices here

lately, so he’s a freshman that’s earned the right to

play.

Sometimes when you start earning those

minutes, you get to playing six or seven minutes. I

want to see what Melvin Tabb can do. He’s

earned the right to play. So we’ve given Melvin 16

minutes that game, and it was simply a coach’s

decision.

Q. You stressed to the guys that it

doesn’t happen overnight. And you realize in a

society where things aren’t going well,

sometimes kids get wandering eyes. How are

you monitoring that commitment going

forward?

COACH BZDELIK: I talk to them all the

time about that. On several occasions he was

changing and building that culture to where it is

today, and where it has been over the last several

decades, so it takes time.

One of the life lessons you have to take

from athletics is you have to deal with

disappointments. In life, you don’t always get what

you want, and you have to go through some tough

times.

You know, I’m going to find out who really

is on board, to be honest with you. And we have

some outstanding teachers here within this

program, I mean there are some freshmen gaining

valuable experience, and playing well and

developing. Travis has been consistent and a

warrior. And Tony Chennault, even though he’s

coming off that injury, I think in the brief moments

he’s played, he made a tough lay-up in the Duke

game. He drove in there, and played off the

two-deep, scored, went coast to coast out to the

rim with the left-hander and went around and out.

He defends well.

Carson Desrosiers as a young seven-foot

freshman, picture him a year from now when he

gets in that weight room and he understands.

Seven blocks, nine rebounds and he held his own

in the Duke game. And he understands because

he’s coachable and he works. We have a lot of

really solid pieces in place, and they understand

and they’re responding. I look forward to the

future.

Q. Is there a way to tell if a kid is on

board for the long haul this year and beyond?

COACH BZDELIK: They didn’t show it

really well in terms of their body language and how

they respond when you coach them. Players

determine playing time. It’s obvious to me we will

get this right, trust me. I’ve been through this

before. And we’ve always wound up on the

successful side.

No doubt it will happen again. We just

need to stay the course. I’m the leader. I come to

work every single day with energy and a strong

focus. Like I said, we see moments. We just need

to see more of those moments. And we’ll find out,

like I said, as time goes on, who is on board. I feel

great, like I said, about our future.

VIRGINIA TECH

COACH GREENBERG

COACH GREENBERG: I was pleased

with our week last week. I thought our kids really

handled playing on the road well. They were

extremely poised, confident, played hard, and

defended. They shared the ball and made good

decisions in a tough environment against a very,

very good team. A team that is as efficient as any

team we’ll play against this season and as

well-coached as any team we’ll play against this

season.

We played our second straight week of, I

guess, turn-around games even though it was

long, and we didn’t have the same focus and

energy that I would have liked to have, but we got

done what we needed to get done.

We took yesterday off, which was kind of a

risk and reward that we would have liked to have

done some preparation. But I think it’s more

important to have fresh legs and be able to

compete at a high level than wear the guys down.

We do have three seniors, and hopefully

those seniors will kind of lead the way today in

practice and get us ready to play Georgia Tech

tomorrow.

Georgia Tech’s been terrific at home the

last two times out. They’ve played hard. Holsey’s

ready to play. I don’t know what the situation is

with Holsey, but in watching him, he’s a live body

that attacks the rim, and we’ve got another

challenge. But in our league, as in all leagues,

when you get into league play, it’s hard to win

games.

Q. At the risk of get being into a

graduate level thesis area I was wondering if

you would talk a little bit about playing zone

defense now as much as you guys are. And a

little bit on your philosophy about man versus

zone, and what kinds of things you guys are

doing to kind of offset the disadvantages of

playing zone?

COACH GREENBERG: Wow. But, again,

you’ve got to play with your personnel, and again

we’ve got a limited number of guys, so I want to

find a way to keep our players in the game. I think

that all the man-to-man break down stuff we do

actually helps our zone because a lot of our zone

is predicated on man-to-man concepts, closing out,

guarding the basketball, moving on the pass, being

active, being alert. All of those things are

consistent in whatever defense you’re playing.

Again, I’ve played a lot of man-to-man in

my career. We have played some of the

one-three-one zone. But I think that changing up

this year out of necessity has been a good thing.

It’s actually been stimulating as a coach to study

something to the point that we’ve studied it.

But it really comes down to effort, and it

comes down to your skill set defensively. What I

mean by that is if you can’t guard the ball in

man-to-man, you’ll probably not be able to guard

the ball in zone. If you can’t close out well on

man-to-man, you’re probably not going to close out

in zone.

The biggest concern for me is coming back

and rebounding and getting our guards engaged

and coming back and rebounding. Was that an

answer?

Q. Have you had a chance to watch

Georgia Tech film?

COACH GREENBERG: I watched some

of it. I passed on watching six hours of football,

actually. I watched a great deal of their film the

last few days.

Q. They’ve had an issue this season

with other teams having great success

shooting three pointers, and I was wondering if

you could give me your take on why that might

be?

COACH GREENBERG: I would love to. I

think they played really hard. I think they have

long athletic bodies. As I said Shumpert, Miller,

and Rice are active and alert and they do a nice

job of pressuring the basketball and closing out. I

think Miller will be a very good player, big, and

physical.

I can’t tell you. I’m not with those guys

every single day. I can’t tell you why the people

shot the ball well against them. But they guarded

pretty good in the Wake Forest and North Carolina

games. But I think that they’re extremely

aggressive as Paul’s teams always are, and they’re

tough. So that’s probably a really bad answer.

Q. Your team’s done really well limiting

scoring opportunities of late. Is there anything

you can attribute to allowing the fewest points

per game in the conference currently?

COACH GREENBERG: I’d like to say that

we spent hours and hours on our defensive

transition and some other things. But since our

limited numbers, we haven’t spent any time

breaking down defensive transition or things of that

nature.

We’re just trying to keep the ball in front of

us, contest shots, and limit people to one shot as

much as we can. And offensively try to attack as

quickly as we can. I think we’re playing pretty fast

and effective in transition. But if we don’t have it,

we’re trying to make people guard and get a good

shot. So, again, not a very good answer for you

guys.

Q. Can you talk about the year that

Malcolm Delaney’s had?

COACH GREENBERG: Yeah, Malcolm’s

a special player. It’s kind of interesting. Erick’s

made Malcolm better, and Malcolm has taken a lot

of pressure off Erick. So as a back court, they’ve

really complemented each other well.

So Malcolm’s a tough-minded cat who can

make shots, and get to the basket. He’s got a very

high basketball IQ, uses screens well. He just has

a good feel for the game. I say it all the time, the

Baltimore kids, in general, they just know how to

play. They just play ball and he fits in that mode.

Q. When you look at Shumpert on film,

what is the thing that catches your eye about

his play this season?

COACH GREENBERG: He’s so

aggressive coming off ball screens. We know he

can shoot the ball. He’s extremely athletic. I felt

coming out of high school he was the best guard in

the country. I’ve always loved his game. Watching

him at those elite camps, I thought he had range

and was aggressive and could attack. He was

tough, and he had good feel for the game. I still

feel that way.

Q. Compared to your recent games

with Maryland or Carolina, are you more

concerned about the perimeter game of

Georgia Tech than maybe you have been with

some other games this year?

COACH GREENBERG: I’m as concerned.

I think they have good guards. You know, Mo

Miller has had very good games against us.

Shumpert is capable of putting up big numbers and

had a really big second half against us last year.

And Rice is playing at a very high level, really

athletic and attacking, shooting the ball really,

really well, and taking very good care of the

basketball.

So I think that part of their game is really

good. Like I said, their young front court guys are

really talented.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Manny.

How early in the recruiting process did you see

that confidence factor that you always talk

about with him? How did you notice that and

how important was that in the process?

COACH GREENBERG: I just think

Manny’s character was the thing that jumped out at

me during the recruiting process. I remember

visiting his high school, and his coach taking me

around the school and introducing me to the

principal and teachers and to people actually in the

cafeteria. It’s kind of interesting.

Every single person that I came across

during that day talked about Manny’s character,

and what a wonderful kid he was and he was

always smiling. He was just a special young

person. I think, with that, comes that confidence.

He allows himself to be coached, but he’s

got every intangible that you would want because

of the way he carries himself. I mean, Manny

Atkins is just a good person. He was raised right.

He has great character. He’s going to be

successful in whatever he does. Part of that is

because of who he is, and his confidence breeds

off of that.

Q. In terms of him as a player, where

would you like to see him? Obviously he’s

going to be a guy who is really important for

you now and will be much more important next

year as you lose Terrell. Where would you like

to see him improve as a player specifically?

COACH GREENBERG: I think the biggest

thing is tightening up his handle. I joke around

with him, and sometimes people get up into him a

little bit, and he turns into an AND1 mix tape. I just

want him to use it with a purpose. He could learn

from Terrell Bell in terms of getting to his spot with

his dribble, and not over handling him and getting

to a nice play. Getting the shot off a little bit

quicker, not keeping the ball, but that’s a little too

intricate.

VIRGINIA

COACH BENNETT

COACH BENNETT: I thought Aaron

Rodgers was terrific in the opening drive, and in

that first quarter, the Packers were — what did you

say about basketball? Are we talking about

football here? My assistant Coach Williford is a

huge Steeler fan, so we’ll have some interesting

times in the next few weeks. But we’re still excited

about the Packer victory here.

No, we came off a Georgia Tech game

where we got back to playing solid basketball at

home, and preparing for certainly a very good

Maryland team. Still just trying to be as good as

we can for the entirety of the game.

We’ve had stretches of solid basketball,

and we’re trying to put it together to play for a

longer stretch. I can’t always say, well, this guy

has to step up. It’s been different guys at different

times that have led us and stepped up, and

whenever our veterans can play at a high level, as

Mustapha did against Georgia Tech that is

certainly very helpful.

Q. Do you think your team has settled

into the fact that Mike Scott will not be there

the rest of this year? Because sometimes

losing a guy that is such an integral part of

things for three and a half years and takes an

adjustment period. Do you think you’re into

that period now?

COACH BENNETT: Yeah, I mean,

certainly he’s missed. I was asked that question

after our game against Georgia Tech. It’s hard to

replace what he brought to the table. But we have

to be a different kind of team, and that’s what we’re

continuing to discover.

We’ve tried to make some adjustments

and put our guys in the best spots to play without a

player that was averaging a good amount of points

and rebounds for us. So we’re trying to score in

different ways, defend, be smarter with our

defense.

I think now it’s been — I don’t know the

number of games — but it’s been enough to where

you’re not wondering, okay, once he’s going to

have his surgery and it was made clear that he

wouldn’t be back, All right, here’s what we have.

Now we have to work with this rotation. I think that

gives some of the guys in the rotation a comfort

that I know I’m going in. I know I’m going to be

called upon.

I think that we’re in a better place than

when we were uncertain of his status. So, again,

he’s missed. But there are guys that are at times

when we’ve played well that have stepped up.

Whether it’s Assane or whether we’ve used Akil

Mitchell in there, Will Sherrill will hopefully continue

to get healthy with his leg, and we’re just trying to

find ways to be effective.

Q. With Maryland coming up, and of

course Jordan Williams being one of the more

relentless players inside, what kind of

challenges does that pose in particular?

COACH BENNETT: Every game out that

you play there are different kinds of challenges.

But with Maryland I certainly respect Coach

Williams and how he prepares his team and how

they’re going to come in and be tough minded and

aggressive.

Then you have a player like Jordan. He

can really change the game. When he gets going,

they play at a very high level. You can see that.

Just with his size, and his touch, and ability to play

on the glass, you really better do a good job, make

him earn. And they have other capable players,

but he’s certainly been at times a dominant player.

We’re going to have to be well aware of him in all

aspects of the game.

Q. You’re coming off a home court win

over Georgia Tech. They’re a team with an

amazing road-home split. When you watch

tape of them, can you see why they’re so much

tougher on the road than at home?

COACH BENNETT: I really focused on

their home games. Their last two games I watched

them because they played so well. And those

were their last two games, and you always assume

you’re going to get a team at its best.

We looked at that, and I think their ability

to shoot, to turn teams over, you know, whether it’s

Shumpert or, against us, Rice did not have as

strong of a game as he had been, and that was

significant. But I think they’ve got momentum and

when they’ve got momentum, they become

dangerous. And for whatever reason they haven’t

had that as much on the road. I mean, that is the

home court advantage in a lot of ways.

But they’re still capable and a dangerous

team. They played hard. They’re physical guys

and they play hard. So I just really try to focus on

the last two games. But I think to turn people over

and get their perimeter guys going, that’s what’s

helped them in the games they’ve played well.

Q. I brought them up because their

split is the most extreme. Everybody has a

home-road advantage, disadvantage. But

halfway through your second year in this

league, do you think this league is more –

because everything is on campus, almost – is

this league more of a home court league than

some of the other places you’ve been to?

COACH BENNETT: I was an assistant at

Wisconsin for the Big Ten, and certainly as an

assistant and head coach in the Pac 10 I think the

Big Ten is interesting.

I think this is similar to the Big Ten. I do

think there is a home court advantage in specific

instances for certain teams. It’s very impressive.

But for our team, I’ll just look at our team, until

you’re really established and have that home

crowd behind you, I mean, really have some

experience, some veterans, and some success,

then that home court really becomes a place.

And that’s what we’re trying to do here and

every team’s trying to make it. I think with some

teams in our league it’s a terrific advantage being

at home. And teams that are still fighting to get

respectability and become good, it’s maybe not as

much as others.

I don’t know Georgia Tech’s home court

attendance and all that. But some guys just have

a comfort level at home. That’s what you try to do

as a coach, try to not treat them both the same, but

have your system and your style hold up in

different settings.

But I do think the difference here for some

teams is it’s one of the best home court

advantages. Obviously, you know the ones we’re

talking about. And that would be the case, I

thought, in the Big Ten too in some of those

situations. Maybe it’s the on campus arenas or

just the following and the success of the programs

there is an expectation there.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE

COACH LOWE

COACH LOWE: Coming off of a third win

against Miami at home. We definitely need it, and

the guys played hard. I think we played two

consecutive games now where we came out with

great energy. It’s going to take the same type of

effort down in Clemson.

Q. When you get into the grind of the

ACC season and have an emotional win like

you did against Miami, how long do you enjoy

that win before you immediately start thinking

about Clemson?

COACH LOWE: Well, I started thinking

about Clemson last night. It was an afternoon

game, a noon game so we had enough time,

obviously, to kind of relax a few hours and watch

film and get ready, so it wasn’t long at all. We

were able to watch film yesterday.

Q. How important is it to get a

performance like you’ve had with that energy?

How much more difficult is it to get that kind of

energy on the road than it is at home?

COACH LOWE: It’s very much so. You

have to have that energy if you want to win on the

road. Having said that, it’s difficult for some teams

and certain types of players. You have to

understand the mental toughness to win on the

road as a player.

And sometimes lack of experience can

prevent that unless you have some people that

really just have a great game for you. Because

you don’t have your fans behind you, and when

you make a run, you know they’re going to make a

run. And you have to be able to handle that and

you have to be poised and in control of yourself

and of the game. And sometimes on the road, as

Tony was just talking, it’s a difficult thing.

Q. You’ve talked a lot about C.J. Leslie,

a kid blessed with NBA explosion and

athleticism. But you’ve talked a lot about how

much he’s had to learn about the nuances of

the game. And I just wondered what you think

you found surprising about his levels of

involvement in the game?

COACH LOWE: I think he’s found that

there are players out here that are definitely

capable of being better at times. I think he found

out that there are players that he can’t just walk out

on the court and decide I’m better than that like he

did in high school. He realized guys are bigger;

guys are stronger than he played against in high

school.

And he’s got to continue to get better and

learn and get stronger himself. I think there have

been a number of things. I know just him going to

the basket and getting the shot blocked and

realizing that he has to go in a little bit stronger

than he did the first time, which he will do, so he’s

learning a lot.

Q. How responsive has he been to that

reality that it isn’t the same game at the college

level as it is in high school?

COACH LOWE: You know, I think he

hears what we’re saying and he can see it. It’s

something some young players today, especially

the talented ones, and sometimes that’s what

makes them good. They feel no one can stop

them. Even if you stop them, you say you can’t

stop me the next time.

But he understands he has to go hard. So

he’s responsive to the listening, and you know he’s

watched film with coaches individually to see

what’s going on out there. See where he can gain

an advantage.

Q. Richard Howell’s minutes took a dip

in December and then again through January.

But he’s played over 24 in the last two games.

Why did you lower his minutes there for those

two stretches?

COACH LOWE: I didn’t necessarily lower

his minutes. It was probably a combination of a

couple of things. You know, C.J. was playing well,

so he was able to get a few more minutes there.

When you’re playing the same position as

a guy that can play, you’re really only talking about,

if you share the minutes, you’re talking about 20

minutes a game.

One of the guys that’s playing a little bit

better that day and your team is playing better that

day, then that 20 could go to 24, so that’s going to

knock the other guys out. Then 24, the extra four

minutes, it’s a lot. But it’s not really a major

difference. It’s certainly enough time for guys to be

effective.

So I didn’t drop his minutes, I think it’s just

more or less C.J.’s playing well. Now Rich is

playing well. That is the reason we actually tried

the big lineup too. Not only because of the foul

situation with Scott Wood, but Rich has been

productive. That’s why we went with the big

lineup.

Q. This kind of reminds me of Tracy’s

sophomore year. You prefer to have somebody

to bring off the bench, a big man to bring off

the bench. You were hesitant to use all three of

them at the same time. Just like in Tracy’s

sophomore year, do you see a similarity in

there with using Rich and using that lineup this

time of the year?

COACH LOWE: Well, this time of the year

I’m not really concerned. When we started, we

started with not the rotation, but the lineup, and we

were going to play off of that. Now we’re in ACC

play, and you have to have your best players on

the floor.

Now the substitution patterns will change a

little bit, but you have to have your most productive

players on the floor. So I’m not heading with an

attempt to play Richard, C.J., and Tracy together

even though it’s three of our top five big men on

the court at the same time.

You just have to watch the rotations and

the substitutions because you don’t want them all

in there and they all get tired at the same time.

And now that you have one or two of them in there,

and you have to bring them off the bench, and the

other two in the game are tired. So they can’t give

you anything when they come back anyway, so I

think we have to be careful with the rotations.

Q. You faced Nolan Smith and Reggie

Jackson. They played against each other in

Durham-Raleigh this week. Can you compare

their games? They’re 1-2 in the ACC in both

points and assists.

COACH LOWE: I’ll tell you, they’re similar.

They’re similar in the sense that they both can

attack you. Either with the pass, with the dribble or

they can shoot the basketball but they both have

great, great quickness, and they’re long and they’re

athletic.

If they get you on the side at all, if they

gain the slightest advantage, you’re not going to

stop them. It’s hard to cut them off because they’re

so strong, they’re very similar. Also their ball

control; they control the team. They make big

plays for their team.

So, yes, there’s no mystery why they’re

where they are. They both are very good

basketball players and I think they’re both great

competitors too. They’re great competitors.

NORTH CAROLINA

COACH WILLIAMS

COACH WILLIAMS: I’m hopeful that this

six-day break before we play again is going to be

helpful to us, because I know it’s it helped us get

healthy. After the Clemson game the other night,

Justin got hurt in the first half and didn’t play in the

second half. He’s not practiced since.

Leslie McDonald did not play and hasn’t

practiced since. But we hope that he will practice

today. Reggie Bullock did play and has had some

swelling in his knee, so he’s not practiced since.

But we hope that he will practice today.

So the injury report, I guess, is the first

thing to come out. But I think that we were very

fortunate to have this break at this time period with

those injuries. Hopefully, we’ll have everybody

except Justin Watts at practice today. He might be

able to go through some dummy offense, but I

think that Leslie and Reggie will be able to go, and

so we’re thankful about that.

But watching the Miami game against

North Carolina State yesterday, it’s a 17-point

game. And they just started making shot after shot

after shot. I’m hopeful they don’t do that against

us, because the way they played down the stretch

was relentless, and we have to make sure we

make some shots, and hopefully they don’t make

as many.

Q. Coach, I don’t think you have

another break this season. And you talked last

year a lot about how much injuries played a

role, and you just referenced a couple of

bumps and bruises. How big an impact can

that have on the rest of the season staying

healthy?

COACH WILLIAMS: It will have a huge

impact. It’s hard to make changes in the middle of

the stream like we had to do consistently last year,

and covering up for people and never getting some

of them back was really a big blow to us, especially

when we thought our depth up front was going to

be big further.

So it’s the same kind of thing. I think every

team has to be able to go through and be able to

absorb some injuries. If you start having injuries to

five, six, seven people like we did last year, it’s

really difficult.

But, again, this break this week was good

for us. We were very lucky that it came at this time

period. And, hopefully, as you said, we don’t have

any of these breaks the rest of the way, so

hopefully we won’t have anything like we’ve had

the last three or four days.

Q. You mention Miami’s comeback, and

Coach Haith was talking about how much his

team needs a win. Do you ever talk about a

team who might be desperate for a victory?

Does that factor into your preparation?

COACH WILLIAMS: Not really in the ACC

because every team’s dangerous anyway. If it was

somebody that you weren’t familiar with, and you

didn’t play very often, and didn’t know much about

their situation. But in the ACC, everybody’s

desperate for a win at some point.

Once you get into conference play, you

know more about them, and playing and winning

games down the stretch is extremely difficult to do,

and you’ve got to make some plays.

Q. Will Kendall start at point guard

again?

COACH WILLIAMS: Yes, unless

something weird happens between now and

Wednesday night.

Q. Knowing how long Larry had started

for you, and the respect you had for him, how

difficult was it for you to make that decision to

change that starting job last week?

COACH WILLIAMS: It was difficult. I don’t

enjoy doing that. If you look at my track record

over the years, most of the time I get the group that

starts and stick with it. And in ‘06 I took Marcus

Ginyard out and inserted Wes Miller in the lineup

and that was really big for us.

It gave us another outside shooter and got

us going. I think we lost two out of three, or three

out of four in the ACC and we go down to Florida

State the first game and he made a few threes for

us. That was big for us.

I don’t do it a lot. But it was hard to do and

especially since Larry’s trying so hard defensively.

But we were just a little stagnant offensively, and

we can still get him to be extremely important to us

just like he was in the Clemson game.

Q. You mentioned Reggie Bullock. Can

you assess his development at this point and

what he’s doing well? Especially with

everything that’s happened with his

grandmother passing away in the last couple of

weeks. How has he responded to that? How

have you seen him develop this year?

COACH WILLIAMS: I think he responded

to that really well because it was a really, really

difficult situation for him. And Reggie at times has

really been impressive. He hasn’t been as

consistent as we want him to be, and as he wants

to be. Nobody wants it more than he does.

I think he’s going to be a fantastic college

player, a guy that’s going to get better and better.

He was huge for us in the Clemson game,

particularly without Leslie who had been shooting

the ball very well from the three-point line for us.

And we needed somebody else to step up and do

it, and Reggie did.

I’m hopeful that this swelling in his knee

won’t delay his progress, because that should have

given him a great deal of confidence to let him

know what he can do.

He’s gotten better. He still needs to work

on his ball handling on the defensive side of the

floor. When he shoots the ball, and defends, and

comes up with the steals like he did against

Clemson, it’s going to be a much better day for us

to say the least.

Q. Looking at the performance against

Clemson, your team came out and responded

well. Was there any extra added pressure,

perhaps, because of all the talk of the 54-game

winning streak for all those years?

COACH WILLIAMS: You know people get

to choose what they want. But I never one step

mentioned that to my entire team. We talked about

it after the game. I said you guys know why this

had any significance because of what our history

has been with Clemson? And half the guys didn’t

even know.

And I’ll tell you the truth, I’ll never hit

another golf ball if this is a lie, I did not mention it

one second to our team. Because it’s one of those

kinds of things that are hard to explain, it’s hard to

understand, and I know some day it’s going to end.

I’d put it off another kind of thing.

But these kids, if they do know something,

it’s not very much.

Q. Your team’s had some struggles

against Clemson. Which team do you think

we’ll see more often as we go down the stretch

– the team that played against Kentucky and

Clemson or the other team?

COACH WILLIAMS: I hope it’s the one we

saw against Kentucky and Clemson. But there

was one half that was just really not typical of our

team, and that was the second half at Georgia

Tech. Against Minnesota and Vanderbilt and

Illinois, those guys haven’t lost to very many

people anyway. We didn’t play that poorly in those

games. They had a lot to do with it.

Now in the second half against Georgia

Tech — I’m not trying to take credit away from

Georgia Tech because they made a bunch of

shots too — but we were 5-for-25. That one is not

typical, I hope. Let’s put it that way, I hope I don’t

see that one again.

But in the preseason I thought this team

would get better and better as the season

progressed. And against Minnesota, Vanderbilt,

Illinois at Illinois, those teams were favored to win

the game anyway, and they should have been.

They had more returning players, more

experience, more successful returning players.

But, for us, I’m hopeful that it will be that

kind of team that will continue to be better, and not

have that huge hiccup like we did in the second

half against Georgia Tech.

Q. With Harrison, so much of his game

has been dissected and evaluated by people on

the outside. What is an area or two when you

look at what he’s done so far that you see him

making the biggest strides so far?

COACH WILLIAMS: I think Harrison’s

gotten better defensively. I think rebounding the

ball, if you go back and look at the Clemson game,

he came up with two big defensive rebounds at the

end. It really helps you to get a stop, but you have

to finish the defense by getting the rebound.

I think he’s gotten better in that area, and

with each and every game he’s understanding

what we’re about. What is a good shot, what’s a

bad shot, what kind of shots he can take that he

can make. And his progression of being tough or

willing enough to take a last shot and make it is

something that is pretty impressive.

I’m hoping that he’ll really with each and

every game continue his improvement too.

Q. After the Clemson game you

mentioned the possibility of putting Justin

Knox and Leslie in the starting lineup in place

of Tyler and Dexter. Is that still on the table?

How do you assess that right now?

COACH WILLIAMS: I would say it’s not

going to happen Wednesday night. We’ll just have

to see. Right now to be honest with you, I don’t

even know how much we’re going to get out of

Leslie today at practice, because he literally has

not done any contact work since, I guess, the day

before the Clemson game. So we don’t know what

we’re going to get out of him whatsoever.

And Justin Knox is going to miss practice

today because of a class, and he can’t get there on

Monday afternoon. So it’s a little bit of a

predicament there.

I was pleased with what Z did down the

stretch the other night too. I think that part was

good for him.

Q. With Larry going to the reserve, how

do you keep him on board and keep his spirits

up when maybe it might get dashed for a little

bit?

COACH WILLIAMS: I think it became a

nature for him too, to have that kind of problem.

But he was great against Clemson. I told him I

was proud of him after the game because he was

really important to us. Yes, he did not start, and I

don’t have the stat sheet in front of me, but I think

he played more minutes than Kendall did, even not

starting. He knows he’s going to be important to

us.

Seven years ago Marvin Williams did not

start one single game. But he was extremely

important to us. We won the National

Championship. He was the second player taken in

the NBA draft. If you’re important to the team, that

is the most important thing whether you run out

there at the start or not. It’s not nearly as important

to me, but you never can tell what’s going through

a kid’s mind.

MIAMI

COACH HAITH

COACH HAITH: We’re coming off a week

of two tough losses by a total of four points, two

points both games. Obviously we’re 1-4, but we’re

four points away from being 3-2 going into this

game against North Carolina. I thought our kids

did well in terms of getting back into the ball game

last night against N.C. State.

But we missed a lot of shots around the

buckets, a bucket early in the game. You know,

the difference in the game could be that the shot

that C.J. made at the half, falling away, he made it

to the half. We missed a couple of plays. Reggie

missed a dunk there in the second half, beginning

of the second half.

But there is a lot of basketball left to play.

We’ll keep getting better and learn from those two

games.

Q. I know you weren’t there in Coral

Gables when Miami was part of the Big East.

But having been there throughout the school’s

tenure in the ACC, what do you feel have been

the primary benefits of the ACC membership? I

know your home attendance seems to be way

up from the Big East days. Just curious as to

whether Miami’s starting to feel like an ACC

basketball program to you?

COACH HAITH: I think that’s a great

question. Obviously, I grew up in North Carolina,

and I know the passion and enthusiasm for college

basketball in the state of North Carolina and

Tobacco Road and for the ACC for that matter.

But I think being here throughout our

progress during the tenure in the ACC, it has

gotten better and better each year. I think one of

the things that helps is just geography-wise in

terms of the teams we play. It’s just been a lot

more interesting in basketball, and it’s growing

each year.

We had a tremendous outing the other

night against Florida State in our home opener with

our student section, and enthusiasm. And I

remember my first couple of years where that was

not the case. So it’s gotten better, and I think it’s

just because of the pageantry of this league, and

the tradition in this league has helped in that

regard.

Q. Do you notice is it easier to recruit

as part of the ACC? Do you think as opposed

to what other coaches there, you know like

Coach Clark and others, had to do in terms of

the Big East?

COACH HAITH: It’s never easy. I think

Larry had some pretty good players here during

the latter part of the years at the University of

Miami, so recruiting is never easy. There’s a lot of

that. If you talked to Leonard, I think maybe

recruiting was pretty good because he could go up

to the East Coast and recruit because there are

some good players, and like we try to do, go to

New York, because you’re playing in the Big East.

But I don’t know that that’s — I can’t tell you

not being here during that time, in terms of I don’t

know if recruiting is ever easy. I think it’s still very

competitive and very tough whenever.

Q. Coach, I was wondering if I could

get you to talk about Reggie Jackson and the

job that he does for Boston College. He’s

second in the league in both points and

assists?

COACH HAITH: I think he’s a terrific

player. He’s really worked hard on his game. He

came in being a really good athlete. He’s become

more well-rounded as a player.

He’s not only just a good athlete, but he’s

become a really good shooter. I think he may be

on a team that has a lot of three-point shooters. I

think he’s the best three-point shooter on their

team.

You talk about the stats and just being a

point guard. I mean, I know early in his career he

had to play with Tyrese. And Tyrese had the ball

in his hand a lot. You probably didn’t get a chance

to see Reggie’s development in that area. He’s

really worked hard at it and become a more

well-rounded, complete player.

Q. So much has been made about what

Harrison Barnes is doing well or not well or

whatever. But when you’re getting ready to

play him, what kind of things stand out to you

about his game? Even though he’s struggling

with his shot, how does all of that factor in

when you’re preparing for a guy like that?

COACH HAITH: Well, a guy that talented,

you don’t look at the numbers on what he’s doing

right now. In terms of our preparation for him, I’ve

seen Harrison play quite a bit in terms of high

school and watching tape on him. He’s a terrific

player.

It’s like anything. In terms of a freshman, it

takes time. We’re going to use our due diligence in

guarding him and having a tremendous amount of

respect for him as a player, knowing he’s capable

of having a big night. So there is no doubt in my

mind he’s a guy that we’ve circled and understand

it’s important for us to do a great job on him.

Q. Is there a certain thing that he does

that stands out to you that maybe people don’t

always notice?

COACH HAITH: Well, I think he runs the

floor very well, which a lot of North Carolina kids

do. You have to find him early in transition. You

mentioned he’s not shooting the ball well. But one

of the things that North Carolina’s done in the past,

their wings have been great shooters at the end of

the breaks.

But I think he’s a good finisher. He’s

definitely a good offensive rebounder. We have to

do a great job of keeping him off the glass. Those

are things I know for sure that we’re going to have

to do, not just Harrison, but the whole

North Carolina team.

Definitely for him, we’ve got to make sure

we’ve got a body on him and we’re playing him

very physical.

Q. You’ve had some very close losses

of late. Are you focusing on anything

particular to try to turn those losses into W’s?

COACH HAITH: Yeah, we’d like to do

that. There is no question. But I think both games,

the two-point losses I just mentioned, we’re four

points from being 3-2, which is second and third in

the league as opposed to 1-4. It’s not just those

last plays. It’s our intensity and doing things

throughout the game.

Neither one of those two games should

have come down to the last play, nor do I think

that’s where we have to grow and get better from.

I think our team knows that.

Q. Do you feel you’re close to getting

the intensity you want and you can avoid the

losses in late-game situations?

COACH HAITH: Oh, if I was sitting here

and we’re getting beaten by 20 points, there is no

question we’re close. You have to feel good about

where we’re at. It’s so early in the year.

I mean, this league race is just now getting

started. In February and March there is a lot of

basketball to be played. So the fact that we’ve

played some close ball games, obviously you’re

disappointed. You want to win those games. You

know, we’re close.

The fact that you have close games you

know you’re right there. We just have to continue

to develop and get better. You look at our starting

lineup we played. We started two sophomores, a

junior and a freshman. I think that’s right, three

sophomores, a junior and a freshman, so that’s our

starting lineup. We’re a young team. I think we’re

only going to get better as the year goes on.

Q. How would you look at your team

from this season? You mentioned that you’re

very young. But obviously there has to be that

natural progression that comes in. How would

you characterize your team at this point in the

season to last year at this point in the season?

COACH HAITH: I think we’re much better.

At the beginning of the year last year we started

out six out of the nine games on the road in the

Atlantic Coast Conference. That was very difficult.

We had some tough losses, and we played much

better basketball toward the end of the year last

year.

Right now we’re playing good basketball,

and this is the first part of the year. So hopefully

we can get better and progress, and get to the

point where we’re one of the teams in the top half

of this league. I think this team is very capable of

getting there.

We played a Florida State team who I think

is very, very good to a two-point game. We played

Duke. We played at Duke and at Clemson, two

tough places to play. We have to go to some other

tough places. I like what this team has done in

terms of we just haven’t finished some of those

games.

MARYLAND

COACH GARY WILLIAMS

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now

Maryland head basketball coach, Gary Williams. If

you could, a few comments about your team.

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, we made a nice

comeback Saturday after playing a nine o’clock

game Thursday. We had to come back at 2:30

and play Clemson, and Clemson is playing very

well. They are a good team, and they really came

after us.

So it was a good win for us. We hung on

at the end to get the win. I think it’s in our league

now, you’re seeing there are some teams that

have gotten better the last couple of weeks, and

you know, you look at games nationally, across the

country, and I think we have some teams that can

play with teams that are ranked in the Top-25 in

the country.

So hopefully we can find a way to get that

respect where we get some more teams ranked,

teams like Florida State, beats the No. 1 team in

the country and has the one after that, certainly;

one of the Top-25 teams. Hopefully that will show

up in the very near future.

You know, our league is like all good

leagues where you’re going to lose some games,

and it hurts you from that aspect when you’re not

starting from a Top-25 position. So hopefully we

can just as a league hang in there and just show

by the way we play how our league has improved.

Q. If and when the NBA decides to

revisit the 19-year-old age limit rule, what

would you hope happens with that and would

you foresee them leaning one way or the other

with that going forward?

COACH WILLIAMS: I would like that

personally, I don’t get a vote personally, but I

would like to see kids be allowed to — directly

coming out of high school to go into the NBA draft,

if they are not drafted or whatever; or if they are

not satisfied, they should be allowed to go back to

college even though they have gone through the

direct process. I know that’s contradictory to what

a lot of people think.

You know we all make mistakes when we

are 18, and you know, some advice isn’t good

advice that these kids get. So I would like to see

that take place.

And if a kid decides to go to school, I

would like to see the baseball rule where they have

to stay three years and really get their college

development, not just as basketball players, but by

what you get by being on a college campus for

three years. So to me that would be the best of

both worlds.

Right now in other sports, you can play

right away. So I don’t know why basketball is

restricted, why they are treated differently than,

say, basketball, tennis, golf, whatever the sport

might be.

Q. When the pipeline was open for

players to go from high school to the pros

directly, did that change recruiting significantly

or in any small way?

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, there is not that

many players every year that do that. So, sure if

you are recruiting one of those players, he

obviously is a great player but most of their schools

involved with those great players have other

players that will be really good college basketball

players.

So if they don’t get that one particular kid,

I’m sure it might affect them, but at the same time,

they are still going to be a very good basketball

program.

Q. Wondering if you could talk, Nolan

Smith is on pace, anyway, to become the first

person to lead the ACC in both points and

assists. How rare is that, and how impressed I

guess are you with all of the things that he’s

doing?

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, I haven’t played

against him. I’m really impressed because it’s

tough to be both. In other words, it’s tough to have

a scorer’s mentality, but yet, do what’s best for

your team in every case, and I think no one has

developed the ability to think like a point guard, but

not lose his ability to score. And that’s very difficult

to do and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

I don’t think there’s a guard in the country

playing at such a high level in both areas as a

point guard, as a shooting guard. I don’t think

anybody is doing better than what Nolan Smith is

doing in those two areas.

Q. How strong is he defensively?

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, I think that’s

part of the mix, where he must be in great physical

condition, because he has the ability to play really

good defense for 40 minutes, and yet, still not be

effected to any extent in terms of his offense. I

think he’s a very good defensive player. I know he

was tough on our team in terms of what he had to

do. And when you’re a guard, you play more feet

of defense. In other words, if you pick up at

halfcourt, that’s 46 feet or whatever, 47 feet.

You know, so he’s playing quite a bit of

defense every possession of the other people,

which takes a lot out of you when you’re a very

good offensive player.

Q. You mentioned the quick

turnaround between Virginia Tech and

Clemson last week. How beneficial was it to

the team to not have a long wait between

ballgames, especially after Thursday’s loss?

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, it worked out

okay. It was very difficult to do. You know, the

players get back to their dorms at one o’clock after

a nine o’clock game, and we had to do some

things differently obviously against Clemson than

we did against Virginia Tech. They are both good

teams so it wasn’t like we could do anything to get

ready for Clemson before we played Virginia Tech.

Both those teams are good.

I was proud of the team. I was proud of

the fact that within 36 hours we could go play and

do a pretty good job. That was a good win for us,

but it wasn’t a good situation going into it. It turned

out to be a good situation since we got the win, but

it was very difficult for the players to come back

like that and play as well as they did.

Q. You changed the starting lineup,

Paulson got his first career start; should we

expect more lineup changes this week?

COACH WILLIAMS: We just tried to

shake things up. Sean Mosley is a great player

who has been starting for us for a while. I think it

helped Sean, he played well. We’ll see what

happens. We have three days to practice now

getting ready for Virginia, so we’ll see how that

goes.

Q. Just looking for some initial

impressions of Virginia on your part.

COACH WILLIAMS: Well, they play every

night. And by that, I mean they don’t make

excuses. They just go play. They have had some

injuries and they come out every night playing hard

and they are a very difficult team to guard because

of their ability to control the tempo, plus really

shoot the ball well from the three-point line.

So if the shot clock is running down, they

have three or four people on the court usually that

can make a big shot for them in that situation.

They play good defense. They are a consistent

defensive team. They can make you work very

hard to run your offense and they don’t give up

many easy scores. You have to work for what you

get. It’s a very difficult team to play against,

especially in Charlottesville.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for taking

time to be with us today. We’ll hear from you the

same time next week.

GEOREGIA TECH

COACH HEWITT

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now

Georgia Tech head basketball coach, Paul Hewitt.

Coach, if you could, a few comments about your

team and we’ll open it up for questions.

COACH HEWITT: We are certainly

playing some very good basketball – Lost to a very

good Virginia team on Saturday – Outplayed us.

Really shot the ball well, Virginia did – Played a

very good second half. But obviously disappointed

we didn’t get the win. Very encouraged by how we

have been playing over the last couple of weeks or

so.

Q. The decisions for guys to potentially

turn pro early will be a little more difficult this

year with the lockout sort of looming out there.

How much more difficult will it be for kids and

how will you help gather information to make

that easier for your guys?

COACH HEWITT: I think the mechanism

to gather information remains in place in that the

NBA Planning Committee is there. You can

mention an idea, get an idea, a reading as they call

it, from that group of general managers, scouts,

player personnel people.

And at the end of the day, it comes down

to what the young man is comfortable with. We’ve

had situations over the years here where kids have

felt comfortable with the idea, okay, second round

pick and I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.

Other kids who say, listen, I’m safely in the first

round, or I’m safely in the lottery.

So it comes down to each individual case.

Q. Do you foresee a situation where

more kids may lean towards coming back, just

because there may not be a season to go

forward to at the next level?

COACH HEWITT: No. I think if they look

at it as, hey, I’m going to be a first round pick, at

some point, they are going to play again. I don’t

think anybody foresees the whole season being

cancelled out.

So even if it takes until December or

January, which it did the last time, I think what

happens is people will tell them, just get your clock

started moving towards your second contract.

Unless somebody can make a strong argument

there will be no season, I’m not sure it will impact

some of the decisions.

Q. Obviously in your last five games,

you’ve had some really good defensive

performances in those wins and then not so

much. What is the focus in terms of how to get

that defense to be consistently good and to be

the level it was against Carolina or Wake?

COACH HEWITT: Obviously part of it is

not going against hot-shooting teams like we did

on Saturday. We did not do a good job of

defending the three-point line. I thought there was

too many times where we lost sight of our man at

the perimeter.

With that said, I’ve been in games where

guys have been open or even more open than

Virginia was the other day and they just didn’t

make them. When I looked at them the first half,

they made 7 out of 8; I think it was actually 7 out of

9, the stat sheet was wrong. They took 9 threes in

the first half. Four of the ones they made, I thought

were pretty well contested.

So I think we are getting more consistent.

Maybe instead of allowing those guys to get off

consecutive threes, the answer when you play

teams like that – that shoots the ball well, you have

to make them put it on the floor.

Q. Just wanted to know when you went

back and watched the film, what was the

difference between the first half and the second

half?

COACH HEWITT: We made an

adjustment in terms of how we are going to defend

those three-point shooters. We are more

conscious of where they were. I thought there

were too many times we got caught ball-watching

and they kicked out there – were maybe three I

thought were complete breakdowns. But there

were four I thought were pretty well contested.

And as we looked at the film yesterday

with the team and broke it down, the next step you

have to do, the guys making threes, you have to

make them put it on the floor and become

two-point shooters. I thought the second half we

forced them to the basket – Did a better job forcing

them to the basket and our length around the

basket forced them — I think they shot 31 percent

the second half.

You know, we have to play them again,

and I’m sure Tony will make some changes. And

we have to make some changes in how we

defend, and we’ll see how it goes.

Q. And is that making them put it on

the floor, is that part of the issue with some of

the teams that you’ve run into this year?

COACH HEWITT: Honestly I’ve never

seen anything like it. The 25 years I’ve been

around this game and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a

team run into so many hot-shooting teams. That

said, can we do a better job contesting shots?

Yeah.

But Northwestern is 10-for-12 and

Clemson is 9-for-9 in the second half against us,

and they were 7-for-9 the first half against us. And

I watched Clemson the very next game against

Carolina, caught that game on ESPN, and they

had equally open shots and just didn’t go down for

them.

Some of it is bad luck, and some of it is -

we have to do a better job of making people put it

on the floor when they hit those hot streaks.

Q. In studying Virginia Tech for

tomorrow night’s game, their defense has

improved pretty significantly this year; what

have you noticed about how they are using the

zone and how they are mixing in man-to-man,

as well? What have you noticed?

COACH HEWITT: Well, they are very

active in that zone, and a guy like Delaney, he

seems like he covers a lot of ground, and all of

them, really, they cover a lot of ground.

We played Syracuse earlier in the year

and I see some of the principles Syracuse employs

in terms of when the ball is on the baseline, they

will trap the ball on the baseline with the center

and the forward guys on that side.

They are just really active. They just don’t

stand around and watch the ball. Even though

they are in a zone, they are playing some of the

man principles that they see the ball and the next

man in their area, so when that ball is in flight, they

are moving and do a great job with it.

Again, just very, very active and every time

the ball moves, an entire zone moves

appropriately.

Q. Why do you think you guys have

been so successful at home this year? Just

comfort level in your surroundings?

COACH HEWITT: Yeah, and the last

couple of games in particular, our students have

been great and just giving us a little bit of an

energy lift and we’ll need them on Tuesday

because Virginia Tech is playing good basketball

right now. Delaney is playing like a First-Team,

All-League guy that he is, and the energy level we

will get from the crowd certainly helps us.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for taking

time for being with us today. We’ll hear from you

the same time next week.

COACH HAMILTON

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now

Florida State head coach, Leonard Hamilton.

Coach – if you could, a few comments about your

team, and then we’ll open it for questions.

COACH HAMILTON: Any time you can go

on the road in the ACC and come away with a

victory, you have to be pleased. Played down in

Coral Gables last week and played against a team

that was ready to play, defended us very well.

Like always, when Florida State plays

Miami, it seems like all the games seem to go

down to the wire and we are very fortunate to

come away with a 2-point victory and come home

and played against Boston College this week.

Regardless of how well they execute, how well

they take care of the ball, and with their spread

type of offense, our players have a tremendous

amount of respect for them.

And I thought we played one of our better

defensive games this year — I mean, last week, of

the year, and I thought in the second half, showed

that we can execute on the offensive end and take

care of the ball and came up with a very much

needed home victory against Boston College.

Q. The loss to Virginia Tech seemed to

spark something in your team. Is there

anything different you’ve noticed in practices

to contribute to your current four-game

winning streak?

COACH HAMILTON: Well, I’ve been very

consistent with the assessment of our team. We

have a blend of inexperienced players and a blend

of experienced players. I think that we were just

not very — I thought Virginia Tech did a great job of

executing their offense, and I think we did a very

good job of playing as well as we are capable of

playing.

And I think our players were taken aback a

little bit and thought that we were better than we

were playing, and it showed a little bit about their

character that they bounced back and responded

well. They have taken coaching and I’ve been

very, very pleased with their ability to motivate

each other, hold each other accountable, their

communication level with each other has really

gotten better and I think that the main thing is they

hold each other accountable for the things they all

are expected to do.

Q. Can you talk about the defense that

your team has and is it any different from what

they have used in previous years?

COACH HAMILTON: Not really. We have

a defensive system that we try to put in early in the

season and we really don’t deviate from it that

much. We might tweak it a little bit to address the

exceptional player or something that may be we

have a difficult match-up from time to time. We

might make a slight adjustment but basically we

stick our defensive principles and that normally has

been enough for us at least to be solid on the

defensive end. We are not doing anything

differently than what we have done in the past.

Q. Not sure how much specifically you

have talked with Chris Singleton about his

experience last summer with USA Basketball?

We wondered how you seemed to help him in

his game and if he’s mentioned it at all in

talking as he’s gotten so much better this year.

COACH HAMILTON: We have talked

briefly about it -Not very much. I think he enjoyed

the experience. Chris worked very hard in the

spring after the season was over, working on

improving his ball handling, his passing. He’s

always been extremely competitive.

So I think the main thing he got out of the

experience with USA was confidence that he’s

capable of defending the players that are very

talented players and I also think that it gave him

the confidence that — from the standpoint that he

can compete at the highest level.

And I felt that level of confidence has really

allowed him to be a little bit more of a leader and

feel more confident and be a little bit more vocal

with his teammates. That appears to be the main

thing I think he got out of it, just to gain confidence

from the experience.

Q. On a much broader level and

different topic, when it comes time for guys

this spring to make decisions on early entry to

the NBA, how much more difficult will it be with

the labor situation looming the way it is?

COACH HAMILTON: We haven’t talked

about it very much because all of that is

speculation. You really don’t know what is going to

happen. So we have taken the approach that we

are going to worry about those things we can

control -That’s the next day’s practice and try to get

through that practice and then hopefully stack on

good games.

All of the information will be available for

us I’m sure at that particular time and we will

evaluate and make decisions. Up until that point, it

doesn’t do any good to start playing the What If

Game because that can be a little bit of a

distraction.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Chris, just

what do you feel like makes him such a

versatile, talented player, in terms of being a

guy who can score, rebound, but also block

shots, steal, just do a little bit of everything it

seems like.

COACH HAMILTON: Well, there are a lot

of players with gifted athleticism, God-given

physical attributes that allow you to move quick,

stop, start, change direction, run, jump and the

physical strength. There are a lot of players that

have those types of skills.

I think what separates Chris is that he has

a unique focus and a hunger, along with a

competitive spirit, to defend, rebound, fight

screens, block shots. Those are things that he has

a passion about, that he enjoys, that separates him

from guys who might want to be more interested in

just scoring points. He’s extremely unselfish. He

doesn’t force shots. He is not a

high-volume-shot-type of guy. He doesn’t feel like

some guys, if they are not getting X number of

shots and X number of points, it seems to effect

their energy.

Doesn’t bother him at all – He just wants to

win. And in the flow of the game, if he gets more

shots, fine. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t concern

himself with it. He’s just happy that we go on and

win. I think that allows him to just play free without

the pressure of having to go out and meet some

statistical category for him to feel validated.

Chris is a smart player, he understands the

game, he has good savvy. He’s working on his

skills to improve that I’m sure at some point in time

will allow him to be a very successful basketball

player for a number of years.

Q. What has been the key to giving him

more of an offensive flow and better offensive

skill?

COACH HAMILTON: I think one thing

that’s allowed him to get into a better flow is that

our team is improving. The players that he’s

playing with have a better understanding of how to

play well together, how to take advantage of each

other’s offensive skills. Execution has gotten

better, creating more offense from our defense and

that’s allowed him to be a little more productive

offensively.

Q. Just wanted to ask you, Saturday

after their practice, Coach Lowe gave players a

history lesson and talked about the history of

the program, have you ever done anything like

that or do you think your players are very

aware of what came before them at Florida

State?

COACH HAMILTON: We talk about that

all the time. That’s part of what we want our guys

to understand. Now, we talk about that. We have

those guys that are around and I’m not real sure

how much they retain or how much it means to

them one way or the other, but we realize that they

have an opportunity to contribute to the history of

Florida State. They know where we have been

and know where we are and where we are trying to

get to. We make them very much aware of as

much as of the history of our program on a

consistent basis as we possibly can.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for

taking time for being with us today. We’ll hear from

you the same time next week.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now

Duke basketball head coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

Coach – if you could, a few comments about your

team, and then we’ll open it for questions.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I thought we did

a good job last week with two road wins, and you

know some of our young guys are getting better,

the big guys, Ryan Kelly had a really good week,

and I think Mason continues to rebound well and

Miles gave us energy and we got a boost from

Thornton, especially in the Wake Forest game.

But one of our veterans who is having, I

think a terrific year, especially once we started,

after Kyrie’s injury is Kyle – going to end up being

one of the top-five stat guys in the history of our

program, and he just has gone quietly about

getting 20 points and eight rebounds and playing

defense and being the warrior. I thought he had a

heck of a week.

So we are anxious to play Boston College

and then go up to New York and play in the

Garden against St. John’s.

Q. Doing a story on Rutgers’ assistant,

Jimmy Carr, and his son – Wondering if you

would just be kind enough how you got

involved in that situation and how you’re

helping them out.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I’m not sure

how much for helping them out. Duke is helping a

lot. It’s unfortunate, he’s gone through a heck of

an experience and his family has been spectacular

in their support. Duke, the Medical Center, has

been great. They have found a team here that can

team up with their passion to improve their son’s

condition.

Chris Collins on my staff, who is fairly good

friends with them – couple of practices and we just

try to give them encouragement. I don’t know how

much we are helping but we are there when he

needs a little bit of release to just get a break from

being in the hospital. His son’s going through quite

a bit, and so whatever little bit we can do, we are

happy to do it.

Q. If I can just follow-up, in terms of

coming to the Garden for St. John’s, what do

you see from them recently and what do you

think about what Coach Lavin has done there?

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You know what, I

don’t know what they are doing recently, because I

haven’t watched them. I just know that they are in

a great league and they are doing well. They have

won big games and Steve has a veteran team, he

has more seniors than anybody in the country on

his team, and he has a great staff and we’ll study

them after we play Boston College.

It’s always an honor for us to go up and

play St. John’s in the Garden; the history of the

game, two programs like Duke and St. John’s – to

be at Madison Square Garden is a pretty good

day.

Q. Can you talk a little about the year

Nolan Smith has had?

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, Nolan is

having a great year, and he had a great year last

year, and he’s improved even more. He’s got a lot

on his plate for us, especially since Kyrie’s injury,

and handling the ball, defending the ball, scoring

the ball, leading the team. He’s done all of those

things at the highest level. He’s having an

All-American type of year.

Q. Do you have anything to say to your

team to keep them focused?

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It’s a collective

effort. As a coach, that’s one of the main things we

try to do here, because we are a program that has

had a lot of good things happen, and you don’t stay

that way without continued hunger and a pursuit of

becoming the best you can be.

Q. A little bit more on Nolan Smith, he’s

on pace to become the first player to lead the

ACC in scoring and assists, and he’s also

guarding the ball for you. I’ve noticed in

certain situations you’ve talked about trying to

take a little bit of the responsibility and the

burden away from him. Can you talk about the

fine line between a guy who does so many

things well and making sure you don’t give him

too many responsibilities and how you’re

negotiating that?

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I’ve never

heard of a guy who is considered to be an

All-American being given too many responsibilities.

I mean, that’s why they are an All-American type

player. And as soon as you start reducing that,

then you’re playing defense on your All-American

player. I mean, I don’t understand, really I’m not

questioning you, but whenever you say someone

is going to get tired — the great players in our

league, not just at Duke, they have a lot of

responsibility, and they want it. They prepare for it.

They thrive on it.

You know, Nolan has to continue to do

that, and now as people try to defend him and do

things against him, we have to come up with

counters so that we use him in different places, or

else we are not doing our job using him.

But number of minutes and level of

responsibility is not going to go down, for him or

Kyle. I mean, that’s what they have prepared for.

That’s what they want and whatever that last game

is, hopefully it’s a win for us, but if we lose in

March, it won’t be because those two guys are

tired. You know, it will be because someone was

better than us on that day.

Q. If you would talk about the

development and growth you’ve seen from

some of your big men recently, good

performances from Miles and Ryan in

particular?

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think our big

guys are going to keep getting better, because

they are young players, and it’s their time to get

better.

You know, they played a number of

minutes, practice-wise, they are a priority – they are

not playing behind people. Age-wise, two

sophomores and a junior; they are in a good period

of time for them. It’s their time.

I think they go to their strengths initially.

Mason has recognized that rebounding is a

strength and blocking shots, and not many people

rebound well and block shots, so that separates

you when you can do that. The scoring will come.

Ryan is a really good outside shooter, but

you know he’s blocking shots and he’s rebounding.

Miles has given us a lot — this past week, he gave

us great energy and coming off the bench, he and

Tyler Thornton, both, they gave us great energy in

both the State and Wake games. So we are

pleased with the way our big men are coming

along.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about

your familiarity with Steve Donahue, he seems

to be one of the rising stars in coaching in

college.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he’s done a

really good job with a veteran BC team. They have

really good talent. But a new coach coming in has

to implement a new system and sometimes that’s

harder to do with older guys than younger guys.

They seem to have responded really well and he

obviously did a great job at Cornell.

So I mean, he’s an outstanding coach and

a good guy. We are lucky to have him in our

league.

Q. Just to follow up on Ryan Kelly,

when practice began in October, could you see

right away or did he show right away the

strides that he had made over the summer, and

what did you notice different about him?

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he’s 25

pounds heavier. Although I saw him during the

summer as he was gaining the weight.

You know, really, we knew that Ryan Kelly

would be a good player. Last year, he’s just, you

know, really under weight for the physical play that

you have at this level. And it wasn’t for lack of

effort or lack of talent. He just wasn’t ready.

And you know, putting on weight, strength,

and he had that right away. He started our

practice sessions already a different player.

He’s a real easy kid to coach. He just

wants to do whatever the coach wants him to do.

You don’t have to — there’s no couch time with him

as far as, do you understand this, son, or why is

the world turning this way. You don’t have to ask

any of those questions. You just tell him what to

do, practice with him and he’s a no-maintenance

kid.

Q. You alluded to after the Wake Forest

game that the next thing in his development is

probably getting down more inside and making

some moves down in there that maybe he has

not shown.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know,

that will come. I think Ryan can score inside. The

position he’s playing, he’s not playing like the five;

he’s playing more the four. So he doesn’t get

down there very much.

But if he gets down there, and I think that

he will be a good decent scorer initially, and then a

really good one eventually; and that’s not a priority

right now, because of the position he’s playing.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for

taking time for being with us today. We’ll hear from

you the same time next week.

COACH BROWNELL

THE MODERATOR: We have with us now

Clemson head coach, Brad Brownell. Coach – if

you could, a few comments about your team, and

then we’ll open it for questions.

Q. If you could, a few comments about

your team and we’ll open for questions?

COACH BROWNELL: Tough week in the

ACC last week for us. We had two very

competitive games at North Carolina and

Maryland. I like the way our guys battled in both

games. Had a little trouble scoring at the end of

the North Carolina game and couldn’t take that one

to the wire.

And then against Maryland, we didn’t get

enough stops. Tried to shoot a 35-footer to win

and missed it – Played competitively in both

games. Need to find a way to get back on the left

side of the column this week.

Q. I know you want to keep your team

focused on the next opponent, but as a coach,

are you already thinking about your game plan

against Florida State?

COACH BROWNELL: No. We are solely

thinking about NC State and I think every coach

pretty much just worries about the one right in front

of him.

Q. There’s been talk across the media

that the ACC is down this year having only one

ranked team. Is there anything that you can

see across the board that might be causing this

perception or the BIG EAST a legitimate threat

to dethrone the ACC as the top Conference?

COACH BROWNELL: Well, the larger

question, I don’t know that I have an answer, I

think, you know, certainly the BIG EAST is very

good this year with a bunch of really good teams. I

think our league is going to be really good by the

time it’s all said and done.

I’m new to this level so I haven’t paid as

much attention to it. I think any time there’s

several coaching changes like we have had, three

new coaches this year and one last year that

sometimes that affects programs a little bit and

makes it a little more difficult, there’s some

turnover; we also seem to have a lot of younger

players in our league, and so I just think the league

is in a little bit of a turning point. But teams are

going to play themselves into very good basketball

teams over the course of the next two months.

Q. NC State has gone to a bigger lineup

in the last two games. Wondering what you

saw in them, particularly what they average

with Kyle on the floor.

COACH BROWNELL: I think he played

really well in the Miami game. Especially I thought

he was very active. He’s got great hands. I think

he’s a deceptive athlete for as big as he is, moves

very well. I think he makes good decisions. And it

certainly, you know, it’s different when Leslie is at

the three; he’s as good of an athlete as there is in

our league.

Scott Wood, who I’ve seen play back in

high school, back in Indiana, he’s a tremendous

sharp shooter and deep range at 6-6 so he can

shoot over the top of a lot of the people. And I

think the other thing is – I think just the longer that

Tracy Smith gets back, it makes an unbelievable

difference.

I think you take the best player off of any

team, and NC State had to fight through that for

the better part of the beginning of the season and I

think now they are getting him back and getting his

legs under him, so I think you are going to see a

really good NC State team here the next month

and a half.

Q. Every league has a home/road split.

First time through the league — is it more of a

home-court league or what’s your take on that?

COACH BROWNELL: Well, I do think this

week, the crowds at North Carolina and Maryland

were terrific. There were a lot of people at the

game but they were also very into the game and

certainly I think that they were very supportive of

their teams and I do think that’s a difference in

some leagues.

I think when the games are on campus, or

really close to campus, it makes a difference. I

think you have more student turnout. Student

turnout was very good at both games and right

next to the court and just makes it a little bit

more of a hostile environment and difficult for

opponents to go in and be successful.

Q. That’s usually something younger

teams have trouble coping with. Is that

something you think your team has handled

well? You did make a great comeback against

Maryland.

COACH BROWNELL: Yeah, I think we

have done reasonably well. I have seniors in

Demontez and Jerai Grant, and they have been

through the battles a little bit. I think it does help to

have a guy or two that’s been through it like that,

and going through it your first time with young,

young players, we’ll be in a little bit more of that

situation next year when we’ll have a little bit more

of a newer group.

It will definitely be more difficult for those

guys to go in those environments their first time

and not to be wide-eyed I think is a little, you

know — that doesn’t happen very often. I think

most kids are going to come into those

environments and arenas and look at all those

banners and see that crowd and hear all that

noise.

It’s hard to just focus on playing between

the lines, but that’s what you have to try to get your

guys to do. Fortunately for me this year, we have

a couple of seniors that have been able to help us

get through some of these road games.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for taking

time with us today and we’ll hear from you again

the same time next week.

COACH DONAHUE

THE MODERATOR: We have with us

Boston head college coach, Steve Donahue.

Coach – if you could, a few comments

about your team and we’ll open it up for questions.

COACH DONAHUE: Won a very

hard-fought game versus Virginia. I thought both

teams played very well and then we went down to

Florida State and played I thought a tough,

hard-nosed game for the most part. Didn’t play

extremely well necessarily, but I think Florida State

had a lot to do with that.

Unfortunately came out with a loss, and

now we are looking forward to next week at Duke.

Q. Coach Krzyzewski had a couple nice

things to say about you. Have you ever

crossed paths with him in the past and had a

chance to have a discussion with him at

length?

COACH DONAHUE: I don’t know at

length or anything like that. We have a mutual

friend, a guy named Gary Munson, who is a big

Cornell alum and very involved with Coaches

Versus Cancer, got me close to Mike a few times

and we played them there a couple of years ago

when I was at Cornell, as well.

And then just obviously like everybody

else, I’ll try to learn everything I could off of a guy

like that. That’s probably me more listening than

speaking but I always appreciated everything he

had to say and obviously respect what he’s doing

at Duke once again this year.

Q. One of the legendary arenas in

college basketball, I’m assuming you’re biased

toward the Palestra with your Philly roots, but

can you tell me what are the favorite arenas

you’ve coached in, most intimidating arenas?

COACH DONAHUE: Obviously this one is

a great college venue, and I agree with you, the

Palestra has such great magic as well with the

sight lines and the fans being so close. It feels like

a gym.

The thing that’s funny about people that

know these arenas, very few at the higher levels

that have this; Allen Fieldhouse last year when we

played Kansas I thought had the same type of

vibe. You’ll get a lot more tougher gyms to play at

lower levels, even in the Ivy League, a place like

Yale sits around 2,500 and they are on top of you.

And it’s loud. There’s no good acoustics. A lot of

these arenas are so nice at this level that even if

the crowd is loud, you have space and you have

good acoustics and you have video boards to take

your attention away from fans.

Sometimes at the Ivy and Patriot League

level, you have arenas, people that know

everything about you and they are screaming at

you and you hear every little word you say and

they can be just as intimidating if not more

intimidating than some of these big arenas.

Q. With what are you doing at BC, one

of the big things when the coaching search

was going on was somebody that could get

some excitement. Anything in particular you

guys are doing to get more fans?

COACH DONAHUE: I think that going

forward that is an objective for our administration

and basketball program. We have done a very

good job with our kids out selling season tickets,

we pick a day there and we had a real good – kind

of like midnight madness thing with ice hockey, as

well. And we are constantly coming up with other

ideas that the marketing people have done, and

we are looking forward to our home games going

forward here.

Unfortunately two games in the league that

we had no students in session, so that made it

difficult. We are doing everything we can to make

Boston College a great home-court advantage for

us and this league, everybody has a great place

and it’s well supported and if you don’t do that, I

think you’re really missing the boat.

Q. Could you talk about Reggie, he’s

No. 2 in the Conference in scoring, No. 2 in the

Conference in assists. I guess Nolan Smith is

doing it at that level, too, but you don’t find too

many guys who can do both.

COACH DONAHUE: Yeah, and I have

spoken on this quite a bit, and as we go forward

here, the thing I would say is Reggie has got to

continue to be very intelligent and judicious about

his decision making.

I think teams are really geared to stop him

from scoring, which is fine. I think what we need,

everybody on this team to do, is to share the

basketball and play within what we try to design for

our system offensively.

But the amazing thing about Reggie has

been his IQ for the game. I think he has a great

feel for the game. He does obviously so many

things incredibly athletically, but the thing that

amazes me, you look at the high percentage of

things, and this is not against anybody else in the

league but no one is playing as efficient as him.

His shooting percentage from two, from

three, his assisted turnovers for a kid who has to

get 19 a game is pretty incredible. I don’t know if

anybody is doing like that in the country. That’s

the most amazing thing to me, not that he’s just

scoring points and making assists, but how

efficient he is in categories that really matter to me,

his shooting percentage and assisted turnover.

Q. What do you do with him

defensively? How much is he on the ball?

COACH DONAHUE: Well, one of the

things we have tried to do this year is try to figure

out what is best for this team defensively. There

are no mistakes that it’s our Achilles heel and at

times I thought we played well and I thought we did

a very good job the first half of Florida State and

did not do a good job in the second half. Maybe

that has to do more with getting worn down in

second halves of games. Reggie, if there’s

anything I can ask him to do more is to be more

active off the ball. He can create turnovers for his

teammates by getting into passing lanes and he

can defensive rebound for us.

I think those things, we are asking him to

do so much but there are other ways he can help

us win basketball games. He’s a terrific defender.

What unfortunately happens, we played him 38, 39

minutes a game, he’s handled the ball and we

work hard on offense, as well. Unfortunately we

don’t see all they can do on defense.

Q. Wanted to talk about Kyle, he

doesn’t lead the team in scoring percentage or

rebounding, but Coach mentions all the things

he does. When you prepare for Duke, what do

you look for from him to try to keep him under

control?

COACH DONAHUE: I think the thing that

is so impressive about Kyle is how hard he plays,

and you watch the things he does away from the

basketball defensively; and getting in the passing

lanes and going to rebound.

And he plays all of these minutes. I saw to

our guys, I think we get tired late in games, and

then I watch that kid, the energy that he plays with

from rim to rim. It’s kind of easy for a guard to play

40 minutes and not miss a step because you

basically don’t foul at the foul line.

But when you add the physicality that Kyle

plays with and all of the things that he tries to do

defensively, it’s pretty incredible. That’s the thing

that amazes me, his motor is just a notch above

everybody else, so on the court, you add to that -

that obviously is extremely talented in so many

aspects of the game as well. It’s a heck of a

combination.

Q. As if there were not enough things

to worry about, when you play Duke, Ryan

Kelly has emerged in the last couple of games,

just wondered what you saw in the way that

he’s playing lately that’s going to create an

additional problem.

COACH DONAHUE: I got to know Ryan, I

was a USA assistant coach on the Under 18 Team

and I got to know him and he’s just a terrific kid.

And probably a little more surprised that he’s taken

this long, but that should be expected when you go

to a program like Duke to step in and try to help

them.

But now you can see the level of

confidence that he’s playing with, and he’s found

his role, and his ability to stretch the defense. He’s

just another really good basketball player that’s

making shots. And when you go against a kid like

that and he’s playing the four, it just makes your

offense so much better and I think that’s what

you’re seeing over the last couple of games.

You can’t make a mistake, you start

worrying about Smith and Singler and then this kid

– I know it; he’s as good a basketball player as

there is in the league and now he’s playing with

that kind of confidence that, you know, I’m not

surprised.

Q. He’s 6-for-6 in his last three-point

attempts, even for a man his size; that a bit

unusual?

COACH DONAHUE: I think so. He’s

always played that way. I’ve never seen him play

since he was a sophomore in high school. I’m not

surprised. I think one thing is if you can step out

and make that shot as a 6-10 or 6-11 kid as he is,

but the way he does it, he almost steps into it like a

guard. He swings a ball like a guard. Against

bigger guys, they are just not used to that.

It’s not just that he can make that shot. It’s

his preparation. It’s almost like a 6-5 kid stepping

into it. Gets off quick and if you fly at him, he can

put it on the floor and find somebody else. I think

those are the impressive things for a kid that size.

And as he gets more seasoned and gets a

little stronger, I think you’ll see another one of their

great players developing

2 comments Add your comment

Brock

January 25th, 2011
11:49 am

so what Paul is saying is if guys didn’t shoot well against us then we would win the game.

I’m so glad he figured that out after 10 years.

Jimmy

January 25th, 2011
8:39 pm

Basketball, football. It doesn’t matter. I love coachspeak!!!!!