This transcript of the ACC coaches’ teleconference was provided by the league office:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
The biggest concern for me is coming back
and rebounding and getting our guards engaged
and coming back and rebounding. Was that an
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
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
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
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
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
So I think that part of their game is really
good. Like I said, their young front court guys are
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
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
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
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
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
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: 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
COACH WILLIAMS: Yes, unless
something weird happens between now and
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Q. He’s 6-for-6 in his last three-point
attempts, even for a man his size; that a bit
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